Programming certificates are designed for students who are interested in computer science, software and project development. They give students who do not have a background in information technology the skills necessary to establish careers as computer programmers. In addition, they can help those who already have careers stay current on new technology and software. Once enrolled, students will take classes in programming concepts, software tools and data structures. Upon graduating, they can become computer programmers, software developers or IT professionals.
The vocational certificate serves to teach students the basic skills they need to be successful in the programming field. Although many IT careers require a degree, students who take online certificate programs in computer programming will get a strong academic foundation, which will allow them to pursue associate or bachelor’s degree after they graduate. While enrolled, they will take classes in computing, mathematics, software tools, assembly language and the facilities of operating systems. They will learn how to develop programs at a beginner’s level and will have the opportunity to use that to expand their academic experience down the road.
The online programming certificate typically lasts around one year. However, students who take classes on a part-time basis may take longer to fulfill their curriculum requirements. When taken online, all assignments will be completed online.
Building off the knowledge acquired during the bachelor’s, the post-baccalaureate certificate in programming is designed to expand upon the programming professional’s skillset. Students will take classes like calculus, algorithms and advanced java programming. They will design applications and software as part of the curriculum as well. Some certificates may also allow students to focus on a particular area of programming, such as game design or web development, which will specialize their expertise.
The post-baccalaureate certificate may also serve as a preparatory program for master’s degrees in computer science. It should take around six months to a year to complete, though students who attend on a part-time basis may be enrolled longer. All coursework can be competed on a computer.
Students who want to make themselves into even more marketable employees can earn certifications in different software and operating systems. Doing so will also help them advance into higher positions. Some examples of certification that students can earn include A+, Microsoft Office and security. Students can also complete certificates in Java and mobile applications.
Programs will vary in length; however, they typically aren’t separated into multiple units. Rather, students fulfill an hour requirement, during which they will get instruction in the certification’s area. At the culmination of the program, students will sit for an exam. Passing the exam will give them a credential in the chosen area. Although the program itself can be completed online, the exam will need to be taken at a testing center or school, so that a proctor can be present.
What’s Next for Programming Certificate Holders?
It is typical for certificate holders to become computer programmers or software developers after they graduate. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that professionals typically earn a median wage of $77,550 annually, depending upon education and experience. The BLS also reports that the software development field is growing even faster, with projects of expansion up to 17% by 2024. Software developers also earn a higher salary of $97,990 annually, depending upon experience.
Students are encouraged to pursue a degree after or while earning a certificate in programming. An associate or bachelor’s degree in an IT field will make them more marketable for programming positions. Higher education can also get them higher pay and career advancements. In addition, post-baccalaureate certificate students can look into master’s degrees or doctorates, which will help them enter academia.