As the builders, movers, and shakers of the computing world, computer programmers are necessary for any kind of innovation—and to become one, you’ll need to earn one of the 5 Best Bachelor’s in Computer Programming.
By earning one of the best bachelor’s in computer programming, you’ll gain the skills necessary to turn software design into actionable code that computers can actually read. We use computers on a daily basis, from working at a desktop computer, crunching numbers, to asking our smartphones to navigate us to the nearest restaurant.
As a computer programmer, you’ll become part of a rapidly growing field with an endless number of career opportunities. Each year, millions of computer programming jobs will go unfilled—all industries require the skills of a computer programmer, so it’s a smart field to consider if you want to have a job waiting for you as soon as you graduate.
What Is a Computer Programming Degree?
Although some computer programmers will start working with just an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree is the most common choice for aspiring programmers who wish to take their work to the next level. Earn a bachelor of science degree, and you’ll learn the basics of computer programming as well as the core scientific and mathematical principles that underlie the practice.
For example, most students will take several courses in discrete mathematics as well as algorithms, software design, computer architecture, and several kinds of programming languages. Some schools even offer Bachelor of Arts degrees that include more liberal arts courses, like foreign languages.
Each school is different in terms of the requirements you’ll need to meet in order to apply and to graduate. A high school diploma or its equivalent, along with strong grades in mathematics and science courses, are usually required. To graduate, you will need to complete around 120 credit hours of study. A practicum or capstone project often serves as the culminating experience for one of these degrees, too.
Careers for Computer Programming Majors
As a computer programming major, chances are that you will focus your job search on one job title in particular—computer programmer. However, you could work in a wide variety of careers, including in computer systems design and related services, finance, insurance, manufacturing, and more.
Computer programmers typically work alone, sometimes for a major corporation but other times, in a freelance setting. Writing code can be done from anywhere, so many computer programmers work from the comfort of their own homes. You’ll likely learn a few different computer languages while you’re in school but you’ll also gain hands-on experience in things like writing code, testing programs, and fixing errors—all tasks that you could be asked to do in your job as a computer programmer.
Some computer programmers go on to earn master’s degrees, but this is not as common as in other fields. You may take an additional course in related fields like accounting or healthcare, something that’s helpful if you’re a computer programmer in a specific niche.
You might take continuing education classes or attend professional development workshops, too, to help you keep apprised of the latest changes in the field. Many programmers also pursue certifications in specific programming languages or products.
Computer Programming Salary Potential
If you’re looking for a career with good salary potential, there are very few that fit the bill quite as well as that of a computer programmer. The average annual salary for one of these jobs was $86,550 in 2019, with individuals working in software publishing, finance, insurance, and manufacturing earning the highest starting salaries.
Although the salary of a computer programmer lags slightly behind that of professionals in other computer occupations, you can still expect a hefty return on your investment when you choose to pursue one of these degrees. Again, pursuing an additional certification or taking continuing education classes can help you stay on top of developments in the field—and remain at the top of the pay scale, too.
Earning a bachelor’s degree is, of course, the smartest way to position yourself for a high starting salary. Knowing several kinds of programming languages can help, too. Fortunately, many of the best bachelor’s in computer programming will help you keep up to date with all the latest and most important programming tools.
What Are the Best Computer Programming Degrees?
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Florida State University
Average Net Price
With 16 separate colleges and more than 110 different facilities, institutes, labs, and centers (and a whopping 360 plus programs of study!), Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL has plenty to offer aspiring computer programming majors. Not only is this school classified among R1: Doctoral Universities-Very High Research Activity, but it also is ranked as one of the best public universities in the United States by the U.S. News & World Report.
The computer programming degree at Florida State University is unique in that it is a Bachelor of Arts that will provide you with the broad-based background necessary for a career in computing. You’ll gain core competencies in things like data structures, cybersecurity, mobile programming, and more.
You’ll take classes primarily in Tallahassee, building your skills in computer programming along with at least nine hours of humanities and history beyond general education requirements. You’ll complete at least 45 credit hours of courses at the 3000 level or above, 30 of which must be taken at the university. Graduates go on to rewarding work with computer firms, colleges and universities, private industry, financial firms, and more.
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A private college located in Owosso, MI, Baker College was founded in 1911 and maintains multiple campuses throughout Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Originally a business school founded in Flint, MI, the school offers a variety of degrees in computer science. One of its biggest and best claims to fame? Baker won the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition for several years in a row, coming out as state champion for nearly a decade, too.
Consisting of 120 credit hours, the Bachelor of Science in computer science with a concentration in computer programming at Baker takes most students about four years to complete. It’s incredibly affordable, with 86% of all students receiving scholarships, grants, or other types of financial aid.
The curriculum of the program is designed with guidance from top industry professionals and is almost constantly being revised to keep up with advances and developments in technology. You’ll gain mastery of several different programming languages along with core topics like computer architecture, artificial intelligence, and application security. Not only that, but you’ll be able to complete a year-long senior project that will allow you to apply your skills to a real-world computing problem. You’ll also get to complete a 150-hour experience with a company.
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A private, non-profit university in Bellevue, NE, Bellevue University is one of the best schools to consider if you’re looking for an institution that caters primarily to adult learners. In fact, as of 2020, the average student age was 34.
The Bachelor of Science in software development at Bellevue University is perfect for working adults, consisting of 127 total credit hours that can be completed on-campus or online. The degree’s curriculum is designed with feedback from industry leaders and top IT employers, giving you the opportunity to build your knowledge and gain confidence in coding and software design.
Tuition is extremely affordable, with in-class and online rates set at $425 per credit hour. Active-duty military members and their spouses can receive a tuition discount of $250 per credit hour, too, making this one of the best programs for service members and their families.
Gaffney, South Carolina
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Limestone University, also known as Limestone College, is a private Christian university located in Gaffney, SC. A historic campus with strong ties to its roots, Limestone has ten buildings on its campus that are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Despite its historic legacy and impressive ties to the past, the school actively works to provide students with programs that will prepare them for the future. The Bachelor of Computer Science degree with a programming concentration is one such forward-thinking degree. In this program, you’ll be challenged to think creatively and to develop unique solutions to all kinds of programming issues.
These skills will prove to be useful to you as you set out in the workplace. You’ll take core classes like Microcomputer Applications, C# Programming, Internet Programming, and Project Management. Before you graduate, you’ll also be required to complete a capstone project that will bring together everything you have learned so you can showcase your skills to potential employers. One hundred twenty total credit hours are required.
Grand Canyon University
Average Net Price
A Christian university located in Phoenix, AZ, Grand Canyon University is a for-profit school that was the largest Christian University in the world as of 2018. It offers a variety of programs throughout its nine colleges, including those in education, business, fine arts, humanities, nursing, and of course, engineering and technology.
The Bachelor of Science in computer programming can be earned both on-campus and online. It pairs business and technology as courses over everything from Java to C++ to entrepreneurship and critical thinking. You’ll be able to hone your coding skills from early on in the program, meaning you might be able to begin working in the field before you even graduate.
You’ll also complete a senior portfolio and project, both of which can be used during your job search. You can take classes on campus, online, or evening just during the evening hours. Courses are available full-time and part-time, with classes covering topics like algorithms, cloud computing, IT case planning for global business, and more.
One hundred twenty total program credits are required, with most classes lasting 7 weeks apiece. Tuition starts at just $470 per credit hour, making this one of the most affordable bachelor’s in computer programming that you will find.