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Associate Degrees for Aspiring Computer Specialists

Higher Education Articles April 18, 2013

Students who want to become a computer specialist should consider earning an Associate of Science (A.S.) in Computer Programming, an Associate of Science in Information Technology, an Associate of Science in Computer Science, among other associate degree programs. Computer specialists’ careers may include information technology specialist, computer network specialist, and computer programming.

A.S. in Computer Programming

While associate degree program in information technology and computer science may provide students with the academic background necessary to specialize in any aspect of the information technology field, computer programming associate degree program will prepare students to become programming specialists. Students who are enrolled in an associate degree program in computer programming will learn how to create computer programs and applications using source code and programming languages. The majority of associate degree programs in the field include elective courses related to networking, mathematics, computer-aided design, and software support. Applicants are required to have some experience in high school dealing with computers, as well as holding a GED certificate or high school diploma.

Program Course Topics

Most computer programming associate degree program courses take place within a computer laboratory and extremely hands-on. Students learn how to test, implement, write, and design their own computer programs by investigating the following topics:

•Database development
•Project management
•Object-oriented programming
•C++ programming
•Systems design and analysis
•Computer programming introduction
•Computer science introduction

Salary Information and Employment Outlook

In 2009, computer programmers held over 367,000 positions with individual businesses across the nation, software publishing companies, and computer system design firms, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS – www.bls.gov). During 2009, computer programmers earned an annual average salary of approximately $70,000. Computer programmers who worked for computer equipment manufacturing companies earned the highest salary.

Certification Options

Different certification options are available primarily from businesses that distribute and create computer software for profit. For instance, computer programming specialists may obtain certification from an organization that offer software related to a particular computer language, such as Visual Basic (Microsoft) or Java (Sun Systems).

A.S. in Information Technology (IT)

Information technology associate degree programs are designed to provide students with an introduction to computer hardware, including telecommunications equipment, computer systems, and networking equipment. Also, the degree programs will introduce students to the basics of computer application and computer software. Students are required to have a general knowledge of keyboarding and computer operating systems, along with a general educational development (GED) certificate or high school diploma.

Program Course Topics

Along with completing core courses in computer science and information technology fundamentals, students are required to select from a series of information technology electives. Electives will prepare individuals to specialize in a specific branch of the IT field, including computer networking and programming. Electives and core courses may include the following:

•Database development
•Website development
•Visual basic
•Statistics
•Introduction to programming
•Pre-calculus
•Microsoft Office Suite
•Information systems introduction

Career Options

Individuals who are computer specialist may obtain different career titles because it is possible to specialize in several different fields within the computer industry. Students who have graduated from an associate degree program in information technology may obtain the following career titles:

•Database administrator
•IT manager
•Computer support specialist
•Network manager
•Computer programmer

A.S. in Computer Science

A computer science associate degree program is one of the most general, entry-level programs available for prospective computer specialists. These programs are designed to give students an introduction to computer applications, networks and operating system, as well as an overview of computing theory.

Computer science associate degree program usually comprised of both computer laboratory experiences and classroom lectures. Students will learn how to troubleshoot standard computer issues, develop webpages, write source code, and more. Depending on the institutions, students may be able to transfer credits earned from an associate degree program to a four-year bachelor degree programs in computer programming, software development, network administration, or similar programs.

Education Requirements

Students who want to become computer specialists are required to complete prerequisites in physics, pre-calculus, geometry, and algebra. Students must have a basic understanding of computers and earned their high school diploma.

Program Course Topics

Computer science associate degree program will offer courses related to general education, science, and mathematics; in addition, students will take introductory-level courses in computer technology. The following are courses students may take:

•Linear algebra
•Discrete mathematics
•Web development
•Data structures
•Database applications
•Networking
•Standard computer programming
•Introduction to computer science

Popular Careers

The majority of computer science associate degree programs are designed to enable graduates to transfer credits from an associate degree program to a four-year bachelor degree program in computer science. However, there are several entry-level positions available to graduates working for consulting services, manufacturing firms, insurance companies, banks, and hospitals. Possible positions may include:

•Computer programmer
•Computer systems specialist
•Computer maintenance technician

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  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
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  • Founded in 1890, it has a campus in Waterbury, CT and offers online degree program in eight-week modules, six times a year.
  • About 800 students are enrolled at the main campus, and about half of them commute.
  • Online courses make it possible for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as 18 months and a master’s degree in 14-24 months.
Good for Working Adults
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2 Program(s) Found
  • Liberty University provides a worldclass education from a christ-centered worldview
  • 100% online programs at associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels
  • No standardized testing if student meets admission requirements
  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • 87% of Liberty University students receive some form of financial aid
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  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Topped the list as Best Online Bachelor’s Program in Virginia by U.S. News & World Report in 2019.
  • Regent is ranked among Top National Universities by U.S. News & World Report, 2019.
  • Flexible online, on-campus and evening courses offered in 135 areas of study, including Business, Nursing, Psychology, & more.
  • Regent is recognized among Top #10 Military Friendly Schools by Military Friendly®, 2019.
  • 88% of Regent University students receive financial aid, with $24 million awarded in institutional scholarships & aid in 2017-18.
  • Online Courses
3 Program(s) Found
  • One of the top-ranked universities in Florida, Saint Leo University offers over 50 accredited undergraduate degrees, programs and endorsements as well as master's and doctoral programs.
  • Saint Leo’s undergraduate and graduate online degree programs prepare you to take advantage of growing career opportunities in a variety of in-demand fields.
  • Saint Leo University provides academic excellence, flexibility, affordability, and a wide range of educational programs with financial aid and scholarships available to those who qualify.
  • Saint Leo offers a 14:1 Student-Teacher Ratio to ensure you get the personal attention you deserve.
  • Learn on your schedule with our 6 convenient available start dates throughout the year. Get started on earning your accredited degree today!
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
  • Online and on-campus programs include Cloud Technologies (BS), Mobile Development (BS), and Web Design and Development (BS)
  • Curriculum designed to prepare students for a career in tech by immersing students in a project-based learning environment
  • Students can learn how to manage cloud technology or gain coding skills for apps, websites, and software
  • Full Sail offers accelerated programs, so a degree that would normally take four years takes 24 months on average
  • Online Courses

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