How to Become a Computer Programmer

Computer programmer analyzes a piece of code

If you are looking for a job in technology that pays well and offers generally steady employment, you may want to become a computer programmer. Computer programmers build just about everything related to the technology that you use daily by turning software design into code that computers can read. They also build operating systems and software applications. They turn ideas into usable technology.

People are interacting with technology more than ever. Computer programmers work on large scale networks. They also build desktop computers and software. They are involved with mobile devices. All of this means the demand for people with computer programming skills is higher than ever.

If you think this career is right for you, consider earning your Bachelor of Science in Computer Programming degree. Here are a few steps to get you started on this exciting career field.

Start Early

Computer programming classes can begin as early as middle school and high school. If you are still in high school, take the technology classes that are available to you. These might include computer science or coding workshops. You should also make sure that you are ready to earn a computer programming degree by brushing up on your math and science skills. Be sure to take algebra and chemistry in high school. You may also want to take foreign language classes to get your mind used to learning and using a different language the way you do when you code in a programming language.

Enroll in a Computer Programming Degree Program

Some computer programmers are self-taught. But more and more businesses are looking for college-educated computer programmers. They want someone who has completed a computer program degree for a number of reasons.

Employers who see a bachelor's degree in computer programming know that the student has completed rigorous coursework in math and information technology. They also know that the person who holds a computer programming degree is likely a good communicator and can read and write technical documents. In addition, college-level coursework for a computer programming degree requires database design and networking classes which make the employee more experienced and well-rounded.

Learn Many Coding Languages

When you earn your computer programming degree, you will likely learn coding languages such as Java and C++. There are so many different programming languages out there that it is unlikely you can learn them all. However, most computer programmers specialize in a few languages beyond those that they learn in their degree programs because it makes them more marketable.

Earn Additional Certification

While your computer programming degree is a great step in the right direction for finding a job in the field, you want to show that you are always learning and growing. Because technology changes regularly, you have to be able to keep up with the field. By earning certificates and specializations you will show employers that you are dedicated to computer programming and staying on top of new advances. You can get certification from various product vendors and software firms. You can also seek out professional computing societies and take their courses and training modules.

Keep Learning

Besides earning additional certification in computer programming areas, you will need to continue to stay up on advancements in the field in other ways. Be sure to join various professional societies and organizations and read their newsletters and communications. Attend conferences and find local networking groups to meet people in your field and in related fields. Additionally, when you have a question about a topic, ask your colleagues to help you solve the problem. You can learn a lot from the experienced people that you may work with as a computer programmer.

Get a Master's Degree

Once you reach a certain level in your career, you may want to consider enrolling in a technology master’s program. This will help you obtain an additional depth of academic knowledge in a specific area around computer programming.

In a master's level computer programming degree program, you will take courses in multiple areas and learn additional theory around math and programming. You may also dive into new and more modern topics like artificial intelligence. You may be exposed to new types of computing systems and new theories in network security or scientific computation. Additionally, you will also learn advanced programming skills as you specialize in a certain area within the field.

Get to Know Related Fields

You may want to start off as a computer programmer, but it is good to know what other careers or degrees are similar in nature. In fact, you may be able to earn a different type of undergrad degree and still become a computer programmer. For example, some computer programmers have software engineering degrees.

In this degree field, students learn to develop software products and services. Other computer programmers may have information technology degrees. In that type of degree program, students learn to design and develop multi-user networks.

Build Your Non-Technical Skills

Computer programmers do more than just sit at the computer and code. They must also work with people. Therefore, teamwork and communication are important components to becoming a computer programmer. Working with code and troubleshooting problems around software development can be a tedious process. Therefore, computer programmers also need to be detail-oriented critical thinkers. Building these skills before and during your career will help you succeed as a computer programmer.

If you are considering becoming a computer programmer, join us at Grand Canyon University to earn your Bachelor of Science in Computer Programming degree. If you would like to learn more about this degree program, click the Request Info button located at the top of this page.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.