Types of Degrees Computer Programming Majors Are Getting
The following table lists how many computer programming graduations there were in 2019-2020 for each degree level.
|Education Level||Number of Grads|
What Computer Programming Majors Need to Know
People with careers related to programming were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.
Knowledge Areas for Programming Majors
This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:
- Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
- English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Skills for Programming Majors
A major in programming prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:
- Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Abilities for Programming Majors
A major in programming will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:
- Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
What Can You Do With a Computer Programming Major?
People with a programming degree often go into the following careers:
|Job Title||Job Growth Rate||Median Salary|
|Computer Network Support Specialists||8.2%||$62,770|
|Computer Science Professors||8.1%||$82,220|
|Software Developers, Applications||30.7%||$103,620|
|Software Developers, Systems Software||11.1%||$110,000|
Who Is Getting a Master’s Degree in Computer Programming?
At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of programming majors is as follows:
|Race/Ethnicity||Number of Grads|
|Black or African American||9|
|Hispanic or Latino||10|
Programming appeals to people across the globe. About 31.3% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:
- South Korea
- Saudi Arabia
How Much Do Computer Programming Majors Make?
Master’s Degree Starting Salary
The median early-career salary of computer programming students with a master’s degree is $82,400 a year according to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $82,400 (25th percentile) and $82,400 (75th percentile).
It’s important to note that just because the people reporting these salaries have a degree in programming, it does not mean that they are working in a job related to their degree.
Salaries According to BLS
Programming majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $75,580 to $108,080 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.
To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.
Amount of Education Required for Careers Related to Computer Programming
Some degrees associated with programming may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.
Find out what the typical degree level is for programming careers below.
|Education Level||Percentage of Workers|
|Less than a High School Diploma||0.6%|
|High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED)||2.0%|
|Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production)||4.9%|
|Some College Courses||3.8%|
|Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree)||9.3%|
|Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master.||1.3%|
|Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level.||0.3%|
Online Computer Programming Programs
In 2019-2020, 586 schools offered a programming program of some type. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.
|Degree Level||Colleges Offering Programs||Colleges Offering Online Classes|
|Certificate (Less Than 1 Year)||0||0|
|Certificate (1-2 years)||215||23|
|Certificate (2-4 Years)||13||4|
|Doctor’s Degree (Research)||0||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice)||0||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Other)||0||0|
Is a Degree in Computer Programming Worth It?
The median salary for a programming grad is $89,580 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.
This is 125% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $993,600 after 20 years!
Top Ranking Lists for Computer Programming
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Majors Related to Computer Programming
You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to programming.
|Major||Number of Grads|
|Computer Information Systems||81,384|
|Computer Systems Networking||14,814|
|Computer Software & Applications||13,180|
|Computer Systems Analysis||2,269|
|Other Computer & Information Sciences||1,326|
*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.
- College Factual
- College Scorecard
- National Center for Education Statistics
- O*NET Online
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers First Quarter 2020
- Image Credit: By luis gomes under License
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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