Types of Degrees Computer Programming Majors Are Getting
The following table lists how many computer programming graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.
|Education Level||Number of Grads|
What Computer Programming Majors Need to Know
In an O*NET survey, programming majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.
Knowledge Areas for Programming Majors
Programming majors often go into careers in which the following 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
programming majors are found most commonly in careers in which the following skills are important:
- 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
As you progress with your programming degree, there are several abilities you should pick up that will help you in whatever related career you choose. These abilities include:
- 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?
Below is a list of occupations associated with programming:
|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||7|
|Hispanic or Latino||8|
Programming appeals to people across the globe. About 31.7% 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).
One thing to note here is that not all of these people may be working in careers related to programming.
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 careers associated with programming require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.
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 the 2018-2019 academic year, 614 schools offered some type of computer programming program. 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)||352||67|
|Certificate (1-2 years)||211||28|
|Certificate (2-4 Years)||14||3|
|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
Explore Major by State
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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||17,155|
|Computer Software & Applications||2,830|
|Computer Systems Analysis||772|
|Computer Systems Networking||713|
|Other Computer & Information Sciences||486|
*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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