Computer programming is the study of computer languages and the ways to apply them. Students in this major learn how to develop, maintain, and fix software systems.
A major in computer programming would include classes such as database design, network security, and business communications. Courses are typically part lecture and part lab work. In lectures, students learn the necessary computer concepts, terminology, and applications. In labs, students apply those lessons to real-world problems. Labs are essential to the major because jobs in computer programming often require professionals to solve problems they have never seen before. New issues are constantly arising in technology, so computer programmers must be able to have the patience to solve difficult problems.
The major is designed to help students develop the necessary patience and problem-solving skills to be successful. Students will also become proficient communicators in order to understand a client’s needs and issues. Through the application, they will gain strong attention to detail. While most programs hone all of these abilities, the focus of the major differs greatly from college to college. Some schools concentrate on software and programming while others have a core in website design. Some colleges structure their programs so that students emerge with industry approved certificates. Others focus on applications or networking. Because simple programming jobs are moving overseas, students pursuing this major in the United States may benefit from also gaining knowledge in a scientific or business field of their choosing. That way, they have a specialized ability to use programming to meet a specific, industry-related goal. For students looking to become computer programmers, there are two main types:
Application programmers and system programmers. System programmers develop operating software systems such as Windows, as well as programs that help preserve networks or databases. Application programmers develop programs to address specific needs in specific environments. An application programmer might create a program designed to calculate and store students’ grades, for example. Students may become computer system analysts. Analysts work to improve the efficiency of existing systems.
Students more interested in website creation can go into web development. Web developers use coding and programming to create websites that are both aesthetically pleasing and functional. Web developers are different than web designers. Web designers focus on the graphic elements of a website while developers create the code that makes a website work. However, designers and developers often work together to build a website. Computer support specialists work closely with computer-users in their organizations. They troubleshoot programs, fix technical issues, suggest updates, and perform routine checks on networks to prevent problems before they occur. Database administrators specialize in data tracking and storing software. Administrators keep databases secure, check for errors or needed updates, and create software so that users can easily search for company data.
Computer programming majors may also become computer and information systems managers. Many managers have graduate degrees, but it is not always necessary. Managers are responsible for finding, testing, and suggesting new software programs for their companies. They often compare the virtues and costs of existing programs necessary for new company projects. It is up to them to present the program options to company executives. Students who major in computer programming can find their niche in almost any kind of company. Majors graduate with many options and fields to explore.
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