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Studies & Degrees in Computer Programming

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Computer programming and software engineering covers all the subjects involved in writing computer code and creating software. This includes programming languages (usually 2 or 3 at least, in order to become competitive in the software engineering job market), basic computer science and electronics, and math. People who choose to study computer programming and software engineering are usually technologically savvy individuals with keen, logical minds. The work they do may include anything from video games to counterterrorism, and everything in between.
In the early years of the computer's existence, writing software was extremely time-consuming process because the programmer had to write each and every line of code out explicitly. Today, however, resources are available that make this tedious and time-consuming work unnecessary. As a result, today's computer programmers focus on far more complex systems that involve millions of lines of code, and can accomplish tasks that would have been impossible only a few years ago. This makes computer programming and software engineering and exciting and dynamic field to study, but also a challenging one–as computer programming becomes more complicated, the level of ability that employers expect from graduates in this field is on the rise.
Personal Qualities
  • Talent with computers
  • Systematic, logical thinking – this is extremely important
  • Patience and attention to detail
  • Creativity and ability to think outside the box
Study Options
In many cases, people who wish to pursue careers in computer programming and software engineering major in computer science instead. Computer science, or CS, is a broader field of study that covers computer engineering and electronics in addition to programming skills. Most colleges and universities, moreover, do not offer undergraduate majors in computer programming–instead, they expect aspiring computer programmers to major in computer science at the undergraduate level. It is usually at the graduate level that programs in computer programming and software engineering can be found.
When selecting a program in computer science, computer programming, or software engineering, it is important to base your selection process around which computer programming languages are emphasized by the program in question. The choice of which languages to learn will greatly influence the kind of software that you will be able to program. For example, HTML is ideal for writing code for websites, whereas C++ and Visual C++ are more versatile languages that can be used to create applications, drivers, embedded software, and games. Before choosing a program, consider what sort of software you hope to create, and choose your languages accordingly.
Career Options
Nearly every industry in the world today has some use for software engineers and computer programmers. Whether it is writing custom software to meet the needs of a corporation, building websites for charities and NGOs, or working on the consumer end, developing software that customers can purchase online, there is an enormous variety of jobs available for those with degrees in computer programming. These jobs can be separated into 2 categories: applications programming and systems programming. Systems programmers work on the underlying software of a computer or network, including operating systems and embedded programs. Applications programmers, on the other hand, develop standalone software that users can install on their systems and run.