Best Online Computer Programming Degrees

Updated November 2, 2022

Find the best online bachelor's in computer programming with our list of top-rated schools that offer accredited online degrees.

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Computer Programming Schools Online

Computer programming majors study programming languages like C++, Java, and Python in order to produce the codes for software applications and operating systems.

Programmers turn software designs into instructions that a computer can read and follow. Programmers also test programs, fix errors, and debug systems. While an accredited online computer programming degree prepares graduates to work in many different industries, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that most programmers work in computer systems design and related fields. According to BLS, computer programmers earned a median annual wage of $86,550 in 2019—117% higher than the median salary for all occupations.

While the BLS also projects slowed job growth rates for computer programmers through 2029, the skills learned in a computer programming bachelor’s degree can apply to several other jobs in IT. The BLS projects a 11% growth rate for all computer–related occupations in the same time period.

Professionals with a bachelor’s degree or higher and individuals fluent in several programming languages should enjoy excellent job prospects. Candidates may further strengthen their resumes by combining an online degree in computer programming with supplemental business or science courses. Some students round out their online computer programming degree by pursuing a concentration or by taking technical elective courses in areas like data structures, artificial intelligence, and computer graphics.

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The Advantages of a Computer Programming and Coding Education

In today’s competitive job market, computer programmers who hold a bachelor’s degree and understand multiple programming languages gain an edge over less–educated candidates. An associate–level online computer programming degree may lead to internship opportunities or entry–level positions in web development or computer support. However, many professionals are expected to hold a bachelor’s degree, including computer programmers, software developers, and information security analysts.

Individuals who earn a computer programming degree online also enjoy greater opportunities for professional growth, particularly in the computer science and information technology industries. For example, experienced computer programmers often transition to high–level software developer roles. BLS projects a 24% job growth rate for software developers from 2016 to 2026. Graduates can also improve their professional skills and increase their career advancement opportunities by pursuing vendor certifications and mastering specialized concepts in networking, systems analysis, database management, and mobile applications development.

Choosing an Online Computer Programming Degree Program

It is important to research and compare potential schools before selecting an online computer programming degree. As you explore your options, be sure to consider factors such as school accreditation status, residency requirements, admission prerequisites, and available concentrations. A degree should fit your career goals, lifestyle, and budget.

Accreditation for Online Computer Programming Degrees

Accredited schools provide the best online bachelor’s degree programs in computer science. Accreditation is a review process used to ensure that a school or program meets or exceeds quality standards. There are two types of accreditation: institutional and programmatic. While entire colleges and universities receive institutional accreditation, programmatic accreditation applies to programs, curricula, and departments within larger academic institutions. For example, many STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programs hold accreditation from the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology.

Institutions may be regionally or nationally accredited. The U.S. is home to seven regional accrediting bodies, which mainly review nonprofit, degree–granting institutions. In contrast, national accrediting organizations typically assess for–profit, single–purpose schools, such as technical and vocational institutions. Nearly 3,000 American colleges and universities hold regional accreditation.

While the U.S. Department of Education (ED) recognizes all seven regional accrediting bodies, it does not approve all national accreditors. The ED works alongside the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) to review and recognize accreditation standards and accrediting organizations. Both the ED and CHEA maintain comprehensive databases of accredited schools and programs on their respective websites.

Computer Programming Degree Concentrations

Many programs offer computer programming as a concentration under a computer science or information technology degree. A standalone BS in computer programming may offer specializations in areas such as game development or mobile apps.

Computer Security

Cybersecurity is an increasingly in-demand subfield of information technology and computer science. Students pursuing this concentration explore topics such as computer network security, data mining, cryptography, computer forensics, and secure software systems. Candidates learn to protect data, computer networks, and databases from unauthorized access or criminal threat.

Careers This Concentration Prepares For:

Information Security Analyst, Forensic Computer Analyst, Security Architect

Game Development

An online computer programming degree with a game development specialization explores the algorithms, processes, and technologies involved in video game creation. Along with courses in game design and development and computer graphics, students take highly specialized classes like human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence, and modeling and simulation.

Careers This Concentration Prepares For:

Game Programmer, Game Designer

Mobile Application Development

This concentration imparts the skills needed to develop software and design mobile apps for the iOS and Android operating systems. Candidates explore programming languages like Swift, Java, Python, and PHP. Common course topics include mobile backend service, web/mobile user experience, and mobile interface implementation.

Careers This Concentration Prepares For:

Computer Programmer, Mobile Developer, Mobile Game Developer

Data Mining

Students pursuing a computer programming degree online can broaden their computer science expertise with a concentration in data mining. This track teaches candidates to work with big data and large databases. Along with courses on data structures and discrete structures, students explore topics like assembly language programming, probability, and statistics.

Careers This Concentration Prepares For:

Data Mining Specialist, Database Programmer

Machine Learning

Computer experts use machine learning techniques and applications in many different fields, including bioinformatics, finance, and information retrieval. Typical course offerings include data mining, computational learning theory, computer vision, robotics, and natural language processing.

Careers This Concentration Prepares For:

Computer Programmer, Data Mining Specialist, Machine Learning Engineer

How Long Does It Take to Get a Degree in Computer Programming?

The average online college computer programming degree includes roughly 120 course credits. Full–time students typically graduate in four years, while part–time learners tend to spend an additional 2–3 years on their studies. However, there are many variables that can influence a program’s duration, including semesterly course load, program format, and any transfer credits a student may hold. While many online programs offer accelerated, self–paced schedules, others use a cohort learning model. Students in a cohort complete courses with the same peer group, from the first day of class to graduation. This lock–step approach fosters student–faculty collaboration and peer interaction, but typically takes longer to complete. In contrast, competency–based programs allow learners to move through courses as quickly as they can master a skill or lesson. Transfer credit can also shorten program length. Most schools accept 30–90 credits of prior coursework. Some two–year degree completion programs admit students who already hold an associate degree.

Courses in an Online Bachelor’s in Computer Programming Program

Typical courses in a computer programming bachelor’s program address operating systems, networking, troubleshooting techniques, and algorithms. Most curricula culminate in a final capstone project, during which students synthesize and demonstrate their acquired skills.

Professional experience plays a critical role in finding employment, and many online computer programming degrees include internship opportunities. Internships provide an effective way to gain hands–on experience in tech–based work environments. They can also prepare students for program–specific certification exams. Candidates who obtain certification in products such as Microsoft or Cisco often enjoy an edge over competitors in the job market.

While every program is different, an online computer programming degree usually offers one or more of the following courses.

  • Game Programming: This course presents the basic programming and design skills used to create personal computer, console, and mobile games. Class topics include problem-solving, level design, physics laws within gaming environments, and 2D and 3D design.
  • Data Warehousing: Students in this online computer science course explore major data warehouse design concepts, including data modeling, database access, and implementation. Candidates acquire the concepts, methods, and skills needed to mine data warehouses for information and create new data acquisition strategies.
  • Object–Oriented Programming: This class surveys introductory concepts and principles related to object-oriented programming, including encapsulation, abstraction, inheritance, and polymorphism. The best online bachelor’s degree programs in computer science typically begin an object-oriented programming course with a review of control structures and data types, then move on to paradigms.
  • Operating Systems: In an operating systems course, students examine the core concepts behind operating systems such as UNIX, Windows, and iOS. Typical course topics include OS processes and threads, memory management, file systems, CPU scheduling, input/output, and synchronization. Security is also an essential topic when discussing operating systems. Students learn about threats like malware and common security techniques like access control and intrusion detection.
  • Software Testing: Emphasizing hands-on learning, this class presents integral methods and specialized strategies for unit and mutation testing. Candidates master object-oriented, component-based, distributed, and concurrent testing phases for different types of software.

Computer Programming Degree Salary Information

In the ever–expanding tech industry, earning a computer programming degree online can lead to a variety of career opportunities in many different settings. A bachelor’s degree in computer programming qualifies graduates for entry–level positions in software development, network and system administration, and other computer science and information technology fields. While job requirements vary considerably between employers, gaining additional work experience and specialized skills can help advance your career. Below are a few of the most common jobs for computer programming graduates.

Computer Programmer

Computer Programmers write code, test programs, and fix bugs. Most possess a bachelor’s degree and a working knowledge of one or more computer languages, such as C++ or Java. Using programming languages, they translate designs or applications into code that computers use to produce meaningful output.

Software Developer

Most Software Developers focus on designing either operating systems or computer applications. These professionals must possess strong computer programming skills.

Network Administrator

Network Administrators are charged with maintaining local area networks, wide area networks, and intranets, network administrators ensure that an organization’s computer network and operations run smoothly. They administer updates, install upgrades, and maintain network security. They also troubleshoot any network–related problems that may arise.

Database Administrator

Database Administrators create databases to store and organize data. Their daily duties include testing and modifying database structures, merging databases, and protecting data from unauthorized access. Database administrators typically hold a degree in computer science or information systems.

Computer Systems Analyst

Computer Systems Analysts improve organizational efficiency by overhauling, updating, and modifying computer systems. Many systems architects benefit from an academic background in computer programming, especially when creating data models.

The Best Online Bachelor’s in Computer Programming Degrees Programs

#1 Best Online Computer Programming Degrees

Baker College

  • Owosso, MI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Baker College provides flexible study opportunities to distance learners across 48 academic programs. Of its online programs, 19 offer an undergraduate-level education. Learners seeking advanced online studies in computer programming can enroll in the school's online bachelor of science in computer science program. The flexible program helps learners complete a college degree.

While completing the computer programming concentration, students undertake foundational and advanced coursework relevant to the computer programming field. The curriculum equips students with relevant skills needed to succeed in the computer programming field. Enrollees can work with their academic advisor to individualize their degree by exploring electives and minors.

After earning their degree, graduates often benefit from greater access to employment opportunities and higher earning potential. Graduates who have completed their degree earn a median salary of $27,600 after six years. To learn more about admission requirements and financial aid opportunities, prospective students should contact the computer science department.

Baker College at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 4,691

Total Online Programs: 48

Online Bachelor's Programs: 19

Admission Rate: 73%

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,720
Out-of-state
$9,720
Retention Rate
49%
Admission Rate
73%
Students Enrolled
7,606
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
62% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#2 Best Online Computer Programming Degrees

Lewis University

  • Romeoville, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Lewis University supports 2,706 distance learners across 25 fully online programs. The college offers eight online bachelor's degree programs, reaching 2,706 distance learners worldwide. Students seeking competitive learning in a flexible modality can enroll in the college's online bachelor's in computer science program. The program prioritizes flexibility through full- and part-time study options.

During the program, students complete foundational and advanced coursework relevant to the computer science field. The program curriculum prepares students for the demands of the programming field. Enrollees can work with their academic advisor to individualize their degree by exploring electives, minors, and degree concentrations.

After earning their applied programming degree, graduates often benefit from greater access to employment opportunities and higher earning potential. The school reports a median salary of $43,800 for graduates six years after completing a bachelor's degree. To learn more about funding opportunities and eligibility requirements, students should contact the financial aid office.

Lewis University at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 2,706

Total Online Programs: 25

Online Bachelor's Programs: 8

Admission Rate: 64%

Average Tuition
In-state
$33,270
Out-of-state
$33,270
Retention Rate
84%
Admission Rate
64%
Students Enrolled
6,359
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
43% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#3 Best Online Computer Programming Degrees

Limestone College

  • Gaffney, SC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Gaffney, South Carolina, Limestone College offers many top-ranked bachelor's programs. The institution supports nine remote online bachelor's programs. Distance learners hoping to advance in the computer programming field will benefit from the college's bachelor's program in computer science with a programming concentration.

The online computer programming degree prioritizes flexibility. Students complete general and advanced coursework, with the opportunity to modify their coursework. Electives, minors, and other adjustments help students meet career goals.

Undergraduate students can expect to pay $25,200 in tuition. The institution's accreditation status enables learners to benefit from financial aid during their studies.

Limestone College at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 768

Total Online Programs: 12

Online Bachelor's Programs: 9

Admission Rate: 51%

Average Tuition
In-state
$25,200
Out-of-state
$25,200
Retention Rate
67%
Admission Rate
51%
Students Enrolled
2,206
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
35% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges


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