Why This Matters

  • COMPUTER AND IT JOBS TO RISE 12% BY 2028

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that computer and information technology occupations will add a total of 546,200 new jobs within the next decade, making it one of the fastest-growing job sectors.

  • 284,100 NEW SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS ARE NEEDED

    Software developers must have strong computer programming skills. By 2028, the number of job openings for software developers is expected to increase by 12%, as the demand for new computer software continues.

  • EARN $12K MORE PER YEAR WITH A BACHELOR’S

    The average annual salary for computer programmers with a bachelor’s degree is $71,000, according to Payscale.com. Computer programmers with an associate’s degree earn $59,000 per year on average.

Our Research

The minimum level of education for computer programmer jobs is an associate’s degree, although having a bachelor’s or master’s will open up even more job opportunities. Your current education level and career goals will determine what level of degree you are seeking. This list includes associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees.

For this list, we reviewed programs that are offered online, on-campus, and in hybrid format, so you can select the delivery method that best fits your schedule and learning preferences. All of the listed programs are offered by schools that are regionally accredited, to ensure that they meet high standards of quality education.

We evaluated each program based on cost, coursework, faculty, flexibility, and reputation, then calculated an Intelligent Score for each program on a scale of 0 to 100. The top picks for the best computer programming degree are affordable, convenient, and highly regarded.(For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.)

  • 82 hours to write this article
  • 74 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 324 education programs we compared

The Top 34 Computer Programming Degrees

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What You Should Know About This Degree

Although computer programmers play a key role in developing software programs and applications used by computers, the number of computer programming jobs in the U.S. is expected to decrease over the next decade. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 7 percent decline, or loss of about 18,000 computer programming jobs by 2028, primarily due to the outsourcing of computer programming responsibilities. Having a degree in computer programming and staying up-to-date on programming tools will help keep you competitive in a tight job market.

While there are some degrees specifically in computer programming, the majority of programs are in computer science or information technology. These types of programs teach students a broad range of computer-related skills, which can also be useful in a competitive job market. By earning a degree in computer science, you will have other in-demand skills that can make you more attractive for computer programmer jobs. You will also have the training required for other computer science jobs if you cannot find employment specifically as a computer programmer.

You can also increase your employability by completing coursework in the specific field in which you want to work, such as healthcare or finance, and by becoming certified in the many programming languages that exist.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Computer Programming programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Qualifications for master’s degree programs may include an undergraduate degree or coursework in computer science or a related field, and/or professional experience in computer science. If you are pursuing a master’s degree, be sure to look at the program’s eligibility requirements to ensure you qualify for admission.
  • Does this program have ABET accreditation? ABET is a non-profit organization that accredits degree programs in STEM fields, including computing, that meet standards of excellence in higher education. Currently ABET only offers accreditation to bachelor’s-level computing programs. Earning a degree from an accredited program can be advantageous, as it signals the quality of your education to employers. Some master’s degree programs may require that you have a bachelor’s from an ABET-accredited program.

You should also review the application requirements and deadlines for the programs that you are interested in, and begin collecting your application materials. Consider how you will finance your education as well. Talk to a financial aid representative about your options for loans, grants, scholarships, and assistantships. If you currently have a job, find out if your employer offers any tuition assistance benefits.