Can I Get a Programming Job with an Associate’s Degree?

By Joy Cromwelle
Updated on November 12, 2023
Ready to start your journey?
Can I get a programming job with an associate's degree? Learn about the benefits, skills, and career options in computer programming with an associate degree.

Starting your career with a 2 year computer programming degree sounds promising, but you might ask yourself, “Can I get a programming job with an associate’s degree?”

Programming Job

It turns out that getting a computer programmer associates degree might be just the training you need to get your professional life off to a great start.

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In an associate degree program, you may learn essential technology skills that can help you get your foot in the door with an entry-level programming job. From there, you may continue to build your skills and gain valuable experience.

Can I Get a Programming Job with an Associate’s Degree?

associates degree in programming

Yes, an associate’s degree can help qualify you for an entry-level programming job at a number of companies.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a bachelor’s degree is the most common prerequisite for programming jobs, but some employers hire those with a relevant associate degree as well.

Because 2-year programs often focus on essential skills, getting an associate degree can help equip you with a strong foundation for entering the programming field. To boost your resume and increase your chances of getting hired with an associate degree, you may consider rounding out your skills as much as possible.

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For example, knowing multiple programming languages may be a valuable asset. If your college program focuses primarily on one computer language, you may consider studying others on your own.

Experience can be beneficial as well. You may look for internship opportunities where you can build upon the skills that you’re learning in your associate degree program.

Industry certifications are another way to enhance your resume after earning an associate degree in computer programming. To qualify, you may need to enroll in a course and then pass an exam. Industry certifications can help demonstrate your commitment to the field and your expert-level knowledge.

Associate’s in Computer Programming Degrees

Computer programmers don’t always have degrees with the word “programming” in the title. If you are interested in computer programming jobs, you may consider how the three associate degrees listed below could contribute to your career goals.

Select the program that most interests you to jump to that section of the guide:

Regardless of the specialty you select, these programs can help you build a strong foundation in computer programming and related courses.

Associate’s in Computer Science

programmer working

Studying computer science can help provide you with a better understanding of the theoretical concepts that underpin computer design and functionality.

Computer science students study coding and algorithms, and you can expect to work with one or more programming languages during your time in school. Your course list may include foundations of programming languages and data structures for object-oriented programming.

As you go through the courses, you may become more familiar with operating systems and computer networks. Your studies will likely cover the steps involved in creating new software, and you may learn to select the best solutions for businesses’ computing or networking needs.

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Computer science is usually a math- and science-heavy program, and there’s typically a strong focus on computing theories. Your associate degree studies may also include courses on running models or simulations.

Jobs for computer science graduates may involve developing apps or operating systems, analyzing computer systems, or programming software code.

Associate’s in Information Technology

computer support specialist working

While computer science degrees provide an in-depth understanding of the theories that support all computing processes, information technology focuses on the implementation of those ideas in workplaces.

You may specialize in identifying business needs and providing technology solutions to meet those needs. Your studies will typically cover networks, databases, and office applications. You might take classes like fundamentals of operating systems, routing and switching for networks, and principles of cybersecurity.

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There may be courses on programming and scripting as well. You may learn how to design software and build websites. In an IT program, you might also receive training on how to communicate with business leaders who are outside of your organization’s technology department.

This can help equip you to communicate clearly about computer upgrades and software solutions that could help the business grow. With an IT degree, you may find an entry-level job as a computer support specialist or a network specialist.

Associate’s in Software Development

software developer working

For a degree that’s specifically focused on teaching you to design, code, and test applications and operating systems, you might want to get a software development associate degree.

Learning programming languages is often a key emphasis in a software development program. The languages that you study may include Java, Visual, C++, C#, or Python. You may also discuss programming principles that apply no matter what language you’re using.

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Other courses may include database design, network fundamentals, and systems analysis. You might also discuss ways to improve the user experience for the individuals or businesses who use your programs.

This degree may be a good fit for you if you’re focused on earning an entry-level position on a programming or software development team. You might be involved with creating mobile applications, desktop applications, or operating systems. Being a web developer is another job to consider with this degree.

Computer Programming Careers & Salaries

Computer Programming Careers & Salaries

Upon entering the computing field, you might work as a support specialist who maintains an organization’s computer network or troubleshoots people’s computer issues.

Web development may also be an option at this stage of your career. Other jobs you might be able to do—whether right out of school or after gaining experience—include computer programmer, software developer, and network administrator.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in computers and information technology pay an average annual salary of $91,250.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Computer Network Architects $116,780
Software Developers $110,140
Information Security Analysts $103,590
Database Administrators $98,860
Computer Systems Analysts $93,730
Computer Programmers $89,190
Network and Computer Systems Administrators $84,810
Web Developers and Digital Designers $77,200
Computer Network Support Specialists $65,450
Computer User Support Specialists $52,690

Whether you can be hired for the above roles with an associate degree will be at the employer’s discretion. Continuing your education with certifications or a bachelors degree may increase your job opportunities.

Many different industries rely on the services of people with programming knowledge. These industries include education, business, telecommunications, and finance. Most commonly, computing professionals work for companies that specialize in software publishing, data processing, information, and computer systems design.

Associate’s in Computer Programming Courses

computer programmers at work

Between core courses and electives, an associate degree program in this field may give you many opportunities to study fascinating computing concepts, such as the following:

  • Algorithms: This course usually provides an introduction to designing and analyzing algorithms.
  • C++ Programming: C++ is one example of a programming language that you might study in-depth while in college.
  • Database Management: You may discuss the role of database systems in the workplace and explore how to design and build them.
  • Fundamentals of Programming Languages: Understanding the principles and theories that govern programming languages can help you write code for a variety of languages.
  • Internet and Network Security: This course covers strategies for protecting your organization’s data.
  • Networking Principles: You may learn how to set up networks and what it takes to provide maintenance and troubleshoot problems.
  • Operating Systems: You may explore the fundamentals of various operating systems and consider criteria that can help you select the best option for your organization’s computers.
  • Software Development Processes: This course can help you become familiar with the life cycle of developing software.
  • Technical Communication: This class typically covers strategies for relaying technical information to audiences outside the IT department.
  • Web Development: Website ideas may come to life as you learn to design user-friendly pages.

Some associate degree programs also include many general education courses.

Getting an Associate’s in Programming

Earning an associate degree in programming can help you start a technology career with 2 years of study or less.

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You may go straight into the workforce after graduation or transfer your credits into a bachelor’s degree program for further study. Either way, earning a computer programming associate’s degree can be a career-building move.

Here’s a brief overview of how to get started:

  • Choose a degree track. You can explore the options for various computing degrees, such as software development and computer science. You may also consider specialization tracks that some schools offer as part of those degree programs.
  • Submit applications. Once you make a final decision about what degree you want to pursue, you can select your top choices from among accredited schools that offer that program. You can then submit applications to those colleges and wait for responses.
  • Follow school’s process. Once you’ve been admitted to a school, you may want to be on the lookout for information from the college on the next steps you should take.

If you have questions along the way, you can reach out to an admissions counselor at one of the colleges that you’re considering.


Associate’s in Computer Programming Accreditation

For a degree that often provides the greatest advantage in the workforce, you may want to choose a college that holds regional accreditation.

Colleges can only earn regional accreditation after completing a rigorous evaluation process by one of the country’s regional accrediting agencies. The status of regional accreditation helps to ensure that a college offers quality education. This accreditation status allows other educational institutions and workplaces to have faith in your degree as well.

An accredited degree is usually valuable and respected. It may also be beneficial when transferring to a bachelor’s degree program or applying for a job.

Is Computer Programming for Me?

Computer Programming students

If you’ve tried your hand at writing code before, you may have a pretty good idea of whether a career focused on programming languages is the right fit for you. Other signs that you might be suited for a programming job include:

  • Ability to think logically
  • Detail-oriented
  • Interest in technology
  • Patience to work through complex problems
  • Willingness to continue learning

If these characteristics describe you, then you may want to give programming a try.

Can You Be a Programmer with an Associate’s Degree?

computer programmers working together

In some instances, it is possible to get a job in programming with just an associate degree. There are a number of companies that specify an associate degree as the minimum educational requirement for their programming positions.

Getting hired by an organization like that may be a great start to your career. In other cases, you might need to start with a related technology job and work your way toward the programming department. Web development and technical support are known for having entry-level jobs.

What Can You Do with an Associates Degree in Computer Science?

Having an associate degree may help you get a job as a computer support specialist. As a network specialist, you might work for a telecommunications, data hosting, or insurance company. Another option is to become a computer user support specialist, often known as a help-desk technician.

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Web development and computer programming are other fields with opportunities for people with associate degrees in computer science. Companies that provide computer system services often hire for these positions.

How Much Does a Computer Programmer Make with an Associate Degree?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most computer programmers earn between $51,440 and $146,050 each year. The median salary for this position is $89,190. With an associate degree, you might start toward the lower end of that spectrum, but getting more education and experience may increase your salary.

Web development is another field with entry-level roles for technology graduates. The typical salary range for that line of work is $40,750 to $146,430. With an average yearly salary of $123,870, publishing is the top-paying industry for web developers.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Programmer?

Computer Programming students in university

The most common requirement for computer programming jobs is a bachelor’s degree, but some employers offer this opportunity to people with associate degrees as well.

You may spend up to 2 years earning an AAS computer programming degree. At a school with traditional semesters, an associate degree program usually takes 4 semesters to complete.

Many online computer programming degree programs use accelerated terms that allow students to cut several months off the typical length of an associate program.

Is an Associate’s Degree in Computer Programming Enough?

computer programmers working on a project

There are some entry-level computing and technology jobs that are a usually good fit for those with an AA in Computer Science. Examples include computer help-desk technician and digital designer. In addition, some companies will also hire computer programmers or programming assistants who have 2 year degrees.

Earning a bachelor’s degree in computer programming could be a valuable asset, though, if you’re applying for jobs in a competitive market. Professional IT certifications are another way you may bolster your resume.

Should I Get an Associate Degree in Computer Programming?

computer programming students in class

Programming associate degrees can help provide essential training in the fundamentals of this field. If your goal is to have a college degree on your resume and enter the workforce as quickly as possible, then earning an associate degree may be the best approach.

After completing this program, you’ll have options. You may apply for entry-level jobs in programming, software development, computer support, or web development. Alternatively, you may transfer your college credits into a bachelor’s degree program to further broaden your job opportunities.

Is an Associate’s Degree in Computer Programming Worth It?

computer programmers in the office

Yes, an associates degree in computer programming is worth it for many students. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 11% job growth in computer and information technology occupations for the next 10 years, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Common computer programming careers in this field include web developer, computer user support specialist, computer network support specialist, software developer, and computer programmer.

Computer skills are essential in nearly every industry. Earning your associate’s degree in computer science or programming can help show that you’re a qualified professional who is ready to oversee networks, upgrade systems, protect data, and write code.

Earning a Computer Programming Associate’s Degree Online

Computer Programming Associate's Degree Online

Technology is a booming field, and earning an associate degree in computer programming can help you enter this line of work as quickly as possible.

A programming degree can help prepare you to work as a web developer, a network support specialist, or a computer help-desk technician. You might also be able to join a software development or computer programming team with this degree.

If you’re ready to get started, there’s no need to wait for a schedule that can accommodate on-campus classes. Instead, you may consider an accredited online computer coding degree program. You can start exploring colleges to learn more about how an online associate degree in computer programming could benefit you.

Ready to start your journey?
Joy is pursuing her Ph.D. in Public Policy & Foreign Policy at Liberty University and holds a Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management from Amberton University, as well as a Bachelor's in Business Administration from Columbia College. With over 20 years of experience navigating online degrees and courses, Joy's focus is helping non-traditional students find accelerated degree options and credit for prior learning opportunities.