How to Become a Computer Programmer in 3 Simple Steps

What is a Computer Programmer?

Computer programming can be a really satisfying career for those who love it. Continue reading and learn how to become a computer programmer.

A computer programmer is someone who writes the software that computers use to perform functions. You use software every time you use your computer.

This software is made up of different computer codes, which computer programmers use. If you want to become a computer programmer, you will have to learn how to write code.

You may have heard of some of the common code languages, like C++, Python and Java. Which code you learn to use is often based on what is currently popular and up-to-date with new technology.

Writing new code is not the only thing computer programmers do, however. They also go through written code to fix “bugs”, or find errors.

Top Five Duties of a Computer Programmer

There are a variety of skills computer programmers need to have, such as:

  • Write computer software in code
  • Update and expand existing programs
  • Debug programs by fixing errors
  • Build software to automate code writing
  • Use code libraries to simplify writing

Sometimes computer programmers work independently and sell their services. Oftentimes they will also freelance for a variety of companies. Many programmers are hired on full-time by companies that need their skills.

Most programmers work full-time. However, some programmers work on a part-time schedule from home. Working full-time, you can expect to work longer hours when you first begin. Many programmers choose to cut back their hours once they are able to delegate duties to other team members.

Programmers have to learn how to write computer software through code. These codes are made up through a variety of computer languages. Some of the most used of these languages are C++, Java, and Python. Programmers are typically expected to stay up-to-date with code changes and trends.

Programmers also have to learn how to update and expand existing software. As technology changes and becomes more advanced, programmers make changes in software to increase longevity. They also add new features to software to expand usability.

Fixing errors in software is a crucial skill computer programmers all learn. Sometimes when code it written errors occur. These errors are commonly called “bugs”. Programmers have to find these errors and make the necessary changes so the software works as intended.

One role of the computer programmer is to design software to write code. Writing this software helps automate the process of writing code, which in turn saves you time.

What is a Computer Programmer

Becoming a Computer Programmer

Step 1: High School Requirements

High School Courses for Computer Programmers

Even as a high school student, you can begin the path toward becoming a computer programmer. Many high schools offer classes that will give you basic skills you need to know.

Computer Science

If your high school offers a computer science course, make sure to enroll. You will learn everything you need to know about computers and how they work. This will give you a basic understanding of what software is and why it is so important.


Math classes are also great additions when interested in programming. Math classes help you think in a more logical way, which can be useful when dealing with computers. Algebra is also known to help with certain code writing, such as writing algorithms.


Physics is also a highly recommended course for those considering becoming a computer programmer. Physics is all about learning how things work and then breaking each thing down into something smaller. This type of thinking will help you think more critically about computers and problem solving.

Formal Education Requirements

It can be very difficult to get a career in computer programming right out of high school. Most employers recommend you get a bachelor’s degree before entering the field.

A bachelor’s degree will give you more in-depth knowledge on all aspects of computer programming. You will learn how to write code and even create your own software. While not impossible, it can be very hard to learn these skills on your own.

Studying for a bachelor’s degree will teach you everything you need to know to work as a career computer programmer. You will also get the chance to network and learn from people already in the industry.

Step 2: Get an Undergraduate Degree

Bachelor of Science in Computer Programming 4 years

A bachelor’s degree typically consists of 120 credits, or 40 classes spread out over four years. You can expect to take courses like programming languages, analytical statistics and computer science. You will learn all the essential information for becoming a great computer programmer.

Most universities will require a high school diploma for admission, though the GED is often accepted in place of a diploma. Many colleges will expect a GPA of 2.5 or higher, though this can vary by school. Signing up for a relevant extra-curricular is also a great way to boost your application.


General Education Courses (40 Credits)

  • Success in Science, Engineering and Technology
  • University Success in the College of Education
  • Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy
  • English Composition I
  • English Composition II
  • Christian Worldview
  • Applications of College Algebra
  • College Mathematics
  • 21st Century Skills: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Applications of Algebra
  • Environmental Science
  • U.S. History Themes
  • Psychology in Everyday Life
  • Everyday Sociology
  • Professionalism in Science & Technology-Communications, Conduct and Ethics
  • Research Methods Total Credits
  • Written and Verbal Communication for Software Development
  • IT Business Case Planning for Global Enterprise
  • Design Patterns in Java

Major (60 Credits)

  • Computer Programming I
  • Enterprise Applications Programming I
  • Database Application Programming I
  • Computer Programming II
  • Enterprise Applications Programming II
  • Database Application Programming II
  • Computer Programming III
  • Enterprise Applications Programming III
  • Algorithms and Data Structures
  • Database Application Programming III
  • Open Source Computing
  • Operating Systems Concepts
  • Cloud Computing
  • Cyber Security Foundations
  • Senior Project I
  • Senior Project II

Electives (26 credits)

  • Data Structures
  • User Interface Design
  • Object Oriented Methods
  • Software Requirements Engineering
  • Software Design
  • Software Testing
  • Introduction to Java Programming I
  • Introduction to Java Programming II
  • Intermediate Java Programming I
  • Intermediate Java Programming II
  • Advanced Java Programming
  • Software Construction
  • Software Processes
  • Software Project Management
  • Human Elements in Projects and Organizations
  • Software Engineering Capstone I

The cost of a bachelor of science in programming program is $34,680 – $82,500.

Step 3: Get a Graduate Degree (Optional)

Master of Computer Science Program 2 years

Many computer programmers decide to pursue a master’s degree in the subject. Continuing your education means studying the subject in even more depth. This also means you get to work on a larger-scale project you get to develop yourself.

Most computer programmers that pursue a graduate degree often want to earn more money or advance to a higher position. A degree is the best way to expand your knowledge and advance your career.


  •     Object-Oriented Design
  •     Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
  •     Computer Networks and the Internet
  •     Parallel Programming
  •     Software Product and Process Evaluation
  •     Database Management Systems
  •     Machine Learning
  •     Distributed Systems
  •     Foundations of Fine-Grain Parallelism
  •     Introduction to Distributed Systems
  •     Computer Architecture
  •     Software Specification and Design
  •     Fault-Tolerant Computing
  •     Artificial Intelligence
  •     Computer Security
  •     Advanced Networking
  •     Parallel Processing
  •     Software Testing and Analysis
  •     Database Systems

The cost of a master of computer science program is $23,625 – $67,500.

Click the link below and find the best schools and programs close to you.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Computer Programmer and How Much Does it Cost?

Option 1 : Bachelor’s Degree

Degree Time Cost
Bachelor’s 4 years$34,680- $82,500
Total 4 years$34,680- $82,500

Option 2 : Master’s Degree

DegreeTime Cost
Bachelor’s 4 years$34,680- $82,500
Master’s2 years to 3 years$23,625- $67,500
Total6 years to 7 years$58,305- $150,000

Computer Programmer Training Video

Noel Griffith, Ph.D.
Noel Griffith is a Doctor of Philosophy with a strong interest in educational research. He has been an editor-in-chief of since 2014. Noel is an avid reader (non-fiction), enjoys good food, live theatre, and helping others make wiser career decisions.

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