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Becoming a computer programmer generally requires a degree, any many aspiring programmers wonder if they should get a master’s degree to be a programmer. The degree a programmer chooses generally has a lot to do with his or her career goals and what type of position is preferred. While earning a master’s degree is not required to become a programmer, it also can’t hurt. Continue reading to learn what it takes to become a programmer, what programmers do, and when a master’s degree is a good idea for programmers.

What Computer Programmers Do

Computer programmers are trained professionals who write codes for computer software programs. This may seem like an easy task to some, but it can become complex, and computer programmers often don’t get the credit they deserve for their hard work. We look at computer programs and websites and seldom realize the programmers are the ones who make the sites functional.

Their coding allows users to watch videos, turn pages, scroll up and down and even enter information. Computer programmers write the code necessary to make software programs work. Software architects and engineers design programs, but the programmers enter the codes needed for the software to do what’s required to make it fully functional.

A perfect example can be found in games like the popular Minecraft. The architects inform the programmer of how the game is to be played. The programmer writes the words and codes that allow the game to be played. Programmers also test and monitor the programs to ensure they’re running correctly. They make any adjustments, perform upgrades and troubleshoot the site.

Education Requirements

The most common educational path to becoming a computer programmer is a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. Some programmers may have an associate’s degree and programming experience. Programming is one field where work experience is almost as important as the degree level. The industry where a programmer wishes to work may also play a part in the training required according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For instance, a programmer working in the healthcare industry may need to take additional programming courses related to the healthcare industry.

Some programmers advance their education and earn master’s degrees. The master’s degree may not necessarily make a computer programmer better at programming but can prepare the candidate for managerial positions. Additionally, the master’s degree program offers courses that can expand the knowledge of not just computer programming but computer science in general.

Benefits of Earning a Master’s Degree

A master’s degree is not required to become a computer programming. The majority of computer programmers have a bachelor’s degree or an associate’s degree and programming experience. There are a few benefits to having a master’s degree. Most of the time when a programmer earns a master’s degree, the major is in computer science, which can prepare the student for various computer-related careers other than just a computer programmer.

The computer programmer is not restricted to only careers in the field of information technology. He or she can work in other careers, such as network systems administration, web site development or even computer systems analysis. With careers like these, the candidate can not only write and code programs but also create websites and even oversee an organization’s computer system. When a programmer has these types of credentials, he or she can find work in various industries across the nation.

Another benefit of earning a master’s degree is that graduate programs typically offer the student the option of choosing specializations in the individual’s area of interest. A factor that often makes computer science or computer programming master’s degree programs attractive is that they are often offered as online programs. Online programs allow the programmer the opportunity to earn a degree while continuing to work and gain additional programming experience.

Is a Master’s Degree Required?

The decision of whether or not to earn a master’s degree is strictly up to the computer programmer. It’s important to realize that a master’s degree is not required for a career as a computer programmer. A master’s degree is never a bad idea, but it can require a lot of money, time and commitment, and it’s not required for this particular career.

Most experts advise programmers interested in earning the master’s degree to gain programming experience before enrolling in a graduate program. The main reason for this is because the work experience prepares them for a lot of the coursework required in a computer science master’s degree program.

As is the case with most occupations, the higher the degree, the higher the wages and the better the career opportunities. One thing nice about computer programming is that while a master’s degree can beef up a resume, it’s not a necessity to become a programmer because work experience is every bit as relevant as the degree in terms of career opportunities and salary potential.

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