What Skills Will I Learn in Software Programming Courses?

Software programming courses can help students develop a broad range of computer skills. Find out more about some of the topics that are commonly covered in these classes. Schools offering Application Development degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Software Programming Courses

In software programming courses, students learn how to write and troubleshoot computer programs. These courses typically include instruction in fundamental programming concepts and implementation methods, as well as the use of one or more languages. Students may also learn about the technologies and software programs that support successful programmers.

Important Facts About Software Programming Courses

Course Formats Within a degree program (undergraduate or graduate)
Within a certificate program (undergraduate or graduate)
Standalone courses
Free online tutorials
Online Availability Fully or partially online, depending on the program
Prerequisites Depends on the course; may include math, statistics or previous computer science courses
Possible Careers Computer programmer, software developer, database administrator, network and computer systems administrator, web developer, information security analyst
Median Salary (2018) $84,280 (for all computer programmers)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) -7% (for all computer programmers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Core Programming Concepts

In software programming courses, students are introduced to the conceptual frameworks upon which effective programs are based. These include object-oriented programming, data structures and interfaces. Given the growing popularity of object oriented-programming languages, most software programming courses cover concepts such as objects, classes, inheritance, polymorphism, abstraction and encapsulation.

Language Syntax

Software programming courses may focus on the use of a single language or provide instruction in multiple languages. Although there are many different programming languages, some of the most commonly used in general software programming courses are C++, Java and Python. Students learn how to make basic calculations, declare and define variables and write loops and functions.

Algorithm Development

In order to solve a problem using a computer program, the programmer must design and implement an algorithm. Software programming courses introduce students to the most commonly used programming algorithms, and they challenge students to include them within their own programs. For instance, students may be introduced to common search methods, recursion, tree structures, Monte Carlo simulations, random simulations, clustering and optimization.

Troubleshooting and Debugging

Over the course of a software programming class, students will constantly have to identify and solve problems in their own programs. In addition, many courses challenge students to analyze others' programs in order to identify syntactical irregularities and logical issues. Many courses emphasize unit testing as the ideal debugging method.

Comments and Documentation

In order for programs to be well-understood, they must be properly documented. Software programming courses generally offer an overview of best practices when it comes to adding comments within code and providing comprehensive documentation. Students may also gain familiarity with GitHub or another code repository that supports code sharing.

Integrated Development Environments (IDEs)

Students in software programming courses are trained to use one or more IDEs for code development, such as Eclipse, NetBeans, Microsoft Visual Studio, Spyder and PyDev. Different editors are tailored for different programming languages, so students generally gain familiarity with one that is specific to the language or languages covered in the course.

Linux

Many software programming courses include a basic introduction to the Linux operating system, since many students are only familiar with the Windows or Mac OS, and Linux is commonly used in the IT industry. Students typically learn basic commands and navigational strategies in order to build a general knowledge of the operating system.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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