Are you interested in starting a career in a technology-related field? Depending on your goals, earning a degree in computer programming or information technology (IT) could be an ideal way to build a foundation for a career in technology. Computer and IT careers are projected to grow 11% from 2019-2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which means approximately 531,200 new jobs will be created.
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While one field is not superior to the other, computer programming and information technology (IT) each offer unique opportunities for a promising career. Understanding the key differences between the two can help you determine which degree program can prepare you for your ideal career.
What is Computer Programming?
Computer programming is the process of designing, testing and developing computer software and programs for software applications and operating systems. Computer programming involves understanding theories, algorithm generation, accuracy, coding and coding languages. If you decide to pursue a career in computer programming, some of your responsibilities could include:
- Writing new programs in a variety of computer languages
- Updating existing programs
- Testing programs and identifying errors
- Rewriting programs for other computer systems
- Protecting and securing programs against cybersecurity threats
It is also important to distinguish between computer programming and computer science. Computer science is the study of computers and computational systems. Computer programming is a subset of computer science, but computer science also includes artificial intelligence (AI), computer networking, cybersecurity and software engineering.
What is Information Technology?
IT is the study, design, implementation and support of computer-based systems. IT is a versatile degree program that prepares you for a variety of entry-level technology positions. Job responsibilities could include:
- Installing and managing complex computer network systems and databases
- Regularly checking network and data security
- Advising and guiding companies on how to improve and expand their digital capabilities
- Performing routine maintenance on networks and programs
- Collaborating with other computer specialists
What is the difference between computer programming and information technology?
In general, computer programmers are focused on coding and testing unique programs and specific products while IT is more focused on fulfilling an organization’s technology needs to help them achieve business goals. Some aspects of IT are fundamental to computer programming and computer science careers.
IT professionals and computer programmers typically work in office settings. IT has application in almost every industry, including healthcare and business, since most organizations rely on computers and network systems for many operations. Careers will be driven by a greater emphasis on data, cybersecurity and cloud computing. Computer programmers can also work in a variety of industries, and they commonly work for technology companies that focus on computer systems design and related services.
How can I get started?
Herzing University offers degrees in computer programming and information technology. You can complete your bachelor's degree in computer programming in 32 months. If you’re more interested in general IT, you have the option to enroll in a diploma, associate, or bachelor’s degree program at Herzing. The associate degree program can be completed in 16 months while the bachelor’s degree program takes as few as 32 months.
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2021. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.