I decided to switch my major from business management to computer programming because I realized that I wanted to play a role in helping organizations prepare for a more technology-driven future. I also knew that the demand for information technology professionals was growing fast, especially in the software and web development fields.
In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for web development professionals is expected to grow by as much as 15 percent over the 2016-2026 period, adding 24,400 new jobs. Much of this growth will be driven by the expansion of e-commerce and mobile technology.
Web and applications developers are the creative minds behind many of the tools and programs we rely on today. Think about your online student portal, your computer’s word processing system, or even your mobile banking app – all of these tools, which are vital for business, education, communication and entertainment, were created by developers.
I want to become a web/applications developer because I want to help create the programs and tools that make our world more efficient. Running a business is still a goal of mine, and I plan to combine my technical knowledge of computer systems with my prior experience in business management to make that possible.
If web development isn’t your thing, there are plenty of career paths you can pursue with a computer programming degree. In fact, programming skills are the foundation for almost any top-ranked technology job today. This includes positions like:
- Computer Systems Analyst
- Database Administrator
- Security Analyst
- Hardware Engineer
- Software Engineer
- Software Quality Assurance Engineer
- Videogame Developer
…and that’s just to name a few. To advance their careers and work towards a higher salary in computer programming, many programming professionals will go on to earn industry certifications or achieve masters-level education in a specialized area like technology management. With additional education and experience, you could move into leadership roles like IT Director or IT Project Manager.
I’m really happy with my career choice – it’s probably the best choice I’ve ever made. However, I’ve also experienced first-hand just how challenging a computer programming degree program can be. If you’re worried about struggling in your classes, it’s okay. I felt this way as well. I encourage you to hang in there and stay diligent about your studies.
Here are my tips for successfully navigating your computer programming classes:
1. Pay attention
It is critically important that you pay attention in a lecture. If you find yourself getting distracted by email or text messages, disable those notifications while class is in session. You need to be able to concentrate on the material fully, or it’s not going to stick.
2. Manage your time wisely
Get used to having limited free time. When you aren’t busy with work or family, you should be studying or catching up on coursework. Of course, it’s always a good idea to take breaks and make time for yourself, but make sure that you are prioritizing your school work and giving your studies the attention they require.
3. Take advantage of academic resources
If you do find yourself struggling in class, don’t sit back and do nothing. Be proactive about asking for help from your instructors, or set up a standing appointment with a tutor. Working with a tutor can help you identify gaps in your understanding of course material and ensure that you get the personalized support you need in order to be successful.
4. Stay positive!
Don’t let yourself get too discouraged. There might be courses or concepts that feel particularly challenging, but if you stick with it, it will click eventually. Stay focused and surround yourself with people who will support you in achieving your goals. It might take a lot of hard work, but it will be worth it in the end!