According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, application developers and designers both enjoy strong job prospects over the coming decade. However, with boundaries blurring between desktop, mobile, and Web applications, savvy programmers are gaining flexibility in order to keep their edge in the job market. Programming and development training courses can help refresh skill sets and shape raw talent.
Programming & development training goals
Software development degrees share a common goal: instructing programmers on how to complete user requests in the most elegant, efficient way possible. Developers who start from code often focus on translating complex commands into computer language. Designers, on the other hand, often envision an ideal user experience and convert paper sketches into clear workflows. Programming training helps these professionals collaborate on projects, while emphasizing best practices in system security and stability.
Because many companies hire overseas firms and freelancers for basic coding jobs, North American programming professionals are finding that they must differentiate themselves through their communication skills, efficiency, and attention to user experience.
Development training topics
Most programming training programs filter broad IT principles through a handful of programming languages. Although most coders study basic Web languages like HTML, specialists often choose to focus on one or two languages native to their favorite platforms:
- HTML. HyperText Markup Language remains the core of the modern Web.
- Java. Oracle's universal code runs, in one form or another, on a host of PCs and consumer devices.
- PHP. This open-source language handles complex arguments and database transactions before rendering HTML to a browser.
- C, C++, C#. The C family appeals to object-oriented programmers that want to write lean applications. Objective-C is essential for developers writing apps for iPhones and iPads.
- XML. This companion to HTML offers developers a streamlined path to share data between applications and Web servers.
- Perl. Since 1987, this language has powered interactive websites, especially high-powered financial and statistical services.
- ASP. Active Server Pages became popular in the late 1990s, and many corporate Web services still rely on ASP's tight integration to large databases.
- .NET. Redmond rolled out this Web application framework to both enhance and replace ASP. Many Fortune 500 companies use ASP.NET for high-security Web services.
- ColdFusion. Programmers use this Adobe suite to develop heavily detailed interactive services.
- Python. Developers can use this flexible scripting language to power both Web and desktop apps.
- Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Style sheets revolutionized the look and feel of the Web, offering the power to develop rich user experiences.
Methodology-based developer courses
As if selecting a few key languages wasn't daunting enough, developer training also forces students to think about the way they work. Employers adopt methodologies based on collaboration and product delivery, making these specialty focus areas particularly appealing:
- Agile. As software developers moved from "boxed" products to online distribution, production cycles accelerated. Agile project management methodology helps programming teams collaborate effectively when work seems frantic.
- Cloud Computing. As the prices of storage and data transmission plummet, more companies and consumers choose to store their data remotely. This distributed data poses new challenges for developers, who must now factor security, transmission, and data integrity into their applications.
- Mobile App Development. Smartphones are in the pockets of millions. Few companies now set strategies without some budget for developing mobile applications.
Because the best developer training programs emphasize proven best practices over trendy technology, students gain critical insight into selecting the right tools and systems for their professional projects.
Programming training & IT degrees
For many basic programming jobs, employers emphasize the quality of candidates' portfolios at least equally to their certifications and degrees. As professionals attempt to qualify for management roles, however, salary surveys conducted by GlassDoor.com indicate that job seekers with accredited degrees earn significantly more money than those without formal education. Associate and bachelor's degree programs lay the foundation for MBA and other master's level degrees that employers often demand for project management and company leadership roles. Developer-friendly IT degree programs include:
As Silicon Valley's startup culture gives way to more traditional ways of doing business, developers with formal training can expect to cash in on the broadest possible range of job opportunities. The job market stands ready to reward professionals who can meet the rigorous demands of shipping products on schedule.