When it comes to a field like programming, there are just so many training options out there! It can be totally overwhelming for new students to sort through it all and find the right course.
You have online coding bootcamps, 4-year programming degrees, individual courses, and everything in between. Which course is right for you? How should you judge and compare each program?
In the end, it all depends on what you want to learn and what job you want to get.
Do you already have some coding skills, and are just looking to brush up on some new programming languages or frameworks?
Or are you starting from scratch and need a comprehensive training program?
This post is geared more toward the second group—newcomers who need a solid foundation in programming plus some work experience to launch their careers.
If this is you, you’ll need a quality program that teaches the fundamentals through hands-on training.
We'll guide you through how to choose a good Programmer Analyst course. Find out what to look for, which questions to ask admissions, and what steps to take next. Let’s get started!
1. Look for an Accelerated Programming Course
If you don’t want to invest time and money in a university degree, you're probably looking for a shorter Programmer Analyst course you can complete quickly.
This could be a diploma or a certificate. What's important is the length of the training. You should be able to complete an accelerated Programmer Analyst course in under 2 years.
The advantage? You spend less time on theory, and more time doing hands-on coding, analysis, and problem-solving.
Diploma programs focus on these practical skills. You will learn just enough to get hired in a junior or entry-level programming position. From there, you’ll keep learning and building new skills on-the-job.
2. Does the course teach the programming skills employers want?
Is your goal to get hired as a software developer or programmer right after graduation? We’re assuming the answer is yes.
In that case, you need to ensure the course you choose teaches marketable skills employers actually want.
We looked at hundreds of programmer analyst job postings on sites like Indeed and Workopolis. The most commonly required skills for this role include:
☑️ Proficiency in C# and the Microsoft .Net environment
☑️ Knowledge of SQL databases (SQL Server)
☑️ Mobile development
☑️ Ability to code, maintain, test and debug programs
☑️ Ability to make recommendations for system improvements
☑️ Write technical documentation related to the status and operation of programs
☑️ Train/educate less experienced users
Tip: When you’re comparing programs, take a very close look at the course descriptions. Make sure they include the programming tools, technologies, and techniques you need to land that first job.
3. Make Sure There's an Internship!
This is one of the most important features to look for. A good Programmer Analyst course absolutely must include an internship.
Companies are very reluctant to hire untested programmers. You need some real experience to land your first job.
Plus, an internship lets you apply the skills you learned in class, gain confidence, and connect with a potential employer.
Quite a few of our programming grads get hired straight out of their internships. And even if you don't get a job offer, you get real work experience for your resume.
4. Check the Graduate Employment Rate
Make sure you ask Admissions what percentage of students get hired after finishing the Programmer Analyst course. This is known as the “graduate employment rate.”
It’s a very good indicator of the quality of the training. It also tells you whether local employers respect the school and have faith in its graduates.
Look for graduate employment rates of at least 80%. And ask about the overall graduate employment rates for the college, too.
You want to choose a school that has a solid track record and good reputation in your community.
5. Find out which companies hire the programming graduates
In addition to the graduate employment rate, try to find out where previous programming grads have been hired.
Which companies have hired course graduates and for what kinds of positions? You may find this information on the website, or you may have to ask admissions.
This will give you a good idea of your own job prospects after completing the course.
6. Talk with Admissions
Before you make a final decision, make sure you talk with the admissions team. Why? Because a helpful, knowledgeable Admissions Advisor will help you determine if you’re a good fit for the course.
They will ask you about your background and career goals, and what kind of class schedule would fit with your other responsibilities.
It’s also your chance to ask questions. Whether you’re chatting online or meeting in person, here are few questions to ask the Advisor:
☑️ How many months is the Programmer Analyst course?
☑️ Are there flexible day and evening classes?
☑️ How many class hours per week does the course require?
☑️ What is the most recent graduate employment rate?
☑️ Where have the programming graduates been hired?
☑️ Exactly which programming skills and technologies will I learn in class?
☑️ Is there an internship?
☑️ When can I start?
☑️ What kinds of natural skills or strengths do I need to excel in this program?
Your Next Step
Interested in exploring Herzing’s Programmer Analyst course? Your next step is to check out the program description and chat with Admissions.
Almost all the information you need is on the program page. But our Admissions Advisors are available to chat online, or you can request more information via email.
We’re here to help you find the right programming course—even if you don’t choose Herzing, we’re happy to share advice. Click below to get started.