Career Change | Certificate Program

professional woman working from home office 

Career Change Certificate Program

Apply Now   Get More Information

Jump down to our frequently asked questions.


A 26-week intensive certificate program for career changers in technology

DePaul University’s Career Change Program (CCP) is designed for those seeking a career change into the field of computer technology through an intensive, highly integrated, pragmatic education program taught by practitioners in the field.

The program requires no prior significant computing knowledge. It is designed for adults with a bachelor’s degree (in any field) who have a strong interest in technology and an aptitude for computer programming and web design. Exceptions to the degree requirement will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Our 26-week program will give you the foundational knowledge and skills needed to enter the workforce as an entry-level programmer, full-stack developer, or similar position.

The program will be delivered through a carefully constructed combination of in-person and online lectures (as appropriate), tutorials, and lab work. Through a rigorous curriculum and capstone project, students will complete the program with a portfolio that showcases their software development skills.

The capstone projects are designed to encourage students to demonstrate competency, think critically, and apply all the skills they’ve acquired in the program as an integrated whole, to address challenging, worthwhile problems in technology.

Graduates of the program earn a certificate of completion from a well-respected university in this field with a long track record of success in preparing students for employment in technology positions in a variety of industries.

Employment opportunities are expanding as there continue to be shortages of qualified individuals in the computer technology field. While this program is new and we do not yet have job placement information, we expect graduates of the program to qualify for positions in firms similar to those attained by new graduates with a major in computer science. DePaul graduates with a baccalaureate in computer science and good academic records have great success finding jobs. Graduates of the undergraduate program tend to accept employment with large firms and financial institutions in the Chicago area and nationwide. The online resources of DePaul University’s Career Center are available to students in the CCP. Employment outcomes, of course, cannot be guaranteed.

Students in this program will, among other skills, be able to:

  • Implement multi-tier applications with the tools and technologies most effective for modern applications
  • Use Python to write computer programs that interact with files, datasets, spreadsheets, web clients and servers
  • Do web development with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • Use competencies in cloud computing concepts, architecture, standards and strategies using services from providers such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft utilizing best practices
  • Analyze workload patterns and resource management
  • Use competencies in DevOps, continuous integration, and continuous delivery and use tools for build automation, test automation, virtualization and containerization
  • Apply the capabilities provided by various data analysis methods and visualization tools to provide end-to-end solutions
  • Explain key cybersecurity practices with an emphasis on secure software development
  • Experiment with different open-source software products and technologies as well as learn about emerging technologies and anticipate future uses
  • Develop soft skills to become an effective member of today’s global organizations
  • Analyze and assess business challenges to determine the most appropriate technologies needed to enable business and technical strategy, solve problems and provide business value

In order to successfully install the various software packages used in the program, students must have access to a modern, stable computer with full administrator rights. Both Windows and Mac OS are acceptable. Most of the coursework will be completed on the student's personal computer, but some topics will have the student utilize services in the cloud. Access to most of these cloud services will be provisioned to students, however, there may be some cloud services that are only accessible via the use of a student’s own credit card. Students should expect to spend a small fee to access these services.

For a complete program description, download the program's brochure.


Spring Quarter 2023:

There is currently no scheduled session for this program.


Spring Quarter 2023


  • $13,100.00

Full payment of tuition must be received by the tuition deadline, unless a student is participating in the program's payment plan or a third-party billing arrangement.

Cancellation Policy: DePaul reserves the right to cancel any program before that program’s first scheduled meeting, in which case tuition fees (but not convenience fees) will be refunded.

Refund Policy: The university's refund policy allows a return of 100% of the tuition fee if a student drops the Career Change Program during the first three weeks of classes. Students who request to drop before the 13th week of classes will not be charged 50% of the tuition. Refunds, if applicable, will be issued after the drop is processed. Any convenience fees paid will not be refunded.

Application Fee

  • $40.00non-refundable

The application fee may be paid, using a debit/credit card, while completing the application for admission online. To pay this fee by check or money order, make payable to DePaul University and send it to:

DePaul University Institute for Professional Development
243 S. Wabash Avenue
Room 301
Chicago, IL 60604

Payment Options

Fees are payable by check or money order made out to DePaul University, e-check, or by credit/debit card. Students who elect to pay tuition using a credit or debit card will be assessed a non-refundable 2.75% convenience fee.

A payment plan that allows students to pay their tuition over the duration of the program (six monthly installments) is available. There is a non-refundable $60.00 fee to participate in the payment plan and the first installment is due by the program’s tuition deadline.

If a third-party (corporate or government entity) is financially sponsoring you, DePaul can bill that organization directly for the tuition only (other fees and books cannot be billed in this manner). A tuition voucher or a financial guarantee/billing authorization is due one week before the program’s tuition deadline.

This program does not qualify for participation in the university’s Employer Tuition Deferral Plan.

To participate in the payment plan or a third-party billing arrangement, contact the Institute for Professional Development office for details.


The Institute for Professional Development is pleased to announce the continuation of a need-based financial award, the Chou Family IPD Scholarship, to provide funding for students interested in our certificate programs.


Textbooks are a separate purchase to be made by students. Students should expect to purchase three to five books, each estimated to cost between $30-$50, throughout the length of the program. Some of the textbooks may also be available for online reading via the DePaul library system.

Reading materials for certificate programs consist of textbooks and supplementary handouts. Textbook readings are considered preparatory in nature and are typically assigned prior to lectures; supplementary handouts are frequently distributed in class to provide additional information.

Textbook selections to be announced.


Admission Requirements

The program is designed for individuals who have completed a bachelor's degree and who pass an entrance exam. Applicants should also have basic experience with a personal computer running Windows or macOS and mobile devices running iOS or Android.

Entrance exam

Applicants are required to pass a qualifying entrance exam as part of the admission process for the Career Change Program. The entrance exam is an aptitude test consisting of math and logic questions. Once you have applied for the program, you will be sent information on how to register for the exam (held online). Applicants must have access to a stable desktop or laptop computer, equipped with a webcam and reliable Internet connection, to take the entrance exam. Applicants will be notified of their exam results and placement in the program the following week.


Official transcripts showing the conferral of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution must be received by the tuition deadline. Transcripts must be sent directly from the institution of record; we do not accept transcripts sent from applicants. DePaul alumni can request a free electronic transcript from DePaul. Transcripts should be sent to Domestic transcripts submitted to IPD for any administrative purpose will become the property of DePaul IPD and will not be returned.

Degrees earned outside of the U.S.: these applicants must provide a course-by-course transcript evaluation as well as proof of English proficiency. Visit the Transcript Evaluation page for additional information.

Course Credit

The Career Change Program is catalogued as a non-credit course of DePaul University. A certificate of completion from DePaul University is awarded to those who successfully complete the program's requirements. Program requirements include individual programming assignments, quizzes, in-class lab work, and a capstone group project. No midterm or final exams are conducted.

  • Course #: IPD 440

The Career Change Program is a graded course. A final grade letter as well as a DePaul transcript (upon request) will be available upon program completion.

Application & Registration Procedure

All interested parties should apply for admission by completing the Application Form and emailing to Upon admission, the Institute office will contact the prospective student with registration information and instructions.

You do not have to be an existing DePaul student to take this certificate program. Registration is restricted to individuals who apply for admission to the program and receive an acceptance letter. IPD staff will register applicants upon receipt of payment and registration form.

Regular DePaul students cannot register themselves via the university's registration system. If interested in enrollment, regular DePaul students should begin by submitting an application for admission. Students must meet the program's admission criteria.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can apply?

The CCP is designed for individuals who have completed a bachelor’s degree, not necessarily in a technology major, but who wish to transition into this industry.

How does the course of study in the program relate to DePaul’s undergraduate program in computer science?

The CCP draws its integrated content from several undergraduate courses, including portions of courses in Python, information systems analysis and design, web-based systems, databases and data management, cybersecurity, cloud computing, software testing, data analytics, DevOps and emerging technologies. Additionally, important topics for today’s well-rounded technology professional such as soft skills, ethics and professional standards will be covered. The CCP is catalogued as course IPD 440 (noncredit). A certificate of completion is awarded to those who successfully complete the program.

What are the job prospects in the computer field for those who complete DePaul’s CCP?

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment in computer and information technology occupations is expected to grow 11 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for these workers will stem from greater emphasis on cloud computing, the collection and storage of big data, and information security—all topics that are covered, from a programmer’s perspective, in CCP. We expect graduates of the program to obtain positions such as application developer, full-stack developer, or computer programmer. The online resources of DePaul University’s Career Center are available to students in the CCP. Employment, of course, cannot be guaranteed.

What mathematics background is required?

A minimum of three years of high school mathematics plus some mathematics at the college level. While very little formal mathematics is used in the program, those who have an analytical bent, an affinity for mathematics, or an ability to think abstractly have a greater likelihood of success in the computer field.

Do I need to take any qualifying tests?

All applicants are required to take a test that measures some reasoning abilities and quantitative skills. A passing score on this test is required for admission to the CCP. Applicants must also be strongly committed to the program and willing to work hard.

In addition to classroom instruction and lectures, approximately how much more time will I need to devote to the program?

Students should expect to spend an additional eight to twelve hours each week to complete projects assigned involving problem solving, coding, analysis and general reading.

What computing resources do I need in order to complete the course?

Students should have access to access to a dedicated laptop or desktop running either Microsoft Windows 10 or a current version of macOS. Students should have full administrator rights, so they can install various software. As a result, a work-issued laptop is unlikely to be suitable. We recommend the following specifications:

  • Hardware that is no more than 2-3 years old. Intel Core i5 or i7 processor. Note about Apple computers: Apple, Inc. is moving from Intel to ARM-based processors between 2021-2023. Not all applications used this program may have been ported to ARM architecture and we, therefore, cannot guarantee all software will work on those processors using Intel to ARM translation software provided by Apple (Rosetta2).
  • 8GB of RAM minimum; 16 GB is recommended if you are running multiple applications and services concurrently.
  • 30-40 GB of free hard drive space.

Students should also have reliable, high-speed Internet access. Those taking the program entirely online also need to have a webcam.

While students may participate in online classes using a variety of devices, they will be asked to complete some class sessions using their dedicated laptop/PC used for coursework.

What computer facilities are available for use by CCP students?

Although CCP students will use their personal computers to do all or most of their homework, they also have access to all general computer laboratories located at the Loop and Lincoln Park campuses. At this time, all students coming to campus must abide by mandatory health and safety protocols.

If I am unable to enter the program at this time, will I be eligible for subsequent offerings of the program?

If you satisfy the admission requirements, you will be placed on a waiting list for the next available session.

What happens if you begin the CCP, but are unable to complete it?

DePaul’s CCP is open to only a limited number of applicants and the university, therefore, must assess a substantial financial penalty on those who leave the program before it ends. Dropping the program during the first three weeks results in a refund of all but the $40.00 application fee. Those who drop the program no later than the 13th week of the program will only be liable for 50% of the tuition.

Is there financial assistance available?

As CCP is not a degree program, most traditional financial aid such as grants or loans do not apply. There is, however, an institutional payment plan that will allow students to pay their tuition over the duration of the program (six monthly installments). In addition, we are pleased to announce that a limited number of need-based scholarships, in the amount of $1,000.00 per student, are available. 

How can I determine whether the computer programming field is right for me?

As emphasized, the CCP is intensive and requires a substantial commitment of time. If you’re unsure whether the programming field is right for you, you may wish to consider enrolling in a short elementary course to determine if you have the ability as well as the desire to work in this discipline before deciding to make the substantial commitment required by DePaul’s CCP.