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Resources include the Programming merit badge worksheet in PDF format Adobe Acrobat PDF and Word format Microsoft Word DOC document, links, and cross-references to related badges and awards.
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Programming merit badge
Status: Elective
Created: 2013
Discontinued: no
BSA Advancement ID: 153
Requirements revision: 2017
Latest pamphlet revision: 2013


Programming merit badge debuted on July 15th, 2013, at the 2013 National Scout Jamboree which was held at The Summit Bechtel Reserve, West Virginia, USA from July 15th - 24th, 2013.

Programming merit badge requirements

  1. Safety. Do the following:
    1. Show your counselor your current, up-to-date Cyber Chip.
    2. Discuss first aid and prevention for potential injuries, such as eyestrain and repetitive stress injuries, that could occur during programming activities.

Earn the Cyber Chip

Earning the Cyber Chip can help you learn how to stay safe while you are online and using social networks or the latest electronic gadgets. Topics include cell phone use, texting, blogging, gaming, cyberbullying, and identity theft. Find out more about the Cyber Chip at

  1. History. Do the following:
    1. Give a brief history of programming, including at least three milestones related to the advancement or development of programming.
    2. Discuss with your counselor the history of programming and the evolution of programming languages.
  2. General knowledge. Do the following:
    1. Create a list of 10 popular programming languages in use today and describe which industry or industries they are primarily used in and why.
    2. Describe three different programmed devices you rely on every day.
  3. Intellectual property. Do the following:
    1. Explain the four types of intellectual property used to protect computer programs.
    2. Describe the difference between licensing and owning software.
    3. Describe the differences between freeware, open source, and commercial software, and why it is important to respect the terms of use of each.
  4. Projects. Do the following:
    1. With your counselor’s approval, choose a sample program. Modify the code or add a function or subroutine to it. Debug and demonstrate the modified program to your counselor.
The Programming merit badge website,, has a number of sample programs that you could use for requirement 5a. However, you have the option of finding a program on your own. It's a good idea to seek your merit badge counselor's guidance.
    1. With your counselor’s approval, choose a second programming language and development environment, different from those used for requirement 5a and in a different industry from 5a. Then write, debug, and demonstrate a functioning program to your counselor, using that language and environment.
    2. With your counselor’s approval, choose a third programming language and development environment, different from those used for requirements 5a and 5b and in a different industry from 5a or 5b. Then write, debug, and demonstrate a functioning program to your counselor, using that language and environment.
    3. Explain how the programs you wrote for requirements 5a, 5b, and 5c process inputs, how they make decisions based on those inputs, and how they provide outputs based on the decision making.
  1. Careers. Find out about three career opportunities that require knowledge in programming. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required. Discuss this with your counselor and explain why this career might be of interest to you.

The official source for the information shown in this article or section is:
Scouts BSA Requirements, 2019 Edition (BSA Supply SKU #648914)

View the change list (history) of these requirements. The text of these requirements may be locked. In that case, they can only be edited
by an administrator.
Please note any errors found in the above requirements on this article's Talk Page.


Worksheet A FREE workbook for Programming is available here! (PDF or Word) with the maps, charts, links, diagrams, and checklists you need! Or click here to print just the Programming requirements. has PDF and Word versions of workbooks for Scouts BSA ranks and merit badges, Cub Scouting ranks and adventures, and STEM Nova awards.

Programming merit badge requires prior counselor and/or parent approval for requirement(s) #5a, 5b, 5c.
The Programming merit badge is an option for the Start Your Engines!, Harris Bronze Supernova, and Edison Silver Supernova STEM Nova Awards.

Requirement resources

Please help improve this section by expanding it.
Further information might be found on the talk page.

Many of the requirements can be satisfied using proprietary but free of charge shareware or Freeware as well as Open Source and Free Software programs.

Related awards

Science-related awards
Hobby-related awards

See also

Scouts BSA portal
Venturing portal
Sea Scout portal
General Merit Badge information

External links

Personal tools