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Become A Computer Programmer

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Working As A Computer Programmer

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $68,444

    Average Salary

What Does A Computer Programmer Do

Computer programmers write and test code that allows computer applications and software programs to function properly. They turn the program designs created by software developers and engineers into instructions that a computer can follow. In addition, programmers test newly created applications and programs to ensure that they produce the expected results. If they do not work correctly, computer programmers check the code for mistakes and fix them.

Duties

Computer programmers typically do the following:

  • Write programs in a variety of computer languages, such as C++ and Java
  • Update and expand existing programs
  • Test programs for errors and fix the faulty lines of computer code responsible
  • Create and test code in an integrated development environment (IDE)
  • Use code libraries, which are collections of independent lines of code, to simplify the writing

Programmers work closely with software developers, and in some businesses their duties overlap. When such overlap occurs, programmers can do work that is typical of developers, such as designing the program. Program design entails planning the software initially, creating models and flowcharts detailing how the code is to be written, writing and debugging code, and designing an application or systems interface. Programmers often use an IDE, which allows them to create, edit, and test code.

A program’s purpose determines the complexity of its computer code. For example, a weather application for a mobile device will require less programming than a social-networking application. Simpler programs can be written in less time. Complex programs, such as computer operating systems, can take a year or more to complete.

Software-as-a-service (SaaS), which consists of applications provided through the Internet, is a growing field. Although programmers typically need to rewrite their programs to work on different system platforms, such as Windows or OS X, applications created with SaaS work on all platforms. Accordingly, programmers writing SaaS applications may not have to rewrite as much code as other programmers do and can instead spend more time writing new programs.

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How To Become A Computer Programmer

Most computer programmers have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related subject; however, some employers hire workers with an associate’s degree. Most programmers specialize in a few programming languages.

Education

Most computer programmers have a bachelor’s degree; however, some employers hire workers who have an associate’s degree. Most programmers get a degree in computer science or a related subject. Programmers who work in specific fields, such as healthcare or accounting, may take classes in that field to supplement their degree in computer programming. In addition, employers value experience, which many students gain through internships.

Most programmers learn a few computer languages while in school. However, a computer science degree gives students the skills needed to learn new computer languages easily. During their classes, students receive hands-on experience writing code, testing programs, fixing errors, and doing many other tasks that they will perform on the job.

To keep up with changing technology, computer programmers may take continuing education and professional development seminars to learn new programming languages or about upgrades to programming languages they already know.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Programmers can become certified in specific programming languages or for vendor-specific programming products. Some companies require their computer programmers to be certified in the products they use.

Other Experience

Many students gain experience in computer programming by completing an internship at a software company while in college.

Advancement

Programmers who have general business experience may become computer systems analysts. With experience, some programmers may become software developers. They may also be promoted to managerial positions. For more information, see the profiles on computer systems analysts, software developers, and computer and information systems managers.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Computer programmers must understand complex instructions in order to create computer code.

Concentration. Programmers must be able to work at a computer, writing lines of code for long periods.

Detail oriented. Computer programmers must closely examine the code they write because a small mistake can affect the entire computer program.

Troubleshooting skills. An important part of a programmer’s job is to check the code for errors and fix any they find.

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Do you work as a Computer Programmer?

Computer Programmer Jobs

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Computer Programmer Career Paths

Computer Programmer
Software Developer Senior Programmer Analyst
Application Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Analyst Senior Business Analyst Business Systems Senior Analyst
Business Systems Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Senior Software Engineer
Chief Technology Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Software Developer Business Analyst Information Technology Manager
Data Center Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Programmer Analyst Database Administrator Data Analyst
Data Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Computer Programmer Analyst Senior Programmer Analyst Information Technology Director
Director Of Infrastructure Operations
13 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Senior Software Engineer
Director Of Software Development
12 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Director Of Technology And Services
11 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Operations Manager Information Technology Manager
Director, Applications
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Technical Consultant Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Programmer Analyst Systems Analyst Systems Administrator
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Analyst Systems Manager MIS Manager
MIS Director
6 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Project Coordinator Estimator Project Manager
Owner/Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Programmer Analyst Project Leader Business Analyst
Product Owner
9 Yearsyrs
Programmer Analyst Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Programmer Systems Analyst
Systems Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Lead Technician
Technical Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Engineering Manager Engineering Director
Vice President Of Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Programmer Business Analyst Assistant Vice President
Vice President, Technology
11 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Computer Programmer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Programmer Analyst 3.8 years
Senior Programmer 3.4 years
Programmer 2.6 years
Junior Programmer 1.8 years
Top Employers Before
Programmer 8.7%
Internship 4.9%
Consultant 3.4%
Clerk 2.4%
Supervisor 2.3%
Top Employers After
Consultant 5.9%
Programmer 5.1%
Owner 3.2%
Manager 3.0%

Do you work as a Computer Programmer?

Computer Programmer Demographics

Gender

Male

68.1%

Female

28.9%

Unknown

2.9%
Ethnicity

White

59.4%

Hispanic or Latino

13.2%

Asian

12.1%

Black or African American

10.9%

Unknown

4.4%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

48.5%

French

6.0%

Chinese

6.0%

Mandarin

5.2%

Arabic

5.2%

German

4.5%

Russian

3.0%

Carrier

3.0%

Vietnamese

2.2%

Korean

2.2%

Portuguese

2.2%

Hindi

1.5%

Armenian

1.5%

Urdu

1.5%

Italian

1.5%

Japanese

1.5%

Persian

1.5%

Dakota

1.5%

Romanian

0.7%

Gujarati

0.7%
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Computer Programmer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

14.6%

University of Maryland - University College

8.6%

University of Houston

6.4%

University of Maryland - College Park

6.0%

George Washington University

5.6%

Pennsylvania State University

5.6%

Colorado Technical University

4.5%

University of Southern Mississippi

4.1%

University of Florida

4.1%

Boston University

4.1%

Strayer University

4.1%

Northeastern University

4.1%

Michigan State University

3.7%

Community College of the Air Force

3.7%

Johns Hopkins University

3.7%

New York University

3.4%

Brigham Young University

3.4%

Texas Tech University

3.4%

Webster University

3.4%

University of Texas at Austin

3.4%
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Majors

Computer Science

32.0%

Business

11.6%

Computer Programming

9.2%

Computer Information Systems

8.8%

Information Technology

5.7%

Computer Engineering

3.9%

Electrical Engineering

3.5%

Accounting

3.2%

Management Information Systems

3.1%

Mathematics

3.1%

Information Systems

2.3%

Management

2.0%

Computer Applications

2.0%

Education

1.6%

Mechanical Engineering

1.5%

Computer Networking

1.4%

Nursing

1.3%

Finance

1.3%

Project Management

1.2%

Psychology

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

40.2%

Masters

20.2%

Other

18.5%

Associate

12.1%

Certificate

4.5%

Doctorate

3.1%

Diploma

1.3%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Computer Programmer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Computer Programmer Righit Solutions LLC Ashburn, VA Oct 16, 2018 $135,491
Computer Programmer (Automation) Asta CRS, Inc. Ashburn, VA Jul 25, 2016 $108,430
Computer Programmer (Data) Asta CRS, Inc. Ashburn, VA Dec 10, 2014 $105,200
Computer Programmer (UAT Lead) Asta CRS, Inc. Ashburn, VA Feb 28, 2014 $100,000
Computer Programmer Navitas Business Consulting Inc. Ashburn, VA Apr 17, 2014 $100,000
Computer Programmer JCG Technologies, Inc. Ashburn, VA Jul 16, 2014 $100,000
Computer Programmer ICSA Inc. Ashburn, VA Nov 18, 2016 $99,000
Computer Programmer ICSA Inc. Ashburn, VA Oct 19, 2015 $97,000
Computer Programmers Pioneer Corporate Services Inc. Ashburn, VA Jun 24, 2011 $95,306
Computer Programmers Pioneer Corporate Services Inc. Ashburn, VA Apr 04, 2011 $95,306
Computer Programmers Pioneer Corporate Services Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 21, 2011 $95,306
Computer Programmers Pioneer Corporate Services Inc. Ashburn, VA Jun 16, 2011 $95,306
Computer Programmers Pioneer Corporate Services Inc. Ashburn, VA Aug 08, 2011 $95,306
Computer Programmers Pioneer Corporate Services Inc. Ashburn, VA Jun 27, 2011 $95,306
Computer Programmer (Database) Asta CRS, Inc. Ashburn, VA Jan 28, 2015 $94,016
Computer Programmer (Database) Asta CRS, Inc. Ashburn, VA Aug 27, 2015 $94,016
Computer Programmer (Database) Asta CRS, Inc. Ashburn, VA Feb 25, 2016 $94,016
Computer Programmer (UAT Coordinator) Asta CRS, Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 19, 2012 $90,000
Computer Programmer Zillion Technologies, Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 01, 2015 $89,669
Computer Programmer (Data Analyst) Asta CRS, Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 20, 2012 $85,000
Computer Programmer (UAT Coordinator) Asta CRS, Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 20, 2012 $85,000
Computer Programmer Indotronix International Corporation Ashburn, VA Mar 09, 2018 $83,480
Computer Programmer Indotronix International Corporation Ashburn, VA Mar 10, 2018 $83,480
Computer Programmer Dimension Consulting Ashburn, VA Aug 18, 2011 $82,014
Computer Programmer Tech Mahindra (Americas), Inc. Ashburn, VA Oct 15, 2018 $81,640
Computer Programmers Infobiz Systems LLC Ashburn, VA Oct 25, 2017 $81,370
Computer Programmer Asta CRS, Inc. Ashburn, VA Jun 21, 2013 $79,000
Computer Programmer Lodestar Systems Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 12, 2018 $72,000
Computer Programmer Delasoft, Inc. Ashburn, VA Jun 17, 2013 $72,000
Computer Programmer SRI Systems Inc. Ashburn, VA Oct 20, 2010 $70,200
Computer Programmer Consulting Professionals, LLC Ashburn, VA Dec 10, 2009 $70,013
Computer Programmer It Newton Inc. Ashburn, VA Jun 20, 2016 $70,000
Computer Programmer Amiti Consulting Inc. Ashburn, VA Jan 09, 2017 $70,000
Computer Programmer Avenues International Inc. Ashburn, VA Aug 15, 2015 $70,000
Computer Programmer Avenues Inc. Ashburn, VA Jun 01, 2015 $70,000
Computer Programmer Concept Software & Services, Inc. Ashburn, VA Jan 31, 2011 $68,723 -
$82,000
Computer Programmer Onward Technologies, Inc. Ashburn, VA Feb 15, 2011 $68,723
Computer Programmer Navitas Business Consulting, Inc. Ashburn, VA May 02, 2014 $68,000
Computer Programmer JCG Technologies, Inc. Ashburn, VA May 29, 2012 $68,000 -
$75,000
Computer Programmer Mercury Systems, Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 09, 2017 $67,056
Computer Programmer SQA Concepts Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 16, 2017 $67,000
Computer Programmer Zillion Technologies Inc. Ashburn, VA Feb 09, 2017 $66,518
Computer Programmer Infobiz Systems LLC Ashburn, VA Oct 08, 2016 $66,518
Computer Programmer Delasoft, Inc. Ashburn, VA Jan 03, 2013 $66,000
Computer Programmer Kourage, Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 06, 2014 $63,440
Computer Programmer Tekivy Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 17, 2015 $63,000
Computer Programmer Tekivy Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 17, 2015 $62,500
Computer Programmer Tekivy Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 17, 2015 $62,000
Computer Programmer Value Consulting LLC Ashburn, VA Sep 23, 2013 $62,000
Computer Programmer Zillion Technologies Inc. Ashburn, VA Aug 31, 2016 $61,000
Computer Programmer E-Train Erp Inc. Ashburn, VA Aug 09, 2016 $61,000
Computer Programmer E-Train Erp Inc. Ashburn, VA Dec 09, 2016 $61,000
Computer Programmer Zillion Technologies Inc. Ashburn, VA Mar 25, 2016 $61,000
Computer Programmer Ak Systems, Inc. Ashburn, VA Feb 05, 2016 $61,000
Computer Programmer Zillion Technologies Inc. Ashburn, VA Aug 16, 2015 $61,000
Computer Programmer Navitas Business Consulting Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 09, 2015 $60,000
Computer Programmer Tekivy Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 17, 2015 $60,000
Computer Programmer Navitas Business Consulting Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 01, 2015 $60,000
Computer Programmer Zillion Technologies Inc. Ashburn, VA May 12, 2015 $60,000
Computer Programmer SQA Concepts Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 16, 2015 $60,000
Computer Programmer Zillion Technologies Inc. Ashburn, VA Aug 26, 2014 $60,000
Computer Programmer Navitas Business Consulting, Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 10, 2014 $60,000
Computer Programmers SQA Concepts Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 09, 2014 $60,000
Computer Programmer Navitas Business Consulting, Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 16, 2013 $60,000
Computer Programmer Navitas Business Consulting, Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 18, 2013 $60,000
Computer Programmer Asta CRS, Inc. Ashburn, VA Jul 26, 2012 $60,000
Computer Programmer Cyberbest Technology, Inc. Ashburn, VA Mar 01, 2011 $60,000
Computer Programmer Concept Software & Services, Inc. Ashburn, VA Feb 03, 2011 $60,000
Computer Programmer Cloudray, Inc. Ashburn, VA Jun 13, 2011 $60,000
Computer Programmer Reverb Networks, Inc. Ashburn, VA Mar 01, 2010 $60,000
Computer Programmer Concept Software & Services, Inc. Ashburn, VA Apr 01, 2010 $60,000
Computer Programmer AMKO Software Solutions Inc. Ashburn, VA Jul 27, 2009 $60,000
Computer Programmer AMKO Software Solutions Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 23, 2009 $60,000
Computer Programmer Iservices Inc. Ashburn, VA Jul 15, 2013 $59,480 -
$60,523
Computer Programmer Apollo Consulting Services Corporation Ashburn, VA Sep 28, 2009 $58,436 -
$62,610
Computer Programmer E-Train Erp Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 23, 2013 $58,000
Computer Programmer E-Train Erp Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 26, 2013 $57,000
Computer Programmer Finsoft Consultants Inc. Ashburn, VA Feb 04, 2010 $57,000
Computer Programmer Iknowvate Technologies, Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 30, 2009 $56,750
Computer Programmer Master Labs Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 04, 2009 $56,700 -
$60,000
Computer Programmer Na Consulting, LLC Ashburn, VA Sep 19, 2015 $55,120 -
$60,000
Computer Programmer Brightidea, Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 02, 2014 $55,120
Computer Programmer Asta CRS, Inc. Ashburn, VA Mar 13, 2014 $55,000
Computer Programmer (Business Analyst) Asta CRS, Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 28, 2012 $55,000
Computer Programmer Sun Global Technologies, Inc. Ashburn, VA Oct 01, 2012 $55,000
Computer Programmer Spurgetech LLC Ashburn, VA Nov 01, 2009 $54,680
Computer Programmer Navitas Business Consulting, Inc. Ashburn, VA Oct 01, 2012 $54,600
Computer Programmer Navitas Business Consulting Inc. Ashburn, VA Feb 05, 2015 $54,360
Computer Programmer Zillion Technologies Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 04, 2014 $54,330
Computer Programmers Corporate America Business Solutions Inc. Ashburn, VA Nov 25, 2011 $54,080
Computer Programmer Viewsoft, Inc. Ashburn, VA Oct 01, 2011 $54,080
Computer Programmer Cloudray, Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 01, 2011 $54,080
Computer Programmer Zillion Technologies Inc. Ashburn, VA Aug 28, 2013 $53,747
Computer Programmer Pioneer Corporate Services Inc. Ashburn, VA Mar 13, 2008 $51,376
Computer Programmer Pioneer Corporate Services Inc. Ashburn, VA Jan 18, 2008 $51,376
Computer Programmer Data Informatix Inc. Ashburn, VA Mar 05, 2008 $51,376

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Top Skills for A Computer Programmer

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  1. Database Applications
  2. SQL
  3. Computer
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Developed and implemented code to realize system design for software applications including database applications, web-based applications and related software applications.
  • Worked on database interface, C/C++ programming with SQL and OBJECTS++ statements, SQL programming and database administration.
  • Monitor equipment used for information management, installing software, hardware, computer operations, and support equipment configuration.
  • Developed a new system in AcuCOBOL, which tracked internal and external complaints and help to facilitate solutions for same.
  • Developed, tested, debugged, implemented and documented moderately complex programs using COBOL programming language.

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Top Computer Programmer Employers

Jobs From Top Computer Programmer Employers

Computer Programmer Videos

Day in the Life: Software Engineer

What is a Computer Programmer?

Occupational Video - Computer Programmer

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