What is a Computer Programmer

Computer programmers design and create software programs by writing codes that help the software application run smoothly. What you are doing as a computer programmer is turning design programs made by a software developer into instructions the computer can follow. As such, you will test them and make sure the computer responds to the instructions as expected. Maintaining operating systems, troubleshooting system errors, profiling and analyzing algorithms, editing source-code, integrating systems and software are also the responsibilities of a computer programmer.

As a computer programmer, you must be analytical, detail-oriented, and you must be able to focus for a long time. You must also have problem-solving skills, and you must be experienced with Java, C++, SQL, C#, and HTML. You need a bachelor's degree in computer science or computer programming, and you must have a proven experience as a computer programmer. You will earn an average of $66,143 per year.

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.

Learn more about what a Computer Programmer does

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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Average Salary
$66,143
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
-7%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
120,069
Job Openings
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Computer Programmer Career Paths

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Average Salary for a Computer Programmer

Computer Programmers in America make an average salary of $66,143 per year or $32 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $82,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $52,000 per year.
Average Salary
$66,143
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Computer Programmer Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Computer Programmer. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Computer Programmer Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Computer Programmer resumes and compiled some information about how to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

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Computer Programmer Demographics

Computer Programmer Gender Statistics

male

66.0 %

female

29.1 %

unknown

4.9 %

Computer Programmer Ethnicity Statistics

White

69.1 %

Asian

15.9 %

Hispanic or Latino

7.5 %

Computer Programmer Foreign Languages Spoken Statistics

Spanish

48.5 %

Chinese

5.9 %

French

5.9 %
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Computer Programmer Education

Computer Programmer Majors

Computer Programmer Degrees

Bachelors

59.9 %

Associate

22.2 %

Masters

10.0 %

Top Colleges for Computer Programmers

1. University of Chicago

Chicago, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$58,230
Enrollment
6,600

2. Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,465
Enrollment
6,483

3. Tulane University

New Orleans, LA • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,820
Enrollment
7,920

4. University of Washington

Seattle, WA • Private

In-State Tuition
$11,207
Enrollment
30,905

5. North Carolina State University

Raleigh, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,101
Enrollment
23,708

6. Brooklyn College of the City University of New York

Brooklyn, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,240
Enrollment
13,954

7. Minnesota State University - Mankato

Mankato, MN • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,184
Enrollment
11,675

8. Metropolitan State University

Saint Paul, MN • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,879
Enrollment
6,768

9. North Carolina Central University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$6,464
Enrollment
5,913

10. Elon University

Elon, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$35,319
Enrollment
6,196
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Online Courses For Computer Programmer That You May Like

Computer Science 101 - Computers & Programming for Beginners
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Top Skills For a Computer Programmer

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 12.9% of computer programmers listed c # on their resume, but soft skills such as detail oriented and troubleshooting skills are important as well.

12 Computer Programmer RESUME EXAMPLES

Best States For a Computer Programmer

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a computer programmer. The best states for people in this position are Washington, Connecticut, California, and North Carolina. Computer programmers make the most in Washington with an average salary of $95,077. Whereas in Connecticut and California, they would average $73,347 and $72,776, respectively. While computer programmers would only make an average of $71,710 in North Carolina, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Washington

Total Computer Programmer Jobs:
2,789
Highest 10% Earn:
$129,000
Location Quotient:
1.91
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. District of Columbia

Total Computer Programmer Jobs:
620
Highest 10% Earn:
$107,000
Location Quotient:
1.85
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. North Carolina

Total Computer Programmer Jobs:
1,721
Highest 10% Earn:
$95,000
Location Quotient:
0.9
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Computer Programmers

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Updated August 18, 2021