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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

  • $69,000

    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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Computer Programmer Career Paths

Computer Programmer
Programmer Analyst Consultant Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Programmer Analyst Senior Software Engineer
Director Of Software Development
12 Yearsyrs
Programmer Analyst Systems Analyst
Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Project Manager Development Manager
Senior Development Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Network Engineer Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Programmer Network Administrator Information Systems Manager
Information Systems Director
8 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Project Manager Information Technology Director
Director Of Information Technology Services
12 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Senior Software Engineer Chief Technology Officer
President & Chief Technology Officer
13 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Senior Programmer Analyst Manager Applications Development
Application Development Director
11 Yearsyrs
Programmer Network Administrator
Information Technology Systems Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Software Developer Consultant Senior Programmer Analyst
Application Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Manager Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Development Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Software Developer Consultant Co-Founder
Chief Technology Officer & Founder
9 Yearsyrs
Software Developer Project Manager Information Technology Director
Director Of Infrastructure Operations
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Programmer Analyst Senior Consultant Information Technology Manager
Director, Applications
12 Yearsyrs
Programmer Senior Project Manager Director Of Software Development
Vice President Of Software Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Senior Systems Analyst Information Systems Manager
Director Of Information Services
9 Yearsyrs
Applications Developer Manager Applications Development Application Development Director
Vice President Of Application Development
11 Yearsyrs
Web Developer Quality Assurance Analyst Information Technology Analyst
Information Technology Supervisor, Information Technology
6 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Operations Manager
Manager Information Technology Applications
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
Staff Programmer 4.7 years
Programmer Analyst 3.8 years
Senior Programmer 3.5 years
Lead Programmer 3.2 years
Programmer 2.5 years
Junior Programmer 1.8 years
Top Careers Before Computer Programmer
Programmer 9.6%
Internship 4.4%
Developer 3.3%
Cashier 3.0%
Consultant 2.8%
Top Careers After Computer Programmer
Consultant 6.5%
Programmer 5.1%
Owner 3.9%
Manager 3.1%

Do you work as a Computer Programmer?

Average Yearly Salary
$69,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$52,000
Min 10%
$69,000
Median 50%
$69,000
Median 50%
$69,000
Median 50%
$69,000
Median 50%
$69,000
Median 50%
$69,000
Median 50%
$69,000
Median 50%
$92,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
The Computer Merchant, Ltd.
Highest Paying City
Sunnyvale, CA
Highest Paying State
Washington
Avg Experience Level
4.0 years
How much does a Computer Programmer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Computer Programmer in the United States is $69,976 per year or $34 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $52,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $93,000.

Real Computer Programmer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Computer Programmer Connexions Data Inc. Hackensack, NJ Feb 23, 2015 $187,830
Computer Programmer/Developer Connvertex Technologies Inc. Salt Lake City, UT Jun 01, 2015 $177,395
Computer Programmer/Developer Connvertex Technologies Inc. Salt Lake City, UT Jan 06, 2015 $177,395
Computer Programmer Global Infotech Corporation San Francisco, CA Jun 09, 2016 $166,960
Computer Programmer Global Infotech Corporation San Francisco, CA Sep 17, 2016 $166,960
Computer Programmer Capella Systems, LLC San Jose, CA Sep 26, 2016 $164,382
Computer Programmer M & R Consultants Corp Boston, MA Apr 11, 2016 $162,240
Computer Programmer Shimento, Inc. Dallas, TX Aug 06, 2016 $161,280
Computer Programmer Larsen & Toubro Infotech Limited Sunnyvale, CA Sep 26, 2016 $156,525
Computer Programmer Global Infotech Corporation Hillsboro, OR Jul 13, 2015 $152,351
Computer Programmer A-1 Technology, Inc. New York, NY Nov 22, 2016 $152,351
Computer Programmer Smart Solutions, Inc. Hercules, CA Apr 03, 2016 $150,000 -
$160,000
Computer Programmer Smart Solutions, Inc. Hercules, CA May 08, 2015 $150,000 -
$160,000
Computer Programmer Mercury Systems Inc. San Jose, CA Jul 09, 2016 $73,920
Computer Programmer Larsen & Toubro Infotech Limited Warren, NJ Sep 28, 2015 $73,920
Computer Programmer Larsen & Toubro Infotech Limited Harleysville, PA Sep 01, 2015 $73,908
Computer Programmer Larsen and Toubro Infotech Limited New York, NY Oct 23, 2016 $73,896
Computer Programmer M&R Consultants Corporation Portland, OR Aug 19, 2015 $73,861
Computer Programmer/Configurer 2 Accenture LLP Bloomington, IL Jan 10, 2015 $64,992
Computer Programmer/Configurer 2 Accenture LLP Bloomington, IL Dec 21, 2015 $64,992
Computer Programmer/Configurer 2 Accenture LLP Bloomington, IL Sep 13, 2015 $64,992
Computer Programmer/Configurer 2 Accenture LLP Bloomington, IL Feb 25, 2015 $64,992
Computer Programmer/Configurer 2 Accenture LLP Bloomington, IL Aug 12, 2015 $64,992
Computer Programmer/Configurer 2 Accenture LLP Bloomington, IL Apr 24, 2015 $64,992
Computer Programmer/Configurer 2 Accenture LLP Bloomington, IL Apr 16, 2015 $64,992

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Top Skills for A Computer Programmer

  1. Database
  2. SQL
  3. Web Application
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Experienced in developing applications with Databases and Visual/Object Oriented languages.
  • Participated in creating and maintaining a database using SQL Server Management Studio.
  • Perform compatibility test of web application against different operating systems.
  • Supported the maintenance of proprietary software that translated network messages across multiple platforms with PACLAN, COBOL case tool.
  • Maintained and installed operating systems on various factory machines, including Windows 2000 Professional and Windows XP Professional.

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Top 10 Best States for Computer Programmers

  1. Washington
  2. North Carolina
  3. Pennsylvania
  4. Alaska
  5. Rhode Island
  6. Connecticut
  7. District of Columbia
  8. Georgia
  9. Maine
  10. California
  • (236 jobs)
  • (217 jobs)
  • (300 jobs)
  • (22 jobs)
  • (34 jobs)
  • (94 jobs)
  • (69 jobs)
  • (233 jobs)
  • (16 jobs)
  • (1,027 jobs)

Computer Programmer Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 6,449 Computer Programmer resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Computer Programmer Resume

View Resume Examples

Computer Programmer Demographics

Gender

Male

63.1%

Female

27.7%

Unknown

9.2%
Ethnicity

White

59.5%

Hispanic or Latino

13.6%

Asian

11.4%

Black or African American

11.1%

Unknown

4.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

48.5%

French

5.9%

Chinese

5.9%

Mandarin

5.3%

Arabic

4.7%

German

4.1%

Portuguese

3.6%

Russian

3.0%

Vietnamese

2.4%

Korean

2.4%

Carrier

2.4%

Italian

1.8%

Japanese

1.8%

Persian

1.8%

Hindi

1.2%

Armenian

1.2%

Urdu

1.2%

Tagalog

1.2%

Dakota

1.2%

Swedish

0.6%
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Computer Programmer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

15.6%

University of Maryland - University College

8.3%

University of Houston

6.3%

University of Maryland - College Park

5.9%

Brigham Young University

5.6%

Pennsylvania State University

5.4%

Strayer University

5.1%

George Washington University

4.4%

Northeastern University

4.1%

Community College of the Air Force

3.9%

University of Florida

3.9%

University of Texas at Austin

3.9%

Colorado Technical University

3.9%

University of Pittsburgh -

3.9%

Michigan State University

3.4%

Boston University

3.4%

Johns Hopkins University

3.4%

University of Southern Mississippi

3.2%

University of Central Florida

3.2%

State University of New York Buffalo

3.2%
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Majors

Computer Science

33.5%

Business

11.2%

Computer Programming

8.9%

Computer Information Systems

8.1%

Information Technology

5.9%

Computer Engineering

4.2%

Electrical Engineering

3.8%

Mathematics

3.3%

Accounting

3.2%

Management Information Systems

2.4%

Information Systems

2.3%

Computer Applications

2.0%

Management

1.9%

Education

1.4%

Nursing

1.4%

Finance

1.4%

Mechanical Engineering

1.4%

Psychology

1.2%

Computer Networking

1.1%

Project Management

1.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

40.9%

Masters

19.8%

Other

17.9%

Associate

12.6%

Certificate

4.6%

Doctorate

2.4%

Diploma

1.7%

License

0.1%
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Top Computer Programmer Employers

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Day in the Life: Software Engineer

What is a Computer Programmer?

Occupational Video - Computer Programmer

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