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Working As an Operating System 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

  • $72,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Operating System 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 An Operating System 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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Operating System Programmer Career Paths

Operating System Programmer
Senior Programmer Analyst Senior Software Engineer Project Manager
Service Delivery Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Programmer Analyst Senior Consultant Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Programmer Analyst Project Leader Information Technology Project Manager
Information Technology Infrastructure Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Manager Information Technology Director
Director Of Information Technology Services
12 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Manager
Information Systems Director
8 Yearsyrs
Manager Project Manager Senior Project Manager
Director Of Technology And Services
11 Yearsyrs
Manager Project Manager Information Technology Director
Director Of Infrastructure Operations
13 Yearsyrs
Manager Senior Project Manager Director Of Software Development
Vice President Of Software Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Senior Technician Specialist Senior System Administrator
Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Senior ETL Developer Senior Data Analyst-
Data Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Team Leader Senior Project Manager Information Systems Director
Director Of Information Services
9 Yearsyrs
Team Leader Senior Consultant Solutions Architect
Solutions Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Team Leader Information Technology Project Manager Senior Information Technology Manager
Director, Applications
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Programmer Senior Systems Analyst
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Programmer Senior Systems Analyst Senior System Administrator
Information Technology Systems Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Programmer Senior Engineer Senior Systems Analyst
Application Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Lead Programmer Project Leader Manager Applications Development
Vice President Of Application Development
11 Yearsyrs
Lead Programmer Lead Developer Software Development Manager
Information Technology Development Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Lead Programmer Senior Engineer Senior System Administrator
Information Technology Supervisor, Information Technology
6 Yearsyrs
Project Leader Senior Systems Engineer Information Technology Operations Manager
Manager Information Technology Applications
11 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Staff Programmer 4.7 years
Senior Programmer 3.5 years
Lead Programmer 3.2 years
Programmer 2.5 years
Top Careers Before Operating System Programmer
Programmer 9.8%
Operator 7.8%
Machinist 6.9%
Mold Maker 2.9%
Consultant 2.3%
Top Careers After Operating System Programmer
Programmer 12.1%
Consultant 5.8%
Machinist 3.9%
Owner 2.6%
Manager 2.5%

Do you work as an Operating System Programmer?

Average Yearly Salary
$72,000
Show Salaries
$53,000
Min 10%
$72,000
Median 50%
$72,000
Median 50%
$72,000
Median 50%
$72,000
Median 50%
$72,000
Median 50%
$72,000
Median 50%
$72,000
Median 50%
$99,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
NRG Energy
Highest Paying City
Durham, NC
Highest Paying State
Hawaii
Avg Experience Level
3.9 years
How much does an Operating System Programmer make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Operating System Programmer in the United States is $72,971 per year or $35 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $53,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $99,000.

Real Operating System Programmer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Operations Programmer Stevens Capital Management LP Radnor, PA Mar 15, 2010 $105,000 -
$115,000
Commercial Operations Programmer NRG Energy, Inc. Princeton, NJ Jun 22, 2016 $100,000
Commercial Operations Programmer NRG Energy, Inc. Princeton, NJ Mar 25, 2016 $100,000
Commercial Operations Programmer NRG Energy, Inc. Princeton, NJ Oct 27, 2014 $100,000
Senior Operating Systems Programmer Fidelity Technology Group LLC Westlake, TX Apr 25, 2016 $86,195 -
$100,110
Operating Systems Programmer/Analyst 3 University of Connecticut Storrs, CT Jun 28, 2013 $80,477
SR. Operating Systems Programmer Fidelity Technology Group LLC Irving, TX Apr 15, 2013 $68,370 -
$86,403
Senior Operating Systems Programmer Fidelity Technology Group LLC Cary, NC Aug 10, 2015 $67,600 -
$94,994
Operating Systems Programmer/Analyst 3 (UCP IX) University of Connecticut Storrs, CT Jun 28, 2016 $65,758 -
$111,398
Operating Systems Programmer Fidelity Technology Group LLC Westlake, TX Aug 16, 2016 $65,042 -
$81,952
Senior Operating Systems Programmer Fidelity Technology Group LLC Lewisville, TX Feb 23, 2015 $63,981 -
$95,701
Senior Operating Systems Programmer Fidelity Technology Group LLC Westlake, TX Sep 22, 2014 $63,981 -
$95,701
Operating Systems Programmer Fidelity Technology Group LLC Durham, NC Jun 24, 2013 $59,342 -
$79,498
Associate Operating Systems Programmer Fidelity Technology Group LLC Durham, NC Oct 01, 2010 $55,598 -
$70,262
Operations Programmer, IRT Bioclinica, Inc. Audubon, PA Jan 10, 2016 $54,725 -
$101,442
Operations Programmer, EDC Bioclinica, Inc. Audubon, PA Jan 10, 2016 $54,725 -
$101,442
Associate Operating Systems Programmer Fidelity Technology Group LLC Irving, TX Oct 01, 2010 $52,395 -
$68,806

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Top Skills for An Operating System Programmer

  1. CNC
  2. EDM
  3. Computer Operations
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Operate and troubleshoot 2d-3d programs in order to work in the CNC 4 axis Repair CNC mechanical problems and computer issues
  • Created programs for EDM machines* Set up of machining operations and performing preventative machine maintenance
  • Managed day-to-day computer operations on two shifts and trained new personnel as necessary.
  • Operate, set-up, and program Electronic Discharge Machines Design and produce custom tooling fixtures
  • Completed 2000+ program library updates for new COBOL compiler 4 weeks before deadline.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Operating System Programmers

  1. California
  2. North Carolina
  3. District of Columbia
  4. Virginia
  5. Washington
  6. Georgia
  7. Arizona
  8. Connecticut
  9. Texas
  10. Hawaii
  • (601 jobs)
  • (167 jobs)
  • (54 jobs)
  • (197 jobs)
  • (87 jobs)
  • (122 jobs)
  • (75 jobs)
  • (66 jobs)
  • (353 jobs)
  • (4 jobs)

Operating System Programmer Demographics

Gender

Male

75.7%

Female

15.1%

Unknown

9.3%
Ethnicity

White

62.5%

Hispanic or Latino

14.4%

Black or African American

10.9%

Asian

8.9%

Unknown

3.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

54.5%

Portuguese

9.1%

German

9.1%

French

9.1%

Hebrew

4.5%

Greek

4.5%

Nahuatl

4.5%

Mandarin

4.5%
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Operating System Programmer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

11.1%

Rochester Institute of Technology

10.0%

Villanova University

5.6%

Henry Ford College

5.6%

Salt Lake Community College

5.6%

Seattle Pacific University

5.6%

Grand Rapids Community College

4.4%

Illinois Institute of Technology

4.4%

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

4.4%

Full Sail University

4.4%

Bergen Community College

4.4%

Triton College

4.4%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

4.4%

Wake Technical Community College

4.4%

Northeastern University

4.4%

Ohio University -

3.3%

University of Toledo

3.3%

University of North Alabama

3.3%

Ashford University

3.3%

Pennsylvania State University

3.3%
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Majors

Computer Science

32.1%

Business

14.5%

Computer Information Systems

8.3%

Accounting

4.8%

Computer Programming

4.4%

Information Technology

4.4%

Precision Metal Working

3.7%

Electrical Engineering

3.5%

Computer Engineering

3.0%

Drafting And Design

2.5%

Data Processing

2.3%

Engineering And Industrial Management

2.3%

Mathematics

2.3%

Mechanical Engineering

2.1%

Management

1.8%

Industrial Technology

1.6%

Education

1.6%

Project Management

1.6%

Information Systems

1.6%

General Studies

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

37.3%

Other

24.9%

Associate

14.1%

Masters

13.2%

Certificate

7.0%

Diploma

2.2%

Doctorate

1.3%
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Updated May 19, 2020