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Become A Programmer

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Working As A 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

  • $73,000

    Average Salary

What Does A 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 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 Programmer?

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Programmer Jobs

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Programmer Career Paths

Programmer
Systems Analyst Systems Administrator 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
Consultant Project Manager Development Manager
Senior Development Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Consultant Project Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Information Technology Infrastructure Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Network Engineer Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Information Systems Manager
Information Systems Director
8 Yearsyrs
Consultant Information Technology Manager Information Technology Director
Director Of Information Technology Services
12 Yearsyrs
Programmer Analyst Senior Software Engineer Chief Technology Officer
President & Chief Technology Officer
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Programmer Analyst Manager Applications Development
Application Development Director
11 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Senior Programmer Analyst
Application Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Development Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Project Manager Co-Founder
Chief Technology Officer & Founder
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Director Of Software Development
Vice President Of Software Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Information Systems Manager
Director Of Information Services
9 Yearsyrs
Project Leader Information Technology Project Manager Information Technology Director
Director Of Enterprise Architecture
14 Yearsyrs
Senior Programmer Analyst Application Manager
Director, Applications
12 Yearsyrs
Project Leader Manager Applications Development Application Development Director
Vice President Of Application Development
11 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Analyst
Information Technology Supervisor, Information Technology
6 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Information Technology Operations Manager
Manager Information Technology Applications
11 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a 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 2.0 years
Junior Programmer 1.8 years
Top Careers Before Programmer
Internship 8.2%
Consultant 6.4%
Developer 5.1%
Manager 2.7%
Cashier 2.7%
Top Careers After Programmer
Consultant 7.2%
Developer 4.7%
Manager 2.0%

Do you work as a Programmer?

Programmer Demographics

Gender

Male

64.1%

Female

24.6%

Unknown

11.3%
Ethnicity

White

54.6%

Asian

17.9%

Hispanic or Latino

13.1%

Black or African American

9.9%

Unknown

4.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

36.4%

French

10.7%

Chinese

8.8%

Mandarin

6.9%

Japanese

6.4%

German

5.9%

Portuguese

4.2%

Russian

3.7%

Italian

2.8%

Cantonese

2.3%

Arabic

2.3%

Vietnamese

1.8%

Korean

1.6%

Hindi

1.5%

Carrier

1.0%

Polish

1.0%

Thai

0.9%

Tagalog

0.7%

Bengali

0.6%

Dutch

0.5%
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Programmer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

10.9%

University of Houston

6.1%

More Tech Institute

5.8%

Arizona State University

5.5%

University of Texas at Dallas

5.4%

New York University

5.3%

Pennsylvania State University

5.2%

University of Texas at Austin

4.9%

George Mason University

4.7%

Purdue University

4.5%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

4.5%

Texas A&M University

4.4%

Northeastern University

4.4%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.2%

University of California - Irvine

4.1%

University of Southern California

4.1%

University of Texas at Arlington

4.0%

George Washington University

4.0%

University of Maryland - College Park

3.9%

Illinois Institute of Technology

3.9%
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Majors

Computer Science

36.5%

Business

9.6%

Computer Information Systems

7.3%

Computer Engineering

6.5%

Electrical Engineering

5.4%

Information Technology

5.0%

Computer Applications

4.2%

Mathematics

3.3%

Information Systems

3.2%

Computer Programming

3.2%

Management Information Systems

2.7%

Engineering

2.1%

Management

1.6%

Accounting

1.5%

Communication

1.4%

Mechanical Engineering

1.4%

Finance

1.3%

Physics

1.2%

Education

1.2%

Project Management

1.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

46.0%

Masters

25.5%

Other

14.0%

Associate

8.0%

Certificate

3.0%

Doctorate

1.9%

Diploma

1.6%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$73,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$54,000
Min 10%
$73,000
Median 50%
$73,000
Median 50%
$73,000
Median 50%
$73,000
Median 50%
$73,000
Median 50%
$73,000
Median 50%
$73,000
Median 50%
$98,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Nvidia
Highest Paying City
Bothell, WA
Highest Paying State
Washington
Avg Experience Level
2.5 years
How much does a Programmer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Programmer in the United States is $73,086 per year or $35 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $54,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $98,000.

Real Programmer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Programmer, Structured Products Analytics (VP) Jpmorgan Chase & Co. New York, NY Jun 02, 2015 $200,000
Programmer, Structured Products Analytics (VP) JP Morgan Chase & Co New York, NY Mar 18, 2015 $200,000
Enterprise Programmer (ERP Developer) Fortinet, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Dec 20, 2016 $169,749
Robot Programmer STR Group USA, Inc. Everett, WA Mar 09, 2016 $169,000
C++ Programmer IBG LLC Greenwich, CT Dec 19, 2015 $160,000 -
$180,000
Programmer Pinnacle Technical Resources Inc. Jersey City, NJ May 23, 2016 $152,351
Programmer Anaylst AIT Global, Inc. New York, NY Jun 09, 2015 $150,000
Programmer Prof Mkts Bank of America N.A. New York, NY Aug 23, 2015 $145,000 -
$165,000
Programmer Fred Alger & Company Incorporated Jersey City, NJ Mar 05, 2016 $140,000
Programmer Actuarial AIG Employee Services, Inc. New York, NY Dec 16, 2015 $135,000
SAP LE Programmer Sapere, LLP Springfield, IL Feb 17, 2015 $135,000
SAP LE Programmer Sapere LLP Florham Park, NJ Apr 13, 2016 $135,000
Dynamics AX Programmer Accuray Incorporated Sunnyvale, CA Jul 10, 2015 $134,534
.NET Programmer MacRosoft Inc. Parsippany-Troy Hills, NJ Nov 20, 2015 $132,954
Programmer Tech Mahindra (Americas), Inc. Overland Park, KS Jun 24, 2015 $75,422
Programmer Tech Mahindra (Americas), Inc. Middletown, NJ Aug 21, 2015 $75,371
SQL Programmer Focus Receivables Management, LLC Marietta, GA Mar 18, 2016 $75,338
SQL Programmer Focus Receivables Management, LLC Marietta, GA Jan 07, 2016 $75,338
Programmer Code Ace Solutions Inc. San Antonio, TX Aug 15, 2015 $75,132
Programmer SONY Computer Entertainment America LLC San Diego, CA Sep 08, 2016 $75,017
Programmer SONY Computer Entertainment America LLC San Diego, CA Aug 25, 2015 $75,016
Programmer Celerity It, LLC New York, NY Nov 24, 2015 $75,000
PLM Programmer II Tata Technologies, Inc. Auburn Hills, MI Sep 06, 2015 $64,979
PLM Programmer II Tata Technologies, Inc. Novi, MI Sep 06, 2015 $64,979
PLM KBE Programmer I Tata Technologies, Inc. Novi, MI Sep 06, 2015 $64,979
PLM KBE Programmer I Tata Technologies, Inc. Auburn Hills, MI Sep 06, 2015 $64,979
PLM KBE Programmer II Tata Technologies, Inc. Novi, MI Sep 06, 2015 $64,979
PLM KBE Programmer II Tata Technologies, Inc. Auburn Hills, MI Sep 06, 2015 $64,979
PLM Programmer I Tata Technologies, Inc. Auburn Hills, MI Sep 06, 2015 $64,979
PLM Programmer I Tata Technologies, Inc. Novi, MI Sep 06, 2015 $64,979

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Top Skills for A Programmer

  1. Pl/Sql
  2. Data Entry
  3. Web Application
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Developed Reports for Asset Reconciliation and Collateral System (ARC) using Developer 2000 and PL/SQL from 11i database.
  • Programmed a micro-controller data entry system to replace IBM Selectric typewriters and optical scanners.
  • Incorporated Ajax development into web applications for seamless handling of application data.
  • Project MetLife Win2Web Type Development Platform Windows XP Software Java, JSP, Struts, Hibernate, HTML, Java script
  • Exported/Imported data between different data sources using SQL Server Management Studio.

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Top 10 Best States for Programmers

  1. Washington
  2. Rhode Island
  3. Arizona
  4. North Carolina
  5. Illinois
  6. Maine
  7. Minnesota
  8. California
  9. District of Columbia
  10. Georgia
  • (5,159 jobs)
  • (214 jobs)
  • (1,053 jobs)
  • (1,979 jobs)
  • (2,640 jobs)
  • (105 jobs)
  • (1,255 jobs)
  • (11,933 jobs)
  • (752 jobs)
  • (1,697 jobs)

Top Programmer Employers

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Jobs From Top Programmer Employers

Programmer Videos

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