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Working as a Programmer

Programmers are responsible for writing and testing code to ensure that computer applications and other software programs are working correctly. So if working on the behind-the-scenes of computers is right up your alley, then you should consider this career.

Generally, programmers go to school for their bachelor's degree before pursuing this career. But there have been a few that only have an associate's degree. Almost all programmers know a few programming languages. The job isn't taxing on you, as you'll mostly be working in an office. But you might be able to improve your brain a bit.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a programmer. For example, did you know that they make an average of $33.55 an hour? That's $69,778 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow -7% and produce -17,900 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Programmer Do

There are certain skills that many programmers have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed analytical skills, creativity and communication skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a programmer, we found that a lot of resumes listed 8.3% of programmers included java, while 7.9% of resumes included javascript, and 6.6% of resumes included procedures. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the programmer job title. But what industry to start with? Most programmers actually find jobs in the technology and manufacturing industries.

How To Become a Programmer

If you're interested in becoming a programmer, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 53.5% of programmers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 23.5% of programmers have master's degrees. Even though most programmers have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a programmer. When we researched the most common majors for a programmer, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or master's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on programmer resumes include associate degree degrees or high school diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a programmer. In fact, many programmer jobs require experience in a role such as programmer analyst. Meanwhile, many programmers also have previous career experience in roles such as software engineer or internship.

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Average Salary$69,778
Job Growth Rate-7%

Programmer Jobs

Programmer Career Paths

Top Careers Before Programmer

Top Careers After Programmer

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Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Programmer

Programmers in America make an average salary of $69,778 per year or $34 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $85,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $56,000 per year.
Average Salary
$69,778

Best Paying Cities

Average Salary
Salary Range76k - 106k$90k$90,135
Salary Range70k - 99k$84k$84,011
Salary Range66k - 93k$79k$79,032
Salary Range63k - 89k$75k$74,947
Salary Range62k - 89k$75k$74,910
Salary Range62k - 88k$75k$74,645
$50k
$106k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Programmer
Programmer
United States Courts
United States Courts
10/30/2020
10/30/2020
$51,63010/30/2020
$51,630
Production Machine Programmer
Production Machine Programmer
Randstad
Randstad
10/15/2020
10/15/2020
$62,61010/15/2020
$62,610
Swiss Screw Machine Programmer
Swiss Screw Machine Programmer
Randstad
Randstad
10/09/2020
10/09/2020
$75,00010/09/2020
$75,000
Programmer I-Psychiatry
Programmer I-Psychiatry
Washington University of St. Louis
Washington University of St. Louis
10/06/2020
10/06/2020
$47,98510/06/2020
$47,985
Tracs Unit Programmer
Tracs Unit Programmer
Randstad
Randstad
10/06/2020
10/06/2020
$62,61010/06/2020
$62,610
See More Recent Salaries

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Programmer Demographics

Gender

male

67.6%

female

26.2%

unknown

6.2%

Ethnicity

White

60.2%

Asian

18.4%

Hispanic or Latino

9.7%

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

36.4%

French

10.7%

Chinese

8.8%
See More Demographics

Programmer Education

Degrees

Bachelors

53.5%

Masters

23.5%

Associate

10.8%

Top Colleges for Programmers

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, MA

Tuition and fees
$51,832
Enrollment
4,550

2. Stanford University

Stanford, CA

Tuition and fees
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

3. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA

Tuition and fees
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

4. Duke University

Durham, NC

Tuition and fees
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

5. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

Tuition and fees
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

6. Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA

Tuition and fees
$12,424
Enrollment
15,201

7. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

Tuition and fees
$55,188
Enrollment
15,105

8. Georgetown University

Washington, DC

Tuition and fees
$54,104
Enrollment
7,089

9. Dartmouth College

Hanover, NH

Tuition and fees
$55,453
Enrollment
4,312

10. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

Tuition and fees
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451
See More Education Info

Entry Level Jobs For Becoming A Programmer

Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a 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, 8.3% of programmers listed java on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and creativity are important as well.

Best States For a Programmer

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a programmer. The best states for people in this position are Washington, West Virginia, Colorado, and California. Programmers make the most in Washington with an average salary of $89,595. Whereas in West Virginia and Colorado, they would average $79,611 and $76,710, respectively. While programmers would only make an average of $76,320 in California, 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 Programmer Jobs:
5,159
Highest 10% Earn:
$122,000
Location Quotient:
2.66
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. Colorado

Total Programmer Jobs:
1,896
Highest 10% Earn:
$107,000
Location Quotient:
1.22
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 Programmer Jobs:
1,979
Highest 10% Earn:
$102,000
Location Quotient:
0.92
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
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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 programmer. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

At Zippia, we went through countless 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 Write a Programmer Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless 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.

View Detailed Information

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Top Programmer Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ programmers and discovered their number of programmer opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that LCC International Inc. was the best, especially with an average salary of $77,876. Infosys Public Services, Inc. follows up with an average salary of $79,247, and then comes SCC Soft Computer with an average of $61,458. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a programmer. The employers include Republic Bank, Saturn Consortium, and The Computer Merchant

1. LCC International
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$77,876
Programmers Hired: 
2,288+
2. Infosys Public Services
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$79,247
Programmers Hired: 
784+
3. SCC Soft Computer
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$61,458
Programmers Hired: 
292+
4. Tata Consultancy Services
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$72,534
Programmers Hired: 
272+
5. IBM
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$84,673
Programmers Hired: 
183+
6. Global Data Systems
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$76,683
Programmers Hired: 
138+

Programmer Videos

Recently Added Programmer Jobs

Updated October 2, 2020