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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

  • $66,784

    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?

Programmer Jobs

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Programmer Career Paths

Programmer
Web Developer Applications Developer Senior Software Engineer
Chief Technology Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Director Of Information
10 Yearsyrs
Web Developer Senior Web Developer Senior Software Engineer
Director Of Software Development
12 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Information Technology Manager Technical Services Manager
Director Of Technology And Services
11 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Project Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Network Engineer Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Software Developer Systems Analyst Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Systems Engineer Systems Administrator
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Senior Software Engineer
Lead Developer
6 Yearsyrs
Programmer Analyst Senior Software Engineer
Lead Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Project Leader Project Manager
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Software Developer Applications Developer Senior Software Engineer
Senior .NET Developer
6 Yearsyrs
Project Leader Business Analyst Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Programmer Analyst Senior Systems Analyst Senior Software Engineer
Senior Java Developer
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Senior Consultant
Senior Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Systems Administrator Software Engineer
Senior Programmer Analyst
7 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Systems Engineer
Senior Software Engineer
6 Yearsyrs
Programmer Analyst Systems Analyst
Senior Systems Analyst
7 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Sales Consultant Solution Specialist
Solutions Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Analyst Systems Analyst
Systems Manager
7 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
Programmer Analyst 3.8 years
Senior Programmer 3.4 years
Lead Programmer 3.1 years
Programmer 3.0 years
Junior Programmer 1.8 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 6.6%
Consultant 6.6%
Developer 5.0%
Manager 2.4%
Top Employers After
Consultant 7.7%
Developer 4.3%
Manager 2.0%

Do you work as a Programmer?

Programmer Demographics

Gender

Male

70.4%

Female

25.5%

Unknown

4.1%
Ethnicity

White

69.2%

Asian

18.3%

Hispanic or Latino

8.9%

Unknown

2.8%

Black or African American

0.8%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

35.7%

French

11.6%

Chinese

7.5%

German

7.0%

Mandarin

6.5%

Japanese

5.7%

Portuguese

4.7%

Russian

4.0%

Cantonese

2.5%

Italian

2.3%

Vietnamese

2.0%

Arabic

2.0%

Hindi

1.7%

Carrier

1.3%

Korean

1.2%

Thai

1.0%

Tagalog

1.0%

Polish

0.8%

Ukrainian

0.7%

Greek

0.7%
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Programmer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

12.5%

University of Houston

5.9%

More Tech Institute

5.8%

George Mason University

5.5%

Purdue University

5.5%

University of Texas at Austin

5.1%

Pennsylvania State University

4.8%

Arizona State University

4.7%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.7%

Northeastern University

4.7%

Michigan State University

4.6%

Texas A&M University

4.5%

University of Maryland - College Park

4.3%

New York University

4.3%

George Washington University

4.0%

University of Texas at Arlington

4.0%

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

4.0%

Johns Hopkins University

3.8%

University of Texas at Dallas

3.7%

University of California - Irvine

3.7%
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Majors

Computer Science

35.7%

Business

10.4%

Computer Information Systems

7.3%

Computer Engineering

5.8%

Electrical Engineering

5.3%

Information Technology

4.8%

Computer Applications

4.2%

Mathematics

3.6%

Information Systems

3.3%

Computer Programming

3.3%

Management Information Systems

2.8%

Engineering

2.2%

Management

1.7%

Communication

1.5%

Accounting

1.5%

Mechanical Engineering

1.4%

Project Management

1.4%

Physics

1.4%

Psychology

1.3%

Finance

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

45.1%

Masters

24.9%

Other

15.1%

Associate

8.0%

Certificate

3.1%

Doctorate

2.1%

Diploma

1.5%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

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 Florham Park, NJ Apr 13, 2016 $135,000
SAP LE Programmer Sapere, LLP Springfield, IL Feb 17, 2015 $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 Jan 07, 2016 $75,338
SQL Programmer Focus Receivables Management, LLC Marietta, GA Mar 18, 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 KBE Programmer II Tata Technologies, Inc. Auburn Hills, MI Sep 06, 2015 $64,979
PLM KBE Programmer I Tata Technologies, Inc. Novi, MI Sep 06, 2015 $64,979
PLM Programmer I Tata Technologies, Inc. Novi, 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. Auburn Hills, MI Sep 06, 2015 $64,979
PLM 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 KBE Programmer II Tata Technologies, Inc. Novi, MI Sep 06, 2015 $64,979

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Top Skills for A Programmer

Pl/SqlWebApplicationWindowsNTMicrosoftSQLServerCobolProceduresLanguageHtmlASPJavascriptC#.NETUnixC/C++XMLUserInterfaceFinancialHardwareManagementSystemCSSDataEntry

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  1. Pl/Sql
  2. Web Application
  3. Windows NT
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Used Oracle Database (Embedded Pro*C, PL/SQL, and SQL*PLUS), for Defect Entry and Data Gathering System.
  • Develop Web application for call center to manage International Money Transfers to Mexico, Central and South America.
  • Installed/configured/optimized numerous servers running Windows NT & SQL Server.
  • Ported stored procedures from Microsoft SQL Server Transact-SQL to Oracle PL/SQL.
  • Developed and modified batch and on-line applications using COBOL.

How Would You Rate Working As a Programmer?

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