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Become A Research Programmer

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Working As A Research 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

  • $74,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Research 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 Research 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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Research Programmer Career Paths

Research Programmer
Software Engineer Engineer Engineering Manager
Senior Engineering Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Senior Software Engineer
Chief Technology Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Consultant Senior Software Engineer
Director Of Software Development
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Project Manager Engineering Director
Vice President Of Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Software Developer Developer Business Analyst
Product Owner
9 Yearsyrs
Software Developer Project Manager Development Manager
Senior Development Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Software Developer Project Manager Information Technology Director
Director Of Information Technology Services
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Programmer Analyst Information Technology Director Chief Technology Officer
President & Chief Technology Officer
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Programmer Analyst Manager Applications Development
Application Development Director
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Programmer Analyst Senior Consultant Information Technology Manager
Information Systems Director
8 Yearsyrs
Member, Technical Staff Manager Senior Manager
Director Of Analytics
12 Yearsyrs
Member, Technical Staff Manager Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Development Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Member, Technical Staff Senior Systems Engineer Systems Manager
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Web Developer Consultant Information Technology Consultant
Information Technology Systems Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Web Developer Consultant Co-Founder
Chief Technology Officer & Founder
9 Yearsyrs
Web Developer Owner Information Technology Director
Director Of Infrastructure Operations
13 Yearsyrs
Systems Programmer Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager
Director, Applications
12 Yearsyrs
Systems Programmer Senior Project Manager Director Of Software Development
Vice President Of Software Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Systems Programmer Systems Analyst Information Systems Manager
Director Of Information Services
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Project Leader Manager Applications Development
Vice President Of Application Development
11 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Staff Programmer 4.7 years
Senior Programmer 3.5 years
Lead Programmer 3.2 years
Programmer 2.5 years
Web Programmer 2.0 years
Junior Programmer 1.8 years
Top Careers Before Research Programmer
Programmer 12.8%
Internship 7.4%
Consultant 6.9%
Researcher 4.0%
Developer 3.5%
Instructor 3.5%
Top Careers After Research Programmer
Programmer 7.1%
Consultant 6.2%
Internship 3.1%
Instructor 2.2%
Researcher 2.2%

Do you work as a Research Programmer?

Research Programmer Demographics

Gender

Male

60.6%

Unknown

22.1%

Female

17.3%
Ethnicity

White

49.3%

Asian

26.1%

Hispanic or Latino

9.9%

Black or African American

9.3%

Unknown

5.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Chinese

18.8%

Spanish

15.6%

Mandarin

15.6%

German

6.3%

Cantonese

6.3%

Japanese

6.3%

French

6.3%

Malay

3.1%

Welsh

3.1%

Hindi

3.1%

Dakota

3.1%

Urdu

3.1%

Korean

3.1%

Arabic

3.1%

Italian

3.1%
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Research Programmer Education

Schools

Carnegie Mellon University

18.8%

University of Southern California

10.0%

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

9.4%

University of Illinois University Administration

8.1%

University of Pittsburgh -

5.6%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

5.0%

New York University

3.8%

University of California - Los Angeles

3.8%

Indiana University Bloomington

3.8%

University of Illinois at Chicago

3.1%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

3.1%

Cornell University

3.1%

Pennsylvania State University

3.1%

Stanford University

3.1%

University of Texas at Dallas

3.1%

Illinois Institute of Technology

3.1%

Arizona State University

2.5%

University of California - Santa Cruz

2.5%

Drexel University

2.5%

Johns Hopkins University

2.5%
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Majors

Computer Science

42.0%

Electrical Engineering

8.7%

Computer Engineering

8.5%

Mathematics

4.9%

Business

4.4%

Statistics

4.4%

Physics

4.4%

Information Systems

3.4%

Computer Information Systems

2.4%

Chemistry

2.2%

Psychology

2.2%

Mechanical Engineering

1.9%

Economics

1.7%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

1.5%

Biostatistics

1.5%

Philosophy

1.2%

Biology

1.2%

Information Technology

1.2%

Engineering

1.2%

Information Sciences

1.2%
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Degrees

Masters

45.0%

Bachelors

30.5%

Doctorate

11.5%

Other

8.9%

Associate

1.8%

Certificate

1.4%

Diploma

0.9%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$74,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$55,000
Min 10%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$100,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Children's Institute
Highest Paying City
Palo Alto, CA
Highest Paying State
Washington
Avg Experience Level
2.5 years
How much does a Research Programmer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Research Programmer in the United States is $74,585 per year or $36 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $55,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $100,000.

Real Research Programmer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Research Programmer II The University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA Apr 01, 2014 $130,000
Research Programmer FX Palo Alto Laboratory, Inc. Palo Alto, CA Jun 09, 2016 $120,000
Research Programmer II The University of Southern California Vista, CA May 23, 2014 $108,347
Principal Research Programmer Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA Jan 12, 2015 $108,000
Research Programmer I The University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA Oct 26, 2015 $106,974
Research Programmer II The University of Southern California Vista, CA Jan 12, 2016 $101,672
Research Programmer II The University of Southern California Marina del Rey, CA Feb 15, 2015 $99,168
Research Programmer II The University of Southern California Marina del Rey, CA Jan 13, 2013 $99,012
Research Programmer II The University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA Jun 17, 2013 $99,012
Research Programmer II The University of Southern California Marina del Rey, CA Jan 01, 2016 $97,008
Research Programmer II The University of Southern California Vista, CA Sep 01, 2013 $94,099
Research Programmer II The University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA Dec 01, 2013 $92,700
Senior Research Programmer University of Illinois Urbana, IL Nov 15, 2014 $92,242
Research Programmer Carnegie Learning, Inc., An Apollo Group, Inc. com Pittsburgh, PA Mar 04, 2013 $80,511
Research Programmer I The University of Southern California Vista, CA Oct 18, 2013 $80,000
Research Programmer The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Houston, TX Aug 25, 2014 $80,000
Research Programmer The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Cente Houston, TX Aug 25, 2014 $80,000
Research Programmer I The University of Southern California Vista, CA Dec 01, 2013 $79,810
Research Programmer II The University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA Jun 01, 2015 $79,622
Research Programmer II University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA Mar 12, 2015 $79,622
Research Programmer II University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA May 28, 2015 $79,622
Senior Research Programmer University of Illinois Urbana, IL May 01, 2013 $69,216
Senior Research Programmer University of Illinois Urbana, IL Jan 05, 2013 $69,216
Visiting Research Programmer University of Illinois Urbana, IL May 10, 2014 $68,682
Software Research Programmer Blue Belt Technologies, Inc. Pittsburgh, PA Mar 10, 2014 $68,000
Research Programmer Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA Sep 12, 2013 $67,650
Researcher/Programmer Spectrum Asset Management LLC Chicago, IL Oct 02, 2013 $67,142 -
$80,142
Research Programmer University of Maryland College Park, MD Feb 01, 2013 $67,000
Research Programmer Wolfram Alpha LLC Champaign, IL Aug 16, 2014 $65,100

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Top Skills for A Research Programmer

  1. Extract Data
  2. SQL
  3. Web Application
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Developed modules to query database and extract data grouped on various input parameters.
  • Designed and implemented relational model database using MySQL DBMS.
  • Modified existing open source firmware in C++ to change feeder behavior to match the requirements of the lab experiments.
  • Worked with Database query language S QL, f unctions, triggers and stored procedures, Sequence and triggers.
  • Programmed a basic software in Python language that parse a limited sample of tweets and categorize them under different topics.

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Top 10 Best States for Research Programmers

  1. Washington
  2. California
  3. Colorado
  4. Massachusetts
  5. Virginia
  6. North Carolina
  7. District of Columbia
  8. Texas
  9. Rhode Island
  10. Connecticut
  • (1,390 jobs)
  • (4,563 jobs)
  • (658 jobs)
  • (963 jobs)
  • (1,388 jobs)
  • (786 jobs)
  • (194 jobs)
  • (1,521 jobs)
  • (79 jobs)
  • (223 jobs)

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