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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

  • $79,567

    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 Jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Senior Programmer 3.4 years
Lead Programmer 3.1 years
Programmer 2.6 years
Junior Programmer 1.8 years
Game Programmer 1.5 years
Top Employers Before
Programmer 12.0%
Consultant 7.6%
Internship 7.2%
Instructor 3.6%
Developer 3.2%
Fellow 2.8%
Researcher 2.8%
Volunteer 2.0%
Top Employers After
Consultant 6.9%
Programmer 6.6%
Researcher 3.1%
Instructor 2.8%
Volunteer 2.4%
Internship 2.4%

Do you work as a Research Programmer?

Research Programmer Demographics

Gender

Male

68.3%

Female

19.1%

Unknown

12.6%
Ethnicity

White

48.3%

Asian

27.8%

Hispanic or Latino

9.6%

Black or African American

9.1%

Unknown

5.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Mandarin

20.0%

Chinese

16.0%

Spanish

12.0%

Cantonese

8.0%

German

4.0%

Welsh

4.0%

Japanese

4.0%

French

4.0%

Malay

4.0%

Hindi

4.0%

Dakota

4.0%

Urdu

4.0%

Korean

4.0%

Arabic

4.0%

Italian

4.0%
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Research Programmer Education

Schools

Carnegie Mellon University

19.5%

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

9.3%

University of Illinois University Administration

8.5%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

5.9%

Stanford University

5.1%

University of Southern California

5.1%

Pennsylvania State University

4.2%

University of Pittsburgh -

4.2%

Cornell University

4.2%

University of California - Santa Cruz

3.4%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

3.4%

University of California - Los Angeles

3.4%

Drexel University

3.4%

University of Texas at Dallas

3.4%

Columbia University

3.4%

University of Maryland - College Park

3.4%

University of Illinois at Chicago

2.5%

Indiana University Bloomington

2.5%

Northeastern University

2.5%

Johns Hopkins University

2.5%
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Majors

Computer Science

36.2%

Electrical Engineering

10.2%

Computer Engineering

8.5%

Business

5.7%

Mathematics

5.7%

Statistics

5.3%

Information Systems

3.7%

Physics

3.7%

Chemistry

2.8%

Mechanical Engineering

2.8%

Biostatistics

2.0%

Fine Arts

1.6%

Economics

1.6%

Biomedical Engineering

1.6%

Psychology

1.6%

Engineering

1.6%

Computer Information Systems

1.6%

Education

1.2%

Biology

1.2%

Industrial Engineering

1.2%
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Degrees

Masters

47.3%

Bachelors

27.2%

Doctorate

12.3%

Other

9.2%

Associate

2.0%

Certificate

1.4%

Diploma

0.6%
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Internship
Temporary

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

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  1. Data Collection
  2. C++
  3. Web
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Design, program and evaluate user interfaces utilizing web-based data collection.
  • Modified existing open source firmware in C++ to change feeder behavior to match the requirements of the lab experiments.
  • Created several web service wrappers around analysis programs they provided.
  • Developed a data model based on a bi-directional graph representing probabilities that objects move from one location to another.
  • Implement a NoSQL Database (MongoDB) to store machine learning results and display on the Flask web app.

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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)

Top Research Programmer Employers

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