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Become A Staff Programmer

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Working As A Staff 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

  • $87,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Staff 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 Staff 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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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Staff Programmer 5.0 years
Senior Programmer 3.5 years
Lead Programmer 3.2 years
Programmer 2.5 years
Top Careers Before Staff Programmer
Programmer 13.2%
Consultant 4.8%
Internship 2.2%
Manager 2.2%
Top Careers After Staff Programmer
Consultant 9.6%
Programmer 3.4%
President 2.4%

Do you work as a Staff Programmer?

Average Yearly Salary
$87,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$66,000
Min 10%
$87,000
Median 50%
$87,000
Median 50%
$87,000
Median 50%
$87,000
Median 50%
$87,000
Median 50%
$87,000
Median 50%
$87,000
Median 50%
$115,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Edwards Lifesciences
Highest Paying City
Seattle, WA
Highest Paying State
Washington
Avg Experience Level
4.7 years
How much does a Staff Programmer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Staff Programmer in the United States is $87,689 per year or $42 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $66,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $115,000.

Real Staff Programmer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Staff Programmer SONY Computer Entertainment America LLC Los Angeles, CA Jul 21, 2014 $157,376
Staff Programmer Analyst Mindlance, Inc. San Diego, CA May 22, 2013 $155,000 -
$165,000
Staff Programmer Analyst Mindlance, Inc. San Diego, CA May 22, 2015 $155,000 -
$160,000
Staff Programmer Manager/Rf Engineering Qualcomm Technologies Inc. San Diego, CA Sep 25, 2015 $149,739 -
$187,300
Senior Staff Graphics Programmer SONY Computer Entertainment America LLC Santa Monica, CA Sep 10, 2014 $147,000
SR. Staff Graphics Programmer SONY Computer Entertainment America LLC. Santa Monica, CA Oct 11, 2011 $143,500
Senior Staff Programmer SONY Computer Entertainment America LLC Los Angeles, CA Jul 21, 2014 $134,420
SR. Staff Programmer SONY Computer Entertainment America LLC Bellevue, WA Sep 17, 2015 $132,500
Senior Staff Programmer SONY Computer Entertainment America LLC. Santa Monica, CA Dec 01, 2011 $130,000
Senior Staff Programmer SONY Computer Entertainment America LLC Santa Monica, CA Oct 07, 2012 $124,630
Senior Staff Programmer SONY Computer Entertainment America LLC. Santa Monica, CA Sep 27, 2012 $124,630
Senior Staff Programmer SONY Computer Entertainment America LLC Santa Monica, CA Mar 14, 2011 $120,000
Staff Programmer Analyst Qualcomm Incorporated San Diego, CA Jul 13, 2011 $117,561
Staff Programmer Analyst/Sharepoint Development Qualcomm, Inc. San Diego, CA Jan 09, 2016 $114,192 -
$141,600
Staff Programmer Analyst Walt Disney Pictures Burbank, CA Jun 24, 2012 $105,000
Staff Programmer Analyst Walt Disney Pictures Burbank, CA Oct 01, 2012 $105,000
Staff Programmer Analyst On Semiconductor Gresham, OR Aug 01, 2010 $104,083 -
$114,083
Staff Programmer Analyst-Selling (WEB) Nordstrom, Inc. Seattle, WA Jan 24, 2012 $103,100
Staff Programmer Analyst-Merchandise Development Nordstrom, Inc. Seattle, WA Jun 01, 2013 $100,900
Staff Programmer Analyst-Store Systems Nordstrom, Inc. Seattle, WA Jan 14, 2012 $100,500
Staff Programmer and Developer Waypoint Homes, Inc. Oakland, CA Sep 10, 2013 $100,000
Staff Programmer Analyst-Tibco Nordstrom, Inc. Seattle, WA Jun 16, 2011 $93,800
Staff Programmer Analyst Nordstrom, Inc. Seattle, WA Jul 01, 2011 $92,700
Staff Programmer Analyst Qualcomm Incorporated San Diego, CA May 11, 2015 $92,000 -
$138,000
Staff Programmer Analyst-IT Logistics Systems Nordstrom, Inc. Seattle, WA Apr 21, 2011 $92,000
Staff Programmer Analyst Nordstrom, Inc. Seattle, WA Jun 15, 2011 $92,000
Staff Programmer Analyst Qualcomm Incorporated San Diego, CA Aug 01, 2015 $90,000 -
$135,000
Staff Programmer Analyst Qualcomm Incorporated San Diego, CA Apr 03, 2015 $90,000 -
$135,000
Staff Programmer Analyst Qualcomm Incorporated San Diego, CA Jan 26, 2015 $90,000 -
$135,000

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Top Skills for A Staff Programmer

  1. Database
  2. Pl/Sql
  3. Cobol
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Verified and validated data loads for various agency nuclear regulatory clients in Oracle databases.
  • Served as Customer Service Representative meeting with customers to better understand their requirements, then documenting and coding requirements using COBOL.
  • Customized and supported vendor web applications using IBM Lotus/Domino technology.
  • Maintained existing mainframe system and participated in development many new applications.
  • Designed and implemented several DB2 stored procedures.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Staff Programmers

  1. District of Columbia
  2. North Carolina
  3. Washington
  4. Pennsylvania
  5. Connecticut
  6. Virginia
  7. Rhode Island
  8. California
  9. Massachusetts
  10. Alaska
  • (65 jobs)
  • (196 jobs)
  • (118 jobs)
  • (312 jobs)
  • (80 jobs)
  • (190 jobs)
  • (18 jobs)
  • (784 jobs)
  • (157 jobs)
  • (21 jobs)

Staff Programmer Demographics

Gender

Male

68.1%

Female

22.7%

Unknown

9.2%
Ethnicity

White

56.5%

Asian

16.6%

Hispanic or Latino

12.9%

Black or African American

11.0%

Unknown

3.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

57.1%

Thai

14.3%

Cantonese

14.3%

Chinese

14.3%
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Staff Programmer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

10.9%

University of Texas at Austin

9.1%

American River College

5.5%

National University

5.5%

Transylvania University

5.5%

George Washington University

5.5%

Case Western Reserve University

5.5%

University of Utah

5.5%

George Mason University

5.5%

Stevens Institute of Technology

5.5%

Brown University

3.6%

Milwaukee School of Engineering

3.6%

Iona College

3.6%

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

3.6%

Marist College

3.6%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

3.6%

University of California - Santa Barbara

3.6%

University of California - Davis

3.6%

University of Louisville

3.6%

University of Bridgeport

3.6%
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Majors

Computer Science

35.9%

Business

13.5%

Computer Information Systems

8.1%

Computer Engineering

4.9%

Management Information Systems

4.5%

Information Systems

4.5%

Electrical Engineering

4.0%

Information Technology

3.1%

Management

2.2%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.2%

Project Management

2.2%

Liberal Arts

2.2%

Mathematics

1.8%

Finance

1.8%

Accounting

1.8%

Mathematics And Computer Science

1.8%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.3%

Computer Programming

1.3%

Computer Applications

1.3%

Economics

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

48.1%

Masters

26.8%

Other

11.0%

Associate

8.2%

Doctorate

3.1%

Certificate

1.7%

Diploma

1.0%
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