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Become A Systems Programmer

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Working As A Systems 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

  • $76,679

    Average Salary

What Does A Systems 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 Systems 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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Systems Programmer Jobs

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Systems Programmer Career Paths

Systems Programmer
Software Developer Systems Analyst Senior Programmer Analyst
Application Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Software Developer Business Analyst Business Systems Senior Analyst
Business Systems Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Engineer Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Data Center Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Programmer Analyst Senior Consultant Information Technology Director
Director Of Infrastructure Operations
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Analyst Information Technology Project Manager Information Technology Director
Director Of Managed Services
9 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Senior Software Engineer
Director Of Software Development
12 Yearsyrs
Technical Consultant Network Administrator Technical Services Manager
Director Of Technology And Services
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Analyst Senior Consultant Information Technology Manager
Director, Applications
12 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Network Engineer Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Senior Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Systems Manager MIS Manager
MIS Director
6 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Business Analyst
Product Owner
9 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Systems Analyst Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Service Delivery Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Analyst Systems Analyst
Systems Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Engineer Technical Consultant Network Administrator
Technical Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Senior Engineer Engineering Manager
Vice President Of Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Information Technology Project Manager Information Technology Director
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Programmer Analyst Senior Analyst Assistant Vice President
Vice President, Technology
11 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Systems Programmer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Systems Programmer 5.0 years
Systems Designer 3.2 years
Systems Engineer 3.1 years
Systems Consultant 2.9 years
Programmer 2.6 years
Top Employers Before
Programmer 11.0%
Consultant 6.4%
Top Employers After
Consultant 11.3%
Manager 3.9%
Programmer 3.4%

Do you work as a Systems Programmer?

Systems Programmer Demographics

Gender

Male

80.5%

Female

16.7%

Unknown

2.8%
Ethnicity

White

60.1%

Hispanic or Latino

12.8%

Asian

11.8%

Black or African American

11.2%

Unknown

4.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

35.7%

German

14.3%

French

11.9%

Chinese

8.3%

Italian

3.6%

Arabic

3.6%

Mandarin

2.4%

Greek

2.4%

Carrier

2.4%

Japanese

2.4%

Hindi

2.4%

Gujarati

1.2%

Cheyenne

1.2%

Dutch

1.2%

Korean

1.2%

Russian

1.2%

Thai

1.2%

Afrikaans

1.2%

Tagalog

1.2%

Portuguese

1.2%
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Systems Programmer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

15.7%

Pennsylvania State University

7.2%

University of Maryland - College Park

6.2%

Florida State University

5.6%

University of Maryland - University College

5.2%

George Mason University

5.2%

Northern Illinois University

5.2%

University of Pittsburgh -

4.9%

University of Houston

4.6%

University of Kansas

4.6%

Drexel University

3.9%

Iowa State University

3.9%

University of South Florida

3.6%

University of Kentucky

3.6%

Purdue University

3.6%

University of Arizona

3.6%

New York University

3.3%

University of Tennessee - Knoxville

3.3%

Brigham Young University

3.3%

University of Pennsylvania

3.3%
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Majors

Computer Science

37.5%

Business

14.4%

Computer Information Systems

7.5%

Electrical Engineering

5.5%

Computer Engineering

4.3%

Information Technology

3.6%

Mathematics

3.6%

Information Systems

3.4%

Computer Programming

2.7%

Management Information Systems

2.6%

Management

2.4%

Project Management

2.2%

Accounting

1.6%

Finance

1.5%

Education

1.5%

Data Processing

1.3%

Computer Technical Support

1.2%

Computer Applications

1.2%

Information Sciences

1.1%

Economics

1.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

43.9%

Masters

22.0%

Other

18.3%

Associate

8.7%

Certificate

4.0%

Doctorate

2.2%

Diploma

0.8%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Systems Programmer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Systems Programmer II PDT Partners LLC New York, NY Jul 29, 2016 $185,000
Systems Programmer PDT Partners, LLC New York, NY Feb 14, 2015 $185,000
Systems Programmer PDT Partners, LLC New York, NY Jul 31, 2015 $185,000
Systems Programmer II PDT Partners, LLC New York, NY Feb 23, 2016 $175,000
Systems Programmer Infinera Corporation Sunnyvale, CA Dec 13, 2016 $164,382 -
$179,700
Staff Systems Programmer Infinera Corporation Sunnyvale, CA Nov 14, 2016 $157,477 -
$179,700
Senior, Systems Programmer Infinera Corporation Sunnyvale, CA May 13, 2015 $134,534 -
$140,400
Principal Computer Systems Programmer New York State Unified Court System New York, NY Oct 20, 2016 $131,572
Systems Programmer Apple Inc. Newark, CA Jul 01, 2016 $130,000 -
$148,400
Systems Programmer PDT Partners, LLC New York, NY Feb 14, 2015 $129,000
System Programmer Radiant Logic, Inc. Novato, CA Oct 01, 2015 $128,544
System Programmer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Jan 28, 2015 $125,000 -
$145,400
Systems Programmer Apple Inc. Newark, CA May 11, 2016 $122,949 -
$151,300
SR. Systems Programmer Illumina San Diego, CA Apr 13, 2016 $122,803 -
$135,000
Systems Programmer Medical Science & Computing, Inc. Bethesda, MD Oct 17, 2016 $94,999
Systems Programmer IV University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA Dec 01, 2016 $94,552
Systems Programmer IV University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA Jan 12, 2016 $94,552
SR. Systems Programmer Illumina San Diego, CA Nov 05, 2016 $92,768 -
$120,000
SR. Systems Programmer Illumina, Inc. San Diego, CA Jun 15, 2016 $91,749 -
$131,749
System Development Programmer Xerox Business Services, LLC Richmond, VA Jun 11, 2015 $91,062
Systems Programmer V-Soft Consulting Group, Inc. Westbury, NY Jan 02, 2016 $90,000
System Programmer IBM India Private Limited Charlotte, NC Jul 01, 2016 $69,826
System Programmer IBM India Private Limited Charlotte, NC Jul 06, 2016 $69,826
System Programmer IBM India Private Limited Charlotte, NC Jan 07, 2016 $69,826
System Programmer IBM India Private Limited Charlotte, NC Dec 07, 2016 $69,826
System Programmer Cvent, Inc. McLean, VA Aug 21, 2016 $69,638
Senior Systems Programmer, Business Intelligence Compass Bank Birmingham, AL Feb 01, 2015 $69,200
Applications Systems Programmer AVCO Consulting Inc. Worcester, MA Apr 14, 2016 $69,160
Systems Programmer Aplomb Technologies, Inc. Bellevue, WA Jan 09, 2016 $69,000

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Top Skills for A Systems Programmer

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  1. Mainframe
  2. Computer
  3. MVS
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Evaluated and recommended mainframe software.
  • Championed work with Numerical Control and Coordinate Measurement Machines in conjunction with Computer Aided Design to establish closed loop engineering process.
  • Supervised the installation and configuration of two IBM 2106 (DS8100) DASD sub-systems for the VSE to MVS conversion.
  • Provided assistance to Database Administrator for database maintenance and restructures.
  • Performed maintenance and customization support for CICS gateway and CICS/TS at various version levels running under z/OS for multiple system environments.

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Top 10 Best States for Systems Programmers

  1. California
  2. Maryland
  3. North Carolina
  4. District of Columbia
  5. Massachusetts
  6. Colorado
  7. Florida
  8. Alabama
  9. Connecticut
  10. New York
  • (2,060 jobs)
  • (1,174 jobs)
  • (482 jobs)
  • (320 jobs)
  • (484 jobs)
  • (593 jobs)
  • (709 jobs)
  • (403 jobs)
  • (181 jobs)
  • (768 jobs)

Top Systems Programmer Employers

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Jobs From Top Systems Programmer Employers

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