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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

  • $70,000

    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
Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager Director Of Information
Chief Information Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Senior Software Engineer
Chief Technology Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Lead Technician Systems Administrator
Director Of Information
10 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Consultant Senior Software Engineer
Director Of Software Development
12 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Manager Technical Services Manager
Director Of Technology And Services
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Database Administrator Technical Consultant Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Systems Analyst Systems Administrator
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Engineer Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Engineer Software Engineer
Senior Programmer Analyst
7 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Network Engineer Systems Engineer
Senior Software Engineer
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Senior Systems Engineer Systems Administrator
Senior System Administrator
8 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Systems Engineer
Senior Systems Engineer
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Technician Specialist Sales Consultant Solution Specialist
Solutions Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Programmer Analyst Technical Consultant Network Administrator
Systems Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Database Administrator Senior Software Engineer Technical Manager
Technical Director
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager Engineering Director
Vice President Of Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Information Technology Manager Director Of Information
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Analyst Program Manager Technical Director
Vice President, Technology
11 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Staff Programmer 5.4 years
Systems Programmer 5.0 years
Programmer Analyst 4.0 years
Cobol Programmer 4.0 years
Senior Programmer 3.4 years
Systems Analyst 3.4 years
Systems Engineer 3.2 years
Lead Programmer 3.1 years
Systems Designer 3.1 years
Systems Consultant 3.0 years
Programmer 2.6 years
Junior Programmer 1.8 years
Top Employers Before
Programmer 10.2%
Consultant 6.2%
Top Employers After
Consultant 10.5%
Manager 3.7%
Programmer 3.0%

Systems Programmer Demographics

Gender

Male

80.2%

Female

16.9%

Unknown

2.9%
Ethnicity

White

77.6%

Asian

11.6%

Hispanic or Latino

7.9%

Unknown

2.3%

Black or African American

0.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

37.5%

German

13.9%

French

11.1%

Chinese

6.9%

Arabic

4.2%

Greek

2.8%

Carrier

2.8%

Italian

2.8%

Hindi

2.8%

Swedish

1.4%

Gujarati

1.4%

Cheyenne

1.4%

Dutch

1.4%

Mandarin

1.4%

Korean

1.4%

Russian

1.4%

Thai

1.4%

Afrikaans

1.4%

Tagalog

1.4%

Portuguese

1.4%
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Systems Programmer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

16.6%

Pennsylvania State University

7.0%

University of Maryland - University College

5.6%

University of Maryland - College Park

5.6%

Florida State University

5.6%

Northern Illinois University

5.6%

George Mason University

5.0%

University of Pittsburgh -

4.7%

University of Houston

4.3%

University of Kansas

4.3%

University of South Florida

3.7%

Marist College

3.7%

Purdue University

3.7%

Drexel University

3.7%

Strayer University

3.7%

Iowa State University

3.7%

University of Arizona

3.7%

New York University

3.3%

University of Tennessee - Knoxville

3.3%

Temple University

3.3%
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Majors

Computer Science

37.2%

Business

14.1%

Computer Information Systems

7.7%

Electrical Engineering

5.8%

Computer Engineering

4.3%

Information Technology

3.7%

Mathematics

3.5%

Information Systems

3.4%

Computer Programming

2.6%

Management

2.6%

Management Information Systems

2.5%

Project Management

2.3%

Accounting

1.7%

Finance

1.5%

Education

1.4%

Data Processing

1.3%

Computer Applications

1.2%

Computer Technical Support

1.2%

Computer Networking

1.1%

Information Sciences

1.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

43.3%

Masters

22.2%

Other

18.5%

Associate

8.7%

Certificate

4.1%

Doctorate

2.3%

Diploma

0.9%

License

0.0%
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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 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

MainframeHardwareDatabaseCicsMvs/XaDisasterRecoveryWebUnixWindowsNTDB2SQLServerStorageSystemSoftwareCobolTechnicalSupportVtamLparsDasdTcp/IpJCL

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Top Systems Programmer Skills

  1. Mainframe
  2. Hardware
  3. Database
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Directed testing and upgrade activities on four IBM mainframes, and supervised five programmers.
  • Assist and advise management regarding hardware and software acquisitions.
  • Designed relational databases to perpetuate custom application development.
  • Installed CICS 3.2 Worked on several bundled software implementations on time and without undue outages.
  • Upgraded to MVS/XA version 2.2 during an applications conversion from DOS to MVS and trained operators in the new operating system.

Top Systems Programmer Employers

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