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Working as a Systems Programmer

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a systems programmer. For example, did you know that they make an average of $36.95 an hour? That's $76,851 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow -7% and produce -17,900 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Systems Programmer Do

There are certain skills that many systems programmers have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed analytical skills, creativity and communication skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a systems programmer, we found that a lot of resumes listed 6.5% of systems programmers included hardware, while 6.0% of resumes included mainframe, and 5.6% of resumes included c++. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the systems programmer job title. But what industry to start with? Most systems programmers actually find jobs in the technology and professional industries.

How To Become a Systems Programmer

If you're interested in becoming a systems programmer, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 54.4% of systems programmers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 22.2% of systems programmers have master's degrees. Even though most systems programmers have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a systems programmer. When we researched the most common majors for a systems programmer, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or master's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on systems programmer resumes include associate degree degrees or high school diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a systems programmer. In fact, many systems programmer jobs require experience in a role such as programmer analyst. Meanwhile, many systems programmers also have previous career experience in roles such as programmer or computer operator.

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Average Salary$76,851
Job Growth Rate-7%

Systems Programmer Jobs

Systems Programmer Career Paths

Top Careers Before Systems Programmer

Top Careers After Systems Programmer

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Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Systems Programmer

Systems Programmers in America make an average salary of $76,851 per year or $37 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $106,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $55,000 per year.
Average Salary
$76,851

Best Paying Cities

Average Salary
Salary Range86k - 130k$106k$106,311
Salary Range78k - 118k$97k$96,909
Salary Range78k - 115k$95k$95,109
Salary Range71k - 108k$88k$88,275
Salary Range70k - 106k$87k$86,675
Salary Range70k - 105k$87k$86,645
$47k
$130k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Systems Programmer/Developer I
Systems Programmer/Developer I
Sc Department of Public Safety
Sc Department of Public Safety
10/08/2020
10/08/2020
$49,59410/08/2020
$49,594
Systems Programmer III
Systems Programmer III
Florida Department of Transportation
Florida Department of Transportation
09/27/2020
09/27/2020
$43,50709/27/2020
$43,507
228723-Deo-Application Systems Programmer II
228723-Deo-Application Systems Programmer II
State of Florida
State of Florida
09/18/2020
09/18/2020
$35,00009/18/2020
$35,000
Univ-Systems Programmer/Developer III-Department of Biomedical Informatics Center
Univ-Systems Programmer/Developer III-Department of Biomedical Informatics Center
Medical University of South Carolina
Medical University of South Carolina
09/10/2020
09/10/2020
$49,59409/10/2020
$49,594
Univ-Systems Programmer/Developer II-Biomedical Informatics Center
Univ-Systems Programmer/Developer II-Biomedical Informatics Center
Medical University of South Carolina
Medical University of South Carolina
08/29/2020
08/29/2020
$40,75908/29/2020
$40,759
See More Recent Salaries

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Systems Programmer Demographics

Gender

male

79.3%

female

16.3%

unknown

4.3%

Ethnicity

White

62.3%

Asian

16.3%

Hispanic or Latino

9.7%

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

39.1%

German

13.0%

French

10.9%
See More Demographics

Systems Programmer Education

Degrees

Bachelors

54.4%

Masters

22.2%

Associate

12.0%

Top Colleges for Systems Programmers

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, MA

Tuition and fees
$51,832
Enrollment
4,550

2. Stanford University

Stanford, CA

Tuition and fees
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

3. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA

Tuition and fees
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

4. Duke University

Durham, NC

Tuition and fees
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

5. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

Tuition and fees
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

6. Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA

Tuition and fees
$12,424
Enrollment
15,201

7. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

Tuition and fees
$55,188
Enrollment
15,105

8. Georgetown University

Washington, DC

Tuition and fees
$54,104
Enrollment
7,089

9. Dartmouth College

Hanover, NH

Tuition and fees
$55,453
Enrollment
4,312

10. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

Tuition and fees
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451
See More Education Info

Entry Level Jobs For Becoming A Systems Programmer

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Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Systems Programmer

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 6.5% of systems programmers listed hardware on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and creativity are important as well.

Best States For a Systems Programmer

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a systems programmer. The best states for people in this position are Washington, California, Massachusetts, and North Carolina. Systems programmers make the most in Washington with an average salary of $94,674. Whereas in California and Massachusetts, they would average $94,600 and $88,211, respectively. While systems programmers would only make an average of $87,476 in North Carolina, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. District of Columbia

Total Systems Programmer Jobs:
320
Highest 10% Earn:
$142,000
Location Quotient:
2.54
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Washington

Total Systems Programmer Jobs:
432
Highest 10% Earn:
$137,000
Location Quotient:
0.92
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. California

Total Systems Programmer Jobs:
2,060
Highest 10% Earn:
$142,000
Location Quotient:
0.99
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Systems Programmer Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a systems programmer. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

At Zippia, we went through countless systems programmer resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Write a Systems Programmer Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless systems programmer resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

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Top Systems Programmer Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ systems programmers and discovered their number of systems programmer opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that IBM was the best, especially with an average salary of $84,673. Smartsoft International Inc. follows up with an average salary of $68,491, and then comes University of Pittsburgh with an average of $53,960. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a systems programmer. The employers include Appriss, J. Patrick & Associates, and Latitude, Inc.

1. IBM
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$84,673
Systems Programmers Hired: 
276+
2. Smartsoft International
2.8
Avg. Salary: 
$68,491
Systems Programmers Hired: 
197+
3. University of Pittsburgh
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$53,960
Systems Programmers Hired: 
87+
4. Intel
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$92,479
Systems Programmers Hired: 
45+
5. Unisys
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$69,637
Systems Programmers Hired: 
45+
6. Walmart
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$33,061
Systems Programmers Hired: 
38+

Systems Programmer Videos

Recently Added Systems Programmer Jobs

Updated October 2, 2020