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What Does it Take to Be a Computer Programmer?

Computer Programmer Job Description Create, modify, and test the code, forms, and script that allow computer applications to run. Work from specifications drawn up by software developers or other individuals. May assist software developers by analyzing user needs and designing software solutions. May develop and write computer programs to store, locate, and retrieve specific documents, data, and information.

Life As a Computer Programmer

  • Train subordinates in programming and program coding.
  • Correct errors by making appropriate changes and rechecking the program to ensure that the desired results are produced.
  • Perform systems analysis and programming tasks to maintain and control the use of computer systems software as a systems programmer.
  • Collaborate with computer manufacturers and other users to develop new programming methods.
  • Write or contribute to instructions or manuals to guide end users.
  • Investigate whether networks, workstations, the central processing unit of the system, or peripheral equipment are responding to a program’s instructions.

What Every Computer Programmer Should Know

These are the skills Computer Programmers say are the most useful in their careers:

Programming: Writing computer programs for various purposes.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Quality Control Analysis: Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.

Types of Computer Programmers

  • Video Game Programmer
  • Operating System Programmer
  • Engineering Programmer
  • Certified Ethical Hacker
  • Game Programmer

Is There Job Demand for Computer Programmers?

In the United States, there were 294,900 jobs for Computer Programmers in 2016.

Computer Programmer jobs are decreasing by a rate of -7.2%. This means the total job opportunities are shrinking. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a loss of -21,300 jobs for Computer Programmers by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 15,500 job openings in this field each year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Computer Programmers in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Computer Programmers are Washington, Utah, and Maryland.

Watch out if you plan on working in California, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Salary for Computer Programmers

The salary for Computer Programmers ranges between about $48,790 and $134,630 a year. The median salary is $84,280.

Salary Ranges for Computer Programmers

How much do Computer Programmers make in different U.S. states?

Annual Mean Salary by State
State Annual Mean Salary

Washington

$126,920

District of Columbia

$105,200

California

$97,470

Arizona

$95,900

Massachusetts

$95,380

Colorado

$94,750

North Carolina

$94,570

Montana

$94,480

Virginia

$94,470

Connecticut

$93,370

Maryland

$93,000

Georgia

$92,390

Texas

$91,970

Illinois

$91,860

New York

$91,250

Alabama

$87,340

Minnesota

$86,710

Alaska

$86,080

Pennsylvania

$85,800

New Jersey

$85,750

Maine

$84,830

Utah

$83,700

West Virginia

$83,160

Oklahoma

$83,090

Tennessee

$82,400

South Carolina

$81,940

Vermont

$81,680

Indiana

$80,850

Nevada

$80,580

Delaware

$80,260

Oregon

$79,470

Wisconsin

$79,420

Iowa

$78,940

Florida

$78,890

Louisiana

$77,450

Nebraska

$76,540

Missouri

$76,530

Idaho

$76,500

Michigan

$76,450

North Dakota

$76,180

Kansas

$75,780

New Hampshire

$75,680

Ohio

$74,930

Mississippi

$73,940

New Mexico

$72,770

Hawaii

$72,370

Kentucky

$72,190

Wyoming

$71,910

Arkansas

$71,540

South Dakota

$57,060

What Tools & Technology do Computer Programmers Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Computer Programmers:

  • Oracle JavaServer Pages JSP
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Scala
  • Job control language JCL
  • Geographic information system GIS software
  • MySQL
  • Oracle JDBC
  • Integrated development environment IDE software
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator
  • Advanced business application programming ABAP

How do I Become a Computer Programmer?

What education or degrees do I need to become a Computer Programmer?

Computer Programmer Degree Level

How Long Does it Take to Become Computer Programmer?

Computer Programmer Work Experience

Where Computer Programmers Are Employed

Computer Programmer Sectors

Similar Careers

Those thinking about becoming Computer Programmers might also be interested in the following careers:

  • Computer Network Architects
  • Electronic Drafters
  • Computer and Information Research Scientists

Career changers with experience as a Computer Programmer sometimes find work in one of the following fields:

  • Computer Systems Analysts

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Factual

O*NET Online

Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

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