Computer Programmer

Featured Course: B.I.T. Software Analysis & Development (AIU) | Highlights: Learn to Program in Java, PHP, Perl, C+, C++, C#, .Net, Objective-C & SQL, Design Web & Mobile Apps to Solve Business Problems... COURSE DETAILS

Computer Programmer TrainingComputer Programmers write the code that fuels computer operation.

Computer programmers translate project specifications from software and systems engineers into a script of logical instructions that computers can understand and interpret into functioning programs. Essentially, computer programmers make computer systems and applications work.

Successful computer programmers are fluent in a range of programming languages, as each language has a specific set of strengths, limitations and real-world applications, and multiple languages are used in tandem to create powerful multifaceted programs. For example, Facebook is coded using PHP, JavaScript, CSS & XHP for the frontend; C, C++, Python & Java for the backend; Erlang for Facebook chat; and Objective-C & Java for Facebook's iPhone & Android apps respectively.

Sought-after programming languages in today’s job market include Java, C#, C++, Objective-C, PHP, Python, Perl, Ruby and ASP.Net. HTML, CSS & JavaScript are the building blocks of the World Wide Web, so while not technically programming languages, these are indispensable and highly marketable skills for any programmer.

Universities, colleges and private computer schools offer a range of programming courses and accredited degrees that fulfill computer programmer education requirements. Compare top-reviewed computer programming courses in the U.S., Canada and online below.

a.k.a. Application Programmer | Systems Developer | Software Programmer | Programmer Analyst | Computer Coder

Computer Programmer Training

Skills and Responsibilities

Typical day-to-day activities and in-demand skill sets for this position include the following. Computer programmers:

  • Write code using a variety of languages, e.g., C, C#, C++, PHP, Python, Perl and Java.
  • Update, optimize the performance and expand the functionality of existing programs.
  • May work in a team setting to design complex computer systems and business applications.
  • Meticulously test for and correct code errors (a.k.a. “bugs”) in a process called debugging.
  • Create and use snippets (pre-defined chunks of commonly used code) to speed up coding jobs.
  • Should insert detailed comments into their coding projects so coworkers can follow their process.
  • Work closely with software developers, application architects and engineers to keep projects on scope.
  • Employ database development skills, e.g., MySQL, SQL Server and Oracle, to build data-driven applications.


Computer Programmer Salary

  • Average computer programmer wage in USA: $73,000

Computer Programmer Salary $73,000


Average salary for programmers and related IT positions:

  • Computer Programmer: $73,000
  • Application Programmer: $75,000
  • PHP Programmer: $81,000
  • Programmer Analyst: $83,000
  • SQL Programmer: $84,000
  • VB .Net Programmer: $88,000
  • SharePoint Programmer: $89,000
  • Web Developer: $90,000
  • Software Developer: $91,000
  • User Interface (UI) Programmer: $93,000
  • Java Developer: $94,000
  • C++ Programmer: $94,000
  • Coldfusion Programmer: $94,000
  • Python Programmer: $94,000
  • Perl Programmer: $94,000
  • Oracle Programmer: $98,000
  • Websphere Programmer: $98,000
  • Lead Programmer: $100,000
  • J2EE Programmer: $102,000
  • Lead Java Developer: $108,000
  • Programmer Analyst Lead: $155,000

Top paying U.S. cities for computer programmers:

  • Rochester, Minnesota | Salary: $119,000
  • Poughkeepsie, New York | Salary: $116,000
  • San Jose, California | Salary: $107,000
  • Durham, North Carolina | Salary: $98,000
  • Santa Fe, New Mexico | Salary: $97,000

The hourly pay for computer programmers ranges from $21 to $61, depending on the individual's geographic location, known programming languages, mastery of each language and experience level.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook 2012 - 2013 (BLS.GOV) •


Education Requirements

Hands-on programming experience remains the key requirement for securing a job in computer programming. Hiring managers will typically ask to see a portfolio with samples of your best computer programming projects and applications. Those new to this field can learn the requisite programming languages and start compiling a portfolio through an accredited degree program or specialized certification in computer programming, web development, computer science, or a related programming-centric field of study.

Marketable skills to look for in a computer programming education program include HTML, CSS & JavaScript (the basic building blocks of web pages), hands-on programming in hot languages like Java, C, C++, Visual Basic, Objective-C, PHP, Python and Perl, computer systems design & analysis, relational database design, and computer programmer portfolio assembly. We also recommend electing soft skills courses, such as effective oral/written communication and email writing, as these competencies will help differentiate you from lower-priced computer programmers overseas, and quality-focused hiring mangers will notice and appreciate these skills.

Choose the learning-style that works best for you, as campus-based and online training formats work equally well with the subject matter in computer programming.

Research and compare the top-reviewed computer programmer training programs in the U.S., Canada and online below.


Training & Degree Programs

Compare the top-rated undergrad & graduate degrees, professional certificates, online training programs and self-paced courses matching the computer programmer education requirements and career path.

Admissions advisors can provide more information about programs and curriculum, admissions & start dates, online learning, career opportunities, tuition costs, personalized financial aid & scholarship options.
Got targeted learning goals? Many schools offer individual courses & certificates from accredited degree programs.

Computer School

Training Program

Course Highlights & Certifications

A.A.I.T. Programming

  • Method: Online or On-Campus
  • Degree Level: Associate
  • Accredited School: Yes
  • Financial Aid Available: Yes
  • Beginner through Advanced Object-Oriented Programming featuring Lessons in C, C#, C++ and Java/J2EE Application Development
  • Learn to Develop Dynamic Websites using HTML5, CSS3, DHTML, PHP and JavaScript
  • Utilize Adobe Photoshop, Dreamweaver and Flash to Manipulate Digital Images and Create Rich Media Web Pages and Applications
  • Online, Campus & Blended Learning Formats
  • Targeted 6-Week Courses Begin Year Round

BIT Software Analysis & Development

  • Method: Online Degree
  • Degree Level: Bachelor's
  • Accredited School: Yes
  • Financial Aid Available: Yes
  • Learn In-Demand Systems, Application & Web Programming Languages including PHP, Perl, Java, VB. Net, C+, C++, C#, SQL & Objective-C
  • Analyze, Design & Develop Innovative Software Systems to Solve Complex Business Problems
  • Software Quality Control & Testing Techniques
  • Android & iOS Mobile Application Development
  • Develop Websites in HTML, CSS & JavaScript
  • E-Commerce Web Development & Marketing
  • Develop Integrated Data-Driven Apps with XML
  • Human-Computer Interaction and UI Design

Master of Computer Science in Software Engineering

  • Method: Online Degree
  • Degree Level: Master
  • Accredited School: Yes
  • Financial Aid Available: Yes
  • Prerequisite: Bachelor's
  • Learn to Analyze & Solve Business Problems with Strategic Software Engineering Solutions
  • Examine Emerging Software Trends inc. Cloud-Computing & Mobile Device Integration
  • Software Engineering Team Management
  • Advanced UI Design and Software Usability
  • Graduate-Level Java Programming Course
  • Examine Networking and OS Fundamentals
  • Study Database Concepts and Capabilities
  • Software Application Planning and Strategy
  • CTU's Virtual Campus won Computerworld Honors' "Best of the Best" Academia Award

A.S. Web Design & Development

  • Method: Online Degree
  • Degree Level: Associate
  • Accredited School: Yes
  • Financial Aid Available: Yes
  • Gain the Skills to Design and Develop Functional and Attractive Business Websites
  • Digital Photography and Photoshop Editing
  • Web Color, Layout, Textures and Typography
  • Learn HTML, Flash, Java, JavaScript & CSS
  • User Interface (UI) Design & Usability Testing
  • Use Popular CMSes like WordPress & Joomla!
  • Create Interactive Multimedia Presentations
  • Website/UI Development Project Management
  • Develop Responsive Sites for Mobile Devices
  • Web Designer & Developer Portfolio Creation

B.S.I.T. Software Application Programming

  • Method: Online Degree
  • Degree Level: Bachelor
  • Accredited School: Yes
  • Financial Aid Available: Yes
  • Develop Innovative Software Applications Based on Analysis of End-Users' Goals
  • Computer Networks and the Role of Network Management Software in Organizations
  • Advanced Java Application Programming
  • User Interface Design & Usability Testing
  • Develop Captivating Web Applications
  • Examination of Object Oriented Methods
  • Computer Application Security Assurance
  • Software App Team Project Management
  • Database Design and Management Training
  • Award-Winning Online Education Platform

Find Computer Programming Schools

best database administration schools



Desirable certifications for computer programmers include the following:

  • Oracle Certified Associate (OCA): Java Programmer
  • Oracle Certified Professional (OCP): Java Programmer
  • MCPD: Microsoft Certified Professional Developer
  • MCSD: Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer
  • MTA: Software Development Fundamentals
  • MTA: Windows Development Fundamentals
  • MTA: Web Development Fundamentals
  • MTA: Mobile Development Fundamentals
  • MTA: Microsoft .NET Fundamentals
  • MTA: Gaming Development Fundamentals
  • CIW: Perl Specialist
  • CIW: Web Foundations Associate
  • CIW: Web Design Specialist
  • CIW: JavaScript Specialist
  • CIW: Database Design Specialist
  • CIW: Web Development Professional

Click here to compare vendor-neutral computer programming certificates offered by academic institutions.


Job Listings

Your experience and education in computer programming qualify you for a variety of roles including:

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Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts ten-year employment growth for computer programmers to hit 12% - or about 44,000 new jobs from 2010 to 2020 - keeping pace with the average growth rate for all occupations. However, computer programmers with skills and experience in the most demanded programming languages will enjoy much higher growth. For instance, programmers with Objective-C and Java skills can branch out into iPhone and Android application development, the fastest growing IT career path and home to one of the world's largest deficits of qualified professionals to job openings.

Health care is a key growth sector for computer programmer employment, as medical practices are developing a host of new applications to adopt electronic health record (EHR) management, e-prescription programs, and other services.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2012-2013 Occupational Outlook Handbook


Related Careers


Subject Matter Expert Contributors

Programming Subject Matter ExpertMark Lassoff is a renowned author and technical trainer in the web, software and mobile application development arenas. With an extensive background in enterprise software engineering and application programming, he easily understands the impact of emerging technologies and the skills that developers need to succeed.

IT Subject Matter ExpertDaniel Greenspan is an enterprise IT education specialist, web developer and entrepreneur living in New York City. Working closely with IT professionals, world-class trainers and technology executives since 2005 has given him a unique perspective into the IT job market and the skills and credentials that breed lasting success in the IT field.


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