Computer 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.
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 Salary
Computer Programmer Education Requirements
Programming and Development Training
Find Programming Schools by Zip Code
Computer Programmer Certifications
Computer Programming Jobs
Computer Programmer Job Outlook
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
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) • Indeed.com
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.
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.
Course Highlights & Certifications
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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: Database Design Specialist
- CIW: Web Development Professional
Click here to compare vendor-neutral computer programming certificates offered by academic institutions.
Your experience and education in computer programming qualify you for a variety of roles including:
- Computer Programmer: Browse and apply to programming jobs
- Programmer Analyst: Browse and apply to programmer analyst jobs
- Web Developer: Browse and apply to web development job roles
- .Net Programmer: Browse and apply to local Microsoft .NET jobs
- Java Programmer: Browse and apply to Java programmer jobs
- SQL Developer: Browse and apply to SQL programmer jobs
- PHP Programmer: Browse and apply to PHP programming jobs
- C++ Programmer: Browse and apply to C++ programmer jobs
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
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