Computer Programmer Training
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.

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.

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Explore high-quality, flexible online degrees in computer programming and software development.

Contact these schools to learn about start dates, transferring credits, financial aid & more.

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. and online below.

a.k.a. Application Programmer | Software Programmer | Programmer Analyst | Coder

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Programmer Skills and Responsibilities

Typical day-to-day activities and in-demand skill sets for this position include the following. On a daily basis, 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

The median annual wage for computer programmers is $89,190, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Computer Programmer Salary $89,190


Average salary for programmers and related positions, according to

  • 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:

  • San Francisco / Oakland, CA: $125,000
  • San Jose / Santa Clara, CA: $114,000
  • Dallas / Fort Worth, TX: $112,000
  • Providence / Warwick, RI: $108,000
  • Madison, Wisconsin: $108,000

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 •

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. and online below.

Computer Programmer Training

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

Admissions advisors can provide more info about programs and curriculum, admissions & start dates, tuition and personalized financial aid options.
Got targeted learning goals? Many schools offer individual courses from accredited programs.
Southern New Hampshire University
  • Python, Java & C++ Coding
  • Agile Project Management
  • Data Structures & Algorithms
  • System Analysis and Design
Capella University
  • Web, Mobile, Cloud & AI Development
  • Learn Android Studio, Swift, Java, C, C++, C#, Javascript, Kotlin, Python, MySQL, MongoDB, MariaDB & MySQL
  • Study the Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Agile Software Project Management
Georgetown University
  • Managing Technology & IT Staffers
  • Ethics in Technology Management
  • Enterprise Modernization Strategy
  • Application Security Management
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Desirable certifications for computer programmers include the following:

  • Oracle
    • Oracle Certified Associate (OCA): Java Programmer
    • Oracle Certified Professional (OCP): Java Programmer
  • Microsoft
    • MCPD: Microsoft Certified Professional Developer
    • MCSD: Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer
    • MTA: Software Development Fundamentals
    • MTA: HTML5 App Development Fundamentals
    • MTA: Software Testing Fundamentals
  • CIW
    • CIW: Web Foundations Associate
    • CIW: Web Design Professional
    • CIW: Web Development Professional
    • CIW: Web Security Professional
    • CIW: Web and Mobile Design Professional

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 employment for stateside computer programmers to decline by 10% from 2020 to 2030, making it one of the only IT career paths not growing its job count this decade. While overall demand for coders is strong, computer programming can now be done from anywhere in the world, driving many organizations to hire programmers from other countries that pay lower wages. This globalized hiring strategy also has its downsides, such as the challenges of managing projects and remote workers across timezones, language and culture barriers, which can lose companies the cost-savings they gained from hiring overseas in the first place.

The best way to improve your computer programmer job outlook in America is to keep up your skills and experience in the most demanded and versatile programming languages. For instance, programmers with Objective-C and Java skills can branch out into mobile app development, one of the world's fastest growing computer jobs and home to a massive skills gap and top-tier salaries. Health care is a key growth industry for computer programmer employment, as medical practices are developing a host of new applications to adopt and improve electronic health record (EHR) management, e-prescription programs, and other digital services.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

IT insiders answer common questions from aspiring computer programmers.

Do computer programmers travel?

Most computer programmers don’t travel for work on a daily basis; in fact, many coders can now opt to work remotely on most or all days. For those programmers who enjoy traveling for recreation, becoming a computer programmer is a great career path as the remote-friendly nature of the work allows for the freedom to explore.

How much does it cost to become a computer programmer?

Because the education requirements for computer programming jobs vary widely, so does the cost of becoming a coder. Most programmer jobs require a relevant bachelor’s degree - the average net price (after financial aid) for a bachelor’s in computer programming is $18,981, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. For those seeking more entry-level coding roles or just don't have the time and money for a bachelor’s, the average cost for a programming associate degree is $12,314, and the average cost for an accelerated coding boot camp is about $13,000.

How much do computer programmers make an hour?

The average pay for computer programmers is $46.46 per hour, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is well above the average hourly wage for all jobs in the nation which is $28.01.

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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.