Computer Programmer

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. 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. 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 •


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.


Training & Degree Programs

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, online learning, career opportunities, tuition costs, and personalized financial aid options.
Got targeted learning goals? Many schools offer individual courses from accredited degree programs.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science: Software Engineering

  • Gain the Expertise to Pursue Sought-After Roles in Web and Mobile Application Development
  • Full Stack Software Design and Engineering
  • Build Systems Architectures to Meet Business Needs
  • Design UIs for Embedded, Cloud & Mobile Systems
  • Analyze and Design Data Structures & Algorithms
  • Cybersecurity Tools & Techniques ft. Secure Coding

Associate of Applied Science in IT: Programming & Software Development

  • Develop Software for Web and Mobile Devices
  • Learn Marketable Languages inc. Java, HTML, CSS, Javascript, and Objective-C
  • Graphic Design Training ft. Adobe's Creative Suite
  • User-Interface and User-Experience Design
  • Software Product Development using Agile

Bachelor of Science in Software Development

  • Cross-Platform Application Development Training
  • User Interface (UI) & User Experience (UX) Design
  • Software Testing, Security and Quality Assurance
  • Learn Marketable Languages inc. Java & Javascript
  • Advanced Data Modeling and Database Development
  • Manage Software Projects with Agile Best Practices
  • Transfer Previous College Credit to Lower Tuition

Master's in Technology Management

  • Prepare to Lead Personnel and Use Emerging Technologies to Achieve Organizational Goals
  • Choose from courses such as:
    • Business Intelligence and Data Analytics
    • Cyber Security Threats & Vulnerabilities
    • Managing Diverse Organizations in a Flat World
    • Cloud Computing and Virtualization
    • Cryptography & Network Security
    • Computer Systems Analysis
  • No GRE or GMAT Required for Admission
best computer training schools



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:

  • Computer Programmer jobs link-icon
  • Programmer Analyst jobs link-icon
  • Web Developer jobs link-icon
  • .Net Programmer jobs link-icon
  • Java Programmer jobs link-icon
  • SQL Developer jobs link-icon
  • PHP Programmer jobs link-icon
  • C++ Programmer jobs link-icon

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Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts employment for stateside computer programmers to decline by 7% from 2018 to 2028, 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


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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.