Computer Programming Careers

Read on to learn about typical courses, resources, and careers in this field.

Staff Writer

2022-09-0825 min read

Computer programmers write, verify, and manage the codes that make computer systems function. Computer programming jobs require high-level creativity, analytical thinking, and programming language proficiency.

You'll find computer programmers in all fields, from medical diagnostics to restaurant management solutions; space exploration to entertainment. They are everywhere.

Read on to find all you need to start your computer programming journey.

Why Choose Information Systems?

Computer programmers work in fields that pay them competitive salaries. The bureau of Labor Statistics put the median salary of computer programmers at $93,000.

Computer programmers write the codes for software programs, computer applications, and databases. They provide vital services across all sectors of the economy. Computer programming is also flexible. You can work as a programmer with a laptop and an internet connection anywhere.

Computer programmers constantly develop and enhance current business procedures for stake holders. As a result, even as the employment rate drops, an average of 9,600 openings in computer programming is projected each year.

Computer programming is a very adaptable skill applicable across various industries. So knowing how to program can benefit you even if you don't work in a tech company or tech-related field.

How to Start Your Computer Programming Journey

Getting started in computer programming requires a computer science degree or a similar field, like information technology. You can get a job with an associate degree, but some roles require a bachelor's degree.

You can pursue a master's degree or even a doctorate for more lucrative career opportunities. Here's a look at the education requirements for each degree and some jobs you can get.

Education Requirements

Associate Degree

An associate's degree from an accredited college opens the door to entry-level and junior positions in the information technology sector. Associate degrees usually run for two years. Afterward, depending on your career goals, you can transfer into a bachelor's program.

An associate degree can land you a job as a web developer, computer support specialists, or programmer analyst.

Bachelor's Degree

Most careers in computer programming usually require a bachelor's degree. A 4-year bachelor's degree typically focuses on network security, programming logic, and design and integration.

You may need to learn a programming language that aligns with your desired career path. For example, knowing how to use Python, Solidity, or Rust is helpful if you are interested in blockchain development.

A bachelor's degree can land you a job as a computer programmer, front-end software developer, or computer systems engineer.

Master's Degree

A master's degree in computer programming preps you for more managerial roles.

Most master's programs are usually thesis-based. Learners develop qualitative and quantitative skills, which helps if you're pursuing a doctorate or a research career.

With a master's degree, you can work as a software development engineer, computer information research scientist, or information systems engineer.

Doctorate Degree (Ph.D.)

A Ph.D. in computer programming opens doors to academic professions and business leadership roles.

Most universities require a bachelor's degree and a master's in a similar field to earn a doctorate.

Coursework in Ph.D. programs in computer programming advances a student's technical knowledge, research abilities, and project management capabilities. A doctorate qualifies you for lead research roles and teaching positions in universities and colleges.

Career Prospects for Computer Programming

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer programmers made a median annual pay of $93,000 in 2021. This amount is almost 37% greater than the average salary for all jobs ($58,260).

Despite the high earning potential most computer programmers enjoy, the BLS predicts a 10% reduction in employment for this occupation from 2020 to 2030.

Companies being able to hire programming talents from all over the world may be a contributing factor.

Although there is a falling the demand for computer programming professionals, those pursuing a degree in computer programming acquire various computer abilities transferable to other in-demand technological jobs.

High-Paying Career Paths in Computer Programming

Computer programmers work in most industries today thanks to the diverse nature of the technology and other spaces.

Here are some high-paying computer programming positions you can explore.

Computer Programmer

A computer programmer create computer code to improve the efficiency of software applications. Computer programmers typically work in the IT department of a company.

Salary Range

The highest earning annual wage for computer programmers in 2021 was $155,240. However, the lowest-earning computer programmers made only $47,560 while the average yearly wage for $93,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Routinely reviewing software and operating systems

  • Writing computer code and putting it into use on various business systems.

  • Implementing automated computing systems.

  • Identifying and fixing system flaws

  • Maintaining and managing database systems.

  • Designing and evaluating computer architectures

Industries Hiring

The industries with the highest number of computer programmers hire from lowest to highest are:

  • Electronic component manufacturing

  • Data processing, hosting, and related services

  • Scientific research and development services

  • Software publishers

  • Computer systems design and related services.

Computer Hardware Engineer

Computer hardware engineers conduct research, design, development, and testing on computer systems and their parts, including memory devices, circuit boards, and routers.

Typically, computer hardware engineers are employed by research facilities that create and evaluate various computer models.

Salary Range

The average annual salary for computer hardware engineers in 2021 was $128,170. However, the pay varied between $77,100 and $208,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

Typically, computer hardware engineers perform the following tasks:

  • Create new hardware for computers

  • Drafting schematics for prospective computer hardware

  • Testing the hardware that they design

  • Analyze the test data and make any necessary design modifications.

  • Upgrade old hardware to make it compatible with newer software.e

  • Supervising the production of computer hardware

Industries Hiring

In 2020, computer hardware engineers held 66,200 jobs. From 2020 to 2030, the demand for computer network engineers is expected to grow by 2%.

The following industries employ the most computer hardware engineers:

  • Computer systems design and related services.

  • Semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing.

  • Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences.

  • Federal government.Computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing.

Software Product Manager

A software product manager supervises and keeps track of the software product's scope, objectives, framework, and expectations.

They also oversee the planning and supervision necessary to create the right software.

Salary Range

The average annual salary of a software product manager is $101,149. The lowest yearly wage for a software product manager is $70,000, while the highest annual salary is $137,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

A software product manager's primary duty is to effectively represent the interests of the software development team to clients and stakeholders.

The software product manager is in charge of

  • Converting business objectives into detailed software requirements

  • Putting software features in order based on market demand studies and business strategies

  • Managing the scope of a software project by deciding which software criteria to compromise, such as cost vs. time and speed vs. security

  • Giving software development teams' feature requests a top priority.

  • Defining the product's specifications while closely collaborating with software engineers and the technical team

  • Ensuring that the software solution is successfully meeting business goals and users' needs

Industries Hiring

Industries hiring the most software product managers are:

  • E-commerce industries

  • Digital consumer industries

  • Saas companies

Backend Software Developer

Backend developers construct and manage the systems that allow websites to handle data and carry out operations.

Backend developers ensure the smooth operation of a website by focusing on backend logic, databases, servers, architectures, and APIs (application programming interface.

Salary Range

The average annual salary for a backend developer is $88,894. However, the pay varied between $60,000 and $132,000 for the lowest and highest earnings, respectively.

Roles and Responsibilities

Here's a look at the responsibilities of a backend developer

  • API administration and development.

  • Create solutions for websites' data acceptance and storage, especially for those handling payment processing.

  • Write, test, and put up development updates for coding issues.

  • Communicate clearly with computer programmers, artists, and computer systems administrators to find new features.

  • Use product lifecycle methodologies like Agile Scrum and frameworks to create a website architecture.

Industries Hiring

Major industries hiring backend developers include:

  • Retail

  • Healthcare

  • Research and development

  • Government and defense

  • Business/IT service

Mobile Application Developer

A mobile app developer designs, creates and updates mobile applications. They create mobile applications using programming languages like Java, Kotlin, Swift, C++, or C#.

Mobile application developers choose which system to create an app for (Android or iOS) and learn the programming languages native to that system.

Salary Range

Mobile application developers earn an annual average salary of $76,387. However, the pay varied between $50,000 and $124,000 on the high end.

Roles and Responsibilities

Mobile application developers typically perform the following duties.

  • Decide on and prepare for new features.

  • Create APIs to support mobile functionality.

  • Coding, testing, debugging, keeping track of, and documenting changes to mobile applications

  • Develop innovative app functionality and layout in close collaboration with your coworkers.

  • Use and modify current web applications to create mobile apps.

  • Suggest improvements and updates to existing mobile applications.

Industries Hiring

A mobile app developer can find jobs in various industries and settings. However, the industries hiring mobile app developers the most are:

  • Tech Industry

  • Leisure and hospitality

  • Retail

  • Healthcare

  • Foodservice

Java Developer

A Java Developer is in charge of the planning, creating, and maintaining Java-based programs.

Because of how frequently Java is used, especially by large enterprises, the daily roles differ. However, they can involve owning a specific program or working on many at once.

Salary Range

The average annual salary of a Java developer is $79,779. However, the lowest-earning Java developers make about $50,000 annually, while the highest-earning Java developer makes about $117,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

Java developer roles in an organization include:

  • Taking part in computer code reviews.

  • Java application development, implementation, and maintenance

  • Writing scalable, testable, and effective code.

  • Updating code documentation regularly.

  • Testing and debugging new programs and updates.

Industries Hiring

Industries commonly hiring java developers include:

  • Computer hardware developers

  • Banking and Finance

  • Telecommunication services

  • IT services

Computer Systems Engineers

Computer systems engineers design and manage every part of a complicated system to tackle a challenge.

They take part in all phases of the system's development, from its conception through its management and final product.

Depending on the task, a system might comprise various things, including goods, services, information, natural resources, processes, or a combination.

Salary Range

Computer systems engineers earn an annual average salary of $81,796. The lowest-earning systems engineer makes approximately $61,000 annually, while the highest-earning makes around $131,000 annually.

Roles and Responsibilities

The roles of computer systems engineers include

  • Tracking and managing all installed systems and infrastructure.

  • Installation, configuration, testing, and upkeep of operating systems, application software, and system administration tools

  • Actively maintain the highest levels of infrastructure and system availability.

  • Evaluate and assess the application's performance for any possible bottlenecks.

  • Identify potential fixes, then collaborate with developers to put them into practice.

  • Maintain the effectiveness of your backup, security, and redundancy systems.

  • Write and maintain custom scripts to increase system efficiency and reduce human intervention time on tasks.

Industries Hiring

The top industries hiring systems engineers are

  • Aerospace and defense

  • Banking and Finance

  • Telecommunications

  • Computer hardware development

  • Machinery manufacturing

  • Internet and web services

Full Stack Developer

Full-stack developers are familiar with the entire stack of technology used in to create websites.

They understand front-end and backend programming languages and computer networks, server, and hosting environments.

Salary Range

Full stack developers earn an annual average salary of $80,148. However, the pay varied between $118,000 and $55,000 for the highest and lowest earners.

Roles and Responsibilities

Full stack developers carry out the following in an organization:

  • Come up with software solutions.

  • Create server-side and client-side architecture.

  • Design the user interface for applications with attractive visual design

  • Build and maintain effective databases and applications.

  • Check the software's responsiveness and effectiveness.

  • Updating, debugging, and troubleshooting software

  • Design features and programs for mobile devices.

  • Enhance software by working with data analysts and scientists.

Industries Hiring

Here's a list of a few industries that hire full stack developers the most

  • Internet and web services

  • Information technology

  • Aerospace and defense

  • Computer hardware development

Programmer Analyst

A programmer analyst is an expert in system analysis, software development, and commercial software application maintenance.

A programmer analyst can create complicated software and entire computer programs.

Salary Range

The average annual salary of a programmer analyst is $67,693. The highest yearly pay for a programmer analyst is $97,000, while the lowest is $50,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

A programmer analyst's typical tasks can include:

  • Debugging software when issues arise

  • Developing software for new systems

  • Managing and modifying scripts for reporting needs

  • Developing programs to advance corporate objectives

  • Program documentation, testing, coding, and analysis

  • Fulfilling demands for customized software

Industries Hiring

Programmer analysts often find jobs in the following industries:

  • Healthcare

  • Aerospace and defense

  • Ecommerce

  • Information technology services

  • Fintech

  • College and universities

  • Internet and web services

Data Scientist

Data scientists use computer programs to automate collecting and storing data. They collaborate closely with company departments or design a mechanism for keeping gathered data in their databases.

Data scientists assist businesses by offering them insightful advice on how to enhance daily operations.

Salary Range

The annual salary for data scientists ranges between $69,000 and $136,000. The average yearly salary for a data scientist is $97,680.

Roles and Responsibilities

A data scientist's job is to analyze data to find insightful information. Their responsibilities include:

  • Identifying the data analytics issues that provide the firm with the most opportunities

  • Choosing the appropriate variables and data sets

  • Large-scale data collection (unstructured and structured) from various sources

  • Preparing and validating the data to make sure it is accurate, comprehensive, and consistent

  • Creating and using models and techniques to mine large data sets

  • Examining the data for patterns and trends

  • Analyzing the data to find answers

  • Employing visualization and other methods to present findings to stakeholders

Industries Hiring

Here are some of the best industries for data science worth exploring.

  • Banking and financial services

  • Healthcare

  • Automotive

  • Retail

  • Media and entertainment

  • Telecommunications

  • Cybersecurity

  • Digital Marketing

Pros and Cons of Computer Programming

Regardless of your educational or professional background, switching to programming can never be a terrible choice. However, it's essential to know the pros and cons of any industry/field before diving in.

Here are some benefits and drawbacks to being in computer programming.


  • Most computer programmers are very satisfied with their jobs.

  • Jobs in programming pay more than the average.

  • Your ability to solve problems typically improves with computer programming.


  • You do primarily sedentary work.

  • You may end up working in a hectic environment.

  • It can be a highly competitive profession.

  • Sitting in front of a computer screen can lead to health complications.

Skills you'll develop While Studying Computer Programming.

You need technical and soft skills to succeed as a computer programmer.

A programmer needs the patience to build a sophisticated program after a string of errors. They also need critical thinking ability to develop code that works effectively.

Here are some skills you'll learn on your computer programming journey.

Soft Skills


Computer programmers are problem solvers, making it one of the essential soft skills needed to succeed in the field. Creating solutions to meet the needs of various sectors is the core purpose of a computer programmer.


Patient people often feel less stressed when faced with challenges. Cortisol, a stress hormone, has been linked to poor cognitive function, perception, and organizing abilities, which are essential for productive coding.

Time management

Computer programmers must be able to properly manage their time, whether it's budgetary constraints, a client deadline, or a team deliverable.


The programming industry is ever-changing. New software versions are released, specifications are altered, and client demands grow.

Computer programmers must, therefore, be flexible and robust in dealing with change and sporadic failures.

Technical Skills

Database and SQL

The knowledge of fundamental database concepts is one of the major requirements for any programmer. This is because data powers practically every part of every project and is the fuel that keeps businesses running.

The most popular language for working with databases is Structured Query Language (SQL pronounced "sequel")"

Integrated development environments (IDEs)

Computer programmers can master various technologies that work well by learning only one IDE.

In this manner, users can avoid learning to utilize several tools or put together the appropriate tools for every coding assignment. In addition, the programmer doesn't waste time jumping between apps since everything is in a single GUI.

Debugging & problem-solving skills

Debugging is one of the critical technical skills for programming. Any mistakes or issues should be easy for a computer programmer to identify. However, he must also be capable of handling it by himself. Therefore, proficiency in debugging tools like Arm DTT, GDB, LLDB, and others is also vital.

How to Prepare for a Career in Computer Programming

Acquire computer programming knowledge

Aspiring computer programmers can get the skills they need to land a job and be competitive through continuing education classes and programs.


An associate or a bachelor's degree will give you the necessary skills to succeed as a computer programmer.


You can join a boot camp if you already have a bachelor's degree or can't go to college due to other obligations. Bootcamps provide an affordable, flexible learning environment.

Select a specialized area of studies, such as full-stack development or data science, and immerse yourself in a structured educational program emphasizing useful programming techniques and tools.

Independent Learning Platforms

Independent learning platforms might be your best bet if you enjoy learning at your own pace. They allow you to take a more self-guided path.

You can use various freely accessible web resources, including courses, books, videos, and coding projects, to improve your programming abilities.

You might also want to look into low-cost or free online classes if you are learning independently. These courses let you choose your speed and move through the content at your own rate.

Apply For Internships to Gain Experience

Practical projects and relevant work experience are the best ways to prepare for a computer programming career.

An internship gives students the chance to hone their industry knowledge and professional abilities while enhancing the value of their resumes. In some situations, the internship even results in a job offer.

Gain the soft skills needed for computer programming careers

Technical skills are not the only tools you need for a computer programming career; you also need interpersonal skills. Make sure your chosen program allows you to enhance your teamwork and communication skills.

Work on Your Portfolio

An excellent strategy to gain experience and hone your skills in programming is to start your own projects.

The theoretical information you learn in a course, at a boot camp, or in college can be turned into a practical application by writing your own computer code and releasing it.

Employers can see your skills more clearly in a well-stocked portfolio of accomplished projects than they ever could in a well-written CV.

How to Boost Your Computer Programming Career

Identify your programming strengths and weaknesses.

Finding your programming skills and weaknesses will help you figure out the precise areas in which you excel and the ones in which you need to make improvements.

Take a programming course.

You can improve your programming skills by taking programming courses. Programming courses often concentrate on a single programming language and instruct you on writing the kinds of programs you would develop for work.

Programming classes are available online, at local universities, and community colleges. While some programming classes are only a few weeks long, others can extend for several months.

Gain a programming certification

Programming certificates show prospective employers that you know a particular programming language. Each certification provider has different requirements. However, most involve passing an exam or developing a particular program.

Develop your projects

Doing your projects is sometimes the greatest approach to learning more about programming. First, consider what you want to accomplish with code, then begin writing it. If you find yourself at a stage where you are unsure how to proceed, start looking it up online or in programming books.

You can experiment with various approaches inside your code to determine which performs best. However, constant practice is the best way to pick up programming skills, and this hands-on method makes it easier to understand what you learned.

Find someone to help you.

Many people can assist you in learning to program. Consider asking your teammates for help if, for instance, you are a programmer working with a team of developers.

Many individuals enjoy sharing their knowledge and expertise with others. For assistance, you might ask your friends, classmates, or online professionals through programming forums.

Resources That'll Help Your Career

Computer programmers must keep up with the latest technological advancements and coding trends.

Computer programmers might look for options for further education and continued growth through universities, colleges, and professional associations.

Helpful organizations include:

Websites like TechBeacon and podcasts like Core Intuition also give prospective computer computer programmers insights into the field and requirements for computer-related positions.

How to Switch to a Computer Programming Career

Getting a degree or a professional certificate are the two surest ways to transition to a computer program. This route positions you for entry-level roles and makes advancing your career easier.

You can still make the switch even if you don't have time for a degree. Not all prospective employers require a bachelor's degree. Some hire those with associate degrees, programming certifications, and, most importantly, experience/transferrable skills.

Although programming certifications might be expensive, they can improve your application and help you land some entry-level jobs.

With only a certificate or degree in an unrelated field, you might be able to find a job in some computer programming roles, but your options may be limited. Computer programming jobs are competitive, particularly with industry giants like Google and Amazon.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is computer programming?

Computer programming is the process of writing code that enables and guides particular actions within a computer, software program, or application.

Computer programmers are professionals that write and test code to create instructions for computers to perform, enabling software and apps to work without a hitch.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Computer Programmer?

If you're going for an associate's or bachelor's, expect it to take 2 - 4 years. The best options for students are diplomas, certificates, and accelerated degrees.

Can I learn computer programming on my own?

Yes, you can. However, it may be tedious to do it alone, so it's always best to join forums so you have a community to fall back on when you get stuck.

Is computer programming a good career?

Yes, it is. Programming abilities provide good job alternatives in today's technology-driven environment, from front-end development to software engineering.

One of the most adaptable professions is computer programming, which provides numerous specialization options, the flexibility to work from home, and other benefits.

What Do Entry-Level Computer Programmers Do?

Computer programmers at the entry-level create code and applications using languages like C++ and Java. They also improve, expand, and upgrade current programs.

Do I need to be good at math to be a programmer?

No, you dodon'tIt takes a lot of Googling, logic, and trial-and-error to learn to program, but it only requires math up to the fourth-grade level.

What's the Difference Between a Computer Programmer and a Software Developer?

Computer programmers explicitly use programming languages to create code. When writing code, computer programmers comprehend algorithms and adhere to requirements.

Software developers address numerous criteria and financial considerations while planning and building software systems.

Can I get a job with just an online certificate?

An online certificate alone will not land you a job. The purpose of an online certificate is to improve your knowledge and skills. You can get the job if you're skilled and knowledgeable enough to meet the company's requirements.

Are Computer programmers in high demand?

Computer programmers are in high demand and will continue to be so. Considering how fast technology advances, and the impending retirement of many senior computer programmers, the world will need experienced computer programmers to keep up.

Final Thoughts

Computer programming is an immense field. If you're thinking of changing careers or you're just starting out, then now's the best time to pick up programming.

There's no gatekeeping here, and in fact, you can choose your preferred learning path. In addition, there are thousands of job openings and several specializations to choose from.

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