Create, modify, and test the code, forms, and script that allow computer applications to run.
Sample of Reported Job Titles
Programmer Analyst, Programmer, Analyst Programmer, Computer Programmer, Software Developer, Applications Developer, Computer Programmer Analyst, Internet Programmer, Java Developer, Web Programmer
On a most basic level, a computer programmer writes, well, programs. Programmers will also rewrite, debug, maintain, and test (and retest) software and programs that instruct the computer to accomplish certain tasks—such as storing or retrieving data—so the computer can perform better and more efficiently.
A computer programmer will convert what needs to happen into one of many computer languages in existence, the most common of which are C++ and Python. According to Barry Warsaw, Ubuntu platform software engineer for Canonical, a distributor of the Ubuntu Linux operating system, talented programmers have two basic career tracks they can follow: "In some jobs, they traditionally move into management positions, at which point they may program very little or not at all," says Warsaw, who's worked mostly in the free software and open-source world for the past 30 years. "In others, they can retain their programming skills by assuming more technical and project leadership roles."
- Write programs in a variety of computer languages, such as C++ and Java
- Update and expand existing programs
- Debug programs by testing for and fixing errors
- Build and use computer-assisted software engineering (CASE) tools to automate the writing of some code
- Use code libraries, which are collections of independent lines of code, to simplify the writing
Most programmers get a degree in computer science or a related subject. Programmers who work in specific fields, such as healthcare or accounting, may take classes in that field in addition to their degree in computer programming. In addition, employers value experience, which many students get through internships.
Salary Information 2018
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following information corresponds to the salaries of Computer Programmers in 2018. The bottom 10% of earners made less than $48,790, the median salary was $84,280, and the top 10% of earners made more than $134,630.
Want to know more?
Belonging to professional organizations & LinkedIn groups can provide you with networking, informational interviewing, & job shadowing opportunities, as well as assist you with finding internships and jobs.
- Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society
- Association for Computing Machinery
- List of Professional Organizations
Find a Job
- Career Development
- What Can I do with a Major In...
- Career Mapping System
- Personalize Your Career Plan
- Build a Professional Profile
- Internships and Research
- Job Search Resources
- Programs & Events
- Additional Career Resources
- Archived Newsletters
- Applying to Graduate School
- Reporting Your Post-Grad Plans
- Post-Graduation Data
- Alumni Profiles