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Computer Programmer

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."

Typical Tasks

  • 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


Educational Requirements

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 2022

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for a Computer Programmer in 2022 was $97,800.


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Information retrieved from U.S. News Best Jobs: Computer Programmer, O*NET Online: Computer Programmers and Bureau of Labor Statistics: Computer Programmers.

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