What Does a Computer Programmer Do?

Computer programmers create computer programs by writing in a programming code, or a language a computer can understand. In addition to writing programs or software, you'll help test and update programs in this role. You can find out additional career details for computer programmers by reading below. Schools offering Computer Programming degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Description

As a computer programmer, you may work alone on smaller programming projects or in a team for larger, more complicated computer programs. In many cases, a software engineer gives you the description of how the program is expected to work. Then, you translate the description into a language that computers can process. You'll use one of several computer programming languages, like Java, Visual Basic, C, or C++.

After the program is written, you'll run it to make sure it operates correctly. Afterwards, you'll fix any problems that occur with the program through a process known as debugging. You can also be in charge of updating, modifying, or repairing programs that already exist or writing their instruction manuals.

Education Requirements

In order to work as a computer programmer, you'll typically need to hold at least a bachelor's degree. In some cases, you can get by with an associate's degree or a professional certificate, though your chances of securing employment will be better with a four-year degree. The ideal majors you'll want to pursue include computer science and mathematics. Taking courses in computer programming will be essential. Previous work experience may be needed to get in to a graduate-level program. Additionally, you'll want to demonstrate to employers that you have the necessary skills to get the job done.

Salary Information and Job Outlook

In January 2014, Salary.com reported that entry-level client/server programmers had a median salary of $55,077. With two to four years of experience, the median income increased to $68,095. Those with four to six years of experience earned median salaries of $83,787, while those with six to eight years of experience in computer programming earned $95,371.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that computer programmers should see job opportunities grow by about 8% between 2012 and 2022. The median annual wage among all types of computer programmer was $74,280 as of May 2012. The BLS also notes that programmers who hold bachelor's degrees will have more opportunities than those without.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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