Computer Developer: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become a computer developer. Learn about job duties, education requirements, certification and salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Computer Programming degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Computer Developer?

Computer developers use programming skills to create software, applications and games for a variety of users. These professionals know different coding languages that build the programs. While they are mostly responsible for creating and testing the software, computer developers may sometimes have to design the products as well. Many computer developers work from home because programming can be done remotely. The chart below provides a summary of this career field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree; associate's degree is accepted by some employers
Education Field of Study Computer science, computer programming
Key Responsibilities Design software, create program codes, run tests and fix programming bugs
Certification Certification is voluntary
Job Growth (2014-2024) -8% (for all computer programmers)*
Median Salary (2015) $79,530 (for all computer programmers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Job Duties of a Computer Developer?

A computer developer creates codes or instructions in a computer language to create a program. You also create new software, resolve existing programming issues or code programs created by others. Job duties may also involve running tests and fixing bugs. It is also part of your job to maintain programs and introduce new technology or updates into your programs.

What Education Do I Need?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employers typically expect their computer developers to have a bachelor's degree in computer programming or computer science; however, some employers may accept those with an associate degree (www.bls.gov). If you have a degree in a non-computer area, you may be able to enroll in a certificate program in programming to meet employer requirements.

Topics usually covered in a computer programming or computer science program include basic coding, mathematics, operating systems and Web design. Computer programming certificate programs typically focus on programming procedures and methods, including languages and Web design.

What Additional Training Do I Need?

Employers may also prefer a computer developer to have experience in programming. You may earn experience through an internship or through work experience. You may also prove your skills through certification. Certification is offered through various software vendors, such as Java.

Participating in continuing education courses, attending conferences and staying on top of the latest developments in the industry is also important. This is a fast-changing industry which requires you to know about changes and new developments in order to bring these new innovations into the work you do.

How Much Can I Earn?

According to the BLS, the reported median annual wage for all those working in the field of computer programming, including computer developers, was $79,530 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also projected that job growth for this field will decrease by 8% from 2014-2024. This growth loss may be due to more employers hiring overseas workers who will work for less money, decreasing higher paying positions.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you're interested in working with computers but aren't sure you want to develop computer software, you have many related careers to choose from, including computer hardware engineer, database administrator or computer systems analyst. As a computer system analyst, your main duties would be to research a computer network setup and to come up with a more efficient system. Database administrators use software designed to create and maintain data for a banking company or an institute of higher learning. Hardware engineers develop and plan computer systems for companies and create various parts like circuit boards, networks, servers and processors. All of these career fields can be entered with a bachelor's degree.

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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