What Is the Typical Salary for Entry-Level Computer Programmers?

The nature of a computer programmer's work varies greatly, and thus so do typical starting salaries. Some possible job titles include software developer, applications programmer and systems programmer. Read on to learn more about the entry-level salaries for each of these careers. Schools offering Computer Programming degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Salary Overview

Computer programmers in general made an average annual wage of $82,690 in May 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (www.bls.gov). Additionally, PayScale.com reported that entry-level computer programmers earned a median wage of $51,174 in September 2015. The BLS stated in May 2014 that average salaries for some of the industries employing most of these professionals included $83,100 for computer systems design, $101,640 for software publishing and $80,720 for company and enterprise management. Notable job titles for computer programmers include software developer, applications programmer and systems programmer.

Important Facts About Computer Programmers

Key Skills Analytical, detail-oriented, problem-solving
Entry-level Education Bachelor's degree
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 8% decline
Similar Occupations Information research scientists, computer hardware engineers, software developers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Software Developer

Computer programmers who work in software development typically work with other experts to create custom software for clients. Software may include gaming, financial and educational programs. These programmers create the coded instructions for the program to work. Those who made applications software were paid a median wage of $95,510, while those who made systems software earned a median wage of $102,880 in 2014.

PayScale.com reported that software developers in general made a median wage of $62,069 in September 2015. Median wages were $58,698 for entry-level applications developers and $56,704 for entry-level systems developers.

Applications Programmer

Specialists in applications development create customized programs for clients to accomplish specific tasks. These professionals might alter existing programs or create new ones using different types of programming languages, such as C++ or Java. PayScale.com reported that the median salary for an entry-level applications programmer was $56,656 in September 2015. The median salary for those of all experience levels was $62,296.

Systems Programmer

Systems programmers write programs that manage networks, databases and operating systems. These programs oversee the tasks and communication between various computer components that run programs. These professionals often work with applications programmers, who do not have as broad knowledge of computer systems as a whole, notes the BLS.

Although a salary figure for entry-level professionals was not available, PayScale.com reported in 2015 that the median salary for a systems programmer was $71,750. Most systems programmers earned between $48,936 and $113,669.

Education Options

Many entry-level computer programmers have associate's degrees, but companies are coming to expect new employees to have bachelor's degrees with majors in computer or information science, according to the BLS. Having a strong background in programming languages may improve your chances of landing a job.

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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