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

How much do computer programmers make? 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 starting salary of computer science graduates. Schools offering Computer Programming degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Entry-Level Computer Programmer Salary Information

Computer programmers in general made a median annual wage of $84,280 in May 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Additionally, PayScale.com reported that entry-level computer programmers earned an average annual wage of $52,000 as of June 2019. The BLS stated in May 2018 that average salaries for some of the industries employing most of these professionals included $89,550 for computer systems design, $105,150 for software publishing, and $87,250 for company and enterprise management. Notable job titles for computer programmers include software developer, applications programmer and systems programmer.

Computer Programmer Salary And Career Information

Key Skills Analytical, detail-oriented, problem-solving
Entry-level Education Bachelor's degree
Median Salary (2018) $84,280 (for all computer programmers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) -7% decline (for all computer programmers)
Similar Occupations Information research scientists, computer hardware engineers, software developers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Much Do Computer Programmers Make?

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. A bachelor's degree in programming, computer science, or information technology is required for a career in this field, and years of experience may be helpful when applying for certain companies. Those who made applications software were paid a median wage of $103,620, while those who made systems software earned a median wage of $110,000 in 2018, per the BLS.

PayScale.com reported that software developers in general made a median wage of $76,166 in 2019. The average annual wage for entry-level systems developers was $56,000.

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. A bachelor's degree in computer science is typically required to find work, and companies may favor individuals with a demonstrated ability to efficiently code for specific platforms. PayScale.com reported that the average annual salary for an entry-level applications programmer was $54,000 in June 2019. The median salary for those of all experience levels was $63,360.

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. A bachelor's degree or higher is preferred among employers, and years of experience in fields such as encryption, scripting, or imaging may be required.

Entry-level systems programmers with less than five years of experience are estimated to earn around $63,000 per year, according Payscale.com in 2019. The site also reports that the median salary for an operating systems programmer was $96,650.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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