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Career Profile: Computer Programmers

Create, modify, and test the code and scripts that allow computer applications to run. Work from specifications drawn up by software and web developers or other individuals. May develop and write computer programs to store, locate, and retrieve specific documents, data, and information.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 185,700 people employed as computer programmers in the United States. The median annual salary is $89,200. Entry level employees earn approximately $51,440 per year and senior employees earn approximately $146,050 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Compile and write documentation of program development and subsequent revisions, inserting comments in the coded instructions so others can understand the program.
  • Consult with and assist computer operators or system analysts to define and resolve problems in running computer programs.
  • Perform systems analysis and programming tasks to maintain and control the use of computer systems software as a systems programmer.
  • Write or contribute to instructions or manuals to guide end users.
  • Investigate whether networks, workstations, the central processing unit of the system, or peripheral equipment are responding to a program's instructions.
  • Assign, coordinate, and review work and activities of programming personnel.
  • Train subordinates in programming and program coding.
  • Develop Web sites.
  • Train users on the use and function of computer programs.
  • Collaborate with computer manufacturers and other users to develop new programming methods.
  • Write, analyze, review, and rewrite programs, using workflow chart and diagram, and applying knowledge of computer capabilities, subject matter, and symbolic logic.
  • Correct errors by making appropriate changes and rechecking the program to ensure that the desired results are produced.
  • Perform or direct revision, repair, or expansion of existing programs to increase operating efficiency or adapt to new requirements.
  • Write, update, and maintain computer programs or software packages to handle specific jobs such as tracking inventory, storing or retrieving data, or controlling other equipment.
  • Consult with managerial, engineering, and technical personnel to clarify program intent, identify problems, and suggest changes.
  • Conduct trial runs of programs and software applications to be sure they will produce the desired information and that the instructions are correct.
  • Prepare detailed workflow charts and diagrams that describe input, output, and logical operation, and convert them into a series of instructions coded in a computer language.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
185,700
Annual Openings:
9,700
Increase in Openings by 2030:
-10%
Annual Salary Range:
$51,440 - $146,050
Education Requirements:
Bachelor's degree