Computer Programmer Job Description, Salary and Skills

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Interested in becoming a computer programmer? Here's all the information you'll need to know to land a job as a computer programmer, including job responsibilities, education requirements, desired skills, and salary information. 

Computer Programmer Job Description

Computer Programmers write code. Through the use of computer languages, such as C++ and Java, computer programmers create instructions for computers to perform and follow.

They work closely with others in the company to develop, maintain, debug, and test computer programs.

Overall, it is the responsibility of the computer programmer to write code and manipulate it into a language the computer can understand and follow. 

Computer Programmers are commonly employed by software companies. However, with the surge in access to computer programmers, many governmental and private sector companies, such as banks and law firms, have begun to employ computer programmers. It is not uncommon to see computer programmers working as freelancers, moving from project to project within technology consulting firms or independently.

Education and Training

Most employers require computer programmers to have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. However, some employers do hire applicants with an associate's degree and internship experience. It is recommended, no matter what degree level, that those interested in computer programming complete at least one internship.

Certifications for specific programming languages or for vendor-specific programming products are not required by all employers but is strongly recommended.  

Desired Skills and Qualities

  • Analytical Thinking: Computer programmers need to understand, manipulate, and repair complex computer code.
  • Strong Attention to Detail: Computer programmers need to pay attention to every line of code written. One wrong command and the entire program could malfunction. 
  • Collaboration: Computer programmers may need help from another department or colleague to fix a software issue. It is important they have a collaborative mindset.

More Computer Programming Skills

A - G

  • Algorithms
  • Analysis
  • Analytical
  • Analytics
  • Analyze Data
  • Applications
  • Application Development
  • Application Development Methodologies
  • Application Development Techniques
  • Application Development Tools
  • Application Programming Interfaces
  • Architecture
  • AROS
  • Ars Based Programming
  • Aspect Oriented Programming
  • Best Practices
  • Browsers
  • CASE Tools
  • Code
  • Coding
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Components
  • Computer Platforms
  • Concurrent Programming
  • Computer Science
  • Constraint-based Programming
  • Customer Service
  • Database Management Systems (DBMS)
  • Database Techniques
  • Databases
  • Data
  • Data Analytics
  • Data Structures
  • Debugging
  • Design
  • Development
  • Development Tools
  • Documentation
  • Embedded Hardware
  • Emerging Technologies
  • Fourth Generation Languages

H - M

  • Hardware
  • HTML Authoring Tools
  • HTML Conversion Tools
  • Industry Systems
  • iOS
  • Information Systems
  • Implementation
  • Interface with Clients
  • Interface with Vendors
  • Internet
  • Languages
  • Linux
  • Logic
  • MacOS
  • Math
  • Mobile
  • Multimedia
  • Multi-Tasking

N - S

  • Operating Systems
  • Optimizing
  • Organizational
  • OS Programming
  • Parallel Processing
  • Personal
  • Physics
  • Planning
  • Post Object Programming
  • Problem Solving
  • Programming Languages
  • Programming Methodologies
  • Quality Control
  • Relational Databases
  • Relational Programming
  • Reporting
  • Revision Control
  • Self-Motivation
  • Software
  • Structured Query Language (SQL)
  • Symbolic Programming
  • System Architecture
  • System Development
  • System Design
  • System Programming
  • System Testing
  • Teamwork
  • Technical
  • Testing
  • Third Generation Languages
  • Troubleshooting
  • UNIX
  • Use Logical Reasoning
  • Web
  • Web Applications
  • Web Platforms
  • Web Services
  • Windowing Systems
  • Windows
  • Workstations

Computer Programmer Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Computer Programmers earned an average of $74,280 in 2012. The bottom 10% of programmers earned less than $42,850 and the top 10% earned at least $117,890.

Quick Facts: Computer Programmer Occupational Outlook Handbook)| Computer Programmer Skills

In Depth: How to Get a Job as a Computer Programmer

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