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Computer Programmer

Career Overview

Computer programmers are the technicians that actually put software designs into code. They write the instructions that a computer can understand in order to execute a function called for by the software. Software designers and analysts create the framework of a software program and its functions. The computer programmer writes the program, which is an elaborate series of instructions to the computer.

Computer programs are written in different languages such as Java, COBOL and C++ and most programmers are familiar with more than one. Some programmers specialize in one language, and many of the job postings seen today are looking for programmers with expertise in one or perhaps two languages.


According to a Department of Labor survey in 2006, sixty eight percent of all programmers held a bachelors degree. Today, computer programmers breaking into the field need to understand computer systems and networking concepts.  Employers in a business want to see programmers with some business related education, while employers in the engineering field want a programmer who is strong in mathematics.

Current Employment

Computer programmers held 435,000 jobs in 2006. The majority of these were in the computer services industries; however programming jobs are scattered through many types of businesses and government agencies.

Job Outlook

The job opportunities for computer programmers are expected to slowly decline over the next several years. Software programs have reached the point where users can often do their own programming; for development purposes, many software publishers are beginning to outsource in foreign countries.

Salary Range

Lowest 10%  $18.99  $39,500
Median Salary  $32.73  $68,080
Highest 10%  $52.75  $109,720

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

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