Computer Programmers

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Computer programmers write instructions that tell computers what to do in a computer language, or code, that the computer understands—including applications that are provided through the Internet (known as software-as-a-service). Software applications are used to perform many tasks, such as searching for information, editing photographs, writing text, playing games, or making purchases. There are approximately 289,420 computer programmers employed in the United States.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Application Programmers, Systems Programmers
Duties Write instructions that tell computers what to do; test and troubleshoot computer programs and applications to ensure that they have been coded correctly
Salary Range $25,000 to $100,000+
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities are available throughout the country, but about 28 percent of programmers work in California, New York, and Texas
Minimum Education Level
  • Associate's Degree
  • Bachelor's Degree
School Subjects
  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
Experience Internship and on-the-job experience
Personality Traits
  • Problem-Solving
  • Scientific
  • Technical
  • Computer
  • Digital Media
  • Math
Certification or Licensing Recommended
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Fair
Advancement Prospects Good
Outlook Decline
Career Ladder
  • Systems Analyst, Computer Manager, or Software Application Developer
  • Computer Programmer
  • Lead Programmer
  • Junior Programmer