Programmers write, test, and troubleshoot code for software and applications.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 10% decline in U.S. programmer employment between 2020 and 2030, due to global competition. However, the median annual programmer salary is more than double the median annual wage for all occupations.
Despite the competitive landscape, high-quality opportunities exist for the right programmers. Here, we examine what these professionals do, what they make, and what they need to qualify for employment.
What’s life like as a programmer?
In general, computer programming involves coding for computer software and applications. Your job duties as a programmer may include:
- Designing and writing programs in various programming languages
- Troubleshooting and updating existing code
- Testing and debugging code
- Creating or refining code libraries
- Rewriting code to work on various platforms
Programmers may need knowledge of multiple programming languages, including C++, Java, and Python. If you’re still learning to program, consider checking out a Java bootcamp, Python bootcamp, or coding website.
Programmers should also have problem-solving and analytical skills.
According to the BLS, industries employing the most programmers include computer systems design services, finance and insurance, and manufacturing. Programmers may work with software designers and developers, software engineers, other programmers, and clients.
Programmer work-life balance
Programmers typically work full-time hours within a traditional business work schedule. However, they enjoy location flexibility and can work remotely in many cases.
Most programmers work on deadlines, which can become stressful to meet if problems or errors slow them down. Programming isn’t among the least stressful jobs in tech.
In the fast-changing technology world, continuing education is very important. Programmers who wish to stay ahead of the competition regularly refresh and update their knowledge and skills. They may master new programming languages and platforms.
Programmer salaries: What can you expect?
Programmer salaries depend on many factors, including experience, the type of coding job, and your qualifications and skill set. According to the BLS, the median annual salary was $89,190 in May 2020. The top 10% of professionals earned over $146,050.
Salaries vary by industry, too. In software publishing, programmers earned median annual wages