While the answer might be personal to you, all signs point to yes! The average yearly computer programmer salary in the United States is $89,190. But, there’s a lot more you might still be wondering. In this article, we’re taking a deep dive into the salary expectations for web development careers across different job titles, experience levels and geographies and telling you everything you need to know about breaking into this amazing industry!
Computer Programmer Salary Breakdown
Your salary as a computer programmer could vary widely depending on a number of factors, like where you reside, your level of experience and the company that employs you. Let’s start with the first factor on that list: according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average yearly salary of a computer programmer ranges by more than $20,000, depending on the state. Here’s those averages for each state:
District of Columbia
Within each state, computer programmers find employment across multiple industries. According to the BLS, the largest employers of computer programmers are:
- Computer systems designs and related services
- Finance and Insurance
- Software publishers
- Self-employed workers
Throughout their career, programmers often progress into different positions within the web development and analyst fields. Indeed.com is a helpful tool for gaining an understanding of salary expectations at different levels of one’s career. According to the site, entry-level web developers should expect to earn about $60,000 with that number rising up to $80,000 within six to nine years of on the job experience. Senior-level developers often earn at least $85,000, with that number rising to well past $150,000 at major corporations and within major metropolitan areas.
Below, we’ll take a look at some related job titles you’ll see throughout the programming industry, and the responsibilities and salaries associated with them,
Computer Programmer and Coding Job Outlook
It can be a little difficult to garner a read on the job outlook for computer programmers, but overall the industry is expanding rapidly. Computer occupations as a whole are expected to grow by 13 percent by 2030 according to the BLS, which is above the average for all occupations. Despite this, employment of computer programmers is projected to decline by ten percent in that same window. Why is this the case? Mostly due to major corporations off-shoring entry-level positions.
However, those with a coding background have no need to worry. Obtaining the right qualifications and background experience is a surefire way to guarantee employment in the booming industry. Adjacent roles that are expected to grow include Web Developers, Computer Systems Analysts and Software Developers, to name just a few. Salary and career growth are more than possible for those who commit to this professional path.
What Do Computer Programmers Do?
Before we go any further, let’s take a moment to explore the critical part computer programmers play in our increasingly connected global society. In general, programmers are responsible for testing and writing code that provides for the functionality of computer applications and software programs. They work alongside web and software developers and engineers to ensure applications and websites produce expected results and are bug and error free.
On a day-to-day basis computer programmers:
- Use coding languages like Java and C++ to write new programs and update and troubleshoot existing code
- Creating and testing code in an integrated development environment (IDE)
- Resolving bugs or errors uncovered by testing or user feedback
- Architect API endpoints and data models
Depending on the company of employment, programmers also often collaborate with developers to design the programs themselves. Job titles a business might use when recruiting computer programmers include:
- Analyst Programmer
- Computer Programmer Analyst
- Internet Programmer
- Web Applications Programmer
- Web Programmer
How Do I Become a Computer Programmer or Coder?
If you’ve been thinking about making moves into the tech industry, there’s never been a better time! Companies large and small are scaling up their hiring in remote and in-person positions, as they work to meet increased demand around the world. Computer programmers are faced with different potential professional paths they can take. This provides flexibility when it comes to undergoing the training that matches the skills you wish to obtain, your budget and preferred learning style. For those looking to kick start their career, here’s where to start:
- Learn to Code! – This is of course, where every programmer and coder has to start. In fact, many programmers must master multiple languages to snag coveted roles. However, this process might be easier than you think. You can start by researching free coding resources available online, and start with an easy and widely-used coding language, like HTML, Python, Java or PHP. It’s definitely possible to learn coding as a self-taught skill at your own pace if that’s the path you wish to take. Plus, gaining comprehension of one language’s syntax makes it easier to pick up additional languages. For those less intrinsically motivated, online and in-person courses are available at academic institutions and other providers.
- Research Educational Opportunities – Many programmers never see the inside of a college classroom. Yes, the most traditional path to a career in tech is an associates or bachelors degree in a related field, like Computer Science, but this is far from the only option. You’ll want to consider any number of online courses or bootcamps. Bootcamps in particular can get you up to speed on all the essential skills in a matter of months for a relatively lower cost, with full and part-time options available.
- Consider a Specialization – As you gain a greater understanding of the types of programmer and coding jobs available, it’s worth it to start concentrating your skills within your area of interest. This can help you make early critical decisions, like what coding languages to master, and demonstrate a strong commitment over time to the field to future recruiters. Defining the industries that interest you can guide you towards the necessary academic programs and certifications you need to succeed.
- Develop Necessary Technical Skills – Make sure your skill toolkit is well rounded, and encompasses everything you need to know to succeed on the job. Identify any areas of weakness and get the experience you need to become a competent and well-rounded professional! Areas to start with include algorithm coding, data structure, SQL/NoSQL, API and PHP.
- Create a Company List and Apply! – Narrow down your career path, by considering the environment you work best in and your desired geographic location. Above, we provided information on the top sectors that employ developers and programmers and since the role is so widely needed across all types of companies, the possibilities in the field are essentially limitless. Focusing your professional efforts around a concentrated target company list could also further increase your chance of employment!
Programming and Coding Job Titles
You’ll find many careers within the world of tech contain overlapping responsibilities, and often work together to deliver the best possible end product to users. This means it can be easy to switch into adjacent roles and explore other aspects and specializations of the profession. Here are a few related job titles to explore!
Average Yearly Salary: $80,300/year
Average Yearly Salary: $116,635
Average Yearly Salary: $100,781
Average Yearly Salary: $106,047
Job Description: These developers work with the Java programming language to create software and applications, as well as help businesses develop websites, mobile applications, internet applications, multimedia applications, and more when Java is required. They also write, edit, and update website and software applications that utilize this specific language, work on the language of the coding, and verify user information. They are responsible for designing applications based on given specifications, testing and validating written code, and deploying a successful application.
Average Yearly Salary: $118,748
Average Yearly Salary: $87,006
Job Description: A software tester is tasked with making sure a software product is ready for market by acting as a trial user. It is their job to find bugs, errors, or features that may not be user friendly. Then, they need to document their testing procedures and communicate their findings to the developers who can fix any problems. In their day-to-day work, software testers play a critical role in the development process, and may be called upon multiple times to test the functionality of new features as elements are added or removed.
Increasing a Computer Programming or Coding Salary
While the salary of computer programmers is already higher than average, there’s always ways you can look to add a little more cash to your direct deposits. Here are some items to consider when attempting to boost your take-home pay.
- Gain Additional Competencies – Becoming an expert in new coding languages or data structures or developing your soft skills like communication and leadership are a great way of signaling to managers that you’re ready to take the next step up in your career. Of course, moving from an entry or mid-level position to a senior one will come with a raise!
- Earn a Certification or a Degree – You can become qualified for more advanced (and higher-paying) positions by earning a Master’s degree in Computer Science or pursuing industry-specific certifications.
- Make a Lateral Move – As you can see from the section above, salaries vary based upon your actual job title. If you find yourself hitting a wall as a programmer, taking a course or two or learning a new skillset can easily see you reinvented as a developer or software engineer! It’s always a good idea to network within and outside of your organization to get a sense of the opportunities that might be available.
- Relocate – While this is a big step, geographic location is one of the strongest factors in the potential cap on your salary. If you’re at the beginning of the career and have the flexibility, consider seeking opportunities in states or metropolitan areas that offer higher average pay. Remote positions are another opportunity to increase your pay by saving costs on commuting and living in expensive areas.
Are Coding Bootcamps Worth it for Computer Programmers and Coders?
Taking a coding bootcamp will present a tradeoff to anyone pursuing a computer programming career. Ultimately these programs offer a significantly lower cost than a four-year degree and can be completed in as little as 8 weeks to six months. On the other hand, this shorter time frame gives them less time to focus on the theoretical and fundamental aspects of the subject matter, with shallower dives into a wider breadth of topics. While bootcamps can be an excellent foray into a tech career, with many of them offering career services and a hiring guarantee, consider your budget, time you can commit to education and professional goals before signing up.
If you’re interested in learning more, take some time to browse our comprehensive coding bootcamps listings. Or check out additional programming and coding resources below!