Computer Programmer: Duties & Salary

Computer ProgrammersEvery time you turn on your computer or start up some new software, you’re relying upon the hard work of computer programmers around the nation. Though PCs and Macs are amazingly user-friendly and simple to use these days, the truth is that there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work going on that involves complicated computer programming languages and hours of tweaking and debugging. Interested in learning more about the day-to-day work of a computer programmer? Then you should keep reading…

What does a computer programmer do?
To a computer programmer, java isn’t just how they start their day, it’s one of the many different computer programming languages that they use to create and manipulate software that will accomplish the tasks that they want. Everything on your computer, from a simple game like Solitaire to a complex application like GarageBand, relies upon many lines of code to interact with the user and carry out various tasks. Computer programmers are the ones who code the software and debug it when problems arise.

But you won’t just find computer programmers working for big name corporations like Microsoft and Apple, you’ll also find them working for private companies and businesses, creating industry-specific software and programs that respond to the needs of their coworkers.

During your time at a computer programming school, you’ll learn the programming languages you need to get started in the industry. Your schooling may last from two to four years depending upon whether you wish to earn an associate degree or bachelor’s degree, but be aware that most computer programmers today have a bachelor’s degree — though an associate degree can still land you certain positions.

How much do computer programmers get paid and what kinds of computer programming jobs can I get?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median earning for wage-and-salary computer programmers was $65,510 as of 2006. Meanwhile, the mid-50 percent of wage-and-salary computer programmers were paid somewhere in the range of $49,580 and $85,080 annually. To further compare, the top 10 percent of earners had a yearly salary of more than $106,610 while the bottom 10 percent was paid less than $38,460.

Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a decline in employment opportunities in computer programming, there will always be job openings in this field as people retire or leave for other positions.

Computer programmers are an essential part of today’s economy and its industries. Though more than at home in the computer field and related areas, computer programmers can also be found working for places like schools, government agencies, and everyday companies. Wherever there’s a need for a personalized program or software that’s uniquely designed for an industry/company, you’ll find a computer programmer working to make it happen.

Thanks to the PC-driven nature of their jobs, many computer programmers choose to work from their own homes and offices. Referred to as telecommuting, this work arrangement allows computer programmers greater flexibility and efficiency.