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Are you interested in a career in technology and wondering, “What is computer programming?” In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about this dynamic career path. We will explore job expectations, how to break into the computer programming field, and the earning potential of computer programmers.
What is computer programming?
Computer programming is a high-tech field that is growing in popularity. Programmers work on code to find and solve problems. They propose strategies to improve and streamline the code, and they use the code to implement business initiatives.
While computer programmers come from a variety of educational and professional backgrounds, all computer programmers should have knowledge of different programming languages.
The most popular programming languages today include C++, Java, Python, and Go. Programmers should be familiar with several coding languages, especially these.
What does a computer programmer do?
The main task of computer programmers is to write code. Code provides instructions to a computer, written in a language the computer can understand. Many programming languages exist and computer programmers usually know several coding languages.
Computer programmers can also:
- Write and test code for programs and applications
- Update existing software programs to fix bugs or fix security vulnerabilities
- Test and troubleshoot existing code for errors
- Rewrite existing code to move it from one programming language to another
Computer Programmer Job Outlook
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 10% decline in the employment of computer programmers from 2020 to 2030. However, computer programmers’ skills, particularly coding in a variety of languages, could also translate by several other positions, many of which have better growth projections. For example, the BLS predicts that software developers will grow by 22% and information security analysts by 33%.
The BLS lists the median annual salary for computer programmers at $93,000. Workers in this position often receive other company perks like an annual bonus and a 401K package.
Computer Programming Degree Options
Regardless of job and industry, many employers prefer applicants to hold college degrees. The field of computer programming is no different. Aspiring programmers can pursue various degrees in computer programming and related fields. Below, we’ll look at a few degree options for computer programmers.
Associate in computer programming
You can get an associate’s degree in computer programming at a community college. Associate programs tend to be shorter than bachelor’s programs, lasting only two years versus four, respectively. They also tend to cost less: Two-year programs cost an average of $3,900 per year, compared to $9,400 for four-year programs, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Additionally, many community colleges offer programs that expose students to a variety of programming languages. Associate programs also have fewer non-technical courses.
Bachelor in Computer Programming
A bachelor’s degree in computer programming typically requires four years of full-time study. This degree includes both general education courses and courses related to programming, preparing students to work as computer programmers.
Degrees that may qualify you to work in computer programming include information technology, computer science, and information systems.
Master in Computer Programming
Most master’s programs involve two or three years of additional study after you get your bachelor’s degree. Masters students can usually study part-time or full-time.
Master’s programs are a good option for those who want to change careers or improve their skills as software engineers or computer programmers.
Computer programming training
If you want to pursue work as a computer programmer without attending college or university, your best bet is to attend a computer programming bootcamp.
A bootcamp gives you an immersive learning experience in a condensed schedule. Most bootcamps take four to 20 weeks of full-time study, or up to 12 months for part-time students.
Bootcamps cost an average of $11,900, according to a report by RTI International. If you’re wondering how to pay for a coding bootcamp, consider scholarships and payment plans. In some cases, your employer might be willing to subsidize the cost of your bootcamp. Talk to your boss or HR manager for more information.
If you’re wondering if you can get a job after completing a bootcamp, the answer is probably yes. Most computer programming bootcamps have a high placement rate upon completion, according to RTI International’s report. Some bootcamps even offer job guarantees.
Most bootcamps structure their learning modules specifically to prepare learners for their future careers. They can assign portfolio building projects, teach interview techniques, and provide networking opportunities.
Once you complete a computer programming bootcamp, you will be eligible for computer programming roles and similar job titles such as web developer, data analyst, help desk specialist, and web designer.
Frequently asked questions about computer programming
What do I need to become a computer programmer?
Most employers prefer computer programming candidates to have a bachelor’s degree, but you can qualify to work as a computer programmer by taking a coding bootcamp.
How much does a computer programmer earn?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for computer programmers is $93,000. However, salaries can vary widely based on experience level, location, and other factors.