Peggy Parks of State University claims that some people would have a hard time imagining life without computer use. With computers revolutionizing the way we are entertained and conduct business, computer programmers are in high demand. Computer programmers are professionals who write software for computers to use. The range of companies who hire them is expanding as technology changes and improves. This is beneficial to the programming industry, since it gives programmers increased employment options.
Computer programmers fall into two main categories, according to State University and the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. These categories include systems programmers and application programmers. Systems programmers create the operating systems for the computer--the operating system lets the computer run properly based on the hardware sets and provides a platform on which all other software on the computer runs. Application programmers focus on the software that's needed to do specific jobs. For example, they might write a program just to play audio files. Companies hire programmers based on their needs for these two categories.
Computer programmers may work in any industry that uses computer technology. One of the most popular industries is video game development. Computer programmers also may work in hospitals, government offices, retail chains and schools. Web-based companies also hire computer programmers to write specific applications for their websites. System programmers, however, tend to work for larger computer-based corporations such as Microsoft or Dell, since these companies have the strongest need for new operating systems.
Programmers who work on-site usually enjoy working in a clean office, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, because of the nature of their work, computer programmers do not have to work on-site; they may telecommute. This means that a company may hire a programmer who is halfway around the globe if they choose, and that computer programmers are not limited to working only in their immediate region. This is especially good news for programmers who live in rural areas that may not have quite as many businesses who need programmers.
Companies who hire computer programmers typically look for a minimum of a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field such as information technology, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, companies also hire based on experience and individual certifications, so lack of a degree does not necessarily rule out getting a programming job.
Employment Outlook and Wage
As of 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the overall employment outlook is excellent, with growth predicted to move much faster than average. They point out that advances in technology only will increase the number of programmers companies need. Data from 2008 indicate that those in the field may expect to make a median salary of $69,620 but could make as much as $111,450.