Computer Programmers

Annual Earnings Percentiles

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  • Supported: 84
  • Creative: 67
  • Analytical: 61
  • Social: 22
  • Purpose: 9

What Computer Programmers Do

Computer programmers write and test code that allows computer applications and software programs to function properly. They turn the program designs created by software developers and engineers into instructions that a computer can follow.

Work Environment

Programmers usually work in offices, most commonly in the computer systems design and related services industry.

How to Become a Computer Programmer

Most computer programmers have a bachelor’s degree; however, some employers hire workers with an associate’s degree. Most programmers specialize in a few programming languages.

College Majors

Showing data from the American Community Survey for the following US Census occupation categories:

  • Computer programmers

Bachelor's degree majors are shown.

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    Job Outlook

    Employment of computer programmers is projected to decline 8 percent from 2014 to 2024. Computer programming can be done from anywhere in the world, so companies sometimes hire programmers in countries where wages are lower.

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    Job Trends for Computer Programmers

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    This occupation supported 343,700 jobs in 2012 and 328,600 jobs in 2014, reflecting a decline of 4.4%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 8.3% in 2022 to 372,100 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 349,300, compared with an observed value of 328,600, 5.9% lower than expected. This indicates current employment trends are much worse than the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to decrease by 7.7% in 2024 to 302,200 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 377,700 jobs for 2024, 25.0% higher than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are much worse than the 2012 trend within this occupation.