COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS write, test, and maintain the detailed instructions, called programs, that tell the computer what to do. They also conceive, design, and test logical structures for solving problems by computer. Programmers write programs according to the specifications determined by computer software engineers and system analysts. After the design process is complete, programmers put the design into a logical series of instructions a computer can follow. They code the instructions using COBOL, Prolog, Java, C++, Smalltalk, or other program language. They test the program for errors and make changes as necessary.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $81,500 average per year ($39.25 per hour)
- A large occupation (333,600 workers in 2010)
- Expected to decline (0.3% per year)
Employers prefer to hire COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS with at least a bachelor's degree. Some may qualify for jobs with a 2-year degree or certificate. Employers using computers for scientific or engineering applications prefer those with a degree in computer or information science, mathematics, engineering, or the physical sciences. Graduate degrees in related fields are required for some jobs. Employers using computers for business applications prefer those with college courses in management information systems (MIS) and business, and with programming skills.
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