What Jobs Can I Get With Computer Programming?
We're in yet another banner year for technology careers. People looking for a dynamic career can leverage creativity, analytics, and curiosity all within the same field: Computer programming.
Thanks to decades of innovation and refinement, computer programming is more accessible than ever and offers many professional avenues for students and potential job seekers.
What can you do with computer programming?
Computer programming has many applications, including:
- Software development and engineering
- Web development and design
- Data science
- Data analytics
- Database management and administration
- Information technology
- Computational research
- Task automation
- And more...
Computer programming is a skill that spans across industry positions. Its power and flexibility lends itself to a variety of applications and jobs.
What jobs can I get with computer programming?
Nearly every industry has a use for computer programming. Whether you’re looking to work for a big company or help get a startup off its feet, if you’re a student or job seeker, you can find a sector that interests you.
Some examples of jobs that use computer programming include:
1. Software developer and software engineer
Software developers make about $110,000 per year on average developing new tools and applications. The field is expected to grow much faster than average as companies, organizations, and startups navigate newer, more complex challenges in operations in areas such as:
- Desktop applications
- Mobile applications
- Video games
- and more...
2. Computer systems analyst
Computer systems analysts make an average salary of just over $93,000 per year with only a bachelor's degree. Analysts study the computer systems of an organization or network and help to optimize and troubleshoot. The result is a more efficient setup designed to scale and grow with companies as their data load and technology needs increase.
3. Database administrator and architect
Database administrators and architects make just under six figures per year to manage data environments and ensure quality data storage. They usually need a bachelor's degree to work in the field, but some job seekers can find positions with self-taught skills such as the SQL programming language.
4. Web developer and digital designer
5. Computer and information research scientist
This field may require a master's degree, but with a median salary well over six figures per year, the degree could be worth it. Computer and information research scientists explore new applications and methods in both computer programming and data science, with many building new artificial intelligence models and environments.
6. Operations research analyst
With more organizations operating in distributed teams, moving global, and sourcing materials from all over the world, an operations research analyst looks for ways to make those operating systems more efficient. They use advanced mathematics and analytics to solve complex challenges, manage computer networks, and handle debugging for distributed systems.
Is computer programming a good career?
Computer programming is a fantastic career. Computer skills lend themselves to a variety of fields, including software development, product management, data engineering, and more. The field is incredibly lucrative and, for many, extremely rewarding—as computer programming lets you build new things for all people to use in the digital world.
One fact to consider is that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the computer programming field is expected to decline by about ten percent over the next ten or so years. Even so, computer programming is a solid field to consider. Here's why:
- Jobs in the field will trend towards specialization. Computer programmers may work in data engineering, web design, app development, or immersive experiences—none of which will list as "computer programming” specifically but all draw on programming foundations. These fields are expected to grow; cybersecurity, for example, will experience job industry growth of 33 percent—much faster than the national average.
- Despite the decline, BLS still predicts around 9,700 openings each year during the next ten years, including positions to replace those leaving for a different field or retiring.
- Based on BLS statistics, the computer programming field offers an average of $89,000 per year for bachelor's degree holders—much higher than the national average. Many programming positions will also accept self-taught students.
Is there high demand for computer programmers?
There is high demand for computer programmers in just about all industries. Companies need programmers to build websites, manage databases, build and maintain products, automate tasks, create documentation, analyze data, and more. Whether it’s to build an eCommerce platform, a mobile app, or a blog, companies will need computer programmers to do the work.
Is coding a stressful job?
Computer programming can be stressful. Coders work with tight deadlines, quick-turnaround times, and high-impact products and services in fields like web development and cybersecurity. Coding is also stressful in non-traditional ways; the job involves a lot of sitting, and it’s easy to feel fatigue after sitting in front of a screen for so long. Especially as many companies move their teams remote or leverage flexible hours, computer programming professionals will need to learn effective time management and communication skills.
All that said, companies over the years have improved their balancing of human needs with work needs. For instance, with remote work, many companies have alleviated the stress of commuting and working long hours in a constantly fast-paced office. Some technology companies also support a policy of mandatory time off to help with work-life balance and reduce stress.
As with any job, there are stressful parts of computer programming. However, overall, career seekers with strong problem-solving and analytical skills may find the field exciting and dynamic rather than stressful.
Is computer programming hard?
Computer programming can be challenging. While anyone can code, writing code, like any new skill, requires commitment to master.
Picking up programming languages like Java, Python, or Ruby is like learning a new language. The programming field is also dynamic; it changes rapidly with new models and technologies, so it's going to be a process of continuous learning. Job seekers who make professional development a priority will be able to keep up with a rapidly changing work environment.
The 2021 Stack Overflow Developer Survey indicated that 60% of new developers taught themselves with online resources instead of the traditional book and school paths. While a majority possess a bachelor's degree, a growing number of developers use online courses, coding bootcamps, and certifications to learn.
Explore Careers in Computer Programming with edX
edX offers a variety of computer science courses, including courses that cover algorithms, application development, computer programming, and information systems. Students can master high-demand coding skills for the programming job market, learning full-time, part-time, or as-needed.
Whether you’re a mid-career professional or just starting out, a programming career offers dynamic and lucrative positions. With the right training, you can help provide the next big advancement or breakthrough in the tech world.