Computer Programmers: Salary Overview
Computer programmers write code that allows computer and software programs to work.
They take the programs designed by software developers and turn them into instructions that computers can “understand” and follow.
They also test the software to ensure that they function properly and perform according to the specifications.
Computer programmers may write programs in a variety of languages, including C++ and Java.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for computer programmers was $86,550 as of May 2019 which means that half of all workers in this occupation earned less than this amount while half earned more.
Salaries vary depending on experience and education levels, among other factors.
The lowest 10 percent of all computer programmers reportedly earned less than $50,150 per year while the top 10 percent made more than $140,250.
The 25th percentile for this profession was $65,760 which means that 75 percent of all computer programmers earned more than this amount in 2019.
Computer Programmer Salary by Industry
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer programmers held approximately 213,900 jobs in the United States in 2019, most of them being employed by companies that provide computer systems design and related services, in the finance and insurance field or in the manufacturing sector.
The average annual wage reported by computer programmers who work in the field of computer systems design and related services was $91,620 as of May 2019 while those who worked for software publishers reportedly earned $124,280 per year.
Computer programmers in the field of management of companies and enterprises reportedly made $91,300 per year.
The mean annual wage was $99,770 for computer programmers in data processing, hosting, and related services and $78,740 for those who worked for colleges, universities, and professional schools.
The highest-paying field for this profession was lessors of nonfinancial intangible assets who reportedly paid computer programmers with $127,000 per year but workers in this occupation held only a few jobs in this sector.
In conclusion, the industry of employment plays an important role in determining a computer programmer’s salary, and those who work for software developing companies typically earn more than those who work in other fields.
Salary by Education Level and Skills
There are many other factors that determine how much a programmer makes each year.
Although an associate’s degree may be enough for entry-level employment, holding a bachelor’s degree may help improve your earning prospects.
Completing some classes in the field in which you want to specialize can also be a plus.
For example, if you want to work with developers of healthcare applications, completing some classes in the field can help you have a better understanding of the terms used in the application and its functionality.
Kowing more than one programming language and being willing to keep up with new developments in the technology sector will also give you better chances of finding a job that offers a higher salary.
After earning a few years of experience and perfecting your skills you may be promoted to a position that is better paid.
For example, you can become a software developer- a profession that is remunerated, on average, with more than $100,000 per year.
Job prospects for this profession don’t look very good in the future.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for computer programmers is projected to decline 9 percent from 2019 to 2029.
This decline is explained, in part by the fact that many companies prefer to hire programmers who are located in other parts of the world in order to reduce costs.
Job prospects are projected to look good for those who have a bachelor’s degree in the field and for those who know more than one programming language.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Computer Programmers. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.