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Computer Programmer

Computer programmers create the instructions that tell computers what to do. They write, test, and maintain programs, and also conceive, design, and test logical, computer-based problem-solving structures. The specific roles of programmers vary as widely as the programs themselves. However, they are usually grouped into two categories: applications programmers and systems programmers. Applications programmers write programs that perform a specific function, or revise existing packages software. Systems programmers focus on an entire computer system, creating programs that control how the network, workstations, and central processing unit of the system handle their various tasks. In some smaller organizations, programmer-analysts may fill the roles of both applications programmer and systems programmer.

Job Skills

Computer programmers should be logical, detail-oriented thinkers. They need to possess patience, persistence, the ability to work under pressure, ingenuity, creativity, and imagination. They should be familiar with abstract concepts and technical analysis, and should be comfortable communicating with other team members and with users.

Income

In 2002, computer programmers earned a median annual salary of $60,290. Earnings ranged from the lowest 10%, who earned less than $35,080, and the highest 10%, who earned more than $96,860. The following shows the median annual salaries for the industries employing the highest numbers of computer programmers:

  • Professional/commercial equipment and supplies wholesalers - $70,440
  • Software publishers - 66,870
  • Computer systems design and related services - 65,640
  • Management of companies and enterprises - 59,850
  • Data processing, hosting, and related services - 59,300

Training and Education

Because of the growing pool of qualified applicants, the educational standards for computer programmers have been rising. Employers usually require bachelor's degrees in computer or information science, mathematics, engineering, or the physical sciences, although certain positions may only require a 2-year degree or certificate. Associate degrees offered by community colleges and technical institutes are an increasingly popular option. Some computer programmers who are college graduates and wish to change careers or advance in their current careers may choose to return to a 2-year program for additional training. It is important for computer programmers to be familiar with traditional languages. However, employers are increasingly seeking candidates with knowledge of C++ and Java, as well as fourth- and fifth-generation languages that involve graphic user interface and systems programming.

Employment

In 2002, computer programmers held about 499,000 jobs. The largest numbers of jobs are found in computer systems design and related services and in software publishers, and large numbers can also be found in management of companies and enterprises, telecommunications companies, manufacturers of computer and electronic equipment, financial institutions, insurance carriers, educational institutions, and government agencies.

Job Outlook

Between 2002 and 2012, the number of computer programmers is expected to increase about as fast as the average. Data processing service firms, software houses, and computer consulting businesses will generate the most demand. Changing technology will create jobs for computer programmers because businesses will need to convert to new computer languages and systems. Employers will look for candidates who can work with client/server, Web-based, and wireless environments, and who have strong object-oriented programming capabilities.

Directory of Computer Programming Schools

Computer Programmer Training

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            MS in Computer Science
            • Syracuse University’s Master of Science in Computer Science program is designed to help students discover groundbreaking solutions to complex technology challenges and develop expertise in areas such as security and assurance, artificial intelligence, computer architecture, and advanced programming.
            • Students will gain advanced knowledge in critical areas, such as Security and Assurance, Artificial Intelligence, and Computer Architecture, and Advanced Programming.
            • Founded in 1901, the school has maintained its reputation as a leader in the field, offering a curriculum built on theory, fundamentals, and application with a worldwide community of over 20,000 engineering and computer science alumni
            • Syracuse University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science is designated by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education (CAEIAE) since 2001 and as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Research (CAE-R) since 2009.
            • Designed and taught by Syracuse faculty, the curriculum built on theory, fundamentals, and application.
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            MS in Information Management
            • The online format of the program combines live weekly classes, multimedia coursework, and collaborative group learning exercises.
            • The program prepares information professionals to design and manage mission-critical information technologies within organizations.
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            • 42-credit MS in Information Management which can be completed in as little as 21 months
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            Software Development Coding
            Platt College , Anaheim
            • A Los Angeles-based private college offering programs in medical sciences, legal studies, and graphic design since 1985.
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            • Showcases visual communication students’ artwork and design through campus magazine.
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            Software Development for Creative Technologies (Bachelor of Science)
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
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            ABCO Technology , Los Angeles
            • An accredited computer training academy preparing students to enter the IT industry as Network Engineers, Software Engineers, Web Apps Developer, Website Designers, Programmers, Database Administrators since 2000.
            • Holds A+ certification from CompTIA.
            • Located in Los Angeles, approximately 10 minutes away from LAX.
            • Flexible class schedules offered during day times, evenings and weekends.
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            Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration/Computer Information Systems

            See What’s Possible When You Earn a Degree at Florida Tech 100% Online

            Whatever your motivation for considering an undergraduate or graduate degree, Florida Tech offers programs online that can meet your needs. Here are a few reasons Florida Tech may be the right choice for you.

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            Computer Information Systems (Bachelor of Science) - Online
            • Each year since 2004, The Princeton Review has included California University in its Best in the Northeast listing, recognizing Cal U as one of the best regional universities in the northeastern United States.
            • Ranked #35 in Best Online Graduate Education Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
            • Offers private school amenities at a public school cost.
            • Grants students in its Global Online program the same diploma as graduates from Cal U’s traditional degree programs.
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            Bachelor's (BIT) - Software Analysis and Development
            • Ranked one of the Best for Vets schools in Military Times Edge magazine’s 2013 “Best for Vets” edition.
            • Offers MUSE (My Unique Student Experience), a content delivery system that gives students the option to watch, view, read or listen to required course materials.
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            Computer Science - Software and Mobile Application Development (BS)
            • Offers several scholarship opportunities for students who qualify.
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            Web Design and Development (BS)
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            • All programs available online, with the MBA program offered on campus in Salt Lake City.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), with programmatic accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).
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