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How Much Do Computer Programmers Make?


The demand for people who can create functional code is increasing as applications and automation play a larger role in business. There are currently over 200,000 Computer Programmer positions in the United States, illustrating a booming job market for programmers that’s reflected across the rest of the world.

Read on to learn what a Computer Programmer makes, what they do, and which courses you can use to get started. The salaries in this article are based on what programmers make in the United States, but their salary expectations are strong compared to other professions regardless of location.

How much does a Computer Programmer make?

Computer Programmers earn an average of $86,500 a year. The top 25% make $112,120 and the bottom 25% come in at $65,760. Salary expectations for Computer Programmers are nearly three times higher than the national average, which is $31,300, according to recent census data.

The relatively high pay for programmers makes sense, considering the importance of what they do. A company’s software is integral to its revenue, management of resources, and the comfort and productivity of its employees.

Many critical systems and procedures depend on programmers, which explains why the unemployment rate for Computer Programmers is a low 1.4%, meaning 98.6% of Computer Programmers have jobs.

Still, there are many different kinds of Computer Programmers, and their responsibilities — and salaries — vary significantly. Let’s take a look at some of the most common kinds of Computer Programmers and their salaries:

Systems Programmer

A Systems Programmer makes an average of $89,780 a year, ensuring an organization’s operating systems can handle its many applications and processes. Operating systems (like Windows, macOS, and Linux) support the applications and peripheral devices of a computer.

Operating system management often entails making sure that each computer has the most recent updates and performing upgrades as necessary. Note that some operating systems aren’t compatible with older versions of software, while others can be made compatible with a series of tweaks. Deciding when and how to do this falls on the shoulders of a Systems Programmer.

C++ is a common language within many Systems Programmers’ tech stacks. You can learn how to be a C++ ace with our Learn C++ course.

Web Programmer

Web Programmers are some of the highest-earning developers, bringing in about $128,792 each year for creating applications that run on the web. The apps they create vary based on the needs of their company. In many cases, a Web Programmer meets with executives and other stakeholders to ascertain their high-level needs, then creates software solutions to meet those objectives.

Web Programmers also address issues related to maintaining, supporting, and changing existing software the company depends on. Making adjustments to software can allow a company to earn more revenue or make day-to-day life easier for its employees.

Our courses and paths for Web Programmers can help you launch or advance your career as a Front-End, Back-End, or Full-Stack Web Programmer. You can get started with our Front-End Engineer, Back-End Engineer, and Full-Stack Engineer Career Paths.

Game Programmer

Game Programmers make an average of $83,479 a year designing video games for companies. Even though games are meant to be fun, a Game Programmer’s job is far from child’s play. The games they make often include revenue-generating tools such as advertisements, upgrades, and in-game purchases.

A Game Programmer is charged with creating games that’ll keep players engaged and entertaining. This may involve creating complicated worlds that provide immersive experiences for gamers — keeping them coming back again and again.

Our Create Video Games with Phaser.js Skill Path is a great place to start if you want to be a Game Programmer. You can also learn how to parlay your game development skills with iOS in our Build iOS Apps with SwiftUI Skill Path.

Application Programmer

Application Programmers make around $89,121 a year, and their job can include a combination of web-based and computer-hosted applications. When making web-based applications, programmers design solutions that employees, executives, and customers access by logging into a web-based portal. Designing computer-hosted apps involve making apps that run on a computer or device without being connected to the internet.

Much of an Application Programmer’s job involves addressing coding issues that cause existing apps to malfunction or underperform. This may require debugging much of the code, pinpointing a single issue, or rebuilding a set of functions.

Regardless of the kind of coding an Application Programmer writes, their main focus is the end-user. So, they need to hone in on what will improve their experience, including:

  • Making processes run faster
  • Enhancing the functions of payment portals, online shopping tools, and other e-commerce solutions
  • Building solutions that make processes more efficient
  • Automating repetitive, mundane tasks

Application Programmers often work with other developers or Software Engineers to do this. Collaboration with CIOs and other executives is also a common element of their jobs, as their projects need to contribute to the organization’s goals.

Who makes more, Computer Programmers or developers?

Although Computer Programmers and developers use many of the same tools, their jobs are different, as is their pay. Computer Programmers make a little less (on average) than developers, who make around $107,510.

While developers typically have to engineer solutions from the ground up, a Computer Programmer may only be charged with executing the plan. Still, this often involves working with several stakeholders to ensure their needs can be accomplished using code.

Our catalog of programming courses has everything you need to get started as a Computer Programmer or advance in your career. While gaining the knowledge you’ll need to work with the most up-to-date tools in the programming industry, you can also build a portfolio that’ll make you a more attractive candidate for jobs.

August 2, 2021

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