How to Become a Computer Programmer or Developer (2024)

How to Become a Computer Programmer or Developer (1)

By Kimberli Lowe-MacAuley

If you’re considering a career in programming or development, it’s a great choice! These are two of the most in-demand professions across nearly all industries, as companies increasingly rely on software to get work done.

From finance and healthcare to manufacturing and retail, nearly every sector needs programmers and developers to create and maintain the essential software that keeps businesses running. And as workplace technology advances, the demand for these professionals is only likely to grow.

So, if you’re looking for a stable and well-paying career, programming or development may be the perfect field.

All About Careers in Computer Programming or Development

Both programmers and developers are in high demand across a wide range of industries. If you’re considering a career in either field, it’s essential to understand the different job descriptions and skill sets required for each profession. With that knowledge, you can make an informed decision about which path is right for you.

What Does a Computer Programmer Do? (Job Description)

A programmer’s job is to write code that will create software programs. They often work closely with software developers, who design the program’s overall structure to ensure that the finished product meets all the necessary requirements. In some cases, programmers may also be responsible for maintaining and troubleshooting existing software programs.

What Does a Software Developer Do? (Job Description)

A developer’s job is to design, create, test, and deploy software applications. In many ways, they are the project manager for the program. Developers work with programmers to ensure that the code meets all the requirements and functions appropriately. They also collaborate with other IT team members, such as system administrators and database managers, to ensure that the finished product is up to snuff.

Developer vs Programmer: Which Is Right for You?

Now that you know a bit more about the duties and responsibilities of programmers and developers, how do you decide which is right for you? Take some time to consider the following questions:

  • Do you have a knack for problem-solving?
  • Do you enjoy working with computers and other technology?
  • Do you like working with code?
  • Are you interested in learning new programming languages?
  • Do you want to work on a wide variety of projects, or do you prefer to specialize in one area?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, programming might be the right career path for you. Programmers must be excellent problem-solvers, often tasked with finding creative solutions to complex issues. They also need to be comfortable working with code, as they’ll spend a lot of time writing and revising software programs.

Additionally, programmers should be interested in learning new programming languages. As technology evolves, new languages are constantly being developed. To keep up with the latest trends, programmers need to be able to learn new languages quickly and efficiently.

On the other hand, if you’re more interested in designing and deploying software applications, development may be the better path for you. Developers need to have a strong vision for the finished product, as well as an eye for detail. They also need to be good communicators, as they’ll be working closely with other IT team members to ensure that the final product meets all the necessary requirements.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Become a Programmer or Developer?

If you’re interested in a career in programming or development, there are a few qualifications you’ll need to meet.

First and foremost, you’ll need a strong computer science foundation. A bachelor’s degree in computer science is the standard educational requirement for most programmer and developer positions. You can find a pathway to success with a boot camp or even being self-taught and creating a robust portfolio. This generally takes longer to build career progression, however.

In addition to formal experience, you’ll need strong problem-solving skills and be comfortable working with code. Some employers may also require that you have experience with specific programming languages or development tools.

What Are the Entry-Level Jobs for a Computer Programmer or Developer?

There are a few different entry-level jobs for computer programmers and developers. Some common entry-level positions include junior programmer, software engineer, and front-end developer or back-end developer. In these roles, you’ll be responsible for assisting senior programmers and developers with various tasks, such as code development and testing.

What Are the Career Paths for a Programmer or Developer?

There are a few different career paths as a programmer or developer. You can specialize in a specific area, such as web development or systems programming. Alternatively, you can move into project manager or technical lead management roles. With experience, you may also have the opportunity to become a self-employed freelancer or consultant.

What Is the Job Outlook for a Programmer or Developer?

The job outlook for programmers and developers is a mixed bag. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for computer programmers is over $90,000 per year.

However, the employment of computer programmers is projected to decrease by the year 2031. This is likely due to the industry balancing out from the significant growth in the previous decade.

What Are the Benefits of a Career in Programming or Development?

A career in programming or development can offer several benefits. First and foremost, it can be financially rewarding. Programmers and developers with experience can earn higher salaries than many other careers offer. Additionally, many employers offer bonuses, profit sharing, and other financial incentives.

Another benefit of a career in programming or development is that it offers a good deal of flexibility. Many programmers and developers can work remotely, and often, they can set their hours.

Finally, a career in programming or development can be personally satisfying. If you’re interested in technology and enjoy working with code, a career in programming or development can be a great fit. You’ll have the opportunity to work on challenging projects and use your skills to create innovative solutions.

Finding Programmer and Developer Jobs

If you dream of finding a job that allows you to build a flexible career while creating a work-life balance, we can help! With jobs posted daily in over 50 categories, our jobs board has something for everyone.

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How to Become a Computer Programmer or Developer (2024)

FAQs

How to Become a Computer Programmer or Developer? ›

Becoming a computer programmer involves acquiring the right technical and workplace skills and typically requires earning a bachelor's degree in computer programming or a related field. Some employers require only an associate degree, and it is possible to become a computer programmer without a degree.

Is it better to be a programmer or developer? ›

Developers have more knowledge of the industry they work in than programmers do. This industry knowledge helps developers ensure they create an effective product personalized for the needs of their customers.

What do I need to become a computer programmer? ›

Education. Computer programmers typically need a bachelor's degree in computer and information technology or a related field, such as mathematics. However, some employers hire workers who have other degrees or experience in specific programming languages.

How many years does it take to become a programmer? ›

It often takes 2-4 years to become a computer programmer, but timelines can vary. A two-year associate or four-year bachelor's degree can help programmers land their first jobs. Professionals may need more time to gain experience for higher-level positions.

Do programmers get paid well? ›

Computer programmers typically study computer science or computer programming. According to Zippia in September of 2023, programmers with a master's degree earn $76,914 per year on average. With a bachelor's degree, the average salary is $73,118.

Do developers get paid? ›

Employment: Many programmers work as employees for companies or organizations, receiving a regular salary or hourly wage.

Who earns more developer or programmer? ›

The pay differences between a software developer, programmer, and software engineer can vary depending on a number of factors, including experience, location, and industry. However, in general, software engineers tend to earn higher salaries than programmers and developers.

Are programmers still in demand? ›

U.S. News & World Report listed Software Developer as the #1 best job for 2023. Given the breadth of opportunities explored here, and the chance to constantly create, software development is poised to continue going strong in 2024 and beyond.

Are programmers still in high demand? ›

Salary: The median annual salary for software developers was $127,260 as of 2022. Job Growth: The demand for software developers is expected to increase 26% from 2022 to 2032.

Can I be a coder without a degree? ›

Successful tech careers start at any age — and with hard work, dedication, and a structured, intensive educational course like a coding bootcamp, you can gain the skills and the background you need to excel as a coder even without a degree. Web development is an exciting field with tremendous career potential.

Is 40 too old to learn programming? ›

Age is just a number, and it's never too late to learn something new and pursue a passion. In fact, many people in their 40s and beyond have made successful careers in programming, including my friend!

Is 30 too old to become a programmer? ›

Coding is a skill that can be learned at any age. Many people who learn to code later in life go on to have successful tech careers.

What age do most programmers start? ›

The majority of software developers globally surveyed for this study stated that they wrote their first line of code between the ages of 11 and 17 years.

Can I be a programmer without a degree? ›

Yes—you don't need a degree to land a high-paying programming job.

How difficult is it to become a programmer? ›

To write code, you need to be able to understand and use logical statements. If you're not used to working with complex abstract concepts, you might have trouble grasping certain ideas. Uncertainty. Programming has a reputation for being one of the most difficult disciplines to master.

Can I become a programmer on my own? ›

Becoming a self-taught software engineer won't happen overnight. Before you land your first software engineer job, it can take months or years to learn all of the necessary skills, like programming languages, tools, and API design.

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