Starting Salary for a Programmer

by Johnny Kilhefner

Computer programmers have a highly technical skill set, writing code and creating software used in almost all facets of media. Computers understand the designs of software developers and engineers because the programmer uses computer languages such as C++ and Java. Programmers work closely with software developers to plan, create and design applications.

How Much They Make

The median annual wage of programmers as of May 2010 is $71,380. The lowest 10 percent earned lower than $40,820, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $114,180. Most programmers work full time, earning an hourly wage of $35.71. As an entry-level programmer, expect to make anywhere from the lowest 10 percent to the median salary.

Career Outlook

The employment of programmers is expect to increase 12 percent through 2020. Growth in the U.S. is expected to be limited by companies hiring programmers from lower-paying countries. Most programmers find employment in computer system design, which is expected to increase as the demand for computer software increases. The best job prospects will go to programmers with bachelor's degrees (or higher) and a knowledge of several different computer languages.

By Region

The region in which you work affects your salary. The top paying states are Washington ($93,380), the District of Columbia ($90,960), Colorado ($89,030), Maryland ($87,600) and California ($87,160). The states with the highest employment include California, New York, Texas, Illinois and Florida.

Education and Certification

Programmers are usually required to have at least a bachelor's degree in fields such as computer science. Those working in specialized fields such as healthcare, however, need education that relates to that field. Having certification in specific programming languages is not a requirement of most programming jobs, but it can provide leverage for the entry-level candidate.

About the Author

Johnny Kilhefner is a writer with a focus on technology, design and marketing. Writing for more than five years, he has contributed to Writer's Weekly, PopMatters, Bridged Design and APMP, among many other outlets.

Photo Credits

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