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Computer Programming Career Profile – Appling Farms


Individuals with an interest in computer programming can pursue a promising career in today's technology-driven economy. With solid growth expected over the coming decade, now may be a great time to become a computer programmer.

Job Outlook and Salary for Computer Programmers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) collects data on a wide range of career paths and industries in the U.S., including computer programming. BLS outlines several positive statistics about the computer programming field, including:

  • 8% growth in the employment of computer programmers between 2012 and 2022.
  • In 2013, the median pay for computer programmers was $76,100 per year and the median hourly pay was $36.60.
  • In Memphis specifically, the 2013 annual median wage for computer programmers was $75,200 and the median hourly wage was $36.16.

These wage numbers represent the middle of what is earned, meaning half of computer programmers make more and half make less. Computer programmers in Memphis make slightly less than computer programmers nationally; however, the cost of living in Tennessee is also less that the national average.

Outline of Career Path

Computer programmers on average earn a very respectable wage, but it takes time and practice to get to become well established in this career. Once the individual graduates with a degree or certification in computer programming, he or she will typically start out in an entry-level position. Beyond entry-level, there are a range of opportunities that one can pursue. These include:

  • Learning additional languages and technologies – It is possible to get a programming job if one is proficient in one or two programming languages, but there are always other languages to learn. New technologies are also constantly being developed. An ambitious programmer can become more valuable if he or she is proficient in numerous programming languages and stays abreast of the latest technologies.
  • Computer systems analyst – Programmers with a solid foundation in business practices, may pursue employment as computer systems analyst.
  • Software developer – The computer programmer generally handles the writing of code to create a product, while a software developer comes up with the overall plan for creating a piece of software. A programmer with proper experience can pursue employment as a software developer.
  • Manager – Programmers who are good at motivating and managing others, may take on managerial positions over other computer programmers.

Education and Training for Computer Programmers

Before a person can get a job as a programmer, he or she must obtain the proper training. According to the BLS, most computer programmers have a bachelor's degree. But there are employers who hire programmers with an associate's degree. There are several ways to get the necessary training, including:

  • University or college – One can major in computer programming at most universities and colleges. It is possible to earn an associate's or bachelor's degree at these institutions. The time commitment involved in this can range from two to four years.
  • Technical or trade school – One can also earn an associate's degree in computer programming at a technical or trade school. This type of training tends to be more focused, with one's efforts spent mainly on computer programming courses. This may make it possible to graduate and begin working sooner.
  • Practice – Whatever schooling the individual decides on, the majority of skill development and computer programming training happens through practice. If one wants to be highly skilled in programming, and therefore be highly desirable to employers, the only way to get there is through practice. Practicing at home and in off-time is the single best way to instill the lessons one learns in school.

Computer programming is a trade where the proof is in the doing. Employers will ultimately choose the most skilled individual – the one that can demonstrate proficiency. Successful programmers combine quality schooling and education with significant practice for skill development.