How to become a computer programmer

Earn your degree

Individuals must have a degree in computer science or information technology to become computer programmers. Employers prefer applicants with a bachelor’s degree to hire entry-level computer programmer candidates. Computer programmers might need a master’s degree in certain cases.

It can take between 2 and 4 years to earn an undergraduate degree in a computer-related field. Associate degrees include computer coursework and basic education. Bachelor’s programs provide advanced programming and mathematics skills. A bachelor’s degree is required to obtain a master’s degree (in computer programming).

Earning an Associate Degree

An associate degree is in computer science that includes approximately 60 hours of coursework. This degree can be completed in just two years. The general education courses are combined with basic programming, software design, and programming languages classes. Computer information systems, technology studies, and information technology are additional degree options available to aspiring computer programmers.

Different Careers in Computer Programming

Computer programmers may pursue positions as support specialists or software engineers. They can also work as network architects and system analysts. All of these jobs require education and experience. An associate degree allows programmers to become web developers. A bachelor’s qualification qualifies them for work as system managers and administrators.

Computer-related master’s degrees allow professionals to work as computer researchers. Doctorates in the field enables them to work in academia and business.

According to the BLS, computer programmers earn an average annual salary of $84,000. Although pay scales can vary depending on where you work and what your education is, higher levels of experience and more advanced credentials will generally increase your earning potential.

Are you a computer programmer?

Computer programmers have many job opportunities across all economic sectors and geographical boundaries. These professionals are employed by large companies and organizations, as well as small startups. You can also become a freelance computer programmer and take on new jobs as they arise.


Most jobs are found in California, Texas, New York. Computer programmers can find work in technology, government, and business sectors in major metropolitan areas of each state.

Washington represents the highest-paying area for computer programmers, ranking as the fourth-highest-paying metropolitan area for programmers in the Seattle-Tacoma area. Additional high-paying careers are available in the District of Columbia with its extensive technology and government career opportunities.

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