How To Become A Computer Programmer In 2023: Career Guide

Are you interested in pursuing a career as a Computer Programmer in 2023, but don’t know from where to start?

If so, you’re in the right place.

This comprehensive guide will teach you how to become a programmer from scratch and a step-by-step approach to becoming a successful computer programmer. Whether you are a beginner or looking to transition into the field, this guide will help you navigate the path to becoming a computer programmer.

Also check out my ultimate guides on becoming a software engineerproduct managersoftware developersocial media manager and web designer.

Let’s dive right in!

Why Pursue A Career As A Computer Programmer In 2023?

Why Pursue A Career As A Computer Programmer In 2023?

A career in computer programming in 2023 comes with several advantages.

  • Firstly, there is a strong demand for skilled programmers due to the growing reliance on technology across industries, offering abundant job opportunities.
  • Secondly, programmers enjoy competitive salaries, earning significantly more than the national median income.
  • Thirdly, programming skills are versatile, allowing for career exploration in various fields such as web development, software engineering, and data science.
  • Lastly, programming offers flexibility as tasks can be done remotely with an internet connection.

Considering these factors, pursuing a career in computer programming in 2023 provides an exciting chance for professional growth and financial stability.

What Is Computer Programming?

Computer programming is the act of writing code to make computers, applications, and software programs perform specific tasks. Programmers are professionals who create instructions for computers by writing and testing code, ensuring the successful operation of applications and software programs.

What Does A Computer Programmer Do?

What Does A Computer Programmer Do?

Programmers use programming languages to create, modify, test, and update code, enabling computers, software, and applications to perform tasks. They work in various industries due to the widespread use of technology.

Besides the tech industry, finance, insurance, and manufacturing also hire many programmers. While they often work alone for extended hours in front of screens, programmers also collaborate with software developers and engineers.

Writing, testing, and debugging code may require multiple attempts, but programmers persist and find satisfaction in facing challenges.

Computer Programmer: Roles & Responsibilities

As a computer programmer, your roles and responsibilities involve designing, developing, and maintaining software applications. Here are the common duties and tasks associated with the role of a computer programmer:

Reviewing operating systems and software

As a programmer, you need to regularly review the operating systems and software applications you work with. This includes assessing their performance and making any necessary adjustments to ensure they run smoothly.

Writing and implementing code

One of the primary responsibilities of a computer programmer is writing code to create computer programs. You’ll use programming languages like Python, Java, JavaScript, C++, Ruby on Rails, and more to develop software solutions that meet organizational requirements.

Utilizing software engineering tools

Computer programmers often leverage computer-assisted software engineering (CASE) tools to automate certain coding tasks. These tools can help simplify and expedite the coding process

Implementing automated computer systems

Computer programmers are responsible for handling the entire implementation process of automated computer systems. This involves understanding the requirements, designing the system architecture, coding the software components, and ensuring a successful deployment.

Using code libraries

To enhance productivity and streamline development, computer programmers make use of code libraries. These pre-existing code modules allow programmers to reuse code snippets and functions, saving time and effort in the development process

Collaboration with software developers

Computer programmers often collaborate with software developers within their organization. By working together, they contribute to the creation of programs and solutions that align with the organization’s objectives

Troubleshooting and bug fixing

Debugging and resolving issues in software programs is a crucial part of a computer programmer’s role. You’ll need to analyze code, identify bugs, and apply fixes to ensure the smooth functioning of the software.

Computer Programmer: Skills & Qualifications

To become a successful computer programmer, there are several computer programmer skills and qualifications that are important to have. Here are some basic Skills and Qualifications for Computer Programmers:


While a bachelor’s degree in computer programming or a related field is typically required for entry-level positions, some employers may accept an associate degree or consider candidates without a degree but with relevant experience. Earning a degree helps provide a strong foundation in computer science principles and programming languages

Proficiency in Programming Languages

Computer programmers should be skilled in at least one programming language, such as SQL, Java, C++, or Python. While it’s not necessary to know every programming language, having expertise in multiple languages can increase employment and career opportunities

Problem-Solving and Logical Thinking

Programming requires the ability to analyze complex problems and devise logical solutions. Computer programmers should be able to break down problems into smaller components and develop efficient algorithms to solve them.

Learning and Adaptability

Technology evolves rapidly, and computer programmers need to continually update their skills and learn new programming languages and frameworks. The ability to learn quickly and adapt to new technologies is crucial in this ever-evolving field.

Debugging and Troubleshooting

Identifying and resolving software bugs and issues is a crucial skill for computer programmers. The ability to debug code, conduct systematic testing, and troubleshoot problems efficiently is highly valued.

Communication and Collaboration

Computer programmers often work as part of a team, collaborating with software developers, project managers, and other stakeholders. Good communication skills are necessary to effectively convey ideas, understand requirements, and work together to build software solutions.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Computer Programmer

Becoming a computer programmer typically requires 2-4 years, although the duration can vary. Completing a two-year associate or four-year bachelor’s degree can provide a good foundation for securing entry-level positions. Professionals may require additional time to accumulate experience for more advanced roles.

How Much Does a Computer Programmer Make?

The typical yearly salary for computer programmers in the US is $74,534. This amount comprises a base salary of $70,115 with an additional reported pay of $4,419 annually. Additional pay can consist of bonuses, commissions, or profit-sharing.

However, the specific salary for computer programmers can vary based on different factors. Exploring the average salary for particular fields, industries, and skill levels can provide valuable insights into potential earnings.

The Day to Day for a Computer Programmer

Computer programmers write code, scripts, and programs for software development. They work with languages like Python, Java, and C+. They can be self-employed or work in office settings, collaborating with designers, developers, and engineers. Computer programmers troubleshoot, update, and provide technical support.

They spend around 40 hours a week on the job, engaging with colleagues and stakeholders. Their work involves solving problems, ensuring products meet user needs and goals.

Where Do Computer Programmer Work?

Computer programmers work in a variety of environments, depending on their specific role and industry. Here are some common work settings for computer programmers:

Software Development Companies

Many computer programmers are employed by software development companies, where they contribute to the design, development, and maintenance of software applications and systems. These companies specialize in creating software for various purposes, such as business solutions, entertainment, education, or healthcare.

IT Departments

Large organizations and corporations often have their own in-house IT departments that employ computer programmers. These programmers work on developing and maintaining software systems that support the organization’s operations and infrastructure.

Tech Startups

Computer programmers are frequently found in tech startups, which are known for their innovative and fast-paced work environments. In startups, programmers may be involved in building new software products or services from scratch or working on cutting-edge technologies.

Remote Work / Freelance

With the advancement of technology and the rise of remote work trends, computer programmers can also work remotely or as freelancers. They can collaborate with teams and clients from different locations, using communication tools and version control systems to contribute to software development projects.

Government Agencies

Government entities at various levels, such as federal, state, and local governments, hire computer programmers to develop and maintain software systems for their operations. These programmers may work on projects related to public services, defense, law enforcement, or data analysis.

Step By Step Guide To Become A Computer Programmer

Step By Step Guide To Become A Computer Programmer

Step 1: Evaluate Your Current Skills & Education

Before embarking on your journey to become a computer programmer, it’s essential to assess your current skills, education, and experience. Determine your familiarity with computers, problem-solving abilities, and logical thinking skills. Having a solid foundation in mathematics and critical thinking can be beneficial for this career path.

Step 2: Choose a Programming Language to Learn

There are numerous programming languages to choose from, each with its own strengths and applications. Some popular programming languages include Python, Java, C++, JavaScript, and Ruby. Research the demand and application of these languages in the industry you are interested in and select one to start your learning journey.

I suggest beginning with JavaScript and Python, two popular languages in the startup industry and high in demand. Python is commonly used for backend frameworks like Django and Flask, while JavaScript is used with NodeJS. These languages are great for beginners to learn.

>>Learning ResourcesLearn JavaScript [Free course by Codecademy]

>>Learning ResourcesLearn Python for Programmers [Free course by Codecademy]

Step 3: Earn a Degree or Enroll Online Course

To become proficient in your chosen programming language, you need to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills. There are several resources available to learn programming, including a degree, online courses, tutorials, books, and coding bootcamps. Explore these options and find a learning method that suits your preferences and learning style.

Bachelor’s in computer programming programs typically comprise 120 credits and take four years of full-time study to complete. Also choosing the best degree for programming can be challenging. In the other hand, you can enroll for a online course or coding bootcamps to speed up your learning.

>>ResourcesBest Bachelor’s Degrees in Computer Programming 2023

>>ResourcesBest Programming Courses

Step 4: Practice and Build Projects

Practice is crucial for honing your programming skills. Start by implementing small coding exercises and gradually move on to more complex projects. Building projects will not only solidify your understanding of programming concepts but also showcase your abilities to potential employers.

>>Resources: Best Beginner Projects for New Programmers

Step 5: Gain Practical Experience

Practical experience is highly valued in the programming industry. Consider internships or freelancing opportunities to gain real-world exposure. These experiences will not only enhance your skills but also provide valuable networking connections.

>>Resources: Computer Programming Intern Jobs at Indeed

Step 6: Create a Portfolio of Your Work

Building a portfolio is essential for demonstrating your programming skills to potential employers. Showcase your best projects and highlight your contributions to each project. A strong portfolio can significantly increase your chances of securing job offers.

>>Resources: How to Build a Coding Portfolio

Step 7: Network and Join Programming Communities

Networking is crucial in any field, including programming. Join programming communities, attend meetups, and participate in online forums to connect with fellow programmers. Engaging with the programming community can provide valuable insights, mentorship opportunities, and potential job leads.

Step 8: Stay Updated with the Latest Trends

The field of computer programming is constantly evolving. Stay updated with the latest trends, frameworks, and technologies in your chosen programming language. Continuous learning and adaptability are key to thriving as a computer programmer.

Resources for Computer Programmers

Join programming groups and professional associations to network and collaborate. Access resources, publications, job listings, and education programs. Boost your resume and demonstrate your skills by becoming a member of a professional association.

Stay updated with the latest information in the field through these organizations:

  • ACM unites computing professionals, educators, and scholars globally, promoting leadership and high standards. Members gain access to education opportunities, resources, and career support.
  • IEEE Computer Society is dedicated to computer science and engineering, providing a digital library, educational programs, and research updates. It offers career resources, networking opportunities, and forums for collaboration.
  • AWC advances the role of women in computing, with chapters nationwide and individual memberships. It focuses on professional networking, continuing education, and mentorship.
  • CRA collaborates with over 200 research organizations to drive change and innovation in computing. It provides data updates, research initiatives, conferences, workshops, and career resources.
  • IWA sets standards for web professionals worldwide, with certification programs and industry updates. It covers site design, server administration, and database specialization.

How to Find Jobs As a Computer Programmer

How to Find Jobs As a Computer Programmer

To find jobs as a computer programmer, you can follow the following steps:

Update your resume: Begin by updating your resume to include your relevant skills, education, and work experience. Highlight any programming languages you are proficient in and showcase any projects or accomplishments.

Build a portfolio: Create a portfolio of your programming projects to demonstrate your skills and expertise to potential employers. Include a variety of projects that showcase different programming languages and technologies you have worked with.

Utilize online job platforms: Make use of online job platforms like Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor to search for programming job opportunities. Use specific keywords like “computer programmer,” “software developer,” or “web developer” to narrow down your search.

Network within the industry: Networking is essential for finding job opportunities. Attend programming meetups, conferences, and career fairs to connect with professionals in the field. Join online programming communities and engage in discussions to expand your network.

Check company websites: Many companies advertise job openings on their websites. Visit the career pages of companies you are interested in to explore any available programming positions. Consider reaching out directly to hiring managers or recruiters to express your interest.

Polish your online presence: Ensure that your online presence, especially on professional platforms like LinkedIn, is up-to-date and reflects your programming skills and experience. Recruiters often search for candidates online, so having a strong online presence can increase your visibility.

Leverage coding bootcamps: Consider attending coding bootcamps or specialized training programs to enhance your skills and increase your marketability as a computer programmer. These programs often provide job placement assistance and connections to potential employers.

Freelancing and remote work: Explore freelance platforms or websites that offer remote programming jobs. Freelancing can provide valuable experience, allow you to work on diverse projects, and expand your network.

Internships and apprenticeships: Look for internship or apprenticeship opportunities at companies or startups. These positions can provide valuable hands-on experience, mentorship, and potential full-time job offers in the future.

Prepare for interviews: Practice common programming interview questions, review algorithms and data structures, and showcase your problem-solving abilities. Be prepared to discuss your past projects and explain your thought process during coding challenges.

Remember to tailor your job search approach based on your interests and the specific programming languages or technologies you specialize in. Stay proactive, continue learning and improving your skills, and don’t hesitate to reach out to potential employers or industry professionals for guidance and opportunities.

How to Become a Self Taught Computer Programmer?

How to Become a Self Taught Computer Programmer?

Do you want to become a computer programmer learning by yourself? No specific path exists for becoming a self-taught programmer, which offers advantages for career changers. However, certain skills should be prioritized as they form a foundation and facilitate learning other skills. Here are steps to follow on how to become a computer programmer without a degree. As you advance, you can customize your approach to suit your preferences.

  1. Learn a Programming Language.
  2. Understand Algorithms.
  3. Recognize Data Structures.
  4. Develop Your Problem-Solving Skills.
  5. Practice Other Computer Science Skills.
  6. Decide What Type of Programmer You Want to Be.
  7. Specialize in Languages and Functions.
  8. Create Projects Using Your Knowledge.

>>Resources: Free Courses Programming Online

How To Become A Freelance Computer Programmer?

To become a freelance Computer Programmer, you can either pursue formal education or learn on your own, as explained earlier. Then, you can work as a freelance Computer Programmer on platforms like Upwork or Fiverr.

>>Resources: The Best Freelance Websites to Find Work in 2023

Benefits of Working As a Freelance Computer Programmer

Working as a freelance computer programmer offers numerous benefits. Here are some of the advantages:

  • Flexibility: Freelance programming offers a flexible work schedule, allowing you to choose your working hours.
  • Remote Work Opportunities: Freelancing enables you to work from anywhere, eliminating the need for a daily commute.
  • Autonomy and Independence: As a freelance computer programmer, you have the freedom to choose clients, projects, and working conditions.
  • Variety of Projects: Freelancing provides the opportunity to work on diverse projects in different domains and technologies.
  • Higher Earning Potential: Freelancers can negotiate rates and take on multiple projects, leading to potentially higher incomes.
  • Personal and Professional Growth: Freelancing promotes continuous learning, problem-solving, and communication skills development.

Computer Programmer Salary By Country

According to multiple sources, including the CodeSubmit Blog [1], SalaryExpert [2], and CodinGame & CoderPad Tech Hiring Survey [3], the average computer programmer salaries vary significantly across different countries. Here are some notable findings:

Top Paying Countries for Computer Programmers (average annual salary):

  1. United States: $110,140
  2. Switzerland: $97,518
  3. Israel: $71,559
  4. Denmark: $63,680
  5. Canada: $61,680
  6. Norway: $57,013
  7. Australia: $55,640
  8. United Kingdom: $55,275
  9. Germany: $52,275
  10. Sweden: $50,437

Other countries with relatively high average salaries include Ireland, Finland, the Netherlands, France, New Zealand, Singapore, Argentina, and Japan, among others.

It’s important to note that these figures represent average salaries and can vary based on factors such as experience, specialization, location within a country, and the overall cost of living in

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming A Computer Programmer

  1. Is a degree necessary to become a computer programmer?

    While a bachelor’s degree in computer programming or a related field can be beneficial, it is possible to become a computer programmer without a degree. Many successful programmers have acquired skills through self-study, coding bootcamps, and practical experience.

  2. How long does it take to become a computer programmer?

    The time required to become a computer programmer varies depending on factors such as prior knowledge, learning pace, and dedication. It can take several months to a few years to gain proficiency in a programming language and develop a strong skill set.

  3. Can I learn programming on my own?

    Yes, learning programming on your own is possible. There are numerous online resources, tutorials, and courses available that provide comprehensive programming education. Self-discipline, practice, and determination are key to successfully learning programming independently.

  4. What programming language should I learn first?

    The choice of the first programming language depends on your goals and interests. Python is often recommended for beginners due to its simplicity and readability. However, you may choose a language based on its application in your desired industry or the type of programming you wish to pursue.

  5. Are there job prospects for computer programmers?

    Yes, the demand for computer programmers remains high across various industries. With the increasing reliance on technology, companies are continuously seeking skilled programmers to develop software applications, websites, and other digital solutions.

Final Thoughts

Becoming a computer programmer requires dedication, continuous learning, and practical experience. By following this step-by-step guide, you can lay a strong foundation for a successful career in computer programming. Remember to stay curious, embrace challenges, and never stop improving your programming skills.

Remember, this guide serves as a starting point, and your determination, passion, and commitment will be the driving forces behind your success. Best of luck on your journey to becoming a highly skilled and sought-after computer programmer!

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