Top Computer Programming
Careers: 2021 List

Computer programming careers are fascinating for those with a passion for coding. You will need to have logical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills. These professions have become highly in-demand because of the rapid technological development in most industries, so they usually enjoy high salaries and job benefits.

That is one of the main reasons people are so interested in tech careers. This guide covers some of the best computer programming careers in 2021 based on demand, salaries, and job growth expectations.

Why Pursue a Computer Programming Career?

A career in computer programming usually has a high salary and job security. High-level positions in computer programming can earn salaries of over $100,000 a year.

In addition, a computer programming career offers you the opportunity to obtain highly valuable technical and non-technical skills. Not only will you learn about the fundamentals of in-demand programming languages, but you’ll also develop soft skills like logical thinking, communication, and innovation.

What Industries Are Hiring Computer Programming Professionals?

Almost every industry hires computer programming professionals, from healthcare to game development companies, retail, and even government organizations. The need for IT and computer science professionals has grown in every field over the last century.

Investing in technology benefits every business. Some of the most common programming jobs involve artificial intelligence, machine learning, software engineering, web development, and game development.

Highest-Paying Computer Programming Careers at a Glance

In the following table, you’ll find a list of the highest-paying coding careers. The information in the table comes from reputable sources like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Job Title Min. Education Job Outlook Median Pay
IT architect Bachelor’s in Computer Science 10% $151,150
Software application developer Associate Degree in IT-related field 22%** $110,140
Database administrator Bachelor’s in Computer Science 10% $98,860
Computer systems engineer Bachelor’s in Computer Science 7%* $97,871
Computer systems analyst Bachelor’s in Computer Science 7%* $93,730
Computer programmer Bachelor’s in Computer Science -9% $89,190
Software quality assurance (QA) engineer Bachelor’s in Computer Science 22%** $88,282
Business intelligence analyst Bachelor’s in Data Science or Computer Science 11% $87,660
Network system administrator Bachelor’s in Computer Science 4% $84,810
Web developer Associate Degree in IT-related field 8% $77,200

*From data on computer systems analysts
**From data on software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers

The Best Computer Programming Careers in 2021

The Best Computer Programming Careers in 2021

In this section, we will show you more in-depth information about each career. The careers are organized from highest to lowest average salary.

IT Architect

The role of an information technology (IT) architect is to provide business solutions for the IT infrastructure of a company. This is a leading position in tech departments that involves evaluating the current IT system, finding opportunities for software and hardware upgrades, and setting up a strategy to improve the IT infrastructure.

IT Architect Responsibilities

  • Selects the software and hardware tools needed to improve IT infrastructure.
  • Evaluates the IT system.
  • Provides technical support.
  • Oversees the IT team to ensure upgrades are correctly implemented.
  • Monitors the performance of the strategy throughout all stages of a project.

Software Application Developer

Software developers are the masterminds behind the most popular computer applications we use daily. They write and test code to create digital products such as web, desktop, and mobile apps. Software developers may also work with specific programming languages to build video games and games for mobile devices.

Software development has three specializations: front end, backend, and full stack web development. Front end programming deals with the visible part of the program, such as layouts, colors, and fonts. Backend engineering refers to the server-side of the development process. Full stack engineering combines both previous specializations.

A software developer works with different computer languages depending on the needs throughout the development process. Some of the most common ones are HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, and SQL.

This tech job is highly in-demand these days. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that this profession is expected to grow 22% from 2019 to 2029.

Software Application Developer Responsibilities

  • Writes code for application development.
  • Tests the apps to spot potential errors or improvement opportunities.
  • Designs the look of the app following web design principles.
  • Maintains and troubleshoots the product.

Database Administrator

A database administrator (DBA) is a computer science professional who manages organizational data such as inventory, financial information, shipping records, sales, and marketing data. They provide companies with solutions to make data accessible and efficient for all members of the team.

The DBA is also responsible for access control, authorizing only certain employees to access particular datasets. This practice is done to prevent inappropriate access to vulnerable data.

To become a DBA, you must understand the database system and data security fundamentals. You probably won’t spend too much time on programming, but it’s a good idea to learn coding languages like SQL or Java.

The current demand for database administrators is expected to grow by 10%, which is significantly higher than the average job percentage growth for all US occupations.

Database Administrator Responsibilities

  • Installs, monitors, maintains, and improves the performance of database servers.
  • Manages data security.
  • Defines database standards and makes sure everyone in the company follows them.
  • Manages authentication access.

Computer Systems Engineer

A computer system engineer evaluates a company’s software to spot potential issues and improvement opportunities. They provide troubleshooting and guidance to help the company build a stable and secure IT system. Another responsibility is to maintain network connectivity.

According to BLS, the demand for computer system engineers is projected to grow by 7%.

Computer Systems Engineer Responsibilities

  • Evaluates software technology.
  • Spots errors in the system.
  • Troubleshoots issues within the platform.
  • Maintains network security and connectivity.

Computer Systems Analyst

Computer systems analysts share many responsibilities with computer systems engineers. Analysts focus on the evaluation process and preventing IT-related problems. They work with computer systems engineers, software developers, and chief technology officers to develop actionable strategies to improve the IT system.

Computer Systems Analyst Responsibilities

  • Meets with the Chief Technology Officer to discuss potential improvements in the infrastructure.
  • Evaluates the computer system.
  • Provides the IT team with instructions to improve system performance.

Computer Programmer

Computer programmers are responsible for writing the code for new applications. Software developers and computer programmers may seem similar, but there is a key difference. Programmers focus solely on writing the code. Software developers design and evaluate a product; programmers follow the instructions of software developers to build that product.

Most software developers can do all that programmers do, so the latter group is suffering from a lack of demand, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Computer programmer jobs are expected to decline 9% in the upcoming years.

However, we have included it in our list because it is a great starting point for those who are just beginning to build their career in the tech industry. In addition, computer programmers still enjoy high salaries.

Computer Programmers Responsibilities

  • Writes code for new and existing applications.
  • Tests code to identify issues in the platform.
  • Fixes bugs in the program.
  • Collaborates with other members of the IT department in the design process of the products.

Software Quality Assurance Engineer

A software quality assurance (QA) engineer is responsible for monitoring and evaluating the software development process at every stage. They discuss the company’s goals with leading organization members and make sure everyone in the IT team meets the same standards.

For a company, it’s important to meet deadlines and be efficient. A QA engineer helps the development team meet deadlines and remain on budget. This is the reason why the role of QA software engineer is so relevant in the industry these days.

Software Quality Assurance Engineer Responsibilities

  • Ensures the development team meets organizational standards.
  • Performs risk analysis.
  • Creates and implements test plans.
  • Evaluates interfaces to see if they provide a positive user experience.
  • Identifies new tools to improve products.

Business Intelligence Analyst

A business intelligence analyst’s goal is to find significant insights in raw data. Their job is similar to the data scientist position but focuses on providing business solutions.

They have to mine large sets of data and scrape and evaluate them to find business trends and issues in the current strategies. This profession will experience a rise in demand of 11% from 2019 to 2029.

Business Intelligence Analyst Responsibilities

  • Determines the business needs of the organization.
  • Retrieves organizational data.
  • Performs data mining and analysis to find meaningful insights.
  • Communicates findings with the leading members of the company.

Network Systems Administrator

A network systems administrator is an IT professional who installs, maintains, and troubleshoots the network systems. They must also organize them so they can run efficiently without any inconvenience.

Some of the networks they work with include wide area networks (WANs), local area networks (LANs), intranets, and network segments. The demand for network systems administrators is expected to grow 4%, according to BLS.

Network Systems Administrator Responsibilities

  • Configures the operating and network systems.
  • Monitors and enhances the network systems.
  • Provides support and troubleshoots issues in the system.
  • Performs data backups.

Web Developer

A web developer is a professional who builds websites from scratch. They perform backend and front end development techniques using programming languages like HTML, PHP, CSS, and JavaScript.

Having a website has become almost imperative to succeed in any industry. A website is proof of relevancy, authority, and reliability. According to BLS, the demand for web developers is predicted to rise by 8%.

Web Developer Responsibilities

  • Designs coding strategies.
  • Tests the current infrastructure of the website.
  • Fixes any issues that the platform may have.
  • Finds potential improvements for the website.
What Role Does Location Play in Computer Programming Salaries?

What Role Does Location Play in Computer Programming Salaries?

States in the US like California and New York have higher salaries than areas like Colorado and Texas. However, the cost of living is lower in the latter states. This means that the same salary can actually go a lot further in Colorado than in California.

Because of Covid-19, more computer programming jobs are being performed remotely. However, the location of the company and where you live is still an important factor affecting your salary.

Most companies will pay you based on your location, a relatively new trend that started during the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the 2020 State of Salaries Report from Hired, companies like Facebook started to implement salary adjustments based on the employee’s location and cost of living.

However, 53 percent of respondents said that they wouldn’t agree to a pay cut in exchange for working 100 percent remotely from a city with a low cost of living.

Common Entry-Level Jobs in Computer Programming

Below, we have listed the top and most common entry-level computer programming jobs. We have used information from different sources, including the Bureau of Labor Statics and PayScale.

Job Title Min. Education Entry-Level Pay
Software and applications developer Bachelor’s in Computer Science $110,140
Web and Internet programmer Bachelor’s in Computer Science $86,550
Programming analyst Bachelor’s in Computer Science $67,079
Database programmer Bachelor’s in Computer Science $64,330

What Education Is Required for a Career in Computer Programming?

Most computer programming careers require you to have a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. However, it all depends on the job’s level of responsibility. Some entry-level programming professions only require you to have an associate degree. However, if you aspire to have a managerial role, you should consider pursuing a master’s degree.

Can I Study Computer Programming Online?

Yes, you can study computer science online. Many schools are offering online degrees in most computer programming disciplines. Online degrees have several benefits, including lower costs and more flexibility.

Common Personality Traits in Computer Programming Professionals

Computer programming professionals must have a passion for coding as well as logical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills. These careers usually require you to spend several hours in the development process, so you must also be resilient and patient.

Is a Computer Programming Job Good for Me?

A computer programming career is definitely for you if you enjoy solving technical problems and have a passion for technology and logical thinking. These types of careers can involve repetitive tasks, and that’s something not all people are prepared for.

Given the high salary expectations and great job outlook, a career in computer programming is a great choice for those with the right skills. If you are mathematically inclined and have a penchant for logical thinking and coding, the answer is clear: a career in computer programming is for you!

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