Top 15 Careers in Programming (With Salaries and Job Duties)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated January 26, 2023

Published September 29, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

From science to technology, engineering, and math fields, there are many job opportunities for individuals who can write computer programs. If you're passionate about solving challenges and meeting customer needs through programming, a career in programming may be a viable option. Learning about technology jobs you can get while applying your programming skills can help you choose a suitable career path. In this article, we examine what careers in programming mean, explore 15 exciting programming jobs you can get, including open positions, and respond to questions about the technology field.

What does a career in programming involve?

A career in programming involves writing computer codes that make software programs function effectively. If you enjoy working on computer systems, you can consider a career in this field to apply and expand your programming skills. Assess your interest in programming and determine a suitable product or service you want to work on for clients. For example, you may want to build mobile apps, help businesses gain insights from data, or manage databases. Programming jobs are available for entry-level, mid-level, and senior candidates, and roles typically enable you to work flexible hours and remotely.

Related: How to Become A Mobile App Developer (With FAQs and Steps)

15 programming careers to consider

If a programming career excites you, here are 15 career options to consider:

1. Cloud engineer

National average salary: $82,569 per year

Primary duties: A cloud engineer manages an organization's cloud-based systems and processes. They set up architectures using cloud providers, transfer existing infrastructures, and manage the security and access to cloud systems. Cloud engineers use their programming skills to analyze data sets, run computer scripts, and write configuration files.

2. Computer programmer

National average salary: $34.76 per hour

Primary duties: A computer programmer writes computer codes, tests software, and corrects programming errors called bugs. Their codes impact how a computer, software program, or application performs. They may also modify software programs and collaborate with other programmers to resolve technology issues to meet client requirements.

3. Computer software engineer

National average salary: $72,992 per year

Primary duties: A computer software engineer develops systems and software for clients. They apply engineering and technology principles to create software solutions to issues. Computer software engineers may specialize in computer applications or systems software. While application engineers create applications for mobile and desktop devices, systems software engineers develop frameworks that computer systems operate on, such as operating systems.

4. Data scientist

National average salary: $81,579 per year

Primary duties: A data scientist gathers, processes, analyzes, and gains insights from data sets using computer programming languages. They also integrate and store data and apply techniques, such as statistical modelling. Data scientists collaborate with business stakeholders to understand client goals and determine how to use data to achieve those goals.

5. Database administrator

National average salary: $55,583 per year

Primary duties: A database administrator (DBA) secures, organizes, and troubleshoots information storage systems. They use database management systems (DBMS) and computer programming languages, such as Python and C#, to work with applications that depend on relational databases at work. Database administrators also grant database access to users to ensure database integrity.

6. Deep learning engineer

National average salary: $75,545 per year

Primary duties: A deep learning engineer applies their programming expertise to develop neural networks and solve client challenges. A neural network is an algorithm that identifies the patterns in data sets in a similar way as the human brain. Deep learning engineers typically have a background in machine learning or computer programming.

7. Java developer

National average salary: $91,955 per year

Primary duties: A java developer solves client problems using object-oriented principles and Java, a computer programming language. Object-oriented programming focuses on computer objects, which contain data and code. Java developers write, compile, and monitor Java programs. They may work on engineering and software products such as portable electronics, phones, and embedded systems.

Related: 13 JavaScript Jobs (With Salaries and Primary Duties)

8. iOS developer

National average salary: $85,198 per year

Primary duties: An iOS developer creates mobile applications for devices that use iOS, Apple's operating system. They write codes in Objective-C and Swift, which are programming languages for iOS development. iOS developers typically have a background in software development or computer programming. They often work as part of a team of software developers, UI/UX designers, and software engineers.

9. Machine learning engineer

National average salary: $90,973 per year

Primary duties: Machine learning engineers apply their programming expertise to build computer models or algorithms to gain insights from data. These models enable computer systems to learn patterns and trends without being explicitly programmed. Machine learning engineers collaborate with data scientists to build models. They may work to detect anomalies, make predictions, create automated systems, or classify objects.

10. Mobile application developer

National average salary: $80,385 per year

Primary duties: A mobile application developer designs, creates, and updates mobile applications. They typically specialize in mobile applications that can work on an operating system, such as iOS or Android. Mobile application developers create prototypes for applications and perform testing before launch. They also create technical documents that contain programming codes for applications they create.

Related: How To Be an Android App Developer (With Job Descriptions)

11. Programmer analyst

National average salary: $70,949 per year

Primary duties: A programmer analyst designs, develops, and implements computer programs. Depending on the organization, these technology professionals may work with specific computer systems, such as financial, scientific, or engineering systems. Staying current with technology trends is an important part of a programmer analyst's job because it helps in including relevant applications to existing systems.

12. Robotics engineer

National average salary: $74,805 per year

Primary duties: A robotics engineer designs and builds robots to improve product or process safety, operations, or quality. They typically work in manufacturing or production settings to develop machines. Robotics engineers write, test, and monitor computer programs that direct a robot's actions. They typically create computer programs in C or C++, depending on the robot to configure.

13. Software architect

National average salary: $113,066 per year

Primary duties: A software architect is an expert software developer who communicates with clients to design and execute solutions with software engineers. They write code sections as part of the development process of a project and evaluate technical standards for projects. Software architects make executive software design decisions.

Related: How to Become a Software Architect (With Salary and Skills)

14. Software developer

National average salary: $75,379 per year

Primary duties: A software developer creates software that enables users to perform tasks on computer systems. They upgrade existing applications and monitor the quality and performance of applications. Software developers document programming codes for future reference and work with UI/UX designers to implement application designs. They also test application codes regularly.

Related: Top Skills for Software Developer

15. Web developer

National average salary: $27.32 per hour

Primary duties: A web developer creates websites or web applications for clients. They collaborate with computer designers to implement web designs. Web developers may specialize in front-end, back-end, or full-stack development. While a front-end developer focuses on building web aspects clients can see and interact with, a back-end developer works on web development aspects related to computer servers. Full-stack developers specialize in creating websites or web applications from start to completion.

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FAQs about programming careers

Review the following questions and answers about programming careers to learn more about the growing technology field:

Do all jobs in technology require you to write programming codes?

Not all technology jobs require programming skills. For example, programming knowledge isn't typically a requirement for design and business intelligence analyst roles. Regardless, professionals in fields that don't typically involve programming may learn how to code to understand the technical impact and limits of their work. For example, a UI/UX designer who understands how to code may create designs that a software developer can implement in creating applications.

Related: 23 Careers in IT To Explore (With Duties and Salaries)

What tips can help you become skilled in programming?

Here are tips you can use to become better at programming:

  • Practise writing computer programs regularly

  • Join a programming community to develop your programming skills

  • Stay current with technology trends and frameworks

  • Work on programming projects that challenge and interest you

  • Consider internships, bootcamps, and workshops on computer programming

Related: How To List Computer Programming Skills on Your Resume

Do you need a degree to get a programming job?

Many programming jobs typically don't require a degree. Earning a degree in computer science, software engineering, or data science can help you develop your programming skills. It can also help you understand how computer systems work comprehensively. However, employers typically focus more on how you can apply your computer programming skills to overcome challenges and meet a client's needs.

Salary figures reflect data listed in Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organization and a candidate's experience, academic background, and location. Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliate with Indeed.

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