The field of computer programming has tons of successful career opportunities in the software, networking, hardware, and data science fields. If you aspire to work in this lucrative profession, then you are in the right place. In this guide, we will cover how to get a job in programming, the highest-paying programming jobs, and the programming skills required to land those jobs.
Whether you want to become a data scientist, software engineer, software developer, or machine learning engineer, our guide will serve as a great support tool for your journey into programming.
What Is Programming?
Programming is an instructional and command process that helps tech professionals communicate with computer software. Computational processes, including software development, design, and engineering, all use programming languages to do their tasks.
Programming Job Outlook
The job outlook for programming jobs varies significantly since programming is a broad umbrella for a wide range of technical careers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook rate for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers is projected to grow by 22 percent between 2020 to 2030.
This positive job outlook rate isn’t projected for all programming jobs. According to BLS, the projected job outlook rate for computer programmers will decline by 10 percent between 2020 to 2030. However, cyber security, software engineering, artificial intelligence engineering, and data science fields remain highly in demand and have a high job outlook rate.
What Education Do I Need to Become a Programmer?
The industry-standard education to become a programmer is a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology or Computer Science. However, today’s market also offers alternative training like coding bootcamps, online courses, and certificate programs. Even without the traditional route of a computer science degree, you can become a programmer in today’s job market.
Can I Get a Programming Job Without a Degree?
Yes, you can get a programming job without a degree. Top tech companies such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and IBM hire plenty of bootcamp graduates for their programming jobs. Even self-taught programmers with code source project experience and programming abilities can land a job if they impress potential employers during their job interviews.
You can get a programming job without a degree, but a lack of experience would make that difficult. You will need to master the programming languages, technical skills, and relevant software programs to land your dream coding job.
Can a Coding Bootcamp Help Me Get a Job in Programming?
Yes, a coding bootcamp can help you get a job in programming. Coding bootcamps are short-term tech training courses that offer skills training and career support needed for an entry-level position. You have a multitude of coding bootcamps to choose from to cater to your specific programming career goals.
Flatiron School, Thinkful, NuCamp, and Le Wagon are the best bootcamps for software engineering jobs. If you are interested in pursuing a career in artificial intelligence, then Simplilearn, The Tech Academy, and BrainStation are good bootcamp options.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Job in Programming?
The time it will take you to get a job in programming is entirely dependent on your choice of educational pathway and job experience. Completing a bachelor’s degree takes four years, an associate degree takes two years, and a coding bootcamp program takes less than a year. After your education, you must also take time to build a resume, network, and apply for jobs.
Common Programming Education Paths
There are many education paths you can take to get a job in programming. Your choice of educational route will depend on your schedule, curriculum needs, and financial preferences. Below are the common programming education paths.
If you want to get job-ready within a few weeks or a few months, then programming bootcamps are for you. Coding bootcamps offer job placement services, coding training, and the hands-on experience necessary to get a job in programming. You can also attend a bootcamp that offers a job guarantee to secure your career placement.
Community colleges offer two-year degrees and certification courses that can also help you get a coding job. To get started, you can get an associate degree in any computer science-related field. If you are interested in getting a bachelor’s degree in the future, your associate degree credits can be transferred to a university program.
A Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology, Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, or other programming subject areas is a standard educational qualification across the programming job market. This route typically takes four years and opens up tons of career opportunities. If you want to specialize in a programming subject or get a research-based job, then a master’s degree is a great option.
Key Programming Skills to List on Your Resume
The key programming skills to list on your resume will depend on your choice of coding job. Below are the top programming skills to list for a general coding job.
Python is one of the most popular programming languages. It is used across a wide variety of tech professions. Whether it’s data science, artificial intelligence, software engineering, or cyber security, Python is usually used. Adding Python skills to your resume will help you to meet a standard qualification required across most programming jobs.
Whether it’s software engineering, cyber security, or database management, having troubleshooting skills as a coder is imperative to the job. You can list code debugging, analytical system management, and problem-solving skills to highlight your troubleshooting abilities.
Where to Find Programming Jobs
Now that you know the best programming skills and education paths, read below to find out where you can look for programming jobs.
Official Company Websites
There’s no better job search medium than an official company website, and you can browse the career page of your dream employer to find opportunities. You can look into popular tech companies like Google, Amazon, IBM, and Microsoft to find lucrative programming jobs.
Top Job Search Platforms
If you have searched for jobs online, you must have come across top job search platforms such as Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn. These websites list available openings and you can narrow your job search by adding your preferred locations, companies, and positions.
Online and In-Person Job Networking Groups
Job networking events and groups are great ways to connect with fellow programmers. If you are a college or a bootcamp student, career fairs serve as a fantastic networking event. You can also look into several online programming networking groups to find job opportunities.
How to Prepare for Your Programming Interview
There are several steps you can take to prepare for your programming interview. You should practice your elevator pitch and review personal projects that match the job listing. You will also need to display interpersonal and technical skills to impress your prospective employers. You can do this by mentioning the programming tools and languages you have mastered.
Programming Interview Questions
- Are you familiar with string-based programming? If so, describe a strong method.
- List your top open-source personal Python projects.
- Describe your process of preventative maintenance and software troubleshooting.
- Which programming languages and techniques are you familiar with? Please list any previous experience highlighting those skills.
The Five Highest-Paying Programming Jobs
|Programming Jobs||Average Salary||Projected Growth|
|Machine Learning Engineer||$130,530||22%*|
|Senior Systems Analyst||$103,614||7%***|
*BLS categorizes machine learning engineers under computer and information research scientist occupations.
**BLS categorizes senior programmers, software engineers, and game developers under software developer, quality assurance analysts, and testers occupations.
"Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!"
Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot
***BLS categorizes senior systems analysts under computer systems analysts occupations.
Machine Learning Engineer
- Salary: $130,530
Machine learning engineers are artificial intelligence (AI) professionals who develop, design, and maintain AI and deep learning software. This position is a multifaceted job that requires in-depth data science, AI, programming, and statistical analytics skills. This is a high-paying job for an experienced programmer.
Senior Systems Analyst
- Salary: $103,614
Senior systems analysts are software and network security professionals who are responsible for monitoring and maintaining computer systems. Their job duties include system analysis, design, upgrade, and solution implementation.
- Salary: $101,644
Game developers are software developers who help to design and develop the front end and backend of video game software. This job requires the ability to program the game engine that will be used for consoles, computers, webpages, or mobile phones. This programming career option requires graphic design, animation, and user experience design skills.
- Salary: $99,729
Software engineers develop and maintain user-friendly and efficient software programs. Their job tasks often revolve around system troubleshooting, upgrades, and testing. They work with user experience designers and product designers to engineer optimal software.
- Salary: $88,085
Senior programmers are responsible for supervising the computer software engineering, development, design, and maintenance departments. Along with supervision, they also develop and analyze programming solutions for an optimal software scalability process.
Programming Career Path
Programming abilities and qualifications will help to open up several lucrative tech-based career paths. Your eligibility for those jobs will vary depending on your skillset, job experience, and educational qualifications.
Entry-Level Programming Jobs
- Junior Developer – A junior developer works under software developers and assists in the software program design, development, and testing process. This position is a great way for programming bootcamp graduates to kickstart their development careers.
- Computer Programmer – An entry-level computer programmer works with software engineers and systems analysts to help increase software efficiency. They do this by monitoring software systems and implementing software solutions.
Mid-Level Programming Jobs
- Android Developer – An Android developer is a mobile application developer who builds apps, games, and software programs for the Android mobile platform. This job requires in-depth Java and Kotlin skills.
- Software Engineer – A software engineer is responsible for the development, testing, maintenance, and execution of a software program. This job integrates a wide range of software professions and requires you to have excellent systems security, programming, and design skills.
Senior-Level Programming Jobs
- Senior Game Engineer – A senior game engineer is responsible for leading a team of game developers, game designers, and game engineers. They supervise the design of the game engine and ensure that it matches business, functional, user experience, and creative requirements.
- IT Manager – An IT manager is responsible for overseeing the software and computing departments of a company. They ensure that the system runs efficiently and securely, and are responsible for recruiting IT staff.
- Software Architect – A software architect is a senior software engineering and systems design professional that works to create and supervise new software programs. Software architects are responsible for identifying company IT issues and engineering software programs to eliminate those issues.
Below are the top programming certifications you can get to advance your tech career.
Getting this Python certification is great for entry-level programmers looking to further their careers in data science, software engineering, or information security. This certification demonstrates your foundational and intermediate Python programming abilities.
C++ programmer certification is a great portfolio enhancer for software developers and mobile app developers. This certification is also well-suited for entry-level programmers looking to showcase their C++ syntax and coding knowledge.
If a career in data science or database management is your goal, then database administration certification is for you. This MySQL certification training program is offered by Oracle University’s subscription-based program and is best for database administration newbies.
Tips on How to Get a Job in Programming
Once you have the proper certification and training, you can start applying for programming jobs. Below are five tips on how to get a job in programming.
Build a Strong Portfolio
A strong coding portfolio of projects is imperative to landing a lucrative tech job. It showcases your programming capabilities and range. You can add school projects, professional projects, or personal open-source coding projects to enhance your materials.
Join Coding Groups
Networking is an important element of the job search process. There are tons of online programming groups you can join to network and find job opportunities.
Practice for Your Interviews
This tip is essential for all careers and requires ample practice. You must prepare an impressive and precise elevator speech and brush up on your technical skills to get ready for a programming interview.
Customize Your Job Application
The world of programming opens up tons of software, security, and data science job opportunities. You need to customize your application to cater specifically to the positions you are applying for. A generic resume, cover letter, and portfolio can be quite detrimental to your hiring chances.
Enhance your Interpersonal Skills
Working in a programming profession requires you to work with designers, developers, managers, and customer service representatives. Strong interpersonal and communication skills are crucial. You need to master people skills to be successful at a programming job and ultimately further your tech career.
Should You Get a Job in Programming in 2022?
If software engineering, programming languages, or data science topics interest you, then you should get a job in programming in 2022. The coding field is highly sought after and offers high compensation packages. You also have the option to work in several lucrative fields including business, IT, cyber security, data science, and healthcare.
Yes, you can become a programmer without a degree. You can attend a coding bootcamp, get certified, take online programming courses, or build a solid portfolio as a self-taught programmer to get a job.
No, getting into programming isn’t very hard, but it requires you to master problem-solving, analytical, and software computing skills along with programming languages.
With sufficient programming skills, you can become a software engineer, systems analyst, data scientist, mobile app developer, machine learning engineer, or IT manager.
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