The Complete Computer Programmer Salary Guide

Headshot of CareerFoundry contributor Alex Williams.

Are you considering starting your career as a computer programmer or changing careers to become one? If so, you’re probably naturally wondering how much you can expect to make if this is indeed the career path you choose to embark on.

The average computer programmer salary varies depending on a number of factors, including your experience left, the industry you’ll be working in, and the city or country you’re based out of as well. 

To give you a better idea of what you can expect, we’ve put this guide together on how much you can expect to earn as a computer programmer in 2024 while keeping all of these various factors in mind. 

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  1. What is a computer programmer?
  2. How much money can a computer programmer make?
  3. How to become a computer programmer
  4. What next?
  5. Computer programmer salary FAQs

1. What is a computer programmer?

Computer programmers write, modify, and test code to create software and computer applications. They can create computer scripts and know several programming languages. 

A bachelor’s degree is generally required for this role, although this is changing, as it’s possible to gain a lot of expertise through self-learning and practicing computer programming independently. 

Computer programmers make a high salary, although there is projected to be a decline in job openings in the next 10 years. 

People who gravitate towards computer programming jobs tend to be introverted, as they are required to spend a lot of time alone in front of a computer. However, they must be able to work efficiently in teams and communicate on projects. Computer programmers are typically detail-oriented people who like working in organized and structured environments. 

2. How much money can a computer programmer make?

Now that we know loosely what the job involves, let’s go through some average pay packets you could earn.

Computer programmer salaries in the United States

The average salary of an American computer programmer is approximately $61k per annum. This average is based on computer programmers of all experience levels and from all industries. 

The average computer programmer salary in the U.S. can vary widely depending on the location. For example, some companies located in Californian cities pay their programmers a much higher salary than normal in recognition of the higher cost of living in these areas. Computer programmers that can work remotely or live in less expensive areas of the country typically get a lower salary.

In the Silicon Valley area, your average computer programmer makes $87k–$229k. This makes sense, not only due to the higher cost of living but also because Silicon Valley is a tech hub and attracts the most knowledgeable and experienced professionals.

Computer programmer salaries in Europe

On the face of it, programmers in Europe make significantly less than their counterparts in the U.S.. The top tech hubs in Europe are London, Berlin (where if you’re a resident you can be able to take a coding bootcamp for free), Stockholm, Paris, and Amsterdam, where the average salary is around $74k per year.

Computer programmers in Eastern European countries generally make less, with those in Romania making an average of about $20k per year. It’s worth bearing in mind the lower cost of living in many of these companies.

Computer programmer salaries around the world

Here are some other averages from around the globe:

  • Average computer programmer salary in India: $25k per year, 
  • Average computer programmer salary in Australia: $80k per annum. 
  • Average computer programmer salary in South Korea: $56k per year on average, 
  • Average computer programmer salary in Japan: $68k annually. 
  • Average computer programmer salaryRussian computer programmers bring home an average of $16k per year, with 
  • Average computer programmer salary in China: $49k. 
  • Average salary in Israel comes in at around $150k per year.

Which industry pays computer programmers the best salary? 

The tech industry provides the best salary for computer programmers by far. However, healthcare companies and even national defense organizations worldwide offer their programmers competitive salaries as well. 

Competitive industries also pay computer programmers quite well because they realize high-quality technology gives them an edge over their competitors. Retail and entertainment companies are also known to offer salaries in the higher range so that they can attract the best talent.

As a general rule, any highly competitive industry or any industry that needs digital transformation to become more efficient will offer its computer programmers a better salary.

3. How to become a computer programmer

To become a computer programmer, you must be curious about computers and enjoy creating new programs and software. Generally, a web development bootcamp or bachelor’s degree in computer science is recommended, although some of the world’s best coders have no formal education. 

That said, some employers only hire candidates who have passed certain certifications, so consider getting certified in the most common coding languages to boost your chances of getting hired. You also need to keep informed and up-to-date regarding developments in programming languages to excel at your job.

4. What next?

Computer programming and coding is an attractive career for many because of the high salary and the demand for computer programmers around the world. 

Software engineers, coders, and computer programmers are able to work remotely in many companies. It can be the perfect career for intelligent, detail-oriented people who like to build things. It can be especially rewarding to see the results of your hard work in the form of a computer application, software, or website.

So why not get started? CareerFoundry’s Full-Stack Web Development Program is specifically designed to help you change careers to become a computer programmer. The broad curriculum covering both frontend and backend coding means that as you progress you can decide on the particular niche you want to get the computer programmer salary of your dreams.

If you’d like to learn more about becoming a coder, check out these articles:

5. Computer programmer salary FAQs

What is the highest-paid type of programmer?

The highest-paying computer programming job involves computer programmers that work with cloud-based infrastructure. Cloud architects, also known as cloud engineers, make an average of $120k per year in the U.S.. 

Cloud architects help organizations set up their cloud database, coordinate with third-party vendors, and, most importantly, operate and monitor the cloud system. 

Another highly lucrative role for computer programmers is that of a frontend developer. Frontend developers work on making websites, interfaces, and apps more aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly. Experienced frontend developers can make between $90-160k per year. 

Is being a computer programmer a good career?

Obviously, being a computer programmer is a well-paying career, and these skills are in demand all across the world. However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, the demand for computer programmers is projected to shrink by 11% from 2021-2031. This means that securing a well-paying job as a computer programmer will become even more competitive in the future. 

Which software job is best?

To get the best software job, you must know programming languages like Python, SQL, and Java. Furthermore, specializing in cloud-based computing will make you a much more attractive candidate for a computer programming job. Recent advances in machine learning, specifically AI, mean there will likely be a new demand for computer programmers who can work with AI

Is coding a stressful job?

The level of stress experienced in any given job is highly dependent on the culture of the company and the relationships that exist between coworkers and managers. Companies that expect their computer programmers to operate under tight deadlines can make the job more stressful, among a variety of other factors. 

However, many computer programmers find that their jobs are not stressful at all. People who enjoy structure, organization, and focusing on their own work without worrying about office politics can find coding very rewarding. Computer programmers also have more flexibility to work from home, which can be a great benefit for some.

Which programming language pays the most?

According to the 2023 StackOverflow Developer Survey, developers skilled in the programming language Zig are the highest paid, with an average wage of $103,611.

Other high-paying coding languages include Go (also known as Golang), a programming language written by Google, Ruby, and Erlang.

Is coding difficult?

People who enjoy writing code can become so focused that time flies by as they work on a project. Coding, however, can be difficult and require a lot of concentration. Furthermore, computer programmers must be willing and able to learn different coding languages and keep up with changes in technology throughout their careers. 

Is programming in high demand?

According to statistics from the U.S. Labor Department, there will be an estimated 9,600 new job openings for computer programmers between 2021-2031.

What skills does a programmer need?

Computer programmers must have knowledge of a wide range of coding languages and experience in building software and computer applications. Most computer programmers have a bachelor’s degree from a university, and many engage in continued education to stay up to date with new developments.

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