7 Pros and 4 Cons of Being a Programmer

Updated April 7, 2023

Programming is the general activity or process of writing software. Regardless of your current background or qualifications, becoming a programmer can be a positive career move. Knowing the main pros and cons of being a programmer can help you make this decision and you can discover them by researching the subject. In this article, we discuss what a programmer is and go over some of the most important pros and cons of being one.

What is a programmer?

A programmer is a person who creates software for computers and mobile devices by issuing specific programming instructions to a computer. They're also called software developers and coders, and they're usually also involved in other phases of software development, like debugging, troubleshooting and maintenance. Some of their exact tasks are:

  • Writing and testing code for new applications: Programmers work with software and web developers to create the code for various computer programs and mobile applications. In some situations, they also contribute to other aspects of software development, like the application's look and functionality

  • Identifying and fixing programming errors: Finding parts of software applications that don't function correctly and assisting in fixing them is also an important part of a programmer's usual activity.

  • Updating existing software: Most software programs require constant updates to stay relevant and to eliminate some of their errors. Programmers often have to create and install updates that keep software up to date and as error-free as possible.

  • Making software safe against security threats: Some programmers specialize in cybersecurity, making sure that various pieces of software are not vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

  • Adapting existing software to new operating systems: Another task that's specific to programmers is rewriting code to make sure a software application has the same functionality on multiple devices and platforms.

Related: 6 Types of Programming Jobs

Pros and cons of being a programmer

Consider the following advantages and disadvantages of being a programmer:


Some of the main advantages of choosing a career as a programmer are:

Programmers usually have high job satisfaction

Although being a successful programmer can be challenging, it can also be a highly rewarding field that typically leads to high levels of job satisfaction. Successfully creating and implementing software can bring both personal and professional fulfillment. Also, programmers typically enjoy higher than average salaries and respect from their local communities, which contributes to their overall job satisfaction.

Programmer jobs have higher than average salaries

Programming is usually a lucrative profession. According to Indeed Salaries, the average base salary for a programmer in the U.S. is $56,587 per year, which is higher than the national average. The job also has a high earning potential, with experienced programmers usually earning much more.

Related: How To Become A Computer Programmer

There are many opportunities to work remotely

Programmers spend most of their time working on a computer, meaning that they can perform most of their tasks from virtually any location where they have access to an internet connection. This can open up multiple job opportunities, as programmers don't have to limit their job search to a specific geographical location. It also means they don't have to spend all their working time in an office.

Working as a programmer usually enhances your problem-solving skills

A significant part of a programmer's job is to take on large problems, divide them into multiple smaller pieces and attempt to solve them. This usually means they can gradually improve their problem-solving skills, which can help them get better at what they do and potentially ascend to higher tech-related roles. It can also help them in their personal lives.

Programmers have access to many freelance opportunities

Programming can give you more opportunities than other jobs to work independently and not limit yourself to a single employer. This can potentially enhance your skills, as you can work on different types of projects that require various approaches. It can also boost your earnings, because you can negotiate your own rates.

Related: How To Become a Video Game Programmer

You don't usually need formal education

Unlike many other high-paying professions, programmers are usually solely judged on their experience and their practical and theoretical knowledge, instead of needing specific educational achievements and certifications. This means you can gradually enhance your education while advancing in the role, instead of focusing on earning a specific degree. Aside from giving you more time to focus on career advancement, this can also reduce your costs, as most degrees and certifications require fees.

It's usually easier to achieve a good work-life balance

Programmers usually have set schedules and don't have to work long hours and evenings, unless they need to meet an approaching deadline. Also, having the possibility of doing some or all of your work from home can reduce the time you spend traveling to the office and back. This means you can usually create a schedule that helps them keep an appropriate balance between your personal and professional lives.

Related: The 7 Best Programming Languages To Learn in 2021

Cons of being a programmer

Some of the potential drawbacks of working as a programmer are:

You typically work in a fast-paced environment

Working in tech usually means that you can often the pressure of having to learn new information and adapt to new ways of doing things. This constantly changing environment can affect a programmer's morale and make it difficult for them to specialize. A constantly changing environment can also be an opportunity to constantly improve yourself and learn new things, though.

Most of your work is sedentary

Programmers usually spend the majority of their working time sitting in front of computer screens. A lack of physical activity for multiple hours every day can have negative long-term health effects. You can avoid this by taking some time out of each day to exercise and many tech companies help employees do that by providing exercise rooms and gym memberships to their employees.

Related: Is Computer Programming a Good Career? Definition and Tips

It often involves performing repetitive tasks

Coding software implies performing a series of repetitive tasks. This can lead to boredom and a lack of motivation, especially if you enjoy performing unique activities. Other parts of the job usually compensate for this, however, as programmers are often faced with new challenges and develop innovative ways to solve various issues.

It can be a highly competitive profession

Given the many benefits of working as a programmer, the domain can be very competitive. This can be a challenge for those who don't enjoy constantly competing for jobs and promotions and who prefer a more steady work environment. Given the high number of opportunities in the field, most programmers can still find lucrative work opportunities.


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