How Much Do Computer Programmers Make? Salary, Top-Paying States and Career Outlook

By Jennifer Herrity

Updated September 17, 2021 | Published February 25, 2020

Updated September 17, 2021

Published February 25, 2020

Jennifer Herrity is a seasoned career services professional with 12+ years of experience in career coaching, recruiting and leadership roles with the purpose of helping others to find their best-fit jobs. She helps people navigate the job search process through one-on-one career coaching, webinars, workshops, articles and career advice videos on Indeed's YouTube channel.

A computer programmer writes and tests code that enables software programs to function. If you are thinking about a career as a computer programmer, earning potential, educational requirements and necessary skills are probably your main concerns.

In this article, we list the average salaries for computer programmers in every state and discuss the job outlook for this career. We also explain how computer programmers can increase their salary and answer other frequently asked questions.

Related: Learn About Being a Computer Programmer

How much do computer programmers make?

The national average salary for a computer programmer is $60,547 per year according to salary information that is frequently updated on Indeed, including that of the average salaries listed by state below:

  1. Alabama: $48,785 per year

  2. Alaska: $71,781 per year

  3. Arizona: $58,510 per year

  4. Arkansas: $64,085 per year

  5. California: $46,113 per year

  6. Colorado: $86,392 per year

  7. Connecticut: $61,401 per year

  8. Delaware: $71,554 per year

  9. Florida: $46,550 per year

  10. Georgia: $65,146 per year

  11. Hawaii: $68,714 per year

  12. Idaho: $63,509 per year

  13. Illinois: $57,117 per year

  14. Indiana: $65,465 per year

  15. Iowa: $67,340 per year

  16. Kansas: $64,441 per year

  17. Kentucky: $46,497 per year

  18. Louisiana: $71,219 per year

  19. Maine: $66,620 per year

  20. Maryland: $70,914 per year

  21. Massachusetts: $96,846 per year

  22. Michigan: $61,720 per year

  23. Minnesota: $52,941 per year

  24. Mississippi: $63,300 per year

  25. Missouri: $56,378 per year

  26. Montana: $43,513 per year

  27. Nebraska: $68,251 per year

  28. Nevada: $68,747 per year

  29. New Hampshire: $67,749 per year

  30. New Jersey: $60,928 per year

  31. New Mexico: $68,747 per year

  32. New York: $61,433 per year

  33. North Carolina: $56,121 per year

  34. North Dakota: $58,614 per year

  35. Ohio: $51,820 per year

  36. Oklahoma: $67,357 per year

  37. Oregon: $71,398 per year

  38. Pennsylvania: $47,567 per year

  39. Rhode Island: $65,257 per year

  40. South Carolina: $62,174 per year

  41. South Dakota: $65,338 per year

  42. Tennessee: $56,806 per year

  43. Texas: $71,567 per year

  44. Utah: $66,340 per year

  45. Vermont: $67,099 per year

  46. Virginia: $63,997 per year

  47. Washington: $74,401 per year

  48. West Virginia: $56,014 per year

  49. Wisconsin: $65,815 per year

  50. Wyoming: $66,219 per year

Job outlook

Employment for computer programmers is expected to decline by seven percent from 2018 to 2028, primarily because more companies are hiring computer programmers from overseas and thus eliminating some U.S. jobs. This trend is expected to limit job growth for computer programmers.

How to increase a computer programmer salary

There are several things you can do to increase your salary as a computer programmer.

  1. Relocate.

  2. Advance your skills.

  3. Earn a master's degree.

  4. Change industries.

1. Relocate

Salaries for computer programmers are strongly impacted by geographic location. If you're interested in looking for a position with a higher salary, consider relocating to a different city or state.

2. Advance your skills

Programming is a field where there is always room for growth and improvement. The more you advance your skills, the more compensation you can generally expect to be paid.

3. Earn a master's degree

Master's degrees aren't required for computer programming positions, however, they can qualify you for more advanced, senior positions.

4. Change industries

The software publishing industry is by far the highest-paying industry for computer programmers. Finance and insurance, computer systems design and manufacturing all also pay a strong salary for programmers. If you are seeking positions with higher salaries, you may want to consider pursuing a job in one of these industries.

Related jobs list

Here is a list of jobs that are similar to computer programming. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the link for each job title below:

1. Web developer

National average salary: $74,720 per year

Primary duties: A web developer is responsible for writing the code for both the front and back end of a website. Web developers who work in small companies may also be required to perform at least some of the web design for the site. In addition to writing code for websites, their primary duties include analyzing user feedback to correct errors and improving the user experience for customers.

2. IT technician

National average salary: $76,458 per year

Primary duties: An IT technician is responsible for handling the installation, repair and maintenance of computer systems. Some of their primary duties include troubleshooting, helping to resolve IT-related issues, upgrading systems on computers and other equipment and monitoring the performance of network equipment and servers.

3. Project manager

National average salary: $82,795 per year

Primary duties: A project manager is responsible for defining projects, building work plans and creating and managing a budget. Some of their primary duties include communicating progress to clients and stakeholders, ensuring that team members understand their roles and are performing their tasks effectively and managing the project progress and budget.

4. Application developer

National average salary: $89,336 per year

Primary duties: An application developer is responsible for using programming languages and source code to create software that helps users complete a computer task or program. Some of their primary duties include testing and debugging the code and performing updates and modifications to the existing application.

5. Software engineer

National average salary: $106,462 per year

Primary duties: A software engineer is responsible for developing systems and software for businesses. Their primary duties include designing, developing and testing systems or applications, creating models that help developers write the appropriate code and recommending software upgrades for existing systems.

Frequently asked questions

What exactly does a computer programmer do?

Computer programmers are responsible for creating the code for software applications and operating systems. After a computer program is designed by a software developer, the computer programmer converts that design into code that a computer can follow. The programmer is also responsible for testing the program to find bugs and resolving any problems until the program is error-free.

How long does it take to become a computer programmer?

Since computer programmers are typically required to hold a bachelor's degree, it generally takes four years to earn a degree and obtain a position as a computer programmer. That said, the length of time can vary somewhat from one student to the next. Some students may also be able to obtain computer programming positions with a two-year associate degree or relevant experience.

What skills are useful for computer programmers?

Some of the most important skills for computer programmers are:

  • Problem-solving: Computer programmers must be able to problem-solve to find solutions to errors in code.

  • Active listening: They must be able to actively listen to understand the instructions from clients and understand and appropriately respond to questions from members of their team.

  • Communication: Computer programmers must be able to communicate complex information to team members.

  • Attention to detail: Strong attention to detail is essential for computer programmers, who must be able to find small mistakes in code and test to correct them.

  • Time management: Computer programmers are often self-directed, so they must be adept at managing their time.

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