What is the Employment Outlook for Computer Programmers?

computer programmer employment outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment outlook for computer programmers is declining. The BLS forecasts that computer programming jobs will decrease by 10 percent from 2021 to 2031.

Computer Programming Basics

Computer programmers use their technical skills to write and develop software programs that control how computers perform certain tasks like storing and retrieving data. Computer programmers are usually fluent in a number of computer languages, such as SQL, C++ and Java. Mobile device and cloud computing technology has resulted in computer programmers having to master multiple language platforms.

The computer programming cycle involves rewriting, debugging, maintaining and testing programs. Computer programmers work closely with software engineers and developers who create the software frameworks. They also use cutting edge development and reference code programs to enhance and simplify the process. The demand for computer programmers remains strong because of their technical acumen and training.

Do Computer Programmers Need a Degree?

A computer programming degree will prepare students to use technology to create business solutions and resolve business problems. Computer programming degree programs will train students how to understand security, networking, IT compliance and computer operating systems. They will be trained to apply database concepts and capabilities through the creation and maintenance of various database systems. Thus, they will be ready to design, evaluate, and evolve enterprise systems and architectures.

Degree programs will also teach students how to solve complex problems through complex programming languages. This starts with learning how to effectively leverage software engineering processes and techniques. Students must master the principles of organization, prioritization and project management. For example, this includes scheduling, planning, project control, quality assurance and scope management.

Sample Computer Programming Degree

Most computer programming degrees will cover fundamental coursework, such as algebra, statistics, critical thinking and technical writing. There will be basic computer courses that introduce the student to computer security, programming logic and data and network management. Students will also learn about IT architectures, systems analysis and client and server environments. Of course, students will also take advanced or specialized programming classes.

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For example, there will be coursework in data structures, user interface designs and object oriented methodology. There will be classes on software design, processes, construction, testing and engineering. Almost all computer programming degrees offer intermediate and advanced Java classes. Some students will specialize in systems analysis, project management or information systems.

Industry Standard Certifications

Computer programmers are expected to obtain and maintain industry standard certifications. For example, the Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) certification validates the programmer’s understanding of traditional and innovative platforms. The MCSD trains students on Windows-based apps, Web applications and life-cycle management. On the other hand, the Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP) certification proves that the holder knows how to develop security programs, reduce production costs, prevent application vulnerabilities and eliminate data breaches and loss of revenue. Additional popular computer programming certifications include C/C++, Google Apps and the Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) for software developers.


In closing, being a computer programmer requires strong analytical and technical skills. However, computer programmers must also have excellent organizational and project management skills.

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