How to Become a Data Programmer: Career Guide

Learn how to become a data programmer. Research the education requirements, training information, and experience required for starting a career in the data programming field. View article »

View 10 Popular Schools »

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

94% college-bound high school students
…said it was important to communicate with colleges during the search process. (Source: Noel-Levitz 2012 trend study)

Select a school or program

View More Schools
Show Me Schools
  • 0:01 Become a Data Programmer
  • 0:30 Career Requirements
  • 1:13 Step 1: Obtain a…
  • 2:23 Step 2: Keep Skills Current
  • 3:12 Step 3: Join a…

Find the perfect school

Video Transcript

Become a Data Programmer

Data programmers write code to create computer applications and database software programs that handle large amounts of information. In addition, they may sometimes be partly responsible for designing database systems. Data programmers may convert and transfer all necessary information to new systems as well as update and maintain current programs. Sitting at desks and viewing computer monitors for many hours are typical aspects of the work environment for data programmers.

Career Requirements

Experience Requirements vary by employer, but often at least of two years of experience are requested
Degree Level Bachelor's or higher
Key Skills Analytical skills; attention to detail; troubleshooting ability; concentration; fluency in a few computer programming languages, like C++, JAVA, SQL, C#, PHP, LAMP, and ASP.NET; knowledge of Microsoft Office programs; understanding of data structures and databases
Median Salary (2016)* $61,926 (for database analysts and programmers)

Sources: Monster.com job postings in September 2012, *Payscale.com, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Computer Games and Programming Skills
  • Computer Programming for Applications
  • Computer Programming for Certifications

Step 1: Obtain a Computer Degree

The first step to becoming a data programmer is to obtain a degree in computer science or a related specialty such as computer programming, computer information systems, or information technology. However, some employers may accept applicants with associate's degrees and relevant work experience. Community colleges and technical schools may offer associate's degree programs, and bachelor's degree programs may be found through universities and 4-year colleges.

Most degree programs teach students to effectively instruct computers to perform required tasks through several common programming languages, like Visual Basic, Java, and C++. Many programs also require courses in:

  • Data structure
  • Database development
  • Database programming
  • Database administration
  • Networking
  • Security
  • Business information systems
  • Open-source systems

Cooperative work programs may be offered through certain degree programs.

Gaining on-the-job training and experience working with veteran programmers through internships can expand students' skills and make them more marketable to employers. Additionally, interns may make valuable contacts within the programming community.

Step 2: Keep Skills Current

Technology is always changing, thus programming languages are continually evolving to meet new industry standards. Data programmers must stay abreast of new developments in their chosen computer languages or application specialties as well as learn the newest programming languages.

Obtaining certifications can be advantageous as well. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the increased use of automation and offshore hiring may threaten employment opportunities for data programmers. Earning certification in specific software and programming languages may help ensure future employment. A couple examples of credentials a programmer could earn are Microsoft Visual Studio certification and Oracle University Java certification.

Step 3: Join a Professional Organization

The third step is becoming a member of a computing association, like the IEEE Computer Society or the Association for Computing Machinery. Doing so can bring multiple benefits. Members can receive the most recent news in the field, expose their work, network with other professionals, complete online courses that lead to certifications, and gain access to other resources for career advancement and professional growth. With experience, programmers may advance to careers as software developers, program analysts, or computer system managers.

In summary, data programmers usually need a computer-related bachelor's degree, some experience, and programming language knowledge.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma of GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

    • Graduate Certificate in Sports Analytics and Management

    What is your highest level of education?

    • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Technology and Skilled Trades

    What year did you graduate High School / Receive GED?

    • Certificate in Science, Technology, and International Security Studies

    What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • MS in Computer Science
    • MS in Computer Science - Intelligent Systems
    • MS in Computer Science - Software Engineering
    • MS in Data Science - Computer Science
    • MS in Computer Science - Cyber Security
    • MS in Data Science
    • Graduate Certificate in Data Science
    • Graduate Certificate in Data Science in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics

    What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Master - Information Technology Management
    • Graduate Specialization - Information Technology
    • Graduate Certificate - Cyber Security

    What is your highest level of education?

    • MBA in Cyber Policy
    • MBA in Cybersecurity
    • MBA Economic Crime and Fraud Management
    • MS Cybersecurity - Computer Forensics
    • MS Cybersecurity - Cyber Operations
    • MS Cybersecurity - Intelligence
    • BS in Cybersecurity - Network Forensics and Intrusion Investigation
    • BS in Cybersecurity - Cyber Operations
    • BS in Cybersecurity - Information Assurance
    • Online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity
    • Computer Forensics Cert
    • Cybersecurity Technologies Certificate
    • Cyber Operations Cert
    • Cyber Policy Cert
    • Monitoring, Surveillance, and Intelligence Operations Cert

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Master of Science in Information Assurance
    • Master of Science in Information Assurance - Cybersecurity Specialization
    • Master of Science in Information Assurance - IA Policy Management Specialization
    • Graduate Certificate in Information Assurance Policy Management
    • Graduate Certificate in Information Assurance and Cyber Security

    What is your highest level of education completed?

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?