Alternative Careers for Programmers

Jan 23, 2020

Computer programmers with programming experience may find that they can take advantage of their training and experience to pursue a number of other computer-based professions. Some career options for programmers are explored in this article.

Career Options for Programmers Seeking Alternative Careers

Computer programmers write the code that makes computer programs work. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts that computer programmers will see a decline in the number of jobs available from 2018 to 2028, which is due to companies hiring programmers from overseas. Since this career field is currently in decline, computer programmers may be seeking other employment options, and may want to consider other computer-based careers that will allow them to take advantage of their existing skills and training.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Outlook (2018-2028)*
Computer Systems Analysts $88,740 9%
Database Administrators $90,070 9%
Software Developers $105,590 21%
Web Developers $69,430 13%
Information Security Analysts $98,350 32%
Computer and Information Research Scientists $118,370 16%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Programmers Seeking Alternative Careers

Computer Systems Analysts

Computer systems analysts typically need to have a bachelor's degree, and employers consider computer programming experience to be an asset. Computer systems analysts work to improve the computer systems in place at organizations. Their work may involve determining how to improve the performance of existing computer systems or they may install new systems. They work with both computer hardware and computer software as part of their duties.

Database Administrators

Database administrators (DBAs) focus their talents on managing information stored in databases. They may perform tasks such as restricting access to sensitive information, or modifying the database so that it operates more effectively. Application DBAs work with computer programming languages to create or fix programs, so computer programmers may find that this is a good career option that will allow them to use their programming skills. Database administrators typically need a bachelor's degree in computer science or management information systems.

Software Developers

Software developers are required to have a bachelor's degree in computer science and they also need to have computer programming experience. Software developers create computer programs or applications. They typically work with computer programmers on a regular basis, so computer programmers will be familiar with the tasks that software developers perform. Some companies also have software developers write program codes, so this career can include programming as well as program design and testing responsibilities.

Web Developers

Web developers are the creative and technical minds behind websites. They can start their career with an associate's degree, they need training in HTML programming, and they may even need to know how to work with programming languages. Web developers determine the intended look and function of a website and then program the code for the site. Computer programmers have the technical knowledge and skills to enter this field, so they may be interested in considering a career as a web developer.

Information Security Analysts

Information security analysts need a bachelor's degree in computer programming or a comparable major; experience working in a comparable field, such as computer programming, is considered an asset so computer programmers should find they are qualified to work as information security analysts. Information security analysts work to secure the computer networks that organizations use by performing tasks such as installing firewalls. They investigate if someone attempts to gain unauthorized access to the systems, and as part of their duties they also perform tests on the existing security measures to see how secure they are and may suggest changes to the security systems in place or produce security protocols to help protect data.

Computer and Information Research Scientists

Computer and information research scientists are the inventive forces behind discovering new ways to use existing computer systems or creating new technology. They may do things like write a new computer programming language. Since computer programmers have experience writing code in computer languages they may be ideally suited to tasks such as this. Computer and information research scientists do need to have a doctoral degree in their field, and with experience in computer and information research they can also consider pursuing advancement to a computer and information systems managerial role.

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