The benefits of computer programming careers often are sold around the financial angle. It’s no doubt a great job market with substantial pay — we’ll get into that in more depth in a moment — but it’s also a fulfilling career in a number of other ways.
In the following article, we’ll be discussing the specific benefits you can expect from a career in this lucrative field. But first, let’s look at what it takes to be a good fit for it in the first place.
Which Qualities Make a Good Programmer?
Good programmers aren’t made in a classroom. They apply the science of computer programming while possessing several personal qualities that help them excel in their careers.
In other words, it’s not a profession for everyone. Here are the “must-have” qualities you need to have to excel in this profession.
Computer programming is a career that requires strong math skills. While that’s commonly accepted, it’s not as widely known as to why that is.
Math deals in two things that are crucially important to computer programming majors. These include analytical skills and the study of algorithms. Much of modern computing requires the use of algorithms.
Limited math skills will not provide you with an adequate foundation on which to build your continuing education. Without continuing education, you can’t hope to keep up with the rapidly changing state of technology.
Ability to Communicate
You may have this image that computer programmers spend a lot of time off by themselves. While that’s true to an extent, it doesn’t eliminate the need for communication skills when finding success.
Many larger computer programming projects require work in a team environment. And that’s true even if the team members aren’t in the same room.
As Professor Lydia Fritz of Grand Canyon University writes, communication skills are required in the field of computer programming. That’s because there’s a correlation between communication abilities and foundational concepts.
Computer programming has come a long way since the days of 1s and 0s. Yes, that’s still a part of it but the medium has gotten more intuitive over time.
Still, if you want to create something that stands out, you need more than the simple ability to play with preset designs. You need to be able to realize unique designs that directly reflect the branding and mission of a client. This requires a ton of patience as the work can be quite tedious.
Doing computer programming effectively means being able to work on your own. If you have to be constantly supervised, it’s probably not the career for you. There’s so much detail that goes into it that no one has the time to browbeat you.
The larger the project, the more people will be needed to work on it. You may be able to work independently. But it still takes the ability to build off other work and communicate with other parties to build a unified whole.
Now that you know the qualities that you’ll need to be a success as a computer programmer, let’s look at the benefits in more detail. If you’re considering this career, you’ll probably want to do it for one or more of the following reasons.
1. Ample Opportunities Available
If you’ve ever asked what do computer programmers do, look no further than the myriad jobs on the market. Not a day goes by where you don’t find some headline screaming about the dangers of automation. But the world of computer programming won’t feel those effects any time soon.
And some of the projected declines in computer programming jobs are offset by the rise in hiring overseas and the potential reshoring of those jobs amid the current political climate as of 2018. Only time will tell but as of now, it’s a lucrative gig as you’re about to see in the next section.
2. Great Pay
Another attractive selling point of a programming career is the computer programmer starting salary. You can tell a lot about a career from the quality of its entry-level positions. For computer programmers, the lowest 10 percent earn close to $50,000 per year.
Compare that to what the average American median income is (around $32,000 annually as of 2017). That means entry-level programmers are doing 50 percent better than the average American worker.
But it gets better as you move closer to the average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As of 2018, the median pay is $84,280 per year or around $40.52 per hour.
3. Challenging Goals
Computer programming careers are filled with challenges. And they’re the kind of challenges that require a combination of stick-to-it-iveness and creativity to move past.
Not every career affords you that, and it’s to their detriment. In fact, 83 percent of workers who cited advancement opportunities available at their work were more engaged.
Computer programming is mentally challenging but also satisfying when you see it all come together. Do you prefer a challenge? If so, you’ll enjoy a career as a programmer.
4. Using Creativity
A computer programming career demands creativity. Each website or digital product has the challenge of standing out in a sea of billions. Intuitive design is crucial to finding success, and that’s where a computer programmer can get their clients the desired results.
Yes, you have to be well-versed in a programming language. And yes, that language isn’t exactly the type of thing to feed the imagination. But the creativity lies in the interpretation of that language to concrete results.
That’s where the programmer really thrives. And if you have both of those qualities, you’ll do well in this profession.
5. Location Independence
Computer programmer skills are diverse and in-demand. But thankfully, they don’t necessarily require one to be in a single location to make it all work together.
Location independence is one of the benefits of computer programming that most programmers can get behind. The profession is a largely introverted lot so not having to deal with the insignificant interactions of a daily office environment is a godsend.
You can work remotely, usually from anywhere in the world. Coffee shops, home offices, libraries. You decide where the office actually is, and that kind of freedom offers a sense of satisfaction that’s hard to ignore.
6. Technological Literacy
Not many people know how to open Terminal on Mac or work with the common coding languages. But working in the profession ensures you stay at the forefront of technology. That intimacy with technology leads to literacy that most people don’t have, and knowledge is power!
Just think of how quickly computer programming has evolved in the last 20 years. The leap from MS-DOS to drag-and-drop has been huge. And if your skills were still at the MS-DOS level, you’d be woefully behind your peers.
7. Job Security
Beyond the ample opportunities available, computer programming careers are great because they’re not going anywhere. Virtually every business out there will need a web presence in the days and years ahead.
As businesses grow, they want something more customized and less plug-and-play. Furthermore, a surging trend toward digital communications will require the guiding hand of a computer programmer to help these companies place their best feet forward.
That means job security from anywhere in the world. No wonder digital nomads are on the rise.
8. Making Your Other Skills More Marketable
Having good computer programming skills make your other skills more attractive. That’s because every skill requires digital interpretation in the 21st Century. In other words, you need to know how you can make an impact through the digital medium.
If you’re a terrific writer, how do you develop a product or website that helps that talent or skill stand out in a sea of other great writers with websites or online identities? Computer programming skills will give you the chance to stand out.
9. Honing Your Patience
Sometimes success is made in how you deal with boredom. Computer programmers get a lot of time to be bored, work through it, and even thrive in the process.
Being able to sit and work on every line of code that it takes to be a successful programmer is tedious work. But getting through it spills over to your ability to deal with other less-than-ideal situations in life.
As author David G. Allen notes, “Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in your mind.” The trial-and-error that happens in computer programming will teach you quickly just how true this quote can be.
These Benefits of Computer Programming Make It Hard to Resist
No career is perfect. But the benefits of computer programming far outweigh the challenges. If you’d like to capitalize on this growing, stable profession, take the first step!
Good luck as you proceed through this lucrative career field. And for more tips on tech and software, make sure you check out some of our other blog posts.