The Job Market Outlook for Computer Programmers

Job Market Outlook for Computer Programmers
Job Market Outlook for Computer Programmers

Inspite of the outsourcing of Information Technology jobs, there is a net positive increase in staffing for computer programming jobs, because the fundamental demand for hi-tech skills in the US economy is quite strong.

The job market for computer programmers has virtually exploded in the last ten year and the demand for software developers will continue to be strong for the foreseeable future.

In this post, I would like to discuss the factors driving up the demand for computer programmers.

Job Market Surveys for Computer Programmers

One of the surveys conducted by Harris Interactive found that:

  1. 40% of companies are expecting to add to their programming and IT staffs over the course of this year
  2. Another 45% expect to maintain their staffing levels
  3. 81% of companies surveyed plan to increase the salaries of their computer programmers this year

You may be surprised to know that one of the reasons why hiring and compensation is on the increase for computer programmers … is that employers cannot find enough qualified or skilled computer programmers for their software development projects.

According to David, an IT manager with a fortune 500 defense contractor, It’s been this way for a while now. We have to constantly modify our objectives for the coming year, because we can’t find enough people to implement the solutions to achieve our objectives.

Broader Skills Are In Demand

According to a survey conducted by Computerworld magazine of 250 CIO’s and technology managers, computer programming and application development skills are 2 of the most in-demand hi-tech skill-sets.

Also, most of those same CIO’s noted that knowledge of more than one technology or technical platform is essential.

Most employers, according to the study, are seeking what they term as deep generalists, meaning software developers with knowledge of several platforms, deep expertise in a couple, and awareness of the larger enterprise framework in which their applications reside.

The key for most applicants is a deep base of knowledge, from which a greater, more generalized knowledge can be grown.

Entry-Level Prospects For Beginner Programmers

While the core high-paying jobs will go to those with cutting-edge or marketable skills, experience and contacts, the prospects for entry-level computer programmers continue to rise.

According to surveys, employers are hiring more entry-level computer programmers.

Who’s Hiring for Computer Programming Positions?

The survey results of 1,500 CIO’s around the country show that the following industries plan to hire computer programmers:

  1. Transportation – 25%
  2. Manufacturing – 19%
  3. Finance/Real Estate – 17%
  4. Professional Services – 17%
  5. Retail – 13%

The Fight for Programming Skills and Talent

The current high demand for computer programmers is expected to increase because as companies continue growing their information technology capability and as new regulatory requirements or legislation such as Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPAA are created, the need for skilled, talented and experienced computer programmers or application developers will continue to increase.

Here are some of the other reasons why the demand for computer programmers continues to rise:

  1. H-1B Visa: Recruiters cannot find enough H1-B Visa holders to staff the high numbers of software development projects because of quota restrictions put in place by the government.
  2. Obsolete Skills: A number of software developers have legacy, obsolete, outdated programming skills and new software development job postings are traditionally for the latest, cutting-edge software development languages
  3. Learning Curve: Because of languages like C/C++, software development is looked upon as having a steep learning curve.

    However, modern programming languages like C# or Visual Basic actually have a low learning curve and a high-payout unlike their C/C++ counterparts.

    Read this post on: Why C/C++ Programming Language Is Bad For Your Career

  4. Lack of Handson Skills: Software Development is a handson field and why a number of computer programmers have a background in computer science, they lack real-world, handson skills or experience which disqualifies them for actual programming jobs!
  5. Investing in Online Technology: The internet is one of the biggest business or technology drivers and software developers play some of the biggest roles in building internet applications or services!

    So, one of the best reasons why software developers will continue to be in-demand is, that as investments in internet / online businesses, web applications, mobile devices and media applications continue, software developers will have a future and a bright job outlook.

Finally, as the hiring for qualified computer programmers increases, the competition for scarce computer programming skills will also intensify.

According to industry sources, the salaries of computer programmers which has been rising 4 -5% each year for the last few years, will increase to 8-10% within a few years.

My conclusion is that the job market for computer programmers is full of opportunities and that software developers with cutting-edge skills and real-world experience will continue to be in-demand.

4 Responses to "The Job Market Outlook for Computer Programmers"

  1. Anschul   December 10, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Please tell me which is best field i should specialize in to get a job easely

    • IT Career Coach   December 10, 2010 at 11:08 am

      Becoming a Microsoft .NET Computer Programmer is the best way specialization for anyone who wants to take the fastest route to getting an Information Technology (IT) job and it is also the most lucrative 🙂

  2. Ralph   January 3, 2008 at 9:18 am

    I hope to become a computer programmer when i am older and i was definately helped by your website.

    • IT Career Coach   December 10, 2010 at 11:04 am

      Don’t wait to become a computer programmer … how old are you now?

      Don’t wait too long to become a computer programmer because these days, there are computer programmers as young as 10 years old … so unless you are four or five years, you don’t have to wait?


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