How Much Money Do Programmers Make?

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Thinking of becoming a programmer? While there’s a lot to consider, the money you’ll make is no small part of the decision.

If you’re wondering how much money the average programmer makes in a variety of positions, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s look at standard coding positions, their usual job descriptions, and how much you can expect to earn.

Note: We used aggregate results from Glassdoor, PayScale, and Salary.com to provide the average numbers here. These are not guarantees.

1. Web Developer

Job description: Responsible for creating and maintaining web applications.

Web development is a diverse field. Your exact work depends on the programming languages you’ve learned, whether you’re a front or back-end developer, and similar.

Glassdoor rates the average base pay for web developers at $93,000 per year. That’s much higher than PayScale ($58,000) and Salary.com, which claims a median of $60,000. It truly depends on the type of web work you do.

Most web developers move into a Senior Web Developer position later in their careers. Check out our comparison of programmers and web developers for more info.

2. Web Designer

Job description: Create and design websites for the best user experience.

While web developers focus on building apps for a website, web designers are the ones who build the site in the first place. Their primary concern is how the website looks and feels.

Taking into account averages from all three sites, you can expect a salary between $49,000 and $75,000 per year as a web designer.

Depending on the organization’s size, web designers may also branch out to copywriting, SEO work, and similar. Some of the best channels for web design can help you learn more.

3. Computer Programmer

Job description: Someone who creates and debugs computer software by writing code.

“Programmer” is a broad generalization for many standard programming jobs. Typically, an entry-level programmer in this position will know one primary language (like C++, Java, or Python) and may expand as they become more experienced.

They usually report to a project manager and work on a variety of projects. This may involve coding a brand-new application, updating an old app to work with modern standards, or similar.

Your salary will vary quite a bit depending on the languages you know, the company you work for, and your location. Expect a ballpark low of $60,000 per year and $75,000 on the higher end. Entry-level programmers may well earn $10,000 less than this.

4. PLC Programmer

Job description: Write and test programs for machine equipment.

PLC (programmable logic controller) refers to a computer that controls a machine process. These are often used in assembly lines and similar environments where consistency and having an easy way to identify faults is paramount. Thus, PLC programmers code these system to run optimally.

The average salary for a PLC programmer is between $64,000 and $74,000. Note that many jobs in this position require experience due to the sensitive nature of the machines being programmed. Thus, salary rises significantly as you become more experienced.

5. Game Developer

Job description: Create video games through coding logic, creating art, and similar tasks.

Programming video games for a living sounds like a dream. And it’s definitely a real career path, though the pay you can expect depends wildly on where you work. Small independent studios obviously can’t pay as much as major developers like Sony.

Thus, it’s hard to give an estimated salary here. PayScale provides a $61,000 average for a “video game designer” but just $45,000 for a “video game developer”. Meanwhile, Glassdoor rates the salary for a “game programmer” at $89,000.

If you want to make a game on your own, check out some free game development software tools.

6. Mobile Developer

Job description: Design, test, and support mobile applications.

More people access the internet on their phones and tablets than ever, which is why mobile development is so important. This type of programmer works to create mobile-specific apps for companies, typically for Android or iOS.

Mobile developers earn a good wage, with average estimates around $72,000 on the low end and $103,000 on the high end.

Read up on the programming languages you must know to create Android apps if this interests you.

7. Database Developer

Job description: Develops and improves database systems to ensure simplicity and usability.

Databases are critical to almost every company, especially with the advent of big data. Because of this, businesses have an interest in making sure their databases are clean, easy to access, and efficient. This is what database developers (an in-demand type of programming job) handle.

If you’re looking into database development, expect your annual wages to be somewhere between $73,000 and $99,000.

Which Programming Path Will You Pursue?

We’ve taken a look at the average salary for seven different types of programming jobs. No matter which part of programming you pursue, you can expect a decent wage.

The 2015 median household income in the US was $56,516 according to the Census Bureau. In 2016, the real median personal income was $31,099.

These numbers have risen somewhat in the past few years, but it gives a good indication of how lucrative a career in programming is. You probably won’t make the above salaries right out of college, but with some experience, you’ll be well on your way.

If this talk of salaries has you interested in pursuing a new job, check out the best job search engines.

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