The Average Computer Programmer Salary Compared to Other IT Jobs

Are you considering a career path in programming? What’s the average computer programmer salary compared to other IT jobs? We highlight the pay grades here.

Getting a job in computer programming is an attractive proposition in a world that is reliant on technology. There’s no shortage of jobs, dozens of options for specializing, and that computer programmer salary is nothing to sniff at.

But how does it compare to what you’d earn as an SEO specialist? Or as a UI designer? Or a site tester?

Do these tech industries have what it takes to challenge programming in terms of pay? Join us in today’s article as we take a closer look at how programming salaries compare to other IT jobs.

Programmer Salaries

Computer programmers create and test code for software applications. They translate ideas from developers and software engineers into real programs. It’s a position with a lot of responsibility and requires a focus on problem-solving. It also, as luck would have it, pays more on average than any other IT career.

Entry-level coders can expect to make anywhere from $39,000 and up when starting their careers. The median computer programming salary comes to roughly $79,500. Tour mileage may vary depending on which state you’re working in, though.

This field values experience and a knowledge base that covers a variety of high-end languages, so the more you can bring to the table, the better.  In the top 10% of computer programmers, it’s not uncommon for salaries to climb as high as $130,000 per year. This is going to require understanding and a portfolio containing languages like C ++, Java, Python, and Ruby.

The industry outlook continues to look good, as well. Software development is expected to grow by a robust 13% by 2026.

Career Paths

It’s also a field with a lot of different sub-disciplines, with IT programmer salaries specific to their industries. All you need to do is look at your phone or tablet as an example. Mobile application developers are in high demand, developing for specific platforms. From iOS to Android, if you know mobile dev languages and frameworks, you’re looking at a median salary of $146,500.

Web developers identify business requirements and develop solutions for them. A senior web developer will offer experience developing for PHP and Ruby, as well as content management experience. In return for your experience, however, the average programmer salary is around $123,000.

Computer system engineers identify solutions to complex application and network problems. They work closely with customers, developing unique solutions to their needs. This is a career path more catered toward business-savvy professionals. On average, salaries for computer programmers here will range from 70-to-$90,000.

Everybody Else

Of course, there are many high-paying jobs in IT that don’t require a single line of code to get. But how do their salaries stack up against programming? Let’s take a look at our top three picks.

User Interface Designer

In recent years, this has become one of the quicker growing IT careers out there. Like UX, UI (user interface design) focuses on the design and functionality of a user interface. These designers create the look and feel of the software, from visual designs and wireframes to storyboards, user flows, and site maps. It’s their job to communicate instructions and intentions to users.

The national average salary for this position is in the region of $61,308, making it comparable to what an entry-level software developer would earn.

Software Quality Tester

Software quality testers, also known as SQTs, test the quality of any given software product before release. It’s their job to make sure programs work properly, from a user’s perspective, before making it to the open market.

SQTs run various functional, stress, and scalability tests on each program they work on. These occur in specially designed customer scenarios, to “break” the software. This helps to eliminate bugs and improve the quality of the end product.

Nationwide, this career averages around $53,646 per year.

Search Engine Optimizer

Search engine optimization is technically a marketing career rather than IT, but it does require several technical skills in the same vein, though. Ranking sites using search algorithms and working hand-in-hand with web developers make it IT adjacent.

The national average salary for SEO professionals sits at around $40,750.

Why Do Computer Programmers Make More?

The answer to the question “How much do computer programmers make” is “Quite a bit“. So what is it about computer programmers that make them so valuable? As it turns out, it’s a few things:


Programmers have inherent value because, with the right tools, they create things that net their employers a lot of money or prevents them from losing a lot of money.

Either way, in business, value like this creates high demand.


What do you need to be a programmer? High levels of math, for one thing. Expert problem solving, for another. The kind of person who excels at this job knows how to look at a problem, unpack it and apply logic to solve it.

That’s not for everyone. Languages are niche, and it takes dedication to work within those boundaries to come up with specific business solutions.


Do we give bad surgeons our business? What about bad mechanics or unreliable pilots? No, because these are people we pay a lot of money to take on risks for us, and the consequences of failure are usually pretty dire.

Programming can be just as risky. When your business depends on a website, application, or digital product to make two thirds its yearly income, and it crashes? It can feel like being on a crashing plane.

Programmers inherit risks on behalf of their clients. That’s a lot of responsibility, which is why we tend to pay them more.

Computer Programmer Salary

Computer tech is a massive industry with thousands of little pockets to fall into, career-wise. Whether you’re a programmer or something more niche, the truth is there’s something out there for everybody. But, in terms of earning potential alone, there’s nothing out there that beats a computer programmer salary.

Looking for more awesome insights into the world of computer programming? Check out some of our other blog content, or browse our coding challenges, today!

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