The Highest-Paying
Computer Programming Careers in 2023

Overwhelmed by how many coding careers you can pursue? There are hundreds of careers that require computer programming and coding skills. The tech industry is booming, and many computer programming careers have high job outlooks and even higher salaries. In fact, the highest-paying programming jobs are actively hiring across many industries.

Computer programmers use various types of programming languages to write and test code. The code is then used to develop and execute functions for computer programs, websites, and more. The possibilities of writing code are endless, and jobs in computer programming manipulate different languages to make a computer perform any task they desire. In this guide, you will find the highest-paying computer programming careers of 2023.

The Highest-Paying Programming Jobs

The highest-paying programming jobs can be found in the table below. All of the information in the table was sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Read on for a closer look at the highest-paying computer programming jobs today.

Job Title Median Annual Salary
Computer and Information Systems Manager $159,010
Computer and Information Research Scientist $131,490
Computer Hardware Engineer $128,170
Database Architect $123,430
Software Developer $120,730
Computer Network Architect $120,520
Information Security Analyst $102,600
Computer Systems Analyst $99,270
Software Quality Assurance Analyst $98.220
Computer Programmer $93,000
The Best Computer Programming Careers: 2021 List

The Best Computer Programming
Careers in 2023: A Closer Look

Most of the top-paying computer programming careers of 2023 require a bachelor’s degree, typically in computer science or a related field. However, you can also succeed with a coding bootcamp. Read on to determine which of the highest-paying programming jobs is right for you and your education path.

  • Median Salary: $159,010
  • Job Outlook: 16% from 2021 to 2031
  • Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or Information Science
  • Highest-Paid Industries: Information, finance, manufacturing

In the top spot of the best-paid computer programming jobs, computer and information systems managers help oversee all of the computer and technology-related activities of an organization. To succeed in this job, you must have good business and analytical skills. Most employers look for candidates who also demonstrate the qualities of a good leader, as you will be responsible for managing a team.

  • Median Salary: $131,490
  • Job Outlook: 21% from 2021 to 2031
  • Education Required: Master’s Degree in Computer Science
  • Highest-Paid Industries: Federal government, academia, computer systems

Computer and information research scientists work important jobs in computer programming as they study current and emerging technologies. The goal of this research is to find new and innovative uses for existing technology. A good computer and information research scientist is naturally curious, observant, and detail-oriented. Most computer and information research scientists have strong mathematical skills as well.

  • Median Salary: $128,170
  • Job Outlook: 5% from 2021 to 2031
  • Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering or Computer and Information Technology
  • Highest-Paid Industries: Life Sciences research, computer manufacturing, computer systems design

Working as a computer hardware engineer requires the design and development of computer hardware, including various systems and components. They also test and analyze the equipment and make changes where required. Computer hardware engineers must be analytical and critical thinkers with strong communication skills to work as part of a team alongside other engineers and software developers.

  • Median Salary: $123,430
  • Job Outlook: 9% from 2021 to 2031
  • Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer and Information Technology or related field
  • Highest-Paid Industries: Finance, enterprise management, information technology

Database architects design and build databases. This role is responsible for all stages of database development such as research, design, model creation, and coding. The role can be similar to database administrators who ensure the database is secure and managed. Aside from technical skills including backend coding languages, this role requires very high attention to detail.

  • Median Salary: $120,730
  • Job Outlook: 25% from 2021 to 2031
  • Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer and Information Technology
  • Highest-Paid Industries: Manufacturing, finance, insurance

Software development is one of the most popular jobs in computer programming. They work with clients on the design and development of computer software for innovative applications and programs for computer systems. Most software developers are naturally creative as well as analytical. To succeed in this job, you will want to be able to generate innovative ideas as well as understand the science behind them.

  • Median Salary: $120,520
  • Job Outlook: 4% from 2021 to 2031
  • Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering or Computer and Information Technology
  • Highest-Paid Industries: Insurance, computer systems design, telecommunications

Among the highest-paying programming jobs is a computer network architect who builds data communication networks. They work closely with organizations to determine their needs and how best to execute them. To be a great computer network architect, you will need to combine your technical skills with soft skills to succeed. Analytical skills and a keen eye for detail are vital in order to examine data networks and create detailed and thorough plans for new networks.

  • Median Salary: $102,600
  • Job Outlook: 35% from 2021 to 2031
  • Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science
  • Highest-Paid Industries: Information technology, finance, insurance

Professionals in this role complete various security measures on an organization’s computer networks and systems. Information security analysts provide vital security to a business’s information and data.

While a degree is preferred, people can also move into this role with relevant work experience and technical certifications. Creativity is an important skill to have in this role, to be able to brainstorm various possible breaches and design measures to guard against them.

  • Median Salary: $99,270
  • Job Outlook: 9% from 2021 to 2031
  • Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer and Information Technology or Mathematics
  • Highest-Paid Industries: Enterprise management, computer systems design, finance

Computer systems analysts have the important job of improving and streamlining a business’s computer systems. This involves analyzing current systems and designing innovative solutions to improve those systems.

Working this job is similar to consulting, so you will need to be comfortable suggesting big changes to your employer. Successful computer systems analysts are both assertive and great team players. You will also need to be innovative and able to come up with unique ideas.

  • Median Salary: $98,220
  • Job Outlook: 25% from 2021 to 2031
  • Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer and Information Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics
  • Highest-Paid Industries: Manufacturing, computer systems design, insurance

Software quality assurance analysts test software for defects or inefficiencies or those that may potentially occur. Their main focus is to ensure the functionality and usability of the software. These professionals must have strong interpersonal skills as they are required to work alongside software developers and stakeholders, reporting and providing feedback throughout the testing process.

  • Median Salary: $93,000
  • Job Outlook: -10% from 2021 to 2031
  • Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer and Information Technology or Mathematics
  • Highest-Paid Industries: Software, finance, insurance

Computer programmers spend their workdays using various programming languages to write and test code. The code typically ensures computer programs, software applications, and even mobile applications can function without issue. Computer programmers can hold job titles with various names, but typically they must be detail-oriented problem solvers with solid communication skills.

Computer Programming Job Outlook and Salary Potential

Most jobs that require programming skills have high job outlooks. For example, software developer jobs will increase by 25 percent between 2021 and 2031, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Software developers earn an average annual salary of $120,730, which makes this computer programming career an excellent option.

However, BLS also reports that the job outlook of computer programmers is expected to decline 10 percent by 2031. While this will make it more difficult to find a job as a computer programmer, there will still be 9,600 job openings for computer programming roles each year until 2031. BLS states that the average salary for computer programmers is $93,000 per year.

Highest Paying Industries for Computer Programmers

Almost every industry today is hiring computer programmers or related roles. With technology and ecommerce advancing in all areas of day-to-day life, professionals with computer programming skills are in demand. The highest-paying industries for careers in computer programming listed below were compiled from various computer programming careers showcased in the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook.

  • Manufacturing
  • Computer systems design
  • Finance
  • Insurance
  • Information
  • Federal government
  • Enterprise management
  • Telecommunications
  • Software publishing
  • Academia

Highest Paying Cities for Computer Programming Careers

It will come as no surprise that the highest paying cities for computer programming careers are mostly in California, specifically in Silicon Valley. Home to thousands of tech companies, Californian companies can pay competitive wages to get the best professionals. The following list of highest paying cities for computer programming careers is by ZipRecruiter.

  1. San Francisco, California
  2. Fremont, California
  3. San Jose, California
  4. San Francisco Bay Area, California
  5. Oakland, California
  6. Jackson, Wyoming
  7. New York, New York
  8. Sunnyvale, California
  9. Vallejo, California
  10. Hayward, California

What Education Do I Need to Pursue a Career in Computer Programming?

The education requirements for computer programmer careers typically include a bachelor’s degree, though it varies by employer. Some companies require an even higher level of education, such as a master’s degree, while others would hire someone with no degree but a coding bootcamp credential and relevant experience.


For those who are interested in pursuing a college education, you’ll want to choose a degree in computer science, information science, or a related field. With a bachelor’s degree, most computer programming positions are opened up for you. However, if you earn a master’s or doctoral degree, you’ll have the same opportunities but can also demand a higher salary.

Coding Bootcamps

If you are uninterested in traditional education, it is quite possible to start a career without a degree. You’ll want to pursue positions in web development and basic computer programming if you choose this path. Some other careers, such as software development, can be achieved with education from the best coding bootcamps rather than college.

Common Entry-Level Computer Programming Jobs

Common Entry-Level Computer
Programming Jobs

You can pursue many computer programming careers without a formal education. Many of the highest-paying coding jobs from the list above also offer entry-level positions to those with as little as a high school diploma or associate degree. While the salaries below are not nearly as high as other computer careers that pay well, or even the average for the role itself, these are just the starting base pay for your future career.

Software Developer

Entry-Level Pay: $66,832

With little to no experience, you can still earn over $66,000 per year as a software developer. You likely won’t work on the most complex tasks, but entry-level software development work still involves innovative ideas and creative thinking to design new software.

Mobile Application Developer

Entry-Level Pay: $65,999

Becoming a mobile application developer is a great way to begin your computer programming career. Entry-level positions for this job pay almost $66,000 annually and allow for a lot of creative freedom. Many employers will not require any formal education, and you can even work as a freelance mobile application developer.

Web Developer

Entry-Level Pay: $52,173

While many employers want you to have at least an associate degree to be a web developer, it is not necessarily a requirement. You can earn over $52,000 as an entry-level web developer or work as a freelancer. Freelancing gives you the freedom to choose your own projects.

Web Designer

Entry-Level Pay: $46,008

Web designers earn a bit less at the entry level than web developers do, but if you want more creative freedom, this is the path for you. Focusing on the aesthetic and user interaction aspects of a website, you could begin this job earning well over $46,000 per year.

IT Support Specialist

Entry-Level Pay: $44,104

IT support specialists are always in demand. With opportunities to work in nearly every industry and business, this is a versatile entry-level job to have as you work toward figuring out your career goals. You’d earn over $44,000 per year when starting this career.

Should I Pursue a Computer Programming Job?

Pursuing a job in computer programming is an excellent idea for anyone who has a love for technology. While the job outlook for a computer programmer career itself is slowing, there are many other viable job titles you can pursue that require programming skills.

The highest-paying programming jobs pay around or well over six figures, offer a stimulating work environment, and require very basic education. It may not be the right career field for everyone, but for anyone interested in innovation and tech, there are numerous high-paying coding careers and computer science internships to explore.


Can I study computer programming online?

Yes, computer programming is one of the easiest subjects to study online. With a wide variety of online colleges, coding bootcamps, and courses to choose from, you will likely find studying online to be preferable for this field. You can even start gaining computer programmer skills by learning to code for free.

Studying online offers an array of benefits. The most significant benefit is arguably the flexibility it provides. You can study from your own home, often at your own pace. Online learning also allows you to take more courses than you could with in-person classes, as you do not usually have to commit yourself to being in class for hours at a time.

How long does it take to become a computer programmer?

It takes a few months to years to become a computer programmer, depending on the type of education you pursue to gain the necessary skills. Coding bootcamps typically offer months-long programs to get students job ready upon graduation. Someone also choosing to self-study could become a computer programmer in months as well. People choosing to pursue a college degree take three to four years to earn their credentials.

How does a software developer differ from a computer programmer?

A software developer differs from a computer programmer in that a software developer will be responsible for the entire software lifecycle, from planning and designing to development and deployment. Computer programmers are more focused on writing and testing code, with more limited responsibilities than software developers.

Can I learn computer programming for free?

Yes, you can learn computer programming for free through various online resources such as massive open online courses (MOOCs), YouTube, or other online resources. For example, Coursera is a MOOC that allows users to audit various programming courses for free. YouTube is another option as there are many channels and videos that teach basic to advanced concepts. Online resource freeCodeCamp also helps you learn valuable coding skills.

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