The term “computer programmer” is rather broad. These days, what’s a “computer”? The phone in your pocket owns that term just as much as the laptop on your desk; does that mean “mobile developer” is synonymous with “computer programmer”? With the advent of easy-to-use programming tools, virtually anyone within a typical organization can bang together a crude app—does that make them “computer programmers”?
Even if the term is somewhat nebulous, a computer programmer salary is not, at least according to the Dice Salary Calculator, which churns through Dice’s voluminous dataset of job postings (in addition to other data sources). Indeed, programmers with the right collection of skills can make quite a bit, especially in major tech hubs such as San Francisco and New York City:
In San Francisco and New York, for example, computer programmers with 15 years of experience can earn six figures a year; while the pay for tech pros with similar levels of experience is less in cities such as Houston and Salt Lake City, a cheaper cost of living in those towns means even a reduced computer programmer salary can go just as far.
As we mentioned earlier, “computer programmer” is a term that encompasses a dizzying array of sub-disciplines, programming languages, platforms, markets, and so on. Specializing in certain, broadly applicable skills can increase that “base” salary by quite a bit; for example, the Dice Salary Calculator suggests that those programmers who add Agile to their list of skills can boost their pay by at least 6 percent.
Those seeking to specialize—maybe you want to work only on game development, for instance—can also use the calculator to isolate the pay for those specializations. Check it out!