Coding is one of the most popular and in-demand careers.
There are many reasons why people choose a career in coding and computer science.
The technology field offers promising and diverse job prospects in several industries, job security, a generally comfortable starting salary, and increased high-earning potential as developers gain more experience.
And although coding is a lucrative career, it is not a get-rich-quick scheme.
As with learning any new skill, it takes a lot of time, effort, and consistency to get good at it.
Learning to code requires hard work, and you will need to work hard to get a high-paying job.
With all that said, how much do coders actually make? The answer to that question is: well, it depends.
A computer programmer’s salary will depend on education, specialization, and experience – an entry-level computer programmer’s salary will generally be lower than someone with a few years of industry experience under their belt.
And a computer programmer’s salary will vary from country to country.
In this article, I go over what coding is, where it is used, and how you can get started learning to code.
I also list some of the most high-paying tech jobs you can get with coding skills and their average annual salaries for people in the United States.
Here is what we will cover:
- What is coding and what is it used for?
- How to become a coder – University Degree vs Bootcamp vs self-taught
- What are the most commonly used programming languages? In demand programming languages for top paying coding jobs
- Software engineers
- Web developers
- Information security analysts
- Database administrators
- Data scientists
- How much do coders make? US salaries for the highest paying coding jobs
- How much do software engineers make?
- How much do web developers make?
- How much do information security analysts make?
- How much do database administrators make?
- How much do data scientists make?
What Is Coding and What Is It Used For?
We use applications, websites, electronic gadgets, and other technology tools daily.
Behind those modern software programs are thousands of lines of code.
Coding, also known as computer programming, is what powers those modern-day applications and websites.
Although computers are good at crunching numbers, processing large amounts of data, and are incredibly fast, they cannot fully think for themselves (at least not at the time of writing) – you have to tell them what to do.
Coding is how humans communicate with computers.
Specifically, coding is the process of giving a sequence of instructions to a machine using a programming language. The machine interprets the instructions and carries them out in order.
Essentially, coding tells a computer what to do and how to do it using a language both humans and machines can understand.
Computers do not understand human languages. They only speak binary, which is a language made up of
Binary is the primary language of all machines, which makes perfect sense since devices consist of a combination of thousands of transistors, which are tiny switches. The switches are either turned on or off depending on the flow of electricity.
Coding in binary is time-consuming and error-prone, so humans invented computer programming languages that are readable, easier to learn and understand, and more human-friendly.
To learn more about the definition of coding, check out this article.
And to learn more about what coding is used for, check out this article.
How to Become A Coder – University Degree vs Bootcamp vs Self-Taught
You have a few options to choose from when it comes to learning to code.
One of the options, and the more traditional one for learning to code, is to obtain a four-year Computer Science university degree.
Getting a Computer Science degree is an investment and a pricy route to take for learning to code – four-year Computer Science university degrees are not cheap.
With that said, a Computer Science degree from an accredited university is highly respected by employers, and it is an impressive credential on your résumé.
To learn more about what you can learn in a Computer Science degree, check out this article.
Another option is to attend a coding Bootcamp.
Coding Bootcamps are intensive training programs that teach you the necessary coding skills for landing a job. The average duration of a Bootcamp is around 15 weeks.
It is typically project-based learning, and by the end of the program, you will have a portfolio of work to showcase to prospective employers.
They also offer career support and guidance to help you prepare for coding interviews and advice on how you can transition into the tech industry and switch careers effectively.
With that said, it is still an expensive route to take. Some coding Bootcamps charge up to five-figure sums just for a couple of months of training.
To learn more about coding Bootcamps and figure out whether attending one is the right choice for you, read this article by Quincy Larson.
Attending a Computer Science university program or a Bootcamp is a great learning option if you enjoy a structured learning environment.
Another option is to learn to code on your own using either free or paid resources such as books, video tutorials, and interactive courses.
Learning to code on your own is a great option if you are busy, if you have life responsibilities such as taking care of family, or if you cannot quit your full-time job to pursue a career change.
You can learn at your own time and pace, and you can create your individualized schedule according to the spare time you have.
And while independent learning is not for everyone, it is a viable option for learning to code. It requires consistency and self-discipline, but you can do it if you put your mind to it.
Self-taught developers can earn six-figure salaries as they gain more experience, so it doesn’t mean you will earn less if you are learning to code on your own.
And now is the best time to learn to code on your own. With a mobile phone or laptop at hand and an internet connection, you can access multiple learning resources on the world wide web.
freeCodeCamp is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help busy people from all over the world to learn to code for free.
freeCodeCamp makes tech education accessible by creating thousands of free educational materials.
You can check out their self-paced and comprehensive interactive coding curriculum, where you can build real-world projects and earn certifications you can add to your résumé or LinkedIn.
They also have one of the most popular tech education YouTube channels, where they post full-length courses on a variety of technology topics.
And they have a publication with 9000+ articles available for you to read and learn from when you want to dive deep into a specific topic.
freeCodeCamp also has a friendly and helpful developer community on their forum, where you can ask questions when you are stuck on a coding challenge and get answers.
freeCodeCamp also translates its learning resources into many major world languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and more.
The translation effort helps remove the language barrier when you want to learn to code and English is not your first language.
What Are The Most Commonly Used Programming Languages? In Demand Programming Languages for Top Paying Coding Jobs
Computer programming languages fall into one of two groups: low-level and high-level.
Low-level programming languages have little or no abstraction from the machine’s instruction set. Essentially, their instructions resemble and are close to the machine’s processor’s instructions.
Binary code (or machine code) and assembly language are considered low-level programming languages.
High-level programming languages are more human-friendly.
They are similar to human languages and resemble and look a lot like English. They have syntactical elements like nouns, verbs, and phrases. And you group these elements to form something that resembles a sentence to create meaning.
They offer a shorter, more precise, and less verbose way to create instructions that the computer can understand.
The most popular high-level computer languages depend on the coding job you want to get and are often role specific.
Software engineers are responsible for designing, building, testing, deploying, optimizing, and maintaining complex and large-scale applications, software systems, and tools for a variety of platforms.
As a software engineer, you may need to know one or more of the following languages:
Web developers are responsible for designing, creating, and maintaining websites. They are responsible for creating the layout of websites, fixing bugs, and ensuring they are fully functional, responsive, and have fast load times.
Their work will vary depending on whether they specialize in the frontend or backend of web applications or if they are fullstack web developers.
As a frontend web developer, you will need to know the following languages:
And as a backend web developer, you will need to know a server-side language such as:
And since you will be interacting with databases, you will also need to know SQL.
Information Security Analysts
Information Security analysts are responsible for ensuring the security of the organization’s sensitive data, networks, and computer systems.
Essentially, they protect an organization from a cyber-attack.
Some of the languages used in the cybersecurity space are:
Database administrators are responsible for designing, creating, updating, and testing databases and maintaining different types of information securely in database systems.
Here are some of the languages you would need to know as a database administrator:
Data scientists are responsible for collecting, cleaning, modeling, visualizing, and interpreting data.
They gather raw data and can extract meaning, gain valuable insights, report key findings, and solve problems.
Some of the languages used in data science are the following:
How Much Do Coders Make? U.S. Salaries for the Highest Paying Coding Jobs
Multiple factors influence the salary potential for coders. No one factor will determine your earning potential.
In a nutshell, some of those factors are:
- Specialized skills
As mentioned earlier, being self-taught doesn’t mean you will earn less.
With that said, you may earn less at the beginning of your career compared to a someone who has a Computer Science degree from a 4-year university.
Besides just education, coding is a fast-paced field – you need to stay up to date with the latest trends and technologies to remain competitive in the market. Having in-demand skills will increase your earning potential significantly.
And with the more experience you gain and the more years you have worked in the industry, you will qualify for a higher salary.
That said, experience is not only the years you have worked but also the variety of projects you have worked on, the impact you have had on a company, and the leadership skills you have showcased, to name a few.
The industry you work in will also determine how much you earn. Some of the highest-paid industries are the tech industry, finance, healthcare, government and defense, and retail.
One of the most significant factors that will determine your earning potential is where you live, the cost of living, and the demand for computer programmers in that location.
Salaries will vary from state to state.
Some of the cities with the highest tech salaries are:
- San Francisco, California
- New York City
- Seattle, Washington
- Los Amgeles, California
- Austin, Texas
Now, let’s see the average salary for the highest-paid coding jobs for 2021.
How Much Do Software Engineers Make?
According to the U.S. Bureau of labor statistics, software engineers earned a median annual salary of $109,020 in 2021.
The anticipated change for 2021-2031 is a 25% growth, which is much faster than average.
How Much Do Web Developers Make?
According to the U.S. Bureau of labor statistics, web developers earned a median annual salary of $78,300 in 2021.
The anticipated change for 2021-2031 is a 23% growth, which is much faster than average.
How Much Do Information Security Analysts Make?
According to the U.S. Bureau of labor statistics, information security analysts earned a median annual salary of $102,600 in 2021.
The anticipated change for 2021-2031 is a 35% growth, which is much faster than average.
How Much Do Database Administrators Make?
According to the U.S. Bureau of labor statistics, database administrators earned a median annual salary of $101,000 in 2021.
The anticipated change for the period of 2021-2031 is a 9% growth, which is faster than average.
How Much Do Data Scientists Make?
According to the U. S. Bureau of labor statistics, data scientists earned a median annual salary of $100,910 in 2021.
The anticipated change for 2021-2031 is 36% growth, which is much faster than average.
This marks the end of the article – thank you so much for making it to the end!
Hopefully, this guide was helpful, and it gave you some insight into what coding is, how you can become a coder yourself, and how much coders make on average per year in the US.
Thank you for reading!