One reason many people choose a career in computer science is the high earning potential. Computer programmers make great money, but as with many industries, salaries depend on education and experience. That said, even entry-level positions for web developers can be $50,000 per year, which is competitive compared to other industries. Add on a few years of experience, and that figure can rise dramatically.
Many coders choose to become freelancers, which is a great way to gain experience before stepping into a full-time computer programmer job. If you’re wondering how much you can make per hour, the average freelance web developer charges $60 per hour. An hourly wage for a programmer will vary not only on experience but also on credentials.
How much do computer programmers make?
There are many job titles that coding bootcamp graduates are qualified for, depending on their area of focus.
Average salaries at a glance, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):
- Web developers: $73,760 (in May 2019)
- Computer programmers: $86,550 (in May 2019)
- Software developers: $107,510 (in May 2019)
- Cybersecurity/Information security analyst: $99,730 (in May 2019)
What factors impact the salary potential for coders?
The main factors that influence salary potential are education, experience, and cost of living.
There are a few common routes to becoming a coder:
- Learning on your own
- Earning an associate’s or bachelor’s degree
- Taking an immersive coding bootcamp
While it’s not for everyone, learning to code on your own is a viable way to become a programmer. It requires consistency and self-motivation, so you can expect to spend hours learning and practicing on your own. There are usually two approaches to self-learning: either quitting your job and devoting every waking hour to writing code, or the piecemeal method of reading books and taking online tutorials in your spare time.
Self-taught coders don’t necessarily earn less than those who went through coding school: some of the best programmers in the industry are self-taught and earn six figures.
Formal programmer training
For those who benefit from structured learning, earning a degree, or attending a bootcamp might be a better option. The earning potential will be higher for those who have more education, but even those who graduate with a 12-week bootcamp training have the same earning potential after gaining requisite experience. If you want to learn more about the experience of past bootcamp students, read Eleven Fifty Academy reviews online.
Even if you’re brand new to coding, an immersive coding bootcamp will take you through the most commonly used programming languages such as HTML, CSS, and Java.
Education will impact computer programmer salaries, but it doesn’t mean you’ll be stuck in a particular earning bracket. A bootcamp will help you get a job in coding as a beginner, and your potential for earning a higher salary will increase with every year of experience, meaning you don’t need a college degree to reach upwards of $100,000 per year.
Not all computer programming jobs are created equal, and specialization matters. Web developers often earn less than software developers, and data scientists earn more on average overall.
Entry-level data scientists earn an average salary of $85,000 per year, while a machine learning engineer can start out at $90,000. The national average for a software engineer’s salary hovers around $92,000.
Having a college degree or prior experience might give you a competitive advantage when it comes to a starting salary, but coding is an equalizing field: Those who put in the time, effort, and grit will be rewarded regardless of prior education.
One thing is certain: The job market for coders shows no signs of slowing, and salaries for computer programmers continue to rise year after year.
Cost of living
Where you live definitely impacts your potential salary. An Indiana salary, for example, might appear lower than a salary in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles or Seattle, which are expensive places to live. But your dollar will go farther here than on the coasts. Indiana has one of the lowest costs of living in the United States.
Eleven Fifty Academy graduates earn an average starting salary of $54,000 (with some up to $60,000 or more) within Indiana. And that’s just for entry-level roles—you have room to grow your career and salary.