Employment of computer programmers is expected to increase by 12 percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Since computer programming can be done from anywhere in the world, companies often hire programmers in countries where wages are lower. This ongoing trend will limit growth for computer programmers in the United States. However, companies may continue to hire computer programmers in low cost areas within the United States.
Most computer programmers work in computer system design and related services, an industry which is expected to grow as a result of an increasing demand for new computer software. This includes software offered over the Internet, which should lower costs for firms and allow for more customization for users. In addition, new applications will have to be developed for mobile technology and the healthcare industry. An increase in computer systems that are built into electronics and into other non-computer products should result in some job growth for computer programmers and software developers.
Job prospects will be best for programmers who have a bachelor’s degree or higher and knowledge of a variety of programming languages. Keeping up to date with the newest programming tools will also improve prospects.
As employers increasingly contract with outside firms to do programming jobs, more opportunities are expected to arise for experienced programmers who have expertise in a specific area to work as consultants.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition