9 Entry-Level Programmer Jobs To Pursue in 2023

Kindra CooperKindra Cooper | 11 minute read | September 28, 2022
entry level programmer jobs

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Programming is largely considered to be one of the most important skills for tomorrow’s workforce. And in our increasingly digital world, there’s always going to be demand for more programmers. But not all programmers are equally compensated, and salaries for programmers widely vary.

So if you’re looking to launch a career in programming, it can be confusing to know where to start. That’s why we’ve written this guide. Below, tell you all about nine of the most common entry-level programming jobs, so that you can decide how to launch your career.

What Is Programming?

Programming is the process of writing code that gives computers a logical sequence of instructions. Programmers use high-level programming languages (natural language that can be understood by a human) which are converted into machine code by the computer’s central processing unit (CPU).

What Does a Programmer Do?

entry-level programmer jobs
Source: Job Description Wiki

Programmers design, develop, and test software using best practices in software performance, reliability, and security. They may develop mobile applications, video games, and websites or work on wearable technology, IoT devices, and AR/VR applications.

Related Read: Programmer Salary Guide

Is It Hard To Land an Entry-Level Job as a Programmer?

Dedication, a passion for programming, and a willingness to learn new programming languages are a must. You should demonstrate good coding habits, code regularly (an active Github profile is a must), and build a portfolio of personal projects.

Related Read: Is Programming Hard?

Entry-Level Programmer Jobs

Entry-level software developers can choose from a range of roles that fit their skill set. These include:

Programming Intern

programming intern
Source: Glassdoor

An internship provides the opportunity to write production-ready code. Internships also provide you with important contacts (senior developers, tech leads, managers) who can help you launch your career. Here’s an example of what a programming intern job posting looks like:

What You’ll Do

You’ll help developers write and debug code, learn programming languages, run code reviews, test software applications, and participate in training programs. You will learn the end-to-end software development life cycle under the supervision of experienced engineers.

How Much Can You Make

According to Indeed, the average salary for a software engineer intern is $55,636 per year.

entry-level programmer jobs - salary for intern

Source: Indeed

Basic Requirements for This Role

Companies appreciate interns who can think on their feet and complete assignments with minimal supervision. They need a strong understanding of computer science fundamentals and proficiency in several programming languages.

Junior Software Developer

Junior developers work with senior developers to create software solutions. Knowledge of design patterns, architecture, and automated testing distinguishes senior developers from entry-level developers.

entry-level programmer jobs -junior software developer

Source: Vitamin T

What You’ll Do

Most junior developers address minor bug issues, write reports, and attend daily standups before being offered bigger projects. They may conduct paired programming with senior developers (a collaborative coding approach where one person writes the code while the other reviews it).

How Much Can You Make

According to Salary.com, the average salary for a junior developer is $81,442.

entry-level programmer jobs- junior developer salary

Source: Salary.com

Basic Requirements for This Role

Junior devs must know how to code using C++, Javascript, and HTML5. Employers will want to see that you have an active GitHub account, a strong portfolio site, and evidence that you are willing to learn new skills.

Junior Software Engineer

junior software engineer - entry level programmer jobs
Source: Rays

Entry-level software engineers do system-level design. Instead of focusing on one part of the code, as developers do, engineers consider the entire codebase of a computer system or application software during the design process.

entry-level programmer jobs - junior software engineer

Source: LinkedIn

What You’ll Do

Software engineers design the infrastructure behind web and mobile applications. They approach projects in a systematic manner to modify existing applications and create new ones from scratch.

How Much Can You Make

According to Built In, the average base salary for a junior software engineer in the US is $87,784, with additional cash bonuses averaging $10,341.

entry-level programmer jobs - junior software engineer salary
Source: Builtin

Basic Requirements for This Role

Junior engineers must know how to navigate graphical user interfaces, operate Integrated Development Environments (IDEs), and handle the most frequently used APIs. They should also know the most popular frameworks in their chosen language.

Related Read: How To Land an Entry-Level Software Engineering Job

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Junior Web Developer

Junior web developers create new websites and applications. Most web developers are full-stack, meaning they know both frontend and backend development.

entry-level programmer jobs-web developer
Source: Dice

What You’ll Do

role of a web developer
Source: Openxcell

Web devs create new websites and update existing applications using scripting languages, and assist with testing and maintaining backend and front-end applications. They convert video, audio, written, and graphic components into compatible formats for the web.

How Much Can You Make

According to Talent.com, the average web developer’s salary in the US is $65,000.

Junior web developer salary - entry level programmer jobs

Source: Talent.com

Basic Requirements for This Role

Web developers must know Bootstrap, HTML, and CSS to design the fundamentals of a website. Knowledge of advanced Javascript is essential to making websites interactive. An understanding of server-side programming languages, including Python, JQuery (for database design), JSON, and Ajax qualifies you for full-stack developer jobs.

Junior Database Programmer

junior database administrator

Source: Salary.com

Database programmers design, program, and implement database systems to meet business requirements using a database management system (DBMS). A database is an organized collection of structured information or data that is stored electronically and controlled using a database management system (DBMS).

What You’ll Do

Database administrators install, configure, and maintain database programs to permit rapid access by authorized users.

How Much Can You Make

According to Indeed, the average base salary for a database developer is $92,996/year.

junior database programmer salary- entry level programmer jobs

Source: Indeed

Basic Requirements for This Role

You’ll need to know best practices for designing, implementing, and maintaining database systems. Experience with the Oracle system is a must, as is knowledge of non-relational databases like NoSQL. You also need to be familiar with programming languages including C++, Java, and C#, and scripting languages like Python, Javascript, and PHP.

Junior Mobile Developer

entry-level programmer jobs - junior mobile developer
Source: Indeed

Mobile developers create, test, and program applications for computers and mobile devices. Software can be written for a particular operating system, such as Android, iOS, or Windows.

What You’ll Do

Mobile developer
Source: Springer

You’ll work with UX/UI designers and other developers to design, test, and implement solutions. After the app goes into production, you’ll create patches for periodic releases and provide user support.

How Much Can You Make

According to Payscale, the average salary for an application developer is $72,510/year.

entry-level programmer jobs - mobile developer salary
Source: Payscale

Basic Requirements for This Role

If you specialize in a specific operating system, you must know the core programming languages (Java for Android, Objective-C for iOS, and C# for Windows). Most app developers hold a combination of the following certifications: Certified Scrum Master (CSM), Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD), and Microsoft Certified Application Developer (MCAD).

Junior Game Developer

junior software game developer

Source: Angel

Game developers are responsible for designing, programming, and testing games. They create the visual content of the game and write the code that supplies the logic necessary to implement its features.

What You’ll Do

game programmer

Source: Freelancermap

The main responsibility of a game developer is to create a base engine that can be used by designers to create the world. They prototype, iterate, and test games to find bugs and ensure the game is ready for market.

How Much Can You Make

According to Glassdoor, the average base salary for a junior game developer is $77,957, with estimated additional pay of $55,665 per year from cash bonuses, commissions, and profit sharing.

entry-level programmer jobs - junior game developer salary
Source: Glassdoor

Basic Requirements for This Role

Aspiring game developers must master at least one programming specialty. If you’re interested in game mechanics, you need to know animation and physics. For multiplayer support, you need to master web services and networking. Most game devs use object-oriented programming languages including C++ and C#.

Junior Programmer Analyst

entry level programmer jobs - junior programmer analyst

Source: Indeed

Programmer analysts develop company-specific software systems such as in-house payroll and accounting software or CRM systems.

What You’ll Do

Develop new programs, test and maintain existing software programs, and implement security measures to safeguard internal data. You’ll work closely with the IT department and execute custom software requests.

How Much Can You Make

According to Zip Recruiter, the average salary for a junior programmer analyst is $61,210/year.

junior programmer analyst salary

Source: ZipRecruiter

Basic Requirements for This Role

Programmer analysts must know several programming languages, understand database management systems (DBMS), and manage large volumes of data. Project management skills are a plus seeing as they often work on long-term, complex projects.

Junior Data Analyst

Junior Data Analyst

Source: Jobonom

Junior data analysts work with a team of data analysts to translate data into actionable insights for businesses and government agencies. They help organizations understand aspects of their data such as costs, market research, or sales figures.

What You’ll Do

entry level programmer jobs-data analyst
Source: Data Science Central

Junior data analysts analyze and interpret the data using statistical analysis techniques and related software. They also create visualizations including dashboards, charts, and reports to relay their observations.

How Much Can You Make

According to Salary.com, junior data analysts earn an average annual salary of $56,383.

junior data analyst salary

Source: Salary.com

Basic Requirements for This Role

You must have knowledge of math, statistics, and relational databases for this role. Get familiar with data visualization tools like Tableau. Programming languages to learn to include R, Python, and SQL. 

What Skills Do You Need to Land an Entry-level Job as a Programmer?

Programmers need a variety of hard and soft skills that demonstrate technical proficiency as well as teamwork and communication.

Hard Skills

hard skills for developers
Source: The University of North Carolina

Recruiters will expect you to have the following hard skills:

  • Proficiency in at Least One Programming Language
    Focus on one or two programming languages. Unless you are working on operating systems that require knowledge of platform-specific languages, you can land any role using your language of choice.
  • Understanding of Algorithms, Data Structures, and Computer Science Concepts
    A strong foundation in computer science fundamentals is essential. Brush up on these fundamentals and be ready to answer trivia-style questions during interviews.
  • Basic Debugging Skills
    Debugging is the process of identifying and removing errors in source code. You must be able to analyze a code base, identify problematic code, and write new code to fix the issue.
  • Familiarity with Popular Development Tools and Frameworks
    Development tools are computer programs used by programmers to create other software, such as linkers, compilers, debuggers, and performance analysis tools. A framework is like a blueprint with pre-built components that allow programmers to build production-ready applications faster. 

Soft Skills

soft skills for developers
Source: DOIT Software

Programmers are also expected to possess the following soft skills:

  • Problem-Solving
    Problem-solving is a core programming skill. Programmers must create workarounds to constraints including budgets, project deadlines, non-functional requirements, and the limitations of development environments. They must also reconcile business requirements with user demands.
  • Communication
    Programmers must be able to communicate complex concepts to non-technical audiences. You must identify user requirements and find solutions accordingly. Programmers must also write user documentation, so writing skills are key.
  • Collaboration
    Software development is a collaborative process involving designers, project managers, and QA analysts. Also, pair programming is an agile software development technique commonly found in the industry.
  • Critical Thinking
    Critical thinkers break large problems into bite-size questions to formulate new solutions. It is the opposite of memorization and regurgitation.
  • Learning Mindset
    Developers undergo continuous learning at all stages of their careers. Programming tools, languages, and frameworks are constantly changing as new technologies emerge. Brush up on your knowledge by watching YouTube videos, reading books, doing online tutorials, or receiving mentorship.
  • Flexibility and Adaptability
    Programming languages and frameworks come and go. Software requirements may change at the last minute. A security breach might require an immediate patch. Adapting to changing requirements and working in a fast-paced environment are important qualities for developers to have.

The Best Places To Find Entry-Level Programmer Jobs

Use a combination of job boards, networking, and freelance websites to find a programming job that suits your skill set.

Job Boards

job boards
Source: Stack Overflow

You can find roles via general job boards such as Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn, or job boards specific to the tech industry. Tuts+ and Stack Overflow have dedicated web dev job boards. For startup jobs, try AngelList or BuiltIn.

Networking

Leverage existing connections. Attend conferences, seminars, and industry events to network with professionals virtually and in person. Ask professionals in your network for informational interviews and post about your job search journey on social media—you might catch a recruiter’s eye.

Marketplaces

If you’re open to freelance, contract, or gig work, offer your services on developer marketplaces such as Upstack, Flexiple, Gun.io, and Toptal. These platforms typically require you to pass coding assessments, submit references, and build a robust profile. You can also use general websites such as Upwork, Fiverr, and PeoplePerHour.

Tips To Land Your First Job as a Programmer

Programming is a competitive field. Here are some ways to get your foot in the door:

Polish and Tailor Your Resume

It can be useful to have multiple versions of your resume for different kinds of positions. Lead with the information that’s most relevant to the job posting. So if you’re applying for a backend developer role, highlight your experience with backend logic, APIs, and other server-side functions. You should also write thoughtful descriptions of each experience to highlight results achieved (i.e. “Reformatted code to reduce website bounce rate by 35%”).

Have a Strong Portfolio

Contributing to open-source projects, building your own website or machine learning model, completing an internship, or even volunteering your services shows you commit code often—a key requirement for programmers to keep their skills up to date.

Build a Strong Network and Get Involved in the Community

Build your network by participating in hackathons, being active on public Slack channels like #devchat and Slash Rocket, or joining the Twitter forum CodeNewbie. Answer questions on Quora, Stack Overflow, and Reddit to help others in your community.

FAQs About Becoming a Programmer

Is Programming Easy To Learn?

It can be if you go about it in the right way. Start by building a strong foundation in computer science fundamentals. Next, focus on one or two programming languages. Learn how logical statements work and master the vocabulary of your programming language of choice. 

Can I Become a Programmer Without a Degree?

Many employers are dropping degree requirements while becoming increasingly receptive to candidates with alternative credentials outside of a four-year degree. Demonstrated practical experience—an internship, a strong portfolio, and contributions to open-source projects—can compensate for not having a degree.

Related Read: Can You Get a Programming Job Without a Degree?

Can I Become a Programmer With No Experience?

Companies are willing to hire programmers with no formal experience as long as they can demonstrate problem-solving skills and technical expertise, a willingness to undergo additional training, and a strong portfolio of personal projects.

Is Programming a Good Career?

Programming is a promising career with a high starting salary, flexible work arrangements, and plentiful opportunities. According to the US Bureau of Labor Services, the median pay for computer programmers in 2021 was $93,000, and 185,7000 programming jobs were added in 2020.

Related Read: 9 Highest Paying Programming Jobs

Since you’re here…
Considering a career in software engineering? We’ll help you build a CV that rivals experienced software engineers in 9 months flat with our Software Engineering Bootcamp. If you’re still mulling, try our free software engineering learning path and check out our salary guide to see what you could be making. 

Kindra Cooper

About Kindra Cooper

Kindra Cooper is a content writer at Springboard. She has worked as a journalist and content marketer in the US and Indonesia, covering everything from business and architecture to politics and the arts.