Software and Applications Programmers design, develop, test, maintain and document program code in accordance with user requirements, and system and technical specifications.

A Bachelor Degree or higher, or at least 5 years of relevant experience, or relevant vendor certification is usually needed. Around three quarters of workers have a university degree. Sometimes experience or on-the-job training is needed in addition to a qualification.

Tasks

  • researching, consulting, analysing and evaluating system program needs
  • identifying technology limitations and deficiencies in existing systems and associated processes, procedures and methods
  • testing, debugging, diagnosing and correcting errors and faults in an applications programming language within established testing protocols, guidelines and quality standards to ensure programs and applications perform to specification
  • writing and maintaining program code to meet system requirements, system designs and technical specifications in accordance with quality accredited standards
  • writing, updating and maintaining technical program, end user documentation and operational procedures
  • providing advice, guidance and expertise in developing proposals and strategies for software design activities such as financial evaluation and costings for recommending software purchases and upgrades

Job Titles

  • Analyst Programmer (or Programmer Analyst)
  • Developer Programmer
  • Software Engineer, Architect, or Designer
  • Software Tester
  • Analyst Programmer (or Programmer Analyst)

    Analyses user needs, produces requirements documentation and system plans, and encodes, tests, debugs, maintains and documents programs and applications.

  • Developer Programmer (Applications Developer, ICT Developer, or ICT Programmer)

    Interprets specifications, technical designs and flow charts, builds, maintains and modifies the code for software applications, constructs technical specifications from a business functional model, and tests and writes technical documentation.

    Specialisations: Communications Programmer (Systems), Database Developer, Database Programmer (Systems), Network Programmer, Software Developer, Software Programmer

  • Software Engineer, Architect, or Designer

    Designs, develops, modifies, documents, tests, implements, installs and supports software applications and systems.

    Specialisations: Computer Applications Engineer, Database Designer, Systems Architect

  • Software Tester

    Specifies, develops and writes test plans and test scripts, produces test cases, carries out regression testing, and uses automated test software applications to test the behaviour, functionality and integrity of computer software, and documents the results of tests in defect reports and related documentation.

Fast Facts

  • Avg. Weekly Pay

    $1,801 Before Tax
  • Future Growth

    strong
  • Skill Level

    Bachelor Degree or higher
  • Employment Size

    104,000
  • Unemployment

    average
  • Male Share

    81.3%
  • Female Share

    18.7%
  • Full-Time Share

    91.1%

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This is a very large occupation employing 104,000 workers. The number of workers has grown very strongly over the past 5 years.
Over the next 5 years (to May 2022) the number of workers is expected to grow strongly to 119,000. Around 60,000 job openings are likely over this time from workers leaving and new jobs being created.

  • Software and Applications Programmers work in most parts of Australia.
  • They mainly work in: Professional, Scientific and Technical Services; Financial and Insurance Services; and Public Administration and Safety.
  • Almost all work full-time. Full-time workers, on average, work 38.5 hours per week (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
  • Average earnings for full-time workers are around $1,801 per week (very high compared to the all jobs average of $1,230). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
  • The average age is 37 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years).
  • Around 8 in 10 workers are male.
  • In 2016, the unemployment rate was similar to the average.

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Jobs and Small Business trend data to May 2017 and Department of Jobs and Small Business projections to 2022.
YearNumber of Workers
200780600
200881400
200977700
201074200
201186800
201287400
201386200
201480600
201595300
201698300
2017104000
2022119000

Weekly Earnings

Full-time Earnings

All Jobs Average

Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)

Source: Based on ABS Characteristics of Employment survey, August 2015, Cat. No. 6333.0, Customised Report. Median earnings are before tax and do not include superannuation. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
EarningsSoftware and Applications ProgrammersAll Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings18011230

Hours

Full-Time and Part-Time Status (% Share) and Average Weekly Hours (Full-Time)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Hours actually worked by people who usually work full-time, and share of employment by full-time and part-time status, for this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategorySoftware and Applications ProgrammersAll Jobs Average
Full-time91.168.4
Part-time8.931.6
Average Weekly Hours (full-time)38.540

Main Industries

Top Industries

Main Employing Industries (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services57.1
Financial and Insurance Services11.6
Public Administration and Safety6.6
Information Media and Telecommunications4.5
Other Industries20.2

States and Territories

  • NSW

  • VIC

  • QLD

  • SA

  • TAS

  • NT

  • ACT

Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
StateSoftware and Applications ProgrammersAll Jobs Average
NSW39.831.8
VIC25.525.5
QLD15.519.8
SA7.36.8
WA5.911.2
TAS0.52
NT0.31.1
ACT5.11.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketSoftware and Applications ProgrammersAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-190.6-5.45.4
20-244.6-9.99.9
25-3430.3-23.423.4
35-4436.6-21.721.7
45-5418.1-21.121.1
55-594.9-8.78.7
60-643.2-5.95.9
65 and Over1.7-3.83.8

Gender

Male Share

Female Share

Gender (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Male and female share of employment in this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategorySoftware and Applications ProgrammersCategoryAll Jobs Average
Males81.3Males53.6
Females18.7Females46.4

Education Level

Top Education Levels

Highest Level of Education (% Share)

Source: ABS, Education and Work (2016). Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Skill level requirements can change over time, the qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Type of QualificationSoftware and Applications ProgrammersAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate23.9-8.68.6
Bachelor degree48.2-17.917.9
Advanced Diploma/Diploma12.2-10.110.1
Certificate III/IV5.1-18.918.9
Year 128.7-18.718.7
Years 11 & 101.9-17.717.7
Below Year 100-8.18.1

A Bachelor Degree or higher, or at least 5 years of relevant experience, or relevant vendor certification is usually needed.
Around three quarters of workers have a university degree. Sometimes experience or on-the-job training is needed in addition to a qualification.

If you are interested in this style of work, there are a wide range of training options available that could lead to this or a similar job.
The pathway that is right for you will depend on your skills and interests.

It is a good idea to speak to industry bodies, employers, and workers to learn more about the skills and qualifications you will need.

Employers look for Software and Applications Programmers who can communicate clearly, work well in a team and have strong computer skills.

Knowledge

The topics, subjects, or knowledge areas workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Computers and Electronics

    99% Important

    Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

  2. Engineering and Technology

    81% Important

    Use engineering science and technology to design and produce goods and services.

  3. English Language

    75% Important

    English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

  4. Mathematics

    72% Important

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

  5. Design

    66% Important

    Design techniques, tools, and principles used to make detailed technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 15-1132.00 - Software Developers, Applications.

Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

Activities

The work activities workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Interacting With Computers

    100% Important

    Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

  2. Making Decisions and Solving Problems

    84% Important

    Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.

  3. Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge

    84% Important

    Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.

  4. Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Staff

    83% Important

    Giving information to supervisors, co-workers, and staff by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

  5. Getting Information

    79% Important

    Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 15-1132.00 - Software Developers, Applications.

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