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

  • $1,801 Weekly Pay
  • 121,300 workers Employment Size
  • Very strong Future Growth
  • Very high skill Skill level rating
  • Average unemployment Unemployment
  • 92.5% Full-Time Full-Time Share
  • 38.4 hours Average full-time
  • 37 years Average age
  • 14.6% female Gender Share

The number of Software and Applications Programmers grew very strongly over the past 5 years and is expected to grow very strongly over the next 5 years:
from 121,300 in 2018 to 146,800 by 2023.
Job openings can come from new jobs being created, but most come from turnover (workers leaving).
There are likely to be around 80,000 job openings over 5 years (that's about 16,000 a year).

  • Size: This is a very large occupation.
  • Unemployment: Unemployment was average in 2017.
  • Location: Software and Applications Programmers work in most regions of Australia.
  • Industries: Most work in Professional, Scientific and Technical Services; Financial and Insurance Services; and Public Administration and Safety.
  • Earnings: Full-time workers earn 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.
  • Full-time: Most work full-time (92.5%, much higher than the all jobs average of 68.4%) showing part-time work may be hard to find.
  • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 38.4 hours per week at work (compared to the all jobs average of 40.0 hours).
  • Age: The average age is 37 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years).
  • Gender: 14.6% of workers are female (compared to the all jobs average of 46.7%).

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Jobs and Small Business trend data to May 2018 and Department of Jobs and Small Business projections to 2023.
YearNumber of Workers
200881500
200977800
201074300
201186900
201287500
201386900
201481300
201595600
201698900
2017105900
2018121300
2023146800

Weekly Earnings

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

Main Industries

Main Employing Industries (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, 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 Services61.0
Financial and Insurance Services9.3
Public Administration and Safety7.5
Information Media and Telecommunications3.8
Other Industries18.4

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 2017, 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
NSW39.031.6
VIC30.826.2
QLD14.319.7
SA3.16.7
WA7.410.8
TAS0.72.0
NT0.21.1
ACT4.51.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, 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
15-190.3-5.25.2
20-245.4-9.99.9
25-3432.8-23.623.6
35-4435.3-21.721.7
45-5417.6-20.820.8
55-594.5-8.88.8
60-642.0-6.06.0
65 and Over2.2-4.04.0

Education Level

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.

Before starting a course, check it will provide you with the skills and qualifications you need.

  • Compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes on the QILT website.
  • Compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes on the My Skills website.
  • You might be interested in Information and Communications Technology VET training pathways on the AAPathways website.

The course listings on this page are provided by Good Education Group.

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

Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  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

These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.

  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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