Software and Applications Programmers
Software and Applications Programmers design, develop, test, maintain and document program code in accordance with user requirements, and system and technical specifications.
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
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
The NSC produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. The latest data are for the five years from November 2021 to November 2026. Over this period, the number of workers:
- is expected to grow very strongly
- is likely to reach 198,400 by 2026.
Source: National Skills Commission Employment Projections to 2026.
Notes: The number employed includes people who work in this occupation as their main job. People who work in more than one job are counted against the occupation they work the most hours in.
Employment projections figures are rounded to the nearest 100. Calculations based on these rounded figures may result in differences to the numbers that are displayed on this page. Employment projections data (including occupations) can be downloaded from the Employment Projections page.
Number of Workers
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, ABS seasonally adjusted data to November 2021 and National Skills Commission Employment Projections to 2026.
Earnings and hours
Around 90% of people employed as Software and Applications Programmers work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 24 percentage points above the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 41 hours per week in their main job. This is similar to the all jobs average (44 hours per week).
Median full-time earnings are $2,208 per week, this is much higher than the all jobs median ($1,593):
- 3 in 4 workers earn more than $1,770
- 1 in 4 earn more than $2,595
Median hourly earnings are $58, this is more than the all jobs median ($41 per hour).
Sources: Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average. Full-time median earnings and median hourly earnings: ABS, Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021. Compared to all jobs median.
Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)
|Earnings||Software and Applications Programmers||All Jobs Average|
Source: Based on ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021, Customised Report. Median weekly total cash earnings for full-time non-managerial employees paid at the adult rate. Earnings are before tax and include amounts salary sacrificed. 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.
Most Software and Applications Programmers work in the Professional, scientific and technical services industry. They are also employed in industries like:
- Financial and insurance services
- Public administration and safety
- Information media and telecommunications.
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2021.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Software and Applications Programmers||All Jobs Average|
Around 89% of Software and Applications Programmers live in capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 62%.
New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory have a large share of employment relative to their population size.
The regions with the largest share of workers are:
- Melbourne - Inner
- Sydney - North Sydney and Hornsby
- Sydney - Parramatta
- Sydney - Inner West
- Melbourne - South East.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian states, territories and regions, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age and gender
The median age of Software and Applications Programmers is 37 years. This is similar to the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 25 to 34 years.
Females make up 17% of the workforce. This is 31 percentage points below the all jobs average of 48%.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile and gender share compared to the all jobs average.
Age Profile (% Share)
|Age Bracket||Software and Applications Programmers||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||1.2||4.2|
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Education, training and experience
A bachelor or postgraduate degree in a related information technology field (such as programming, software engineering, software development or computer science) is usually needed to work as a Software or Applications Programmer. Some workers have a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification.
- Course Seeker to search and compare higher education courses.
- ComparED to compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes.
- My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
- AAPathways website to explore Information and Communications Technology VET training pathways.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Software and Applications Programmers||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||25.6||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||0.7||12.5|
Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Skills and Knowledge
Employers look for Software and Applications Programmers who can communicate clearly, work well in a team and have strong computer skills.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Writing computer programs.
Measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it.
Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect it.
59%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
59%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Reading work related information.
Understanding needs and product requirements to create a design.
Talking to others.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Using maths to solve problems.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
Designing and improving equipment and technology.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
48%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
Teaching people how to do something.
46%Management of personnel resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
Talking people into changing their minds or their behaviour.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
96%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
75%Engineering and technology
Use engineering, science and technology to design and produce goods and services.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Design techniques, tools, and principles used to make detailed technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
50%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
Transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
44%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
40%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
26%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
26%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
24%Sales and marketing
Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
18%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
Describing land, sea, and air, including their physical characteristics, locations, how they work together, and the location of plant, animal, and human life.
The physical laws of matter, motion and energy, and how they interact through space and time.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
10%Production and processing
Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.
9%Economics and accounting
Economics and accounting, the financial markets, banking and checking and reporting of financial data.
Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.
Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Listen to and understand what people say.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
Choose the right maths method or formula to solve a problem.
Communicate by speaking.
Read and understand written information.
55%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Come up with a number of ideas about a topic, even if the ideas aren't very good.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
Come up with unusual or clever ideas, or creative ways to solve a problem.
Write in a way that people can understand.
52%Working with numbers
Add, subtract, multiply, or divide.
46%Flexibility of closure
See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
Use your eyes to quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
41%Speed of recognition
Quickly make sense of and organize things you can see like letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
83%Working with computers
Using computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
83%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
75%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
Using your own ideas for developing, designing, or creating something new.
70%Making sense of information and ideas
Looking at, working with, and understanding data or information.
70%Giving expert advice
Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups.
64%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
64%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
63%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
63%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
63%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
59%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
59%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
58%Coordinating the work of a team
Getting members of a group to work together to finish a task.
53%Coming up with systems and processes
Deciding on goals and figuring out what you need to do to achieve them.
48%Explaining things to people
Helping people to understand and use information.
47%Training and teaching others
Understanding the needs of others, developing training programs, and teaching or instructing.
47%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
43%Leading and encouraging a team
Encouraging and building trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
42%Estimating amounts, costs and resources
Working out sizes, distances, amounts, time, costs, resources, or materials needed for a task.
Interests and demands
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.
Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
Advancement and the potential to lead. Workers are recognised for the work that they do, they may give directions and instructions to others, and they are looked up to in their company and their community.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
Supportive management that stands behind employees. Workers are treated fairly by their company, they are supported by management, and have supervisors who train them well.
Work alone and make decisions. Workers are able to try out their own ideas, make decisions on their own, and work with little or no supervision.
Serve and work with others. Workers usually get along well with each other, do things to help other people, and are rarely pressured to do things that go against their sense of right and wrong.
Use electronic mail.
100%Spend time sitting
Spend time sitting at work.
Talk with people face-to-face.
Work with people in a group or team.
90%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
84%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
Work to strict deadlines.
80%Lead or coordinate a team
Lead others to do work activities.
79%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
Compete with others, or be aware of competitive pressures.
78%Using your hands to handle, control, or feel
Spend time using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls.
76%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
73%Making repetitive motions
Spend time making repetitive motions.
Talk on the telephone.
72%Repeating same tasks
Repeat the same tasks or activities (e.g., key entry) over and over, without stopping.
63%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
60%Loud or uncomfortable sounds
Be exposed to noises and sounds that are distracting or uncomfortable.
60%Physically close to people
Work physically close to other people.
59%Consequence of error
Work where mistakes have serious consequences.
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and 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.