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Career and Education Opportunities for Applications Programmers in Billings, Montana

Billings, Montana provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for applications programmers. There are currently 500 jobs for applications programmers in Montana and this is projected to grow by 66% to about 830 jobs by 2016. This is better than the national trend for applications programmers, which sees this job pool growing by about 34.0% over the next eight years. In general, applications programmers develop, create, and modify general computer applications software or specialized utility programs.

Applications programmers earn approximately $29 per hour or $62,040 per year on average in Montana. Nationally they average about $41 per hour or $85,430 per year. Earnings for applications programmers are better than earnings in the general category of Computer in Montana and better than general Computer category earnings nationally. Applications programmers work in a variety of jobs, including: computer architect, software installer, and applications developer.

There are four schools of higher education in the Billings area, including one within twenty-five miles of Billings where you can get a degree to start your career as an applications programmer. Given that the most common education level for applications programmers is a Bachelor's degree, you can expect to spend about four years studying to be an applications programmer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Applications Programmer

In general, applications programmers develop, create, and modify general computer applications software or specialized utility programs. They also analyze user needs and develop software solutions.

Applications programmers talk with systems analysts, engineers, programmers and others to layout systems and to obtain data on project limitations and capabilities, performance requirements and interfaces. They also analyze user needs and software requirements to establish feasibility of layout within time and cost constraints. Equally important, applications programmers have to design and direct software system testing and validation procedures, programming, and documentation. They are often called upon to modify existing software to fix errors, allow it to adapt to new hardware, or to further optimize its performance. Finally, applications programmers decide on system performance standards.

Every day, applications programmers are expected to be able to think through problems and come up with general rules. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they decide how to think about problems involving math.

It is important for applications programmers to confer with customers about software system layout and maintenance. They are often called upon to store and manipulate data for analysis of system capabilities and requirements. They also layout, develop and modify software systems, using scientific analysis and mathematical models to predict and measure outcome and consequences of layout. They are sometimes expected to supervise the work of programmers, technologists and technicians and other engineering and scientific personnel. Somewhat less frequently, applications programmers are also expected to recommend purchase of apparatus to control dust and humidity in area of system installation.

Applications programmers sometimes are asked to decide on system performance standards. and direct software system installation and monitor equipment functioning to insure specifications are met. And finally, they sometimes have to analyze data to establish and plan computer specifications and layouts, and peripheral equipment modifications.

Like many other jobs, applications programmers must be able to absorb the factors involved and a problem and provide a well thought out solution and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Billings include:

  • Computer Programmer. Convert project specifications and statements of problems and procedures to detailed logical flow charts for coding into computer language. Develop and write computer programs to store, locate, and retrieve specific documents, data, and information. May program web sites.
  • Computer Scientist. Conduct research into fundamental computer and information science as theorists, designers, or inventors. Solve or develop solutions to problems in the field of computer hardware and software.
  • Computer Security Specialist. Plan, coordinate, and implement security measures for information systems to regulate access to computer data files and prevent unauthorized modification, destruction, or disclosure of information.
  • Computer Systems Analyst. Analyze science, engineering, and all other data processing problems for application to electronic data processing systems. Analyze user requirements, procedures, and problems to automate or improve existing systems and review computer system capabilities, workflow, and scheduling limitations. May analyze or recommend commercially available software. May supervise computer programmers.
  • Computer Systems Engineer. Research, design, and test operating systems-level software, compilers, and network distribution software for medical, industrial, and general computing applications. Set operational specifications and formulate and analyze software requirements. Apply principles and techniques of computer science, engineering, and mathematical analysis.
  • Network Operations Analyst. Determine user requirements and design specifications for computer networks. Plan and implement network upgrades.
  • Network Systems and Data Communications Analyst. Analyze, design, and evaluate network systems, such as local area networks (LAN), wide area networks (WAN), Internet, intranet, and other data communications systems. Perform network modeling, analysis, and planning. Research and recommend network and data communications hardware and software. Includes telecommunications specialists who deal with the interfacing of computer and communications equipment. May supervise computer programmers.
  • Network and Computer Systems Administrator. Install, configure, and support an organization's local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), and Internet system or a segment of a network system. Maintain network hardware and software. Monitor network to ensure network availability to all system users and perform necessary maintenance to support network availability. May supervise other network support and client server specialists and plan, coordinate, and implement network security measures.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Applications Programmer Training

Rocky Mountain College - Billings, MT

Rocky Mountain College, 1511 Poly Drive, Billings, MT 59102-1796. Rocky Mountain College is a small college located in Billings, Montana. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 872 students and an admission rate of 68%. Rocky Mountain College has 2 areas of study related to Applications Programmer. They are:

  • Information Technology, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Computer Science, bachelor's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.


CIW Associate: Certified CIW Associates possess the basic hands-on skills and knowledge that Internet professionals are expected to understand and use.

For more information, see the Certified Internet Web Professionals website.

CIW Security Analyst: Security Analysts protect an organization's assets and operations.

For more information, see the Certified Internet Web Professionals website.

Ethics in IT: All IT professionals including: Systems administrators, auditors, information security officers, programmers, systems analysts, database administrators, Information service providers, contractors, consultants.

For more information, see the Global Information Assurance Certification website.

EC Council Certified Secure Programmer: EC-Council's Certified Secure Programmer is being offered to provide the essential and fundamental skills to programmers and application developers in secure programming.

For more information, see the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants website.

Certified Software Measurement Specialist: An industry certification for individuals working in the field of software measurement.

For more information, see the International Function Point Users Group website.

Certification and Accreditation Professional: The CAP credential is an objective measure of the knowledge, skills and abilities required for personnel involved in the Certification and Accreditation process.

For more information, see the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, Inc. website.

Certified Web Professional - Application Developer: A CWP Application Developer builds client- and server-side Web applications using Rapid Application Development tools and component technologies to implement two-tier database connectivity solutions.

For more information, see the International Webmasters Association website.

Certified Web Professional - Enterprise Developer: A CWP Enterprise Developer builds n-tier database and legacy connectivity solutions for Web applications, using Java, Java application programming interfaces (APIs), Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) solutions, middleware tools, and distributed object models.

For more information, see the International Webmasters Association website.

Microsoft Certified Professional Developer: For individuals who wish to distinguish themselves as an expert in Windows development, Web application development, or enterprise applications development.

For more information, see the Microsoft Corporation website.

Microsoft Certified Application Developer: Demonstrate your ability to build applications by using Microsoft Visual Studio .

For more information, see the Microsoft Corporation website.

Certified Team Developer: GUPTA's Team Developer is a visual object-oriented RAD tool that is proven to shorten the development cycle; providing developers the tools to quickly design, develop and deploy their Windows or Linux solution.

For more information, see the Unify website.


Billings, Montana
Billings, Montana photo by Pruhter

Billings is situated in Yellowstone County, Montana. It has a population of over 103,994, which has grown by 15.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Billings, 88, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Billings are valued at $132,200 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred nineteen new homes were built in Billings, down from six hundred four the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Billings are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 16 minutes. More than 28.5% of Billings residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.2%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Billings is 4.4%, which is less than Montana's average of 5.8%.

The percentage of Billings residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 48.6%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the LDS (Mormon) Church.

Billings is home to the Twin Pines Ranch and the Hilands Golf Club as well as Cobb Field and Pioneer Park. Visitors to Billings can choose from Western Executive Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Big 5 Motel for temporary stays in the area.