Can a Felon Become a Computer Programmer? -
Finding Employment

Can a Felon Become a Computer Programmer?

Can a Felon Become a Computer Programmer

Felons know all too well how difficult life is once they get that conviction.  Then when they are released, they have to find a job.

While felons may think no one will hire them, there are resources available.

They may have to be willing to begin a different career.

This blog post will address the issue of whether a felon can become a computer programmer.

  • What is a Computer Programmer?
  • What Education/Training Does a Computer Programmer Need?
  • How Much Does a Computer Programmer Earn?
  • An Opportunity for Felons?
  • Recommended Action

What is a Computer Programmer?

A computer programmer is a person that works on computer software programs and applications to make sure they work properly.

They create the instructions for a computer to follow based on a design from a software developer.

A computer programmer writes programs in different computer languages and tests the code to make certain the computer application works.

They test new applications and correct the code if necessary.

A computer programmer updates current applications.

Most computer programmers work in offices with a computer system in a service industry.

There are certain skills necessary to be successful as a computer program:

  • Analytical skills to understand complex instructions to create computer code
  • Detail oriented to examine code for errors that could affect an entire computer system
  • Problem solving abilities to be able to detect errors in computer code
  • Concentration to be able to work at a computer for long periods of time
  • Communication skills to be able to convey information to other members of the computer team

What Education/Training Does a Computer Programmer Need?

Most computer programmers have a degree in computer science. This may be a bachelor’s degree or an associate’s degree.

A computer programmer who works in a specific field may take classes in that area.

A degree in computer science gives an individual the ability to learn programming languages easily.

There is no certification required to become a programmer.

However, a computer programmer can be certified in specific programming languages or certain computer products within a business.

How Much Does a Computer Programmer Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that there are approximately 330,000 computer programmers as of 2016.

This occupation is expected to show a 6% growth by 2024 due to increasing demands for individuals knowledgeable about programming languages.  This is especially true with continued expansion of the internet.

The median annual salary for a computer programmer was $79,800 in 2016.  The median salary is the income where half of the incomes are above and half below that.  The lowest 10% earned less than $45,500 while the top 10% made more than $130,000.

Experience, specialization, and geographic location could have a significant impact on these earnings.

Those computer programmer working in California, Texas, Georgia, and New York have the highest salaries.  Generally, a computer programmer on the East or West coast or in the South receives a higher salary than for one in other areas.

An Opportunity for Felons?

Becoming a computer programmer is a possibility for felons.  It continues to be a growing field and doesn’t require a license or certification.

There are many training opportunities available through universities, community colleges, and trade schools.

Felons do tend to have an easier time getting a job that doesn’t involve direct contact with the public.  They may still experience limited opportunities finding a programmer job that includes working with personal records and information along with financial data.

Any felony conviction appearing on a background check will  hurt their chances of becoming a computer programmer, but it always depends on your skills and the willingness of an employer to take the chance on you.

In order to be successful in their pursuit of becoming a computer programmer, it is essential for felons to be honest about their background.  Lying about their conviction will prevent them from becoming a computer programmer.

Felons deserve the chance to show they can be good employees.

If a felony isn’t disclosed but found on doing a background check, this constitutes fraud and is a punishable crime which would require an attorney and could result in their being sent back to prison.

They are already viewed as being dishonest, untrustworthy, and unwilling or unable to follow directions from authority figures.

Having their felony expunged can give them the chance they need to begin with a clean record and succeed in becoming a computer programmer.

Expunging a criminal record allows anyone to honestly state on an application that they have not been convicted of a crime.

Recommended Action

It may be a difficult road for a felon to travel, but how do they do that?  The same way they did their time in prison, one day at a time.

They have to give themselves the best chance.

Having their record expunged could make a critical difference.

Then, it would be beneficial to document any education or training they have completed since their release.

Taking time to develop a strong resume will boost their chances.

Having support from family and friends is essential.

We aren’t defined by the mistakes we make but by how we recover from them.

A felon doesn’t have to be defined by their crime.  They can begin again and establish an honest life no matter how tough it may seem.

What do you think about this blog post?  Are you or someone you know been in the situation of trying to become a computer programmer with a felony?  What was that like for them, and how did they achieve success?  Please tell us in the comments below.

6 responses to “Can a Felon Become a Computer Programmer?”

  1. A software developer says:

    This post is a bit contrived and has some fairly bold statements, “Any felony conviction appearing on a background check will disqualify an individual from being a computer programmer.” That is a not necessarily true, though they may be denied, it doesn’t automatically disqualify them like say working for the Government. Also, expungement of convictions is not possible in all states nor is it always effective. Private background checks will return a list of convictions prior to the expungement in most cases. Applying for every possible job development position that is relevant to the felon’s skill-set or starting a company are pretty much the only valid approaches. There are no guarantees one way or the other. Sincerely, someone who knows.

  2. Admin says:

    Thank you for the constructive feedback, we did make some adjustments to the article to be more accurate.

  3. Tim says:

    The first reply is partially incorrect. Felons can and do work in federal government.

  4. Deborah says:

    Any felony conviction in my border state in the Southwest will disqualify from any kind of employment. The rule is for the government and I should know is that if you are being considered for Federal Employment and there is another person as well considered. The other person with NO record will get hired every time. Even though they may not have the work experience that you might have but they will be hired over those who have a record. Been there and done that.

  5. Mamá Ducksy says:

    What are the best jobs that felons can apply for?

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