Computer Programmers write code. Through the use of computer languages, such as C++ and Java, computer programmers create instructions for computers to perform and follow. They work closely with others in the company to develop, maintain, debug, and test computer programs.
Overall, it is the responsibility of the computer programmer to write code and manipulate it into a language the computer can understand and follow.
Computer Programmers are commonly employed by software companies. However, with the surge in access to computer programmers, many governmental and private sector companies, such as banks and law firms, have begun to employ computer programmers. It is not uncommon to see computer programmers working as freelancers, moving from project to project within technology consulting firms, or independently.
Most employers require computer programmers to have a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field. However, some employers do hire applicants with an associate's degree and internship experience. It is recommended, no matter what degree level, that those interested in computer programming complete at least one internship.
Certifications for specific programming languages or for vendor-specific programming products are not required by all employers, but is strongly recommended.
Analytical Thinking: Computer programmers need to understand, manipulate and repair complex computer code.
Strong Attention to Detail: Computer programmers need to pay attention to every line of code written. One wrong command and the entire program could malfunction.
Collaboration: Computer programmers may need help from another department or colleague to fix a software issue. It is important they have a collaborative mindset.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Computer Programmers earned an average of $74,280 in 2012.
The bottom 10% of programmers earned less than $42,850 and the top 10% earned at least $117,890.
Computer programmers write and test code that allows computer applications and software programs to function properly. They turn the program designs created by software developers and engineers into instructions that a computer can follow. In addition, programmers test newly created applications and programs to ensure that they produce the expected results. If they do not work correctly, computer programmers check the code for mistakes and fix them.
Computer programmers typically do the following:
- Write programs in a variety of computer languages, such as C++ and Java
- Update and expand existing programs
- Test programs for errors and fix the faulty lines of computer code responsible
- Create and test code in an integrated development environment (IDE)
- Use code libraries, which are collections of independent lines of code, to simplify the writing
Programmers work closely with software developers, and in some businesses their duties overlap. When such overlap occurs, programmers can do work that is typical of developers, such as designing the program. Program design entails planning the software initially, creating models and flowcharts detailing how the code is to be written, writing and debugging code, and designing an application or systems interface. Programmers often use an IDE, which allows them to create, edit, and test code.
A program's purpose determines the complexity of its computer code. For example, a weather application for a mobile device will require less programming than a social-networking application. Simpler programs can be written in less time. Complex programs, such as computer operating systems, can take a year or more to complete.
Software-as-a-service (SaaS), which consists of applications provided through the Internet, is a growing field. Although programmers typically need to rewrite their programs to work on different system platforms, such as Windows or OS X, applications created with SaaS work on all platforms. Accordingly, programmers writing SaaS applications may not have to rewrite as much code as other programmers do and can instead spend more time writing new programs.
Most computer programmers have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related subject; however, some employers hire workers with an associate’s degree. Most programmers specialize in a few programming languages.
Most computer programmers have a bachelor’s degree; however, some employers hire workers who have an associate’s degree. Most programmers get a degree in computer science or a related subject. Programmers who work in specific fields, such as healthcare or accounting, may take classes in that field to supplement their degree in computer programming. In addition, employers value experience, which many students gain through internships.
Most programmers learn a few computer languages while in school. However, a computer science degree gives students the skills needed to learn new computer languages easily. During their classes, students receive hands-on experience writing code, testing programs, fixing errors, and doing many other tasks that they will perform on the job.
To keep up with changing technology, computer programmers may take continuing education and professional development seminars to learn new programming languages or about upgrades to programming languages they already know.
Programmers can become certified in specific programming languages or for vendor-specific programming products. Some companies require their computer programmers to be certified in the products they use.
Analytical skills. Computer programmers must understand complex instructions in order to create computer code.
Concentration. Programmers must be able to work at a computer, writing lines of code for long periods.
Detail oriented. Computer programmers must closely examine the code they write because a small mistake can affect the entire computer program.
Troubleshooting skills. An important part of a programmer’s job is to check the code for errors and fix any they find.
Most computer programmers have a bachelor's degree with a major or concentration of coursework in computer science or information technology. Some programmers earn an associate's degree in a computer related discipline. A few programmers may only have a high school degree, but in these cases they have accomplished a significant amount of programming work.
Programmers can earn certifications from software companies or product vendors to demonstrate proficiency in various computer languages or programming on certain platforms.
Computer programmers need strong analytical skills to generate the code to automate complex processes. They must be able to interview clients or end users to determine their technology needs and communicate options for programs in language that non-technical users can easily comprehend.
Problem solving skills are required to troubleshoot issues when programs don't function optimally. Programmers must be detail oriented and precise to create code to exact specifications or find minor problems in long streams of code.
High school and college students aiming for programming jobs should consider creating applications for digital devices as a way to demonstrate their programming acumen and creativity. Most high schools now offer programming courses which can be an excellent testing ground for aspiring programmers.
Research the programming languages and skills in highest demand by searching Google with phrases like "best computer programming skills" or "most important computer programming skills." Write programs that showcase these skills with the help of online tutorials, books and courses.
Candidates who can show prospective employers actual programs which they have created will have the easiest time landing jobs. Programmers should create a web based portfolio of their programming projects which can be easily shared with employers and networking contacts. Obtain alumni contacts through your career office or from your faculty.
Reconnect with previous employers where you worked as an intern or even as a basic service employee, and ask for introductions to computer professionals whom they know.
Reach out to family friends and Facebook contacts and ask for referrals to the computer types whom they know.
Utilize specialized IT websites like Dice.com to generate a list of job leads. Search job sites like Indeed.com, Simplyhired.com and LinkUp.com by keywords like "programmer" or "computer programmer" and by your favorite computer languages to expand your list of job targets.
Dream a little. Generate a list of your ideal IT employers, visit their jobs websites and apply for jobs. Review lists like Forbes "Best Companies to Work For" to generate some ideas.
Interviews for programmers tend to be quite different from the standard interview process. Interviewers will ask typical behavioral questions to determine if candidates can reference examples of problem solving, troubleshooting, communication with clients and users and tolerance for frustration.
Recruiters will also test the technical knowledge of candidates by asking them to explain and define programming terms and processes.
Some interviewers will pose hypothetical problem solving questions which will test the thought processes of candidates. For example, you might be asked to figure out how many cars pass over the George Washington Bridge on a typical day. Employers will be interested in your logical reasoning skills rather than a right answer.
You may be asked to create a sample program using pseudo code to solve a hypothetical problem on a whiteboard. Employers will be looking for you to demonstrate a logical approach to programming.
Your emphasis should be on your process and how you explain your method. Interviewers sometimes ask programming candidates to review the code for a program in order to identify and correct any errors.
Many large tech companies have interviewing advice specific to their company available online. For example, Google has a Hangout on Air where Googlers talk about how they interview candidates at Google and share advice on the best way to prepare for a technical interview.
Amazon has a list of FAQs including information on the interview process, what to wear, and what you will need to provide. In addition to frequently asked questions, Microsoft offers interview tips and resume tips for applicants.
I want to be a programmer but also don't want to work for peanuts. Advice from people already in the feild would be great. Is there companies that pay better? are they the same?
that depends where you live and what kind of programming you do for what type of software industry. And it also depends if your a sucker and take anything just to be in that industry, or if you have some self-respect and wait until good opportunity comes.
- Are you in the industry? If so can you tell me how you got started to now? I have no clue what to do or how.
- And of course if you ARE a sucker and willing to work for nothing just to get into the game industry, then it would be your own fault. Most don't pay over time since they'll assume you enjoy what you do. You are only as valuable as the sum of your knowledge and if there are hundreds of people who apply every year with your skill set then you will get the average rate of pay.
- Programming is not easy?
- Google, "The law of demand". When there is a large supply of programmers who want to work in the game industry, for example, then the demand is high but the pay is low because they are less valuable because there are so many of them. In other words, programming really IS easy, because there are so many programmers. However designing and developing good software libraries and having a deep technical expertise is NOT. There less people with a deep understanding in a specialized area and those people get higher pay because they are rarer, harder to find, and thus more valuable. There are programmers and then there are developers. developers know how to program AND design.
- I hate doing sales/marketing/distribution, which is what I'm doing now. But I need to also live comfortably and I think everyone should get to do so as well. A 40k programming job is just not worth it IMO.
- There are companies that pay better than others. There are jobs that are better than others. Finally, money isn't everything. I'd rather do a £30k programming job that I love than a £60k sales job that I hate. Don't forget, you're probably going to be spending over 40 hours a week at work.
Also, there's nothing stopping you using whatever skills to your advantage outside of work. We live in an era where you have a hugely accessible market in mobile applications right on our doorstep.
- I highly agree.
- More skills you provide to an employer, the more you are worth to them. This also falls under work ethics though, people are often too lazy to give extra effort.
- It also ruins the environment for other programmers, because if an employer sees how much they can get for so little, they will try to maximize their profits and minimize their losses with each new programmer they can get.
- If you have invested the time then why not get paid for doing something you love(thats how i have always viewed it)
- The average garbage man makes about 30k a year and that is a wage similiar to what teachers get, which is sad. A good teacher should make as much as a good programmer because they help to produce more good workers and innovators for society.
- Anyways ya its always good to set goals for yourself and have expectations and dreams. Like you said thats why I love the free market system also because anyone has the chance to become something if they put enough effort into and catch a break.
- Interested in becoming a computer programmer? Here's all the information you'll need to know to land a job as a computer programmer, including job responsibilities, education requirements, desired skills, and salary information.
- Computer Programmers write code. Through the use of computer languages, such as C++ and Java, computer programmers create instructions for computers to perform and follow. They work closely with others in the company to develop, maintain, debug, and test computer programs.