Job Role:

Computer Programmers/Developers are individuals whose main job function is programming. This group has a wide range of responsibilities and educational backgrounds.

Programmer/Developers often are grouped into two broad types—applications programmers and systems programmers. Applications programmers write programs to handle a specific job, such as a program to track inventory within an organization. They also may revise existing packaged software or customize generic applications purchased from vendors. Systems programmers, in contrast, write programs to maintain and control computer systems software for operating systems, networked systems, and database systems.

Some of their functions include:

  • Writing, testing and maintaining detailed programs and software.
  • Conceiving, designing and testing logical structures for solving problems with computer technology.
  • Familiarity with traditional programs, object-oriented languages, other computer-aided software engineering (CASE) tools and artificial intelligence shells to create and maintain programs.

Programming calls for patience, persistence, and the ability to perform exacting analytical work under pressure. Ingenuity and creativity are particularly important when programmers and developers design solutions and test their work for potential failures.

Because programmers/developers are expected to work in teams and interact directly with users, employers want programmers who are able to communicate with non-technical personnel. Business skills are also important, especially for those wishing to advance to managerial positions.

Recommended Education:

  • Technical certifications
  • 2-year Technical School Degree or Associate’s Degree in Computer Science or related subject
  • Bachelor’s Degree

What to Expect:

For skilled workers who keep up to date with the latest technology, prospects for advancement are good.  In large organizations, programmers may be promoted to lead programmer and be given supervisory responsibilities.

Some applications programmers may move into systems development after they gain experience and take courses in systems software.

With general business experience, programmers may become programmer-analysts or systems analysts, or may be promoted to managerial positions.

Programmers with specialized knowledge and experience with a language or operating system may work in research and development and may become computer software engineers.

As employers increasingly contract with outside firms to do programming jobs, more opportunities should arise for experienced programmers with expertise in a specific area to work as consultants.

Programming careers are available in various industries such as government, wholesale and retail, manufacturing, data processing, finance, insurance and other information industries.

Employment Opportunities:

  • Applications Programmer
  • Systems Developer
  • Software Developer
  • Computer Systems Designer
  • Programmer/ Analyst
  • Computer Consultant