Those who are passionate about technology with strong analytical and troubleshooting skills, and who are detail-oriented with the ability to deeply concentrate for long periods of time may do well to pursue careers as computer programmers.

What Does A Computer Programmer Do?

It’s the chief responsibility of a computer programmer to write code with the intent of creating new software programs. They typically work closely with software developers and engineers to turn program designs into directions a computer can follow, using a variety of computer languages like Java, HTML and .NET/C#. In addition to creating new software programs, daily tasks may include:

  • Updating and expanding current programs
  • Debugging through testing and correcting
  • Building and using computer-assisted software engineering (CASE) tools to program code

Programmers will find that some assignments are small and simple, and may take just a couple of days to create; mobile applications for smart phones is one example of a small program assignment. On the other end of the spectrum are programs that take up to a year, and sometimes longer, to complete; computer operating systems, for example, are considered to be complex, long-term assignments.

Work Environment

Computer programmers typically work full time. It’s normal for them to work in offices for computer systems design companies, but many telecommute most of the time. They usually work on their own, but it’s important they have the ability to work with a team, too, as it is sometimes necessary for them to work alongside developers, testers and engineers.

Expectations: Salary and Career Advancement

While the salaries of computer programmers will vary based on location, experience and the size of the company for which they work, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in May 2012, those in this career earned a median annual wage of $74,280. This career is expected to grow about eight percent by the year 2022.

Increased demand for health care and mobile technology will grow the need for qualified programmers and developers over the course of the next several years; thus, programmers who can gain experience writing code for these specific industries will have a leg up over competition.

Programmers who have gained experience in business, whether through previous positions or through formal education, are also likely to advance in this career path. Many go on to become software developers or computer systems analysts. Managerial positions where the programmer is managing a team of programmers or testers are common promotions.

Education and Other Qualifications

Most companies prefer computer programmers to have a degree in computer science or a related field, but those interested in this occupation should also consider The Software Guild’s boot camp program. Program enrollees will receive staff expertise and personalized attention they may not get in traditional classrooms.

This boot camp is intended to help students master the techniques they’ll need to create software programs from the ground up, for companies in a number of industries – health care, finance, retail, manufacturing, e-commerce, insurance, etc. – in a collaborative, hands-on way. The variety of modern programming languages future programmers will learn in this boot camp will increase their employability exponentially.