Computer Programmer

Computer programmers write, update and modify programs. They translate design details in one of various computer languages that allow the computer to operate the program properly. The two most common programs used by computer programmers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, are C++ and Python. Computer programmers may work individually or in groups, depending on the size of the programming project.

Computer programmers may be employed to work in a particular office or laboratory. It is becoming more common for programmers to telecommute as it saves companies space and money.

Computer programmers hold various degrees. Although associate degrees are available in this field, the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the U.S. Department of Labor notes that the job outlook is more positive for programmers holding a bachelor’s degree or higher.

The U.S. Department of Labor also suggests internships for programming candidates as larger companies prefer to hire programmers with some experience. Certification through specific language and software companies may also make a candidate more appealing.

Computer Programmers Job Description

Computer programmers write programs that have been designed by software engineers. Programmers translate the programs into a computer language that allows the software to be readily utilized by non-programmers. A programmer may use computer-assisted software engineering (CASE) tools to assist with the coding process, allowing it to move faster. Programmers often use these tools when working with larger projects.

They also work with software that needs updating, repair or modification. They utilize a library of code language and even adapt or customize the code for different software applications. Computer programmers work in a variety of industries including education, medicine, industry and engineering.

Although the job description varies based on employer, computer programmers generally have the following tasks:

  • Write programs for newly designed software.
  • Update, modify or expand previously designed software.
  • Adapt and customize code to change software applications.
  • Work as a team with other programmers on larger projects.
  • Interactively work with system analysts and software engineers.
  • Test and debug computer programs.

Computer Programmer Salary

The Department of Labor notes that as of 2008, the median salary for a computer programmer was over $69,000. Salaries range from $40,000 to $111,000 annually depending on ability, experience and industry.

The highest paid employers were in software publishing with the lowest salaries deriving from computer programming within the insurance industry.

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