How to Become a Computer Programmer
If you enjoy your computer, are good at math, and have good problem solving skills then you might like to become a computer programmer. A computer programmer takes a set of design specifications and ideas, and translates them into a language that a computer can understand. They write the programs we use and enjoy on our computers every day. They also repair, update, and improve existing software programs.
When you become a computer programmer, you can look forward to joining an industry which is experiencing record amounts of growth. This means that you will have good job prospects ahead of you, and lots of opportunities for promotion and professional development.
Education Requirements to Become a Computer Programmer
If you're at high school and would like to become a computer programmer, you should take subjects like computer science, math, and natural science. If you can get a part-time job that involves computers, that will be very helpful. If not, you could always volunteer in your school's computer lab. At some schools, you can enroll in course at vocational college, and start earning credit towards your qualification while still in high school.
The minimum educational requirement to become a computer programmer is a two year associate's degree from a vocational college. It's becoming more common for those looking to enter the industry to gain a four year bachelors degree. Real world experience is also important, so you should try and complete internships while at college.
A four year degree will offer more opportunity, and open the door to jobs with greater responsibility and a better pay package. You major should be in computer science, or similar.
Computer Programmer Job Description
When you become a computer programmer, your job will be to create functional and bug free software and programs for a wide range of applications. Some programmers specialize in particular kinds of programming. For instance, some will develop games, while others will create business applications.
Usually, a programmer is given a design specification by computer software engineer. It is their role to then translate the ideas into language a computer can understand. Good technical ability, problem solving skills and creativity are required to excel in this field.
After they have completed a project, a computer programmer must take a program through a wide range of testing, and seek out any bugs, glitches, or flaws in the system.
A computer programmer can also work on existing software. For instance, they may repair a program that has a glitch. They might also make modifications or adjustments to existing software.
Here are some of the tasks of a computer programmer:
- Create computer programs
- Modify or repair existing programs
- Communicate with software engineers and other colleagues
- Keep up to date with new programming languages and technology advances
Computer Programmer Salary and Career Path
Starting out, getting your first job may be hard when you become a computer programmer. Many start out in entry level roles for large companies, or sometimes in the retail sector in computer shops. Others may get a role on an IT help desk. You may be able to get a role as a programmer right away, especially taking into consideration the large amount of growth in the field.
Some fields are much more competitive than others. For instance, if you want to work designing games, then you will have a much harder time than getting a job writing software for a bank.
As you gain experience, you will be able to work on more complicated projects and take on more responsibility. Many computer programmers move on to become project managers, or information systems analysts.
The median wage of a computer programmer is $59,000 a year. Growth is strong and opportunities plenty, especially once you have a few years experience.
Some similar roles to a computer programmer include:
If you enjoy spending time on your computer, and think you would enjoy putting together programs for people to use and enjoy, then you might like to become a computer programmer. It can be a lot of hard work to get a start, but once you're in a good salary and secure employment are available for those who become successful.
*Salary Information provided by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics