Computer Programmer – Career Rankings, Salary, Reviews and Advice

Computer programmers write the code that allows software programs to run. So just like a boss tells an employee what to do, a programmer tells a computer what to do. Basically, they write directions in C++ and Python or another language, and the computer then follows the programmer’s detailed instructions. […]

Computer programmers write the code that allows software programs to run. So just like a boss tells an employee what to do, a programmer tells a computer what to do. Basically, they write directions in C++ and Python or another language, and the computer then follows the programmer’s detailed instructions. In many cases, a programmer’s work will start after a software developer or engineer passes off design specifications for a particular program. The programmer’s job entails refining the ideas and solving the problems that arise while converting the program into code. Programmers can also rewrite, debug, maintain and test (and retest and retest) software and programs that instruct the computer to accomplish certain tasks, such as storing or retrieving data, so the computer can perform better and more efficiently.

Computer programming is an exciting industry that’s still in its infancy, according to Jeff Lyons, founder and president of the National Association of Programmers. He writes in an email, “When I entered the industry, the internet was a DARPA [Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency] project and smartphones were not even a concept. Now, we have billionaires because they made it easy to search the internet for just about any topic we can imagine. Today, our very young children play with devices with more computing power than was available to launch all of the Apollo missions that landed men on the moon. Even the most nontechnical persons can easily utilize these devices to access the collective knowledge of mankind.”

These innovations are due, in no small part, to skilled computer programmers.

Programming is highly detailed work, and it usually involves fluency in several languages. Projects can be short and require only a few days of coding, or they can be very long, involving upward of a year to write. And because a large amount of a programmer’s time will be spent alone in front of a computer, telecommuting is a perk many programmers take advantage of. The job can be stressful at times, but computer programmers are compensated well for any anxiety they might experience.

Many jobs in this profession are being outsourced to other countries where pay is lower, saving companies money.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects -7.2 percent employment growth for computer programmers between 2018 and 2028. In that period, an estimated 17,900 jobs will be lost.

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