Become a computer programmer

Do you like to work with computers? Do you like to analyze problems and come up with solutions? Do you have the patience to do detailed work? If so, you may be interested in a career as a computer programmer.

The ability to think critically and approach problems from different ways of thinking is a key skill for computer programmers. Other skills include the ability to

• Learn and implement coding languages
• Write computer code and create programs
• Troubleshoot problems to come up with solutions

If you are proficient at these skills, or would like to learn how, you should consider a career in computer programming.

Requirements for Becoming a Programmer
Computer programming is one of the fields included under the banner heading of Information Technology (IT). As a programmer you will write the code that brings a software program to life. Basically, you will tell the computer what to do. Programmers work closely with systems designers and engineers who design the software that programmers write. Programmers must also test, troubleshoot and debug software before it is issued to the general public.

The most basic skill of any programmer is knowledge of programming “languages.” Some of the most popular and sought-after language skills today include:

• Java
• JavaScript
• Ruby
• Ruby on Rails
• C
• C++
• Python
• Perl
• VB.Net

Different languages perform different functions, and many programmers specialize in just one or two. While no programmer is expected to learn all these languages, the broader one’s knowledge base is, the better. It would be wise to research which languages do what, and what types of jobs are available by learning that code.

Most employers will want to hire programmers with a four-year Bachelors degree in programming or IT. However, there are positions for programmers with two-year degrees. Certifications in specific languages may be the key to the best jobs, and those studying programming in college should seek out internships to gain experience in the field.

Career Opportunities for Programmers
The computer systems design industry is booming. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a whopping 72% growth in this industry in the next six years. Computer programming, which represents eight percent of that industry, is expected to grow at about 12%, which still represents a positive job outlook. In fact, U.S. News & World Report named programming as one of the five best technology jobs available. Computer programmers earn an average salary of $71,000 per year; Those with highly sought language certifications will earn more.

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