How to Become a Computer Programmer or Developer
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on FlexJobs.com.
If you’re considering a career in programming or development, it’s a great choice!
These are two of the most in-demand professions across nearly all industries, as companies increasingly rely on software to get work done.
From finance and health care to manufacturing and retail, nearly every sector needs programmers and developers to create and maintain the essential software that keeps businesses running.
And as workplace technology advances, the demand for these professionals is only likely to grow.
So, if you’re looking for a stable and well-paying career, programming or development may be the perfect field.
All About Careers in Computer Programming or Development
Vadym Pastukh / Shutterstock.com
Both programmers and developers are in high demand across a wide range of industries.
If you’re considering a career in either field, it’s essential to understand the different job descriptions and skill sets required for each profession.
With that knowledge, you can make an informed decision about which path is right for you.
What Does a Computer Programmer Do? (Job Description)
Dragon Images / Shutterstock.com
A programmer’s job is to write code that will create software programs.
They often work closely with software developers, who design the program’s overall structure to ensure that the finished product meets all the necessary requirements.
In some cases, programmers may also be responsible for maintaining and troubleshooting existing software programs.
What Does a Software Developer Do? (Job Description)
REDPIXEL.PL / Shutterstock.com
A developer’s job is to design, create, test, and deploy software applications. In many ways, they are the project manager for the program.
Developers work with programmers to ensure that the code meets all the requirements and functions appropriately.
They also collaborate with other IT team members, such as system administrators and database managers, to ensure that the finished product is up to snuff.
Developer vs. Programmer: Which Is Right for You?
ViDI Studio / Shutterstock.com
Now that you know a bit more about the duties and responsibilities of programmers and developers, how do you decide which is right for you? Take some time to consider the following questions:
- Do you have a knack for problem-solving?
- Do you enjoy working with computers and other technology?
- Do you like working with code?
- Are you interested in learning new programming languages?
- Do you want to work on a wide variety of projects, or do you prefer to specialize in one area?
If you answered yes to most of these questions, programming might be the right career path for you.
A Career in Programming
Roman Samborskyi / Shutterstock.com
Programmers must be excellent problem-solvers, often tasked with finding creative solutions to complex issues. They also need to be comfortable working with code, as they’ll spend a lot of time writing and revising software programs.
Additionally, programmers should be interested in learning new programming languages.
As technology evolves, new languages are constantly being developed. To keep up with the latest trends, programmers need to be able to learn new languages quickly and efficiently.
A Career in Development
Jacob Lund / Shutterstock.com
On the other hand, if you’re more interested in designing and deploying software applications, development may be the better path for you.
Developers need to have a strong vision for the finished product, as well as an eye for detail.
They also need to be good communicators, as they’ll be working closely with other IT team members to ensure that the final product meets all the necessary requirements.
What Qualifications Do You Need to Become a Programmer or Developer?
ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com
If you’re interested in a career in programming or development, there are a few qualifications you’ll need to meet.
First and foremost, you’ll need a strong computer science foundation. A bachelor’s degree in computer science is the standard educational requirement for most programmer and developer positions.
You can find a pathway to success with a boot camp or even being self-taught and creating a robust portfolio. This generally takes longer to build career progression, however.
In addition to formal experience, you’ll need strong problem-solving skills and be comfortable working with code. Some employers may also require that you have experience with specific programming languages or development tools.
What Are the Entry-Level Jobs for a Computer Programmer or Developer?
insta_photos / Shutterstock.com
There are a few different entry-level jobs for computer programmers and developers.
Some common entry-level positions include junior programmer, software engineer, and front-end developer or back-end developer.
In these roles, you’ll be responsible for assisting senior programmers and developers with various tasks, such as code development and testing.
What Are the Career Paths for a Programmer or Developer?
baranq / Shutterstock.com
There are a few different career paths as a programmer or developer.
You can specialize in a specific area, such as web development or systems programming.
Alternatively, you can move into project manager or technical lead management roles.
With experience, you may also have the opportunity to become a self-employed freelancer or consultant.
What Is the Job Outlook for a Programmer or Developer?
antoniodiaz / Shutterstock.com
The job outlook for programmers and developers is a mixed bag. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for computer programmers is over $90,000 per year.
However, the employment of computer programmers is projected to decrease by the year 2031.
This is likely due to the industry balancing out from the significant growth in the previous decade.
What Are the Benefits of a Career in Programming or Development?
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com
A career in programming or development can offer several benefits. First and foremost, it can be financially rewarding.
Programmers and developers with experience can earn higher salaries than many other careers offer. Additionally, many employers offer bonuses, profit sharing, and other financial incentives.
Another benefit of a career in programming or development is that it offers a good deal of flexibility. Many programmers and developers can work remotely, and often, they can set their hours.
Finally, a career in programming or development can be personally satisfying.
If you’re interested in technology and enjoy working with code, a career in programming or development can be a great fit. You’ll have the opportunity to work on challenging projects and use your skills to create innovative solutions.