by Monica Guy

What is a Computer Programmer?

A computer programmer is a person that writes, tests, and maintains programs. They write programs according to specific details given to them by software engineers and system analysts. Programmers convert other people's designs into a logical series of instructions for computers to follow. Programmers use many languages such as COBOL, Prolog, Java, C++, and ACTOR. Programmers usually know multiple languages and because of the similarities between languages can learn new ones fairly quickly.

Programmers update, repair, modify, and expand existing programs as well. They use computer-assisted software engineering (CASE) tools to help automate their coding. Programmers use libraries of basic codes that are customized for their applications along with CASE tools to increase productivity and eliminate routine steps. Programmers may work in teams with other programmers on more complex assignments. Programmers must run their programs to make sure the instructions are correct and that the program runs the way it is supposed to. If there are errors the programmer must fix the errors and check the program again. Sometimes it is necessary for programmers to prepare instructions for computer operators or for an instruction manual for all users.

Work Environment Of A Computer Programmer

Computer Programmers spend most of their time in front of a computer screen in a, usually clean, office. Because technologies used for programming are more accessible now some programmers telecommute and are capable of working from home or remote locations. Programmers usually work 40 hours a week, but sometimes working long hours and on the weekends is necessary if a programmer is on a deadline.
Because of programmers spending the majority of their time in front of a computer they are more likely to suffer from eye strain, back discomfort, as well as hand and wrist problems.

What Does it Take to be a Computer Programmer?

Most computer programmers have a bachelor degree. The most popular degrees for computer programmers are computer programming and computer science. Many programmers have degrees in other things that are also closely related to their work such as finance or business. Math is also popular. To continue to be ''good'' programmer you must keep up to date with the latest technologies and languages. The programming field is always changing and programmers must learn to adapt to each new change. Programmers must also have patience, persistence, be able to peform exacting work, have creativity, business skills, and they must be able to communicate their work with non-technical people.

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