Computer programs are responsible for designing the instructions that help computers perform their operations, which involves knowing a series of programming languages. When an engineer needs a program designed, they will give their ideas to a programmer who will take these instructions and encode them into a programming language that a computer can understand, such as java or C++.
These professionals will often repair and modify existing programs in order to improve them, and they may use computer assisted software engineering in order to automate some of the process. Programs used will vary widely depending on the type of information that must be transcribed, and simple projects can be done in a few hours, while others can take years to create.
A computer tester will test a program by making sure that it produces the desired results, and they will keep testing it until the performance of the program is adequate. Computer programmers may also work on developing games and other software that is used for financial planning or entertainment, working with a development team in order to create a finished project.
Computer programmers are typically grouped into one of two categories, which can include applications and systems programming. Applications writers are responsible for writing software programs which will perform a specific task such as word processing or a spreadsheet. Systems programming will create operating systems and networking systems upon which other software will run.
Most of these professionals will work 40 hours a week in a fairly low stress job, and telecommuting is becoming a common practice for programming professionals. Most jobs will require a bachelor’s degree in computer science, although those with sufficient skill may be able to bypass such requirements.
In 2006, these individuals had about 430,000 jobs in America, being employed by almost every industry, although in particular they are utilized by software publishers and financial institutions. Over the next decade, computer jobs should declined slowly as increased automation of coding and outsourcing greatly reduces the cost of software design.
In 2007, the Robert Half Technology Firm found that starting salaries for computer programmers in the middle 50th percentile ranged from $55,250 to $90,250.