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Computer Programming Careers

Computer programming has become a popular career choice in the last decade. Take a look at the prerequisites and career opportunities in this field.
CareerStint Staff
Last Updated: Aug 7, 2018
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The massive wave of information technology that hit the world a few years ago has seen both, youngsters as well as older people looking towards computer programming as a viable career option.
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If you look around, computers are being used in hotels, banks, departmental stores, shopping malls, government offices, travel agencies, libraries, and in thousands of other places today.
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This is the digital age where work is increasingly being done at the click of a button. Computer technology is no more just a mere 'assistance' to us - it is pure necessity. Therefore it is but natural that computer programming is seen as a prime career opportunity by many.
Here, let's find out what a career in computer programming entails along with their prerequisites and long term prospects.
Computer Programming Field
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This is a question most newcomers to computer programming ask. What is computer programming? What exactly is a career in computer programming? What does a computer programmer do? Let's answer these questions.
What is Computer Programming?
Games People Play
Let's use an example of a popular PC game - pinball. Everyone of you must be familiar with pinball and how it is played.
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Look at pinball from the perspective of a computer programmer. For a computer programmer, pinball is nothing but a computer application that has been developed with the help of an algorithm, and by using certain programming tools.
So what exactly is a computer algorithm? Say your objective is to perform a certain task (in case of pinball, it is striking the ball with the lever and preventing it from entering danger zone). An algorithm is a series of steps or rules, based on pure logic, in which you begin from the starting point and progress towards achieving the desired objective.
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Simply put, computer programming involves using different software development tools for developing computer applications on the basis of logically designed computer algorithms.
Types of Careers
Careers in computer programming are of three types:
  • application development
  • system programming
  • software testing
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You may have heard of several other careers such as game designing, computer animation, graphics designing, etc. and are probably wondering where do they fit in these work profiles. Well, let us answer your question.
Computer Programming
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If you think of computer programming to be a tree, then application development, system programming and software testing are its 3 main branches. Each one of these branches has a number of smaller sub-branches. For example, game designing, computer animation, website designing, etc., are sub-branches, belonging to the main branch of application development.
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System programming, in a nutshell, involves various specialized career branches, all of which are aimed at bettering the internal code and the functioning of the operating system, along with other system components.
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Software testing is a branch of computer programming which involves thorough testing of the developed computer application for detection and elimination of design flaws and errors.
Requirements
Different programming careers have different requirements in terms of skill set, knowledge of computer tools and programming languages, and working experience. A formal degree in computer engineering is the best choice for youngsters who are serious about an IT job.
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There are plenty of job specific courses, if obtaining a formal degree in computer engineering isn't feasible. Diplomas or certificate programs in animation, web development, software testing, etc., are beneficial for people who don't own a formal degree yet are interested in pursuing computer programming.
Job Outlook
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A skilled computer programmer is expected to write a program or a code, which tells the computer what to do and how to do it. These instructions are written with the help of a number of programming languages such as C, C++, Python, JAVA etc.
A programmer's job description also involves refining ideas, debugging, rewriting, maintaining and testing pieces of software, ensuring that they are able to correctly and effectively perform the task that they have been developed for.
Computer programmers usually need to be conversant with several different programming languages. The projects that they handle can be short - involving only a few days of coding, medium - requiring a couple of months, or large - needing a year or more.
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This job requires highly developed logical thinking and conceptualization, implemented accurately and proficiently as is expected from computer programmers, while developing and testing.
Salary
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has found that the average salary for a qualified computer engineer is around $60,889 per year. The highest paid 10% of computer engineers made around $99,043 a year, while the lowest paid 10 % earned $36,105 per year on an average.
Smiling Woman Working On Laptop
With the increasing application of computers in various fields, careers in information technology and computer programming are here to stay. With good salaries and plenty of scope for career growth, the future is bright for this field.