Computer programmers convert project specifications into flowcharts and code them into instructions using programming languages such a C++ and Python. They may also be called upon to update, modify, and expand existing programs. Increasingly, computer programmers are being called upon to develop Web sites.
How to Become a Computer Programmer
Most programming jobs require a computer programming degree, although many computer programming schools also have two-year associate's degrees and certification training programs. Graduates with degrees in mathematics, computer science, and information systems may also go into programming. Training consists of learning how to create a flowchart from software engineering specifications, learning programming languages and studying the intricacies of coding computer instructions. However, in recent years there has been some blurring of the lines between the job descriptions of computer programmers and computer software engineers. Many programming functions have become automated, resulting in programmers taking on more analysis and design tasks.
The employment outlook in computer programming is positive, with an increase in the demand for programmers and software engineers expected to increase 21 percent by 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, there is a downside in that automation of programming and movement of computer programming jobs offshore may soften this estimate. Those with a computer programming degree and relevant experience will fare best. The most recent BLS wage statistics from May 2008 put the median annual income for computer programming at $69,620 annually, with a low of $40,080 and a high of $111,450.