Career Research Essay By: Kel Varnsen

Subject: Computer Programmers

General Description:

Computer programmers write instructions that tell computers to perform a variety of different tasks. They may write programs that will perform accounting or billing functions. Other programs may operate robots or computer-aided design (CAD) machine tool operations. Some programs allow people to create artwork or graphics, while others coordinate space flight operations.

Programmers speak with the individuals or groups that need programs in order to understand their needs. They then outline the steps the computer must go through to get the job done. It is the programmer's job to identify all of the steps the computer complete to produce the desired results.

Programmers use computer languages to write programs. Some languages operate the computers while others are used to write programs that perform tasks. Higher level languages require less technical understanding of how computers operate. They are said to be more friendly. They are easier to use and may accomplish a complicated task with a single command. A less friendly, more basic program will require more detailed instructions. Programmers determine the appropriate language to use, based on the advantages and limitationsof each.

When programs are finished, the programmers must test or debug it to be sure that errors and problems have been found and corrected. Also, the programmers write two sets of instructions for individuals who will use the program. The first is for other programmers who will work on the program in the future. Another set of instructions is written for program users.

Over the next 10 years, job openings in this occupation are projected to increase by at least 27%.

Career Specs:

Hours & Conditions:

Computer programmers usually work in well-lit, climate-controlled offices because computers do not function well in environments with extreme temperature or humidity fluctuations. Computer programmers work at universities, government agencies, as contractors and business firms. Almost any business using data bases and digital information systems need programmers as well.

Pros & Cons:

Programmers like working with computers and planning ways to solve problems. They find their jobs to be challenging. Many in demand programming jobs pay high salaries and offer many employee benefits. Also, there are many opportunities for employment in this field in Silicon Valley.

- Kel Varnsen