How to Become a Computer Programmer
Level of difficulty:
In a strict technical term, a computer programmer is someone who has acquired a BS Computer Science degree and exhibits specific capabilities in writing, modifying, integrating, and testing software codes used to maintain or extend the functionality of a computer system or network environment. Programmers may be tasked to deliver solutions for identified technical problems or processes with an accompanying report, documentation, or evaluation of the specific task in hand. However, in the recent years and consistent with the developments in technology, many people have become self-taught computer programmers that have learned how to excel in specific programming languages like C++, Visual Basic, HTML, Java, and many more. The uniqueness of this specific industry category is that it normally is not dependent on the degree or age of the programmer but rather on what he is capable of accomplishing in terms of generating instructions that can be interpreted by the computer system.
- programming software or compiler
- text editor
To become a computer programmer, it is important that there is at least a basic understanding of computer operation and function.
Another thing to consider is the type of programming language to concentrate on. Programming languages are generally classified as either low-level (machine readable) or high-level (human readable). Focusing on a specific class may provide for a higher success rate especially for those without formal academic training.
The next step is to understand the difference between designing, testing, and coding computer programs. The main responsibility of the computer programmer is to provide the code necessary to implement the design. If for example, what you are excited in is playing video games rather than understanding the underlying technology which makes the game possible, probably, a software testing position is more suitable.
After following Steps 1 to 3, pick up additional reference materials by buying books or visiting websites to expand your knowledge on the specific language you intend to use for programming. It is important to understand the capabilities and limitations of the programming language in relation to what you intend to achieve as a programmer. For example, if you intend to program computer games, there are specific programming languages that make this task easier.
Get a copy of the software or compiler program and install it into the computer system. Take note of the system requirements of your chosen software to make sure that it operates correctly.
After completing the installation process, try to do some simple test programs first before taking on any major projects. This will allow the user to get a feel of the programming language interface as well as familiarize himself with its IDE.
Another important point is to understand the logical foundation of computer programming. For example, learning how to use flowcharts will help in dealing with a variety of programming languages. This is because the languages mostly differ only in syntax but the logic remains the same.
Finally, if you are really serious, after acquiring the basic skills, take programming classes to further your knowledge. With a very dynamic environment, computer programming is a fast moving, highly innovative field which requires the computer programmer to constantly keep abreast with the changes and demands of the industry.