How Do You Become a Computer Programmer?

Like many careers and job paths, the circumstances and steps one take to become a computer programmer is different for everyone. Some people begin programming before they even reach high school, while others develop an interest in university or college. No matter your path, all programmers have a passion for creative problem-solving and technological advancements.

What Is Computer Programming?

Computer programming is the process of writing a series of instructions (known as code) for the computer to evaluate, compile, and execute. Programming is done for a computer to perform particular task or solve a given problem. The instructions are written in programming language, for which there are many different types, such as Python, Java, C, and C++, to name a few.

These languages are incredibly stripped down in comparison to the elaborate languages people use to communicate; it is often a mixture of words, numbers, and symbols. The best kind of code is those that are easily processed and executed by the computer — this usually results in a faster program and help avoid crashing the program. Thus, some structural components and commands in a programming language should be used compared to others.

An Early Start to Computer Programming

As computers become more and more integrated within our society, many have begun learning computer programming at a young age. Learning about computer programming and programming languages is now easily accessible, with thousands of books as well as online videos that teaches the basics of programming. These not only provide information on how to code in any particular programming languages, they also provide knowledge on how to apply the code in different scenarios.

It is quite advantageous for one to learn programming at an early age, as  it usually becomes easier to pick up new theories in computing as well as other programming languages in the future.

What Do Programmers Need to Know?

Because of the logical and step-by-step nature in which computers execute information, a solid grasp on mathematics and logic is essential for one to succeed in programming.

As well, programmers are usually solving code-related problems, so the ability to think outside the box along with a level of creativity are valuable skills to have as a programmer. Also essential for programmers is the ability to read, interpret, and debug (troubleshoot) code; if the computer sends an error message after executing a program, it is up to the programmer to figure out what is wrong and fix the code.

What Do Programmers Need to Learn?

Although it is possible for one to self-teach the basics of computer programming, most employers favour those who have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science. A master’s or doctorate is preferred if one wishes to specialize in particular technical areas of programming.

Besides a formal education received at a university or college, there are also a wide-range of certificate programs that help improve one’s credentials in programming and make for an impressive resume. One can get certified in programming in areas such as Google Apps, C/C++ and MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solution Developer).

Additionally, a number of employers and jobs require programmers to have a thorough understanding and skill in multiple programming languages and platforms (the most widely-used being C++ and Java); thus it is often suggested for programmers to learn more than one programming language.

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