Computer Programmer
I. Job Outlook:

II. Job Requirements/Prerequisites:

III. Education/Training Resources:

IV. Getting A Job:

V. Back To Career Guide Home Page


Skill Requirements

Mental - Basic

  • Self-motivated.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Ability to learn technical concepts and tools quickly.
  • Flexibility to accommodate changing assignments, schedules and computer environments.
  • Ability to work under pressure.
  • Excellent problem-solving skills.
  • Ability to stick with something until it works.

Mental - Specialized

  • Ability to use programming languages and software tools.


  • Able to work on one's own.
  • Able to work effectively with others who may want to do things differently.
  • Requires working in a seated position, looking at a computer screen for prolonged periods.

Skill Maintenance Requirement
High. This technology is changing rapidly, and one must stay current to be effective. It is very common to use new tools on each new programming project. Remaining current can be accomplished by reading industry publications and books as they come out, attending conferences, or taking short courses. Online, one can maintain their skills by subscribing to relevant news groups and web newsletters, or by taking training online.


Experience Prerequisites

Even in good economic times most Computer Programmer jobs were available only to those with prior experience as a Computer Programmer or a technical degree. Today the competition is fierce and it is probably not possible to find a job as a Programmer unless one has prior experience. A good plan would be to find a job as a QA Engineer or Software Tester today, and try to move into a programming job in that company, or in another company when the economy improves.

Competence is required in a relevant programming language (such as C, C++, COBOL, Prolog, and Pascal), operating system (such as Windows 98 or XP, Windows NT or 2000, and Unix), and sometimes database (such as MS Access, SQL, Sybase, Ingres, and Oracle).


Education/Training Required

Usually a BS in Computer Science or a Bachelor's degree in another field along with a Certificate or AA degree in programming is required. A Certificate or AA Degree in programming is an acceptable substitute when there are not enough people to fill the available jobs, as was the case in the late 1990's. But with the current economic situation experience or a degree is a must.

To obtain a complete list of training providers for Computer Programmers in California, refer to the California Training & Education Providers (CTEP) database:

  • Go to
  • Select "Occupation Title."
  • Select "Sort by DOT."
  • Select "Professional, Technical and Managerial Occupations."
  • Select "Computer Related."
  • Select "Computer Programmer."

The above website will provide a list of the relevant training providers, along with their addresses and telephone numbers, but no detailed information on the training provided..

The next section in this report ("Bay Area Education/Training Resources") provides detailed information on some of the training programs available for Computer Programmers.

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