Convert project specifications and statements of problems and procedures to detailed logical flow charts for coding into computer language. Develop and write computer programs to store, locate, and retrieve specific documents, data, and information.
||OES Code: 25105
|Entry-Level Hourly Wage
|50th Percentile (Median)
Wages by California County
Hours & Benefits
Most programmers work a standard 40-hour week. Overtime is not usually necessary, but does occur as emergencies arise. Most firms offer fringe benefit packages which include sick leave and vacation pay, the traditional holidays, and attractive stock-option or profit-sharing plans.
|Projected Employment 2008
|Percent Change 1998-2008
Employment Trends by California County
The need for Computer Programmers will increase as businesses, government, schools, and scientific organizations seek new applications for computers and improve the software already in use.
Because of the rapidly evolving nature of EDP programming and equipment, it is necessary for programmers to continuously update their skills and knowledge in this field. Usually, this is done at the employer's expense. Professional data processing organizations also provide assistance in this area. For experienced workers, the prospects for advancement are good. In large organizations, they may be promoted to Lead Programmers and be given supervisory responsibilities. Some Applications Programmers become Systems Programmers after they acquire additional experience and complete courses in systems software. Both Applications Programmers and System Programmers may become Systems Analysts or be promoted to managerial positions.
Getting the Job & Other Information
Experience and/or education is required for virtually all openings for programmers. Other than working as a Computer Programmer, experience can be gained in college special-project work, volunteer work, or as a computer operator who works into the programming function. The easiest ways to enter the profession without prior experience are to seek work as a programmer-trainee in a large financial institution, or to seek government work. State and federal civil service examinations for entry-level Programmers do not have work experience requirements, as long as an acceptable bachelor's degree has been earned.
Experienced job seekers should follow up on newspaper or trade journal want ads, and register with the California Employment Development Department and private employment agencies, especially those that specialize in computer-related placements.
For a list of current job listing, browse Caljobs or America's Job Bank.
Education and Training
Computer programming is taught at a wide variety of post-secondary schools. Some high schools also offer courses in data processing. Many Computer Programmers are college graduates; others have taken special courses in computer programming to supplement their experience in fields such as accounting, inventory control, or other business areas. The level of education and quality of training that employers are looking for, however, has been on the rise due to the growth in the number of qualified applicants and the increasing complexity of some programming tasks.
Employers using computers for scientific or engineering applications prefer college graduates who have degrees in computer or information science, mathematics, engineering, or the physical sciences. Graduate degrees are required for some jobs.Employers who use computers for business applications prefer to hire people who have had college courses in management information systems; however, a bachelor's degree is not required by all employers. Experience in accounting, inventory control, and other business skills generally is preferred by employers. Some employers promote workers such as Computer Operators who have taken courses in programming to programmer jobs becauseof their work experience.
Skills & Other Requirements
Employers look for people who can think logically and who are capable of exacting analytical work. The ability to work with abstract concepts and do technical analysis is important for Systems Programmers because they work with the software that controls the computer's operation. The job calls for patience, persistence, and the ability to work with extreme accuracy even under pressure. Ingenuity and imagination are particularly important when Programmers must find new ways to solve a problem. New Computer Programmers may spend their first weeks on the job attending training classes. After this initial instruction, they work on less difficult assignments until their knowledge base grows.
California Occupational Guide #81
Related Occupations: Data Processing Equip. Repairers, #152, Computer Operators, #299
Training: California Training and Education Providers (CTEP)
© 2000 California Occupation Information Coordinating Committee