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How Do I Become a Software Programmer?

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  • Written By: Amanda McMullen
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 07 August 2014
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Software programmers are individuals who use computer languages to create the scripts and codes that are necessary to run computer programs. There are several ways to become a software programmer, depending on the type of programming position that an individual desires. You can become a software programmer by attending college or technical school, completing a software apprenticeship or learning from experience.

Most colleges offer programs to prepare students for careers in software programming. If you want to become a computer programmer, it would be helpful to earn a bachelor's degree in engineering, mathematics or computer science. Some colleges also offer associate degrees and certifications in computer science or software programming. If you don't want to attend a university, you can begin a software programming career by obtaining a degree or certification from a technical school.

Another way to become a software programmer is by completing a software apprenticeship under an experienced professional. During the apprenticeship, you can learn the basics of computer language as well as more advanced programming techniques. Apprenticeships usually involve more hands-on training and real-life experience than formal training programs do. Some people complete their apprenticeships after graduating high school, and others might obtain certifications or degrees in computer science before beginning their apprenticeships.

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Some individuals become software programmers by simply learning from their own experiences. They might begin as hobby programmers, or they might get entry-level jobs writing program code. Programmers who choose to build their skills in this way might read computer science publications to further increase their knowledge base. They also can complete software programming courses or tutorials that don't lead to degrees. Although it is possible for you to become a software programmer using this method, some companies might not hire a programmer who lacks professional training.

After you become a software programmer, you might find a job anywhere that computers are used, including colleges, hospitals, government agencies or banks. You also could obtain employment from a software development or consulting company, or you might choose to start your own programming business. Although your tasks will depend on the needs of your employer, most programmers' duties include developing software programs, writing manuals for programs they create, testing and repairing software and creating software upgrades. The salary of a software programmer varies considerably based on his or her education, skills, position and years of experience.

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