How do I Prepare for a Computer Programming Career?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 23 November 2019
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There are four ways to prepare for a computer programming career: obtain required post-secondary education, determine your learning style, identify your personal strengths and weaknesses, and complete a computer programming project. A computer programmer is someone who has learned at least three different programming languages and is able to use them to create or modify programs and applications. This type of career is expected to have above-average growth in the next five to ten years, as demand for computer applications and technology grows.

In order to have a computer programming career, you will need to complete a formal post-secondary education program in computer programming or computer science. These programs are available at a wide range of universities, community and career colleges. There is a huge number of different computer languages, so it is important to select the genre of computer applications that you would like to work in. These languages change all the time, so it is important not to focus on one specific language, but the genre.

For example, in web-based application development, the computer programming languages used include Java Script and HTML. However, programming Microsoft® applications requires skills in Visual Basic or FoxPro. Review the different options, job opportunities, and determine if that particular application is experiencing growing demand.


During a computer programming career, you will need to be constantly learning new skills, improving techniques, and adapting to meet changing requirements. Determine if you are an auditory, visual, or activity based learner. This information will help you to select resources and course options that are most likely to be successful for you.

Take the time to complete a personal evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses that might affect your career. For example, determine if you are punctual, a poor communicator, self-motivated, or very sociable. Your work personality, how you complete your tasks, and interact with others has a huge impact on your career success.

To prepare for a computer programming career, many people create a computer application. This project can be big or small, but the experience of creating an application from scratch, testing, fixing bugs, trouble-shooting and related items are all important skills that you will rely on as a computer programmer. If you know that you plan to become a computer programmer, start early to learn the skills needed to achieve that goal.


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