What you should know about a Computer Programming Career

Computer programming is one of the most important and exciting careers today.  It is also a field that offers plenty of job opportunities for graduates.  It’s one of the best fields of endeavor for people who love technology and are willing to try out new things.  If you’re considering pursuing a computer programming career, here are some things that you should know:

What is computer programming?
Computer programming is basically the process of writing codes to create a computer program.  A programming language is used to write this code, also known as the source code.  Computer programming is actually an umbrella term that encompasses all types of programming involving the use of computers.  The design and method utilized to write a source code will depend on the type of computer language used for the job.  Some of the most common computer languages include BASIC, COBOL, FORTRAN, C++, Java, Visual Basic, Python and PHP.

The job of computer programming also includes testing the source code, debugging it to check for flaws and weaknesses and maintaining it to ensure optimum performance.

Creating the code
The soul of computer programming is the creation of the source code, which can either be brand new or something created to modify or improve upon an already existing code.  The object of the source code is to build a program that will perform a particular series of tasks based on a specific set of commands.  This is called customization.

The end result of writing the source code is a computer program.  In software engineering, computer programming is an important initial phase.

What does a computer programmer do?
The main job of a computer programmer is to write the codes that serve as the foundation of software programs.  He is also tasked to test, troubleshoot, debug and maintain the program to ensure its quality and reliability.

Generally, the tasks that a computer programmer must perform are assigned by another person, usually the system analyst.  The computer programmer’s job is then to write the program, test it, modify it if necessary and ensure that it passes compatibility and quality standards.  If errors are found, it is the computer programmer’s job to ensure that they are corrected.

The job of a computer programmer usually requires hours upon hours spent in front of a computer to design and write a computer program.  Depending on the type of program being written, its purpose and the complexity of the commands required in order for a computer to execute the series of steps involved, writing a program can take several months to several years to complete.

The length of time it often takes for a program to be completed often necessitates having a single program broken down into a smaller series of steps.  These steps will then be assigned as tasks to a group of programmers who will work on them independently.  The final step is to put the end results and produce one coherent and useful computer program.

Computer programming is a very dynamic field and involves plenty of imagination and discipline.  Although there are set standards for the tasks involved, the profession itself does not require certification tests from government agencies.  There are also no state and federal licenses to obtain.

How much does a computer programming job pay?
That will depend on the experience and level of expertise of the programmer.  Most entry-level programmers earn a minimum of about $33,000 a year while mid-level programmers earn approximately $50,000 a year.  For senior level programmers and those who have several years of experience behind them, their typical take-home pay averages at about $65,000 a year.  Consultants, some managers and those who have advanced well in their computer programming career are often paid more.

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Learning Computer Programming Terminology

Computer programmers use a range of terminologies that make sense only to them and to their colleagues. For other people who are not very adept with computers and programming, those words either mean something else or don’t mean anything at all. Here’s an overview of the ten most commonly used and confused computer programming terminologies that everybody should know, explained in layman’s terms:

1. 1GL
1GL means First Generation Programming Language. It is actually a machine level programming language that is written in one’s and zero’s. These are the programs that can be understood by the computer’s central processing unit directly. There’s no need to run it into a compiler or any other programming software. There are also second, third, up to fourth generation computer programming language.

2. Abandon ware
Abandon ware are software that are not being used, supported, or sold by its respective publisher any longer. These types of software cannot be resold or redistributed to end-users unless otherwise given away as a freeware.

3. ActiveX
ActiveX are programs using the Visual Basic programming language. It is basically created for active contents of the software that are commonly used by other applications that are already installed or existing on the computer. Sometimes, it even shares the ones used by the operating system itself. ActiveX is the one responsible for the interactive features of web-based programs.

4. Beta Version
When a software, a website, or any application is tagged as a beta release or beta version, it means that version is its first ever launch. It is the program that incorporates the very basic features and requirements of the software. At that point, the software is not yet tested for bugs. The beta version of the software is normally its test run.

5. DirectX
DirectX is a program provided by Microsoft. It is a collection of different multimedia applications and programming interfaces. It is built into the Windows operating system. DirectX is mostly used in gaming applications.

6. Emulation
Emulation is the term given to the capacity of a certain program to imitate another device or program. There are different degrees of emulation. Emulators are usually created for arcade game devices so it can be played on a desktop computer.

7. Firmware
Firmware refers to the software that is implanted in a device or hardware. The firmware usually contains a set of protocols that the hardware has to run so it would work smoothly with the other devices that it is attached to.

8. HTML
HTML is hypertext markup language. It is the language used by web pages. It is a programming language that has a way to describe the different parts of the text created. It can denote text used as paragraphs, text, headings, and lists.

9. Java
Java is an object oriented programming language. Sun Microsystems developed the software and it can be said that it resembles the C++ program. However, it was structured to avoid the flaws of the latter. This is widely used in the world-wide web as well.

10. Linux
Linux is an example of operating software in the likes of Windows and Mac Os. But unlike these two, Linux is a free open source program. Anybody can use the software for redistribution and modification.

These are just some of the computer programming terminologies you should know so that the next time you come across them, you won’t be guessing what they means. Programming can be a complex task but if you learn the basic things like terminologies, you will surely find the subject interesting.