What does the job of computer programmer involve?

Posted at 26 March 2024

Have you always had a strong interest in computers and how they work? Do you excel in mathematics? A career in computer programming may be a good option for you!

Here is more information on what a computer programmer does.

Computer programmer role and responsibilities

A computer programmer is a professional who specializes in writing and designing lines of computer code to create software, applications or computer systems. They translate user needs into instructions that can be understood by the computer, using various programming languages.

Be careful, there is a difference between programmer and developer! The computer programmer concentrates primarily on the creation of code and algorithms, while the web developer often encompasses a broader set of tasks, including the design, testing and maintenance of software, as well as the resolution of software-related problems.

The terms computer programmer and programmer analyst are often used interchangeably to refer to an individual who writes computer programs. However, in certain contexts and companies, there may be a slight distinction between the two. A programmer-analyst may involve an additional component of analyzing user needs and designing IT solutions before moving on to actual programming. As such, an analyst programmer may be responsible for understanding project requirements, designing a software solution accordingly, and then implementing that solution by writing code.

In this way, a computer programmer can take part in any stage of the application development cycle. Whether it's designing, building, testing or integrating, a programmer's tasks are truly multifaceted!

A better understanding of computer programmer tasks

  • Requirements analysis - The IT programmer begins by understanding the project's needs, working with stakeholders to determine the functionality and specifications required for the software or application.
  • Software design - Based on the requirements identified, the computer programmer creates a detailed software design, describing the overall structure of the program, the necessary algorithms and the user interfaces.
  • Code writing - The heart of a computer programmer's job is to write code. This involves translating software design into precise instructions in a specific programming language, following good coding practices and standards.
  • Testing and debugging - Once the code has been written, the programmer carries out tests to ensure that the software works as intended, and identifies and corrects any errors or bugs (debugging). They work in conjunction with the software tester to achieve this.
  • Performance optimization - The programmer seeks to optimize software performance by identifying potential bottlenecks and making improvements to the code to make the program faster and more efficient.
  • Maintenance and updating - Once the software has been deployed, the programmer is often responsible for its ongoing maintenance. This may include applying security patches, updating existing functionality and resolving problems reported by users.
  • Documentation - The programmer must carefully document his code to facilitate understanding and collaboration with other developers. This may include comments in the code, user guides and technical manuals.
  • Technology watch - To keep up with technological advances, the computer programmer often needs to devote time to technology watch, exploring new programming languages, frameworks and development techniques.

Writing code, their core activity

For a job in development and programming, code is really the process of translating abstract designs into precise, executable instructions, bringing software, applications and computer systems to life. However, this task goes far beyond simply transcribing ideas into machine language.

Before beginning to write any code, the programmer must meticulously plan the structure of the program and the organization of the code. This often involves the creation of flow diagrams or data schemas to visualize the program's underlying logic. Once planning is complete, the programmer begins to write the code itself.

During this process, the programmer must closely follow good programming practices. These include the use of meaningful variable names, the division of code into modular functions and effective error handling. The aim is to make the code readable and scalable, making it easier for other developers to understand and modify in the future.

Good programmers seek to maximize code reuse by making it modular and generic. Rather than constantly rewriting the same functionality, they design code so that it can be easily integrated into other parts of the program or reused in future projects. This approach saves time and reduces potential errors.

Skills needed to be a computer programmer

On the soft skills side, communication, despite what you might think, is very important for a programmer. Why? Because they need to be able to explain technical concepts clearly and concisely, whether to colleagues, supervisors or customers. The ability to listen actively is just as important, as it helps to understand the needs and concerns of other team members.

Collaboration is another interpersonal skill of a good programmer. Teamwork is often a must in software development, and a programmer must be able to contribute productively to group projects.

There's also, of course, problem-solving, and time management and prioritization must be mentioned. Software development can often present unforeseen challenges and obstacles, and a programmer must be able to overcome them creatively and effectively.

So, if you're applying for a job, highlight these qualities in your IT interview.

Now, let's move on to the best skills in IT for an analyst programmer.

Hard skills for computer programmer

  • Mastery of relevant programming languages (such as Python, Java, C++, etc.).
  • Thorough understanding of programming concepts such as data structures, algorithms, file manipulation, etc.
  • Experience in using commonly used development frameworks and libraries.
  • Knowledge of databases and SQL for data manipulation and storage.
  • Proficiency in the use of development and release management tools such as Git, SVN, etc.
  • Understanding of web development principles (HTML, CSS, JavaScript).
  • Ability to work with a variety of operating systems and development environments (Windows, Linux, macOS).
  • Familiarity with IT security concepts and secure development best practices.
  • Ability to learn new technologies and adapt quickly to changes in the technology field.

How to work in computer programming: education needed

To become a computer programmer in Quebec, training in this field is recommended. There are several programs of study in programming at college and university levels, as well as in certain specialized schools, such as:

  • The DEC in Techniques de l'informatique, which offers basic training in programming and computer science.
  • The DEC in Computer Science, a program offering more in-depth training in computer science and programming.
  • The Bachelor's degree in Computer Science, for comprehensive training in computer science and programming.
  • The Bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering, with a focus on software and systems engineering.

Such training will help you better understand the theoretical side of this profession. It will also enable you to develop your practical skills before entering the job market.

As well as studying, it's also important for a computer programmer to keep abreast of the latest trends and technologies in his or her field. IT is a sector on the move, and programmers need to adapt to it.

Is it possible to become a programmer without a degree?

Yes, it's entirely possible to become a programmer without possessing a formal degree in the field. Today, many programmers succeed in the industry through self-study, learning to code on their own through online resources, hands-on courses and personal projects.

Future prospects linked to this job

According to Québec Emploi, more than 63,000 programmers and software developers were employed in Quebec in 2022. The computer programming sector has grown steadily in recent years. Prospects for future computer programming candidates are therefore very good. According to the same source, the demand for computer programmers is expected to increase by 13% between now and 2024, proving that the sector is constantly evolving.

What's more, the workplaces employing computer programmers are highly varied. In fact, a programmer can work just as much in a company whose IT services are provided in-house as in a company that produces software or offers IT services. It's even possible to be a video game programmer.

So there are plenty of open avenues for aspiring analyst programmers in Quebec!

Salary of a computer programmer in Quebec

On average, a programmer in Quebec will earn between $55,000 and $120,000 per year in 2024. This figure will vary according to the programmer's knowledge, experience and profile.

Programmers with a bachelor's or master's degree generally earn more than those with a college diploma. Some programming languages, such as Java and Python, are more in demand than others, and programmers who master these languages can earn more.

Find a computer programming job with Fed IT

The job of a computer programmer involves knowing several computer languages in order to create, maintain and analyze different computer systems.

At Fed IT, our mission is to help candidates looking for a job in IT find a position that suits them. Every day, we publish new offers on our platform. Visit our site now to consult our IT job offers!