Computer Programming as a Career?

by HSG on May 29, 2014 in Articles from Software Fans

If you're someone who's interested in computer programming, chances are you've considered pursuing a career in it. However, being a computer programmer is definitely not for everyone, as it takes some special characteristics to succeed as a computer programmer.

Good at Math

While you don't have to be a math genius in order to be a good computer programmer, being good at math really does help. In general, as long as you know your trigonometry and advanced high school algebra, you should be set for programming.

However, in a few instances, knowledge of more advanced math ends up being necessary. For example, for shader programming, you should be familiar with integration of multiple variables, matrix algebra, and basic differentiation. You will also require considerable math skills in order to program 3D.

Excellent Problem Solver

To be a successful computer programmer, you definitely need to be an excellent problem solver. It is vital for a computer programmer to break a problem down into small parts. They must then be able to decide the best way to approach individual pieces of the problem. Computer programmers also need to know how to anticipate and prevent potential problems. While problem-solving, they also need to keep in mind things like user experience and performance.

If you're not a good problem solver, knowing a particular language and syntax will be useless if you can't even identify the problem at hand. Therefore, excellent problem solving skills are a critical foundation for computer programming.

Patience

If you are not a patient person, you will quickly become very frustrated with computer programming. Problem-solving is not always easy and fast. In fact, it may take a very long time, especially if you're either inexperienced or working on an especially hard project.

Debugging after the coding process is also very frustrating and tedious. No matter how hard you try, you will always have bugs in your coding, and these bugs, while often easy to fix, tend to be very difficult to detect. Therefore, you will end up spending a lot of your time searching for bugs that take very little time to fix.

Well-Rounded Skills

Generally, computer programmers who are very skilled in one area tend to stick around longer than jack-of-all-trades, as specialized programmers are harder to replace with outsourcing than general programmers. Therefore, it will do you well to specialize in one area of computer programming.

However, while specializing is good, you should still know at least a little about everything, especially skills that relate to the area you specialize in. For example, if you're a core Java programmer, you should know about SQL programming and ideally a scripting language or some regular expressions.

As you can see, not everyone has what it takes to pursue computer programming as a career and succeed at it. In fact, just because you love to program doesn't mean it's a good career choice for you. However, if you feel that you possess all the characteristics listed above, then you should definitely consider computer programming as a career.

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