A programmer or software developer is someone who programs computers, that is, one who writes computer software. The term computer programmer can refer to a specialist in one area of computer programming or to a generalist who writes code for many kinds of software. One who practices or professes a formal approach to programming may also be known as a programmer analyst, software engineer, computer scientist, or software analyst. A programmer’s primary computer language is often prefixed to the above titles, and those who work in a web environment often prefix their titles with web.
Those proficient in computer programming skills may become famous, though this regard is normally limited to software engineering circles. Many of the most notable programmers are often labeled hackers. Ada Lovelace is popularly credited as history’s first programmer. She was the first to express an algorithm intended for implementation on a computer, Charles Babbage’s analytical engine, in October 1842.
Nature of the work
Computer programmers write, test, and maintain the detailed instructions, called computer programs that computers must follow to perform their functions. Programmers also conceive, design, & test logical structures for solving problems by computer. Many technical innovations in programming – advanced computing technologies & sophisticated new languages and programming tools – have redefined the role of a programmer & elevated much of the programming work done today. Job titles & descriptions may vary, depending on the organization. Many professional programmers also work for consulting companies at client’ sites as contractors. Licensing is not typically required to work as a programmer, although professional certifications are commonly held by programmers. Programming is widely considered a profession. Programmers write programs according to the specifications determined primarily by more senior programmers & by systems analysts. After the design process is complete, it is the job of the programmer to convert that design into a logical series of instructions that the computer can follow.
The programmer codes these instructions in one of many programming languages. Different programming languages are used depending on the purpose of the program. C++ is widely used for both scientific & business applications. Java & PHP are popular programming languages for Web programmers. Programmers generally know more than one programming language and, because many languages are similar, they often can learn new languages relatively easily. In practice, programmers often are referred to by the language they know, e.g. as Java programmers, or by the type of function they perform or environment in which they work: for example, database programmers, mainframe programmers, or Web developers. When making changes to the source code that programs are made up of, programmers need to make other programmers aware of the task that the routine is to perform. They do this by inserting comments in the source code so that others can understand the program more easily. To save work, programmers often use libraries of basic code that can be modified or customized for a specific application.
Testing and debugging
Programmers test a program by running it to ensure that the program works as expected. If errors do occur, the programmer must make the appropriate change & recheck the program until it produces the correct results. This process is called testing & debugging. These are important parts of every programmer’s job. Programmers may continue to fix these problems throughout the life of a program. Updating, repairing, modifying, & expanding existing programs sometimes called maintenance programming. Programmers sometimes contribute to instruction manuals or online help for those who will be using the program. Other times, technical writers do such work.