5 Characteristics of a Computer Programmer

  • Passion for Learning
  • Analytical Skills
  • Orientation to Detail
  • Problem Solver
  • Concentration

A person who is interested in earning a degree in computer programming should know these top five characteristics of a computer programmer. Each of these characteristics is essential for success in this line of work. A person who already has these characteristics and who works to maintain or develop them should enjoy plenty of personal and professional satisfaction in the occupation of computer programming.

1. Passion for Learning

Technology is changing quickly, and computer programmers have to keep up with those changes. There may be updates to a computer programming language. New languages may be invented. New technology might change the way that a computer programming language needs to be used. A computer programmer should be ready to learn and have an enjoyment of keeping up with what is new in their field of expertise.

2. Analytical Skills

Computer programmers have to write complex pieces of code. After they write it, they have to test it. If it does not immediately work, they have to figure out what went wrong and why. To write code, the computer programmer has to understand complicated instructions. This requires a solid sense of logic. The programmer should also know when to use which framework, library or even when to use which language. A successful computer programmer spends about 70 percent of their time thinking and planning the solution and 30 percent writing and honing their solution.

3. Orientation to Detail

One error could render a whole program useless or cause it to behave unexpectedly. A computer programmer should be able to document their code as they write it. By doing so, they make it possible for another programmer to understand what they did and why they did it. The computer programmer should also be able to debug their programs. This involves looking through the error list and referring to the program to find out what went wrong.

4. Problem Solver

A computer programmer is essentially a problem solver. To write an elegant and efficient computer program, they should know how to solve a problem. The skill of problem solving is one that requires a patient, logical and planned approach. If one solution does not answer the problem that the computer programmer is trying to solve, they should be able to devise another solution to try. The process of solving problems also involves a lot of persistence. An excellent computer programmer will not give up if their first attempt at writing code fails.

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, another one of the key characteristics of a computer programmer is concentration. The work of a computer programmer can be tedious at times. They have to tune out distractions and be able to focus on the code they are writing or debugging. One error in a bracket, comma or semi-colon may be all that it takes to cause mischief in a computer program. Being able to concentrate also reduces errors and helps computer programmers work more efficiently.

Most of these characteristics of a computer programmer come naturally, but a person can practice them. Computer programmers should also be willing to learn new things, try new ideas and listen to the ideas of others. These are not the only characteristics of a computer programmer that a person should have, but they are strong indicators or predictors of success in this occupation.