Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate - Information Technology/Roles of Various Personnel in Computer-Related Professions
COMPUTER CAREERS AND INFORMATION
Computer Programming Jobs
Provides information about computer programming jobs including types of programming, qualifications required and specializations.
What is Computer Programming?
Computer programming is the imputing of sequenced instructions that direct a computer to take assigned actions or determine logical steps.
What is a Computer Programmer?
Computer programmers write, test, and maintain the programs that computers follow when performing specific functions. While job titles and descriptions vary by company, the main task of computer programmers is problem solving and development of systems solutions using the appropriate methodologies and techniques.
Programmers often work on projects as a team, each team member assigned according to strength and ability. A programmer uses programming languages, such as C++, PHP, or Java to communicate with computer to perform a set of instructions. By typing code in 2nd and 3rd level programming languages (which are languages become more like words as the generation goes up and more like machine code as the generation goes down , eg assembler) helps computer programmers easier to code with. Once finished coding they compile the program into machine language so the computer can follow the set of instructions.
What qualifications do Computer Programmers need?
A Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science is generally required for employment at the more prestigious technology companies. However, the combination of an associate’s degree with strong computer programming ability will qualify programmers for many entry-level positions. Regardless of the degree chosen, courses in information science, computer science, mathematics, and engineering provide the kind of strong base knowledge employers look for. Additional qualifications include:
Certification in a specific programming language or languages
- Familiarity with database systems
- Good communication skills
- An eye for detail
- An ability to think “out of the box”
- An analytical mind and problem solving skills
What type of tasks are involved in Computer Programming?
In addition to writing new programs, computer programmers update and maintain existing programs. They test programs to ensure efficiency, accuracy, and to identify programming errors. Some of the tasks programmers might also do the following:
Prepare computer operator instructions
- Work with field experts to create custom software
- Analyse technical data, designs, and prototypes
- Prepare and present reports on project specifications, activities, and status
- Write computer software, programs, or code
- Document reliability of technical specifications
- Work with software providers to increase proficiencies while working within applications
- Work cross-departmental on development and support
- Prepare software documentation for end users
It is imperative that computer programmers stay informed and aware of changing technological trends and advances—which occur almost weekly in this progressive field.
Are there areas of specialization?
Programmers may be applications or system programmers. Applications programmers write and revise programs that work with specific software to handle a specific job. Systems programmers create the operating software for entire systems that allow the recognition and use of operating systems, networked systems, and database systems. Within these two categories are many specific specializations. Computer programmers can focus on the following areas or combine them for added marketability:
- The Internet
- Specific computer languages
What types of companies employ Computer Programmers?
Computer programmers are needed in organizations that deal with large data processing components. The technology and software industry employs the largest percentage of computer programmers. However, they can be found in government, communications, pharmaceuticals, and financial institutions.
System Analyst and Designers
- Network Designer
- Systems Analyst
- Solutions Architect
- Senior Systems Engineer
- Senior Solutions Architect
- Systems Architect
- Principal Solutions Architect
Duties The role of system analysts and designers is critical in contemporary system development. The systems analyst is a key partner with project managers and system developers.
Systems analysts define software requirements and specifications and guide program design and development. A systems analyst may supervise a software development or maintenance team of analyst / programmers and programmers.
Depending on the level of responsibility and the particular job role involved, duties may also include:
- Analyzing problems in software development and guiding the rectification of faults in programs
- Analyzing software requirements and defining program parameters and specifications
- Undertaking analysis of current software products and determining approaches which will improve their user interface, performance and integrity
- Leading team members and third parties in client organisations in the integration of technological methodologies and components of projects
- Ensuring and being accountable for the technical integrity of the design in accordance with the client’s requirements
- Ensuring that programs meet marketing/user requirements by testing and monitoring initial field use and problems
- Guiding the preparation of software manuals and guides
- Improving the interface between systems users, the operating system and applications software
- Conducting user requirements analysis to match customer needs to company products and services
- Assisting the sales force with pre-sales activity such as proposal preparation, systems demonstrations and presentations, particularly in relation to larger and more important clients.
Career Path Systems analysts and designers typically have a technical background, often in software development and programming. A senior systems engineer usually has substantial formal training and at least 7-10 years systems engineering experience. A systems analyst will typically have at least 5 years experience in software development and programming with at least 2 or more years in systems analysis. A principal solutions architect would typically have at least 10 years experience in a technical field such as systems integration or systems development, with at least 5 years experience in an ICT contracting environment.
Qualifications / Experience
The systems analyst/ designer is usually a more senior position in enterprises. Professional qualifications will vary but a good understanding of ICT with technical expertise is essential. Formal qualifications for systems analyst would typically include studies of computing systems alongside studies typically found in a Bachelor Degree of Engineering / Science / ICT.
- A business outcome approach
- An ability to conceptualise and think creatively
- A capacity to articulate visions
- Very good oral and written communications skills
- Interpersonal skills to evoke commitment from the client
- A high standard of ethics and integrity in all dealings
- Sound administrative skills and good analytical and reporting abilities
- Effective time management and personal organization skills
- An understanding of user needs
Also called Database Co-ordinator, Database Programmer Closely related jobs Database Analyst, Database Modeller, Programmer Analyst, Systems Manager
Database administrators design, implement, maintain and repair an organisation’s database. The role includes developing and designing the database strategy, monitoring and improving database performance and capacity, and planning for future expansion requirements. They may also plan, co-ordinate and implement security measures to safeguard the database.
A database administrator may
- undertake daily administration, including monitoring system performance, ensuring successful backups, and developing/implementing disaster recovery plans
- manage data to give users the ability to access, relate and report information in different ways
- develop standards to guide the use and acquisition of software and to protect valuable information
- modify existing databases or instruct programmers and analysts on the required changes
- test programs or databases, correct errors and make necessary modifications
- train users and answer questions
What learning areas and study is needed?
- A Bachelor degree in ICT
- Specific training in vendor products
This career would appeal to people who
- enjoy keeping up with the complexities of database technologies, and have a knowledge of relational database technology (eg, Oracle, Sybase, DB2, MS Access) and operating systems
- have well-developed interpersonal and communication skills
- have an ability to understand data and how it will be used
- possess good process management and problem solving skills
- enjoy working within a team and taking a hands-on approach, but can also work autonomously
- are customer focussed
- enjoy troubleshooting – determining the causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it
- are critical thinkers and can use logic and reason to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems
- are active listeners and can give full attention to what people are saying and take the time to understand the points being made
Remuneration and job prospects?
Average salary according to the Victorian Government’s Youth Central is $71,596 based on around three years relevant IT experience. Job prospects are good, and employment has remained steady over the last five years.
Many database administrators have had experience in programming, and IT vendor qualifications are increasingly popular with employers.
Larger organisations may offer structured career paths with increasing management and technical responsibilities, but many database administrators move on to other areas such as systems development, project management, network management or database architecture. Those with good management skills combined with their technical expertise may move into more strategic roles.
Closely related jobs: Network Technician, Network Engineer, Website Administrator, Systems Administrator, Telecommunications Engineer
Network administrators provide operational support for and management of computer networks to ensure they run efficiently. The IT networks can range from internet and private networks to large communications networks.
A network administrator may
- install, configure and maintain PCs, networking equipment and network operating systems
- monitor and configure networks to optimise performance and resolve faults
- undertake recovery action in the event of a system failure
- establish and control system access and security levels
- provide training and support for system software
- implement and co-ordinate housekeeping procedures, including system back-ups, setting up user accounts, monitoring file access etc
- plan and implement maintenance and upgrades for system software and hardware
- maintain peripheral devices connected to the printer such as printers and scanners
What learning areas and study is needed?
Computing studies such as Bachelor Degree in Engineering (Electronics or Computing) or Computer Science A good understanding of network operating systems, network equipment and networking protocols is important Vendor certification (eg, Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, Cisco Certified Network Associate) This career would appeal to people who
- enjoy a highly technical role
- are able to think logically and analytically in a troubleshooting and problem-solving environment
- can remain calm under high pressure and stressful situations
- have good oral and written communication skills and are active listeners
- are able to quickly understand complex issues
- enjoy working as part of a team
- are willing to continuously update IT skills and knowledge
Remuneration and job prospects?
According to recruitment specialists, graduate salaries start at around $38,000, and the median salary across this occupation is around $60,000. Highly experienced network managers can earn up to $130,000 per annum.
According to Australian Job Search, job prospects for Network Administrators are good, and employment growth to 2011 is expected to be strong.
Because of the demand for increasing specialisation, professionals in this field tend to achieve more senior recognition without changing basic occupation. A network support analyst for example would have at least 1-3 years experience with programming, while a senior network support analyst would have 3-5 years experience. Graduates with added vocational training might commence as network administrators in training and advance to the next level after a few years of practical experience.
Network administrators often become systems engineers, and reap higher salary rewards as a result. Those with exceptional communication and interpersonal skills often move into management roles once they have around 10 years experience.
“This job challenges me and constantly stretches me. I am able to implement new technology in such a way that I can actually see it bringing benefits to the entire organisation.” - Marcus Claxton, Network (Infrastructure) Manager