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Developer programmer

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Summary of occupation

These programmers (also known as applications developers or software developers) create, test and modify computer programs. They often work as part of a team to assess the requirements of computer users, developing ways to meet these requirements and translating these solutions into a set of instructions – programs - that a computer can understand. These programs could be designed to have mass market appeal, such as a computer's operating system or a video game. In other cases, programmers may be contracted to design a new program, or modify an existing one, to meet a client's specific needs. They also prepare user manuals and troubleshooting guides to assist other programmers, support technicians and program users.

ANZSCO description: Interprets specifications, technical designs and flow charts, builds, maintains and modifies the code for software applications, constructs technical specifications from a business functional model, and tests and writes technical documentation.
Alternative names: Applications Developer, Applications Developer, Design Technician, ICT Developer, ICT Programmer, Programmer
Specialisations: Communications Programmer (Systems), Database Developer, Database Programmer (Systems), Games Developer, Network Programmer, Software Developer, Software Programmer
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A developer programmer needs:

  • to be able to work independently or as part of a team
  • to be good at technical activities
  • a logical approach to problem solving
  • patience
  • to be able to work well under pressure
  • good interpersonal skills.
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Working conditions

Developer programmers work in an office environment. They generally work regular hours, though may be required to work evenings and on weekends to meet deadlines. They are also in  regular contact with other programmers, analysts, designers and clients.

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Salary details

On average, developer programmers, including Java, C/C++, and .NET developers, can expect to earn between $1 154 and $1 731 per week ($60 000 and $90 000 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a developer programmer develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Developer programmers work almost exclusively on computers, using a variety of different programs. They use a variety of specialised programming languages, such as C++ and Visual Basic, depending on the type of software they are developing.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a developer programmer you usually need to complete a formal qualification in programming, software development, computer science or business information technology.

The Certificate IV in Programming and Diploma of Software Development are offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

You can also complete a degree majoring in computer science, business information technology, or business information systems.

Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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