Essential Computer Programmer Skills to Excel in Your Career

6 min readFeb 1, 2021


According to, a computer programmer in the United States can earn about $56,486 to $73,819 on average each year. This salary range can be determined by many factors such as education, certification, experience, and essential skills. So definitely, if you want to succeed in the IT field, computer programmer skills are where you should invest in.

What are computer programmer skills?

Computer programmer skills have a lot to do with coding, which is a process of writing instructions on computers’ operation. It generally requires you to be mindful of specific sets of actions to create a tangible result. The products you are expected to develop can be a mobile app, a web page, and so on. A computer programmer’s skill set often includes creative, technical, and analytical abilities.

A programmer’s skill set

The mastery of programming languages

Undoubtedly, you need to be proficient in scripting or programming languages to write code. CodeAcademy, edX, Github, and other online courses and platforms can provide you with programming and coding experience in several languages.

See also: 8+ Best Full-stack Developer Courses with Certificates

According to experts, computer programmers and IT engineers should learn at least one programming language thoroughly. Python, JavaScrip, and Ruby are the three major languages thanks to their multifaceted applications and versatile utility.

Python, developed in the 1980s by Guido van Rossum, is regarded as one of the easiest programming languages to learn. It’s compiled to bytecode as a scripting language that is immediately executed with no explicit compile step. Python is free and open-source, so it’s quite popular these days and used by NASA, Google, and Yahoo!.

As a client-side scripting language, JavaScript is universally exploited in front-end development. Much of JavaScript syntax comes from the programming C Language, and it’s compatible with all platforms and browsers. To make websites, games, and similar products and services, computer programmers need a deep understanding of JavaScript.

Ruby is another universal scripting language that is dynamic and object-oriented. It’s the language designed by Yukihiro Matsumoto, and it’s often useful in the development of mobile apps and websites. For instance, it’s used to build the framework for Twitter, Groupon, and GitHub. Moreover, because this coding language doesn’t require you to have advanced knowledge of commands, it’s needed in backend and web development.

See also: What Programing Languages Top Tech Companies Are Using Now

Debugging & problem-solving skills

Debugging is one of the critical technical skills for programming. A computer programmer should know how to troubleshoot any defects or malfunctions. And he has to be qualified enough to do it by himself. It’s also necessary to be able to master debugging tools such as Arm DTT, LLDB, Microsoft Visual Studio Debugger, GDB — the GNU debugger, and so forth.

Besides, a programmer should be ready to deal with problems using exceptional programming skills. There may be several problems with your projects. Thus, you ought to have these skills to handle challenging issues. The proof of your competence is in the programs you’ve developed.

Logical & abstract thinking

Were you a master of Geometry in upper secondary school? Do you like to assess the facts and evidence before coming up with solutions for problems? If so, you may possess one of the essential computer programmer’s skills, logical thinking. As a computer programmer, you may need to detect what mistakes or bugs are responsible for your programs’ failure using your ability to think logically.

One method for your logic skill improvement is through conditional thinking, which means, if this, then that. In programming, this thinking style is useful in testing variables against values and implementing actions according to the required conditions. It can be interpreted like this:

if (a condition evaluates to True):
then do these things only for ‘True’
do some other things only for ‘False’.

Besides logical thinking, abstract thinking is also an essential computer programmer’s skill. Because when you write programs, they are not always observed and measured physically. Thus, you should develop an ability to think abstractly from more comparative perspectives. In other words, to become a successful computer programmer, you must be willing to perceive things from different angles and come to analytical conclusions from what may seem straightforward.

Communication skills

Many computer programmers often overlook communication skills as they think they mainly work with computers. However, bear in mind that apart from communicating with computer languages to bring out what you expect, you should possess good communication skills to get across your ideas and what you’re doing to your peer programmers or clients.

Let’s imagine that your customers don’t understand what you are trying to provide them. Then, instead of looking down on their lack of understanding, you ought to explain to them calmly. They will use your programs, so you have to let the users achieve a basic knowledge of technology and be able to navigate through those programs.

An eye for detail

“Details matter”

It’s what Steve Jobs said about the importance of our skill in inspecting details. When you’re coding or writing computer programs, you should attempt to think the way computers do. Then with your close attention to things, you can specify what you need, reduce your risks of defects.

One way to improve this ability is that rather than hammering yourself by overlooking an important detail, you can build a game plan to assess, review, and promote your work. For example, you can take laps through the programs you’re working on, or promise to reread pertinent information at different times of the day. This can ensure you always pay close attention to stuff, even the smallest one.

Good at memorizing

As a matter of fact, computer programmers should be aware of various pieces of information at once and how they interact with each other. To do that, you need to have an excellent memorizing ability. It will help you visualize the design, data flow, algorithms, data structures and understand how they interact. Hence, you can easily develop your programs or projects with greater ease.

Moreover, in many circumstances, you may find yourself utterly perplexed with a problem or situation you assume you have no idea about. Sometimes you are right. But if you think hard enough through your experiences, you may remember something helpful that you’ve already encountered. It can be your direct coding experience, or an abstract, irrelevant memory that appears to be pertinent, or just through your recalling of something helpful for the moment at hand.

Bottom line

As you can see, apart from technical skills, a prospective programmer should also possess other computer programmer skills like logic and abstract thinking, communication skills, or memorizing ability to be qualified for the job. If you want to choose computer programming as a career to pursue, you should learn and master the aforementioned skillset. It can be a long and arduous journey, but never giving up is the key to success in any profession, including computer programming.

See also: Project Management Skills to Succeed at Work




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