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Career Story: Computer Programmer At A University

Computer Programmer At A University

Job Title: Computer Programmer

Type of Company: I work in Higher Ed in an Arts & Science school.

Education: MCSE Certified, Clark University

Previous Experience: I started working in a Catholic Rectory/School networking computers and moved on to updating other Catholic Offices in the area. From my knowledge gained, I began a new job at a large Boston hospital working as a Data Security Analyst where I became interested in programming. I now use program skills learned from prior job and Clark U in my current job.

Job Tasks: I make sure that people, or end-users, who require access to data on their computers to do their job can get to it. I also make sure that the end-users do not see data that they should not.

A large portion of my day is creating programs that allow people to view their data in a clear and concise way. I often work with the end-users to find out how they would like to see their data; and I try to make that happen for them.

Creating programs isn't just about writing computer code it takes a lot of planning and analyzing the environment you are working in. Architecture is a big part of programming. A plan must be created, shared with the end-user who in turn must agree to the plan. At this point the coding begins and there is a lot of interaction with the end-user to test what you have done and give positive and negative feedback to help resolve issues. A coding project is never complete until the end-user says it works as expected. And even then, days, weeks or months down the road there may be a need to make changes to the same code to accommodate a new, or overlooked, need.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is creating something coding. Coding feels like a puzzle that you put together to create a beautiful picture. It is fun to make things happen behind the scenes and see it display on a screen.

The worst part of my job is that computers are evolving at such a fast pace that the learning process is constant. There is never a down time where you think you've got a handle on your career. Although I love to learn, at times this can be overwhelming.

Job Tips: I would begin with the basics of the computer you are working on. I would learn how it works and why it was designed that way. This means being able to take a PC apart and troubleshoot it. That is the base level of anything you do, and if you can understand the PC, what you need to accomplish [through coding] at the application levels will make more sense.

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