Computer Programmer’s Skill Set

Photography by Nelson Pavlosky some rights reserved.

Programmers are intelligent people with sophisticated mental abilities. If you are planning to hire programmers and some of the descriptions in this post did not completely make sense, it would be a wise idea to consult a Programmer or Computer Scientist to help you find other good programmers. The follwing are some of the main important skills aquired by many quality programmers:

General Knowledge of Programming Languages

Seems like an obvious skill to have. Experienced programmers often know more than just one or two programming languages, in fact they usually have a broad knowledge of different programming languages such as the history, structure, strength, weakness, and performance issues.


Effective Programmers are also good communicators. They can document, explain, and communicate details of a problem through active listening, writing documentations, or creating visual diagrams (UML, ER, IA Garrett). This is specially important if programmers are telecommuting or working in virtual teams and use email, forums, and instant chat programs (Skype, IRC, AIM, …) to communicate.


This includes Critical Thinking, Deductive Reasoning, and ability to recognize patterns in a seemingly chaotic problem. In order to solve a complex problem, Computer programmers use logic and analysis to identify the pros and cons of different approaches. They can sometimes apply generals rules to solve specific problems, or derive general solutions by studying a series of relatively similar problems.

Try getting into an argument with a computer programmer at your own risk!

Mathematics & Computational Theories

Knowledge of Mathematics is a must-have for good programmers. This includes Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Calculus, Statistics and their applications to solve every day life problems. Programmers use Set Theories and Relational Mathematics to write database queries. They use Algorithm Analysis to write programs that executes faster and improve the overall performance of a Computer Software without having to use more powerful computers. Knowledge of Finite State Machines is very useful for designing efficient User Interfaces, and ability to write Regular Expressions leads to more secure and reliable data representation and management.

Information and Data Organization

Bits of data and information inside a computer could be viewed as the DNA of the system. Experienced programmers develop great visualization and imagination abilities through years of experience working with complicated problems. As a result, they can find ways to organize and structure pieces of data and information in their computer programs. If one could materialize these blocks of information and data structures, the result would have looked like 2 and 3 dimensional entities constructed with repeating arrangement and patterns just like a DNA molecule!

Knowledge of Hardware & Software Architecture

Programmers are often technology enthusiasts and hobbyists. They enjoy putting together or taking apart hardware, software, or anything complex. Some programmers volunteer their spare time participating in Open Source projects developing great technologies such as Linux Operating System, Firefox Browser, Joomla, or Drupal Content Management Systems.

A good knowledge of how the internal guts of a Computer Hardware or Software work together, enables programmers to write faster, more efficient, and more secure programs.

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