How to become a Programmer (Information Technology)

Programmers (IT) write, test and maintain computer programmes to ensure that the computer application meets the needs of the users of the computer system.

Personal requirements of a Programmer (Information Technology)

  • Aptitude for technical activities
  • Logical approach to the solution of problems
  • Able to work independently or as part of a team
  • Good communication skills
  • Willing to update knowledge as technology changes

Education & Training for a Programmer (Information Technology)

To become a programmer you usually have to complete a VET qualification. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You can also become a programmer by studying information technology or computer science at university with a major in programming, software development or games development. To get into these courses, you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English and mathematics are normally required. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Additional Information

Membership of the Australian Computer Society is available to those who hold or are working towards suitable qualifications. There is a range of membership types available, allowing progression through the various levels as a member's career develops.

Duties & Tasks of a Programmer (Information Technology)


  • assist systems analysts and designers in researching and documenting computer users' requirements
  • analyse objectives and problems specified by analysts and designers
  • translate the solutions provided by systems designers into detailed program specifications
  • prepare documentation for other programmers, users of the system and other support services workers
  • undertake program design activities including definition of data and error message arrangements
  • supervise and report on the work of junior programmers
  • modify and document program code to correct errors or to enhance a program's capabilities
  • test the programs and make amendments
  • prepare reports on the status, operation and maintenance of system software for use by computer equipment suppliers, systems designers, other programmers and computer operators.

Employment Opportunities for a Programmer (Information Technology)

Programmers may work in small IT companies or in larger organisations. There are some opportunities to work on a freelance basis. Typically, people working as programmers advance into designer and analyst roles after some years of experience. In some smaller organisations, all three roles may be carried out by a single individual.

Avg. weekly wage:


Future growth:

Very strong

Employment by state:

ACT 2.9%

NSW 35.5%

QLD 16.7%

SA 4.8%

TAS 1.2%

VIC 32.2%

WA 6.4%

NT 0.3%

Hours worked:



Lower unemployment

Gender split:

Male 83%

Female 17%

Education level:

Not completed Year 12: 1.9%

Highest qualification is secondary school: 12.7%

Highest qualification is a Certificate 3 or 4: 5.4%

Highest qualification is a Diploma or Advanced Diploma: 12.7%

Highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 47.6%

Highest qualification is a Postgraduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 19.2%

Age brackets:

15-19 - 0.1%

20-24 - 6.1%

25-34 - 26.8%

35-44 - 22.6%

45-54 - 19.5%

55-59 - 8.2%

60-64 - 7.1%

65 and Over - 9.5%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

Related careers