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 for 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.


  • Testing, debugging, diagnosing and correcting errors and faults in an applications programming language within established testing protocols, guidelines and quality standards to ensure programs and applications perform to specification
  • Researching, consulting, analysing and evaluating system program needs
  • Identifying technology limitations and deficiencies in existing systems and associated processes, procedures and methods
  • Writing and maintaining program code to meet system requirements, system designs and technical specifications in accordance with quality accredited standards
  • Writing, updating and maintaining technical program, end user documentation and operational procedures
  • Providing advice, guidance and expertise in developing proposals and strategies for software design activities such as financial evaluation and costings for recommending software purchases and upgrades

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.


Analyst Programmer

An analyst programmer involved in higher-level design and analysis. This is the typical next step in the career of a programmer.

Communications Programmer (Systems)

A communications programmer (systems) is involved in activities associated with programming telecommunications infrastructures, such as stored programme-controlled telephone exchanges. Communications programming (systems) has also been used to describe the work of network programmers. See the section below on network programmers.

Database Programmer (Systems)

A database programmer (systems) is involved in the development of programmes to suit access and maintenance of databases. It is often considered to be part of the database design role. See the section on database design specialists under the Systems Designer (Information Technology) entry.

Multimedia Programmer

A multimedia programmer examines systems and applications programming issues involving the conversion between platforms and the initial writing of code for incorporation of text, graphics, video, animation, digital/analogue photographs, audio and 2D/3D modelling. Further specialisations are also possible, such as video systems development programming and PC-lead programming.

Network Programmer

A network programmer works with vendor networking languages to support the implementation or modification of network configurations. Ongoing education in vendor products and technical matters is important.

Systems Software Programmer

A systems software programmer works with the code used to define the particular operating system and sometimes also with low-level machine language. They write, maintain and update programmes that control the overall functioning of computers.

Information Technology Manager

An information technology manager plans, administers and reviews the acquisition, development, maintenance and use of computer and telecommunications systems within organisations. The IT manager is often the most senior person in the IT department and in large organisations may be called the IT Director or Chief Information Officer.

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.

  • Average age
    Average age
    37 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Very strong
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    17% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    41 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Very high skill
  • Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    90% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    121,300 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 5.0%
    NSW: 38.7%
    NT: 0.2%
    QLD: 13.2%
    SA: 4.8%
    TAS: 0.8%
    VIC: 31.1%
    WA: 6.2%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 0.3%
    20-24: 4.2%
    25-34: 35.2%
    35-44: 34.5%
    45-54: 17.2%
    55-59: 4.9%
    60-64: 2.5%
    65 and Over: 1.2%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 6.2%
    Bachelor degree: 55.9%
    Below Year 10: 0%
    Certificate III/IV: 2.4%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 25.6%
    Year 10 and below: 0.7%
    Year 11: 0.6%
    Year 12: 8.6%
    Years 11 & 10: 1.9%
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