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As a programmer, you essentially learn to manipulate electronics through speaking its language. Many different programming languages exist, but if you want to be a truly effective programmer, you will become proficient in more than one. Once you are ready to start work, you can design games, make computer programs or even work on hardware. Becoming a programmer is not easy; it takes a lot of education and training before you can find a decent-paying programming position.
Research all aspects of programming to decide which one you would like to pursue. Programming is a career with a wide variety of options, so you cannot get the specialized training you will need if you have no idea what you want to do. Research business, scientific, engineering, software and hardware programming positions. You will also learn about the basic concepts of each in introductory programming courses, but it is helpful to have an idea what you want before starting classes.
Read programming books. Thousands are available touching on every area of programming, coding and systems. To be a programmer, you will have to know code — something you can pick up from a book at your own pace. If you begin reading and doing some basic programming ahead of time, you will have a head start before classes begin.
Attend classes and work toward a degree in computer science, software engineering, information systems, engineering or mathematics. Supplement programming courses with additional classes that will help supplement your knowledge of computers and programming languages like CSS, Perl and Java.
Find an apprenticeship or internship with a programmer who writes code and is willing to guide you in learning to write programs from inception. Working with an experienced programmer can help augment your education. Education is important, of course, but knowing how coding and programming exist in a real business can help you learn to apply your skills.
Find entry level jobs in programming and start from the ground up, though the salary may be unimpressive. You may also have to take supplementary courses to stay current in new programming applications and languages.
Melly Parker has been writing since 2007, focusing on health, business, technology and home improvement. She has also worked as a teacher and a bioassay laboratory technician. Parker now serves as a marketing specialist at one of the largest mobile app developers in the world. She holds a Master of Science in English.