Computer Programmer

Computer programmers create, modify and test the forms, scripts and code that tell the computer what to do. They serve as the link between the operator and the computer. The work of computer programmers is both demanding and rewarding.

In general terms, they are people who write programs for specific purposes or needs, whether it is to create a virtual reality game, a database system, control machinery or to program a company’s telephone system.

These programs are detailed instructions which list the specifications that the computer must follow to solve a problem or handle information in a logical order. Systems analysts provide the specifications for a particular task. Programmers write the programs and translate them into a computer language such as VISUAL BASIC, DELPHI, Pascal, Cobol, Java, Oracle, Informix, C and C++, to name but a few. The sequence of instructions is carefully entered on the keyboard and checked to make sure that they are correct and that they will produce the desired information. If errors occur, the program is changed and rechecked until the desired results are produced. Computer programmers works closely with systems analysts to produce programs based on the specifications derived from the needs of the client.

The work of computer programmers involves researching and documenting computer users’ requirements; analysing the objectives and problems specified by the systems analyst; and determining what steps need to be taken and in what order, then translating these steps into computer language commands. They test programs and software applications and then “debug” them. They also need to document what the programs do and how they do it, by preparing user manuals and help screens.

Computer programmers may specialise in a number of different areas:

Network programmers work with vendor networking languages to support the implementation or modification of network configurations

Database programmers are involved in the development of programs to suit the access to and maintenance of databases

Analyst programmers design and analyse clients’ needs and create complex design structures for translation into a programming language

Multimedia programmers are involved with systems, applications and programming issues. This includes conversion between platforms and the initial writing of code for incorporation of text, graphics, video, animation, digital / analogue photographs, audio and 2/3D modelling.

Systems software programmers write, maintain and update programs that control the overall functioning of computers

In addition to the degrees and diplomas listed below, programmers can acquire a certificate offered by most FET colleges, e.g. False Bay, Elangeni, Boland. Northlink, Cape Town, SW Gauteng.

Most large computer firms have their own training departments where intensive in-service training courses are offered and trainees have the opportunity to work on the firm’s own computers. A number of private firms also offer training courses.


  • government and provincial departments

  • large computer companies

  • research organisations

  • large business and industrial organisations

  • insurance companies

  • educational institutions and libraries

  • transport enterprises

  • mining companies

  • any company or business using computer systems and networks

  • a skilled and entrepreneurial computer programmer can start his or her own business.


Academic City College, Accra, Accra Institute of Technology (Ait), Accra Polytechnic, Adventist University of Central Africa, AFDA, All Nations University College, Ashesi University, Belgium Campus, Bindura University of Science Education, Bishop Stuart Universities, Boland TVET College, Boston City Campus & Business College, Botho University, Botswana Accountancy College, Buffalo City TVET College, Capricorn TVET College, Catholic University of Rwanda, Cavendish University, Centurion Academy, Chinhoyi University of Technology, Christian Service University College, Chuka University, Coastal KZN TVET College, College of Cape Town , College of Intergrated Healthcare, Commerce and Computer College of South Africa, CTU, Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, DMI-St.Eugene University, Durban Computer College, Durbanville College, Eastcape Midlands TVET College, Egerton University, Ehlanzeni TVET College, Ekurhuleni West TVET College, Esayidi TVET College, False Bay College, Flavius Mareka TVET College, Gaborone Institute of Professional Studies, Gert Sibande TVET College, Ghana Christian University College, Gideon Roberts University, Goldfields TVET College, Gretsa University, Harare Institute of Technology, Ingwe TVET College, Institute of Applied Sciences, Institute of Development Management, International Training College ? Lingua (ITCL), International University of East Africa, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (Tanzania), Kabarak University, Karatina University, Kayiwa International University, KCA University, Kenya Highlands Evangelical University, Kepler Kigali, Kibabii University, Kigali Independent University, King Hintsa TVET College, King Sabata TVET College, Kirinyaga University College, Kiriri Women's University of Science and Technology, Knutsford University College, Koforidua Polytechnic, Kumasi Polytechnic, Kwame Nkrumah University, Kyambogo University, Letaba TVET College, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Lira University, Machakos University College, Majuba TVET College, Makerere University, Malawi University of Science and Technology, Maluti TVET College, Management College of Southern Africa (MANCOSA), Marian University College, Maseno University, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Meritorious Biz Tech College, Meru University of Science and Technology, Middlesex University Mauritius, Mnambithi TVET College, Monash South Africa, Mopani South East TVET College, Motheo TVET College, Mount Kenya University, Muhabura Integrated Polytechnic College, Multimedia University of Kenya, Murang'a University of Technology, Namibia University of Science and Technology, National University of Lesotho, National University of Science & Technology, Ndejje University, Nelson Mandela University, Nkangala TVET College, Nkumba University, Northern Cape Urban TVET College, Northlink College, North-West University, Nsaka University, Orbit TVET College, Oval International Computer Education, Pearson Institute of Higher Education, Pentecost University College, Port Elizabeth TVET College, Presbyterian University of East Africa, Riara University, Richfield Graduate Institute of Technology, Rongo University College, Rosebank College, Rusangu University, Sedibeng TVET College, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Sekhukhune TVET College, Sol Plaatjies University, South African School of Motion Picture, South Cape TVET College, South Eastern Kenya University, South West Gauteng TVET College, St Paul's University, Strathmore University, Sylvia University, Team University, Technical University of Kenya, Texila American University, The Copperbelt University, Thekwini TVET College, Tom Mboya University College, Tshwane North TVET College, Tshwane South TVET College, Uganda Catholic Management and Training Institute, Uganda Institute of Information and Communication Technology, Uganda Martyrs University, Uganda Technology and Management University, Umfolozi TVET College, Umma University, United States International University, Université des Mascareignes, University for Development Studies, University of Botswana, University of Cape Coast, University of Cape Town, University of Dar Es Salaam, University of Eldoret, University of Ghana, University of Gitwe, University of Johannesburg, University of Kabianga, University of Kigali, University of Kisubi, University of Lusaka, University of Malawi (Chancellor College), University of Malawi (The Polytechnic), University of Mauritius, University of Mpumalanga, University of Nairobi, University of Namibia, University of Pretoria, University of Rwanda, University of Sacred Heart, University of Stellenbosch, University of Swaziland, University of Technology Mauritius, University of the Free State, University of the Western Cape, University of Zambia, Vaal University of Technology, Valley View University, Varsity College, Victoria University, Vuselela TVET College, Walter Sisulu University, Waterberg TVET College, Web-Info-Net Institute of Technology, YMCA Comprehensive Institute, Zambia Catholic University, Zenith University College, Zimbabwe Open University