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What is a Junior Programmer?

Carol Francois
Carol Francois

A junior programmer is also known as an entry level or intern programmer. This term is typically used to describe someone who has just graduated from college or university, and has secured her very first job as a programmer. There is a steep learning curve when you become a programmer, and it is possible to remain a junior programmer for the first two years of your working career. A computer programmer is someone who uses any of a wide range of computer programming languages to create new computer software programs or change existing ones.

There are four different kinds of positions available to a junior programmer: testing, conversions, debugging, and modifications. All four tasks are part of the core skills required by any type of computer programmer. The time spent completing these tasks will develop the skills, speed, and confidence necessary to become a computer programmer.

A computer programmer working.
A computer programmer working.

There are two primary types of testing: technical and functional. Technical testing covers the core behavior of the program. In this level of testing, the junior programmer is looking for scripts that use too many processors, inefficient code, scripts that don't end, and potential conflicts or resource allocation issues. This type of testing requires information on the performance of the hardware while running the program.

Functional testing is also known as quality assurance. At this stage of testing, the junior programmer reviews the specifications of what the program is supposed to do. He or she executes the program and documents any variance in behavior. This also includes inconsistencies in text, color, and other cosmetic items.

Converting from one system or program to another involves a great deal of work behind the scenes. Very often, a junior programmer is asked to convert data from the legacy to the new system. This type of work is very detailed, time consuming, and is often full of issues. Experience in this area is mandatory, as all programmers need to be able to retain data while switching computer programs or systems.

Debugging involves running the new program through a debugging program. This program identifies potential errors that a user may experience. It also includes both functional and testing issues that might have been missed.

Modifications or changes to existing programs is part of every computer programmer's job. Communication with the user community and interaction with both users and programmers is an important role for computer programmers. Only with practice can the skills of a junior programmer advance so that she can be responsible for creating a new program.

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Discussion Comments


I used to work as a recruiter for a technical staffing firm and we occasionally filled a few junior programmer jobs.

Some of our clients had small budgets and could not afford a more senior programmer that could get the job done a little faster. I would say that the average junior programmer salary was about $45,000 but after a few years many programmers doubled their salary if they are really good. Programmers were always in high demand at our firm.

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      By: Photo_Ma
      A computer programmer working.