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What is an Application Programmer?

By Carol Francois
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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An application programmer is someone who has acquired high-level skills in a variety of computer programming languages. They are able to use these skills to modify and create new software applications or programs. A person with this job is also known as a developer or systems analyst.

In order to become an application programmer, you need to have completed post-secondary training in computer application development, computer programming, or computer science. In addition to this formal training, additional courses in various computer programming languages are typically required. These languages change all the time, so it is important to take classes and stay current.

There are three different kinds of positions available to an application programmer: systems analysis, creation, and implementation. All three tasks are part of the core skills required by any type of person in this job, regardless of the technology. The time spent completing these tasks form the core of the programmer's day.

There are two primary types of systems analysis: technical and functional. Technical analysis reviews the core behavior of the system. The primary purpose of this type of analysis is to look for ways to increase efficiency, manage the resources better, and work to enhance system performance. The application programmer is the best person to do this, as they are intimately familiar with the logic used in the program, and can make adjustments as needed.

Functional analysis is focused on what the program is supposed to do. The graphical user interface (GUI), interaction tools, and processing methodology are all explored and reviewed. This type of analysis provides valuable information on how the application is currently behaving, and when enhancements or adjustments can be made.

Creating a new application is typically a combination of multiple programs. Application programmers typically work in project teams for this type of initiative, with the project work divided into sections or functions. Communication and frequent updates are necessary to complete this type of work.

Implementation of new applications or major changes to existing ones are typically the responsibility of the application programmer. Their role is to schedule the transportation of the changes from the testing environment into the production environment, and then test to make sure everything works as expected. Depending on the system, implementations are often done during off hours, such as overnight or on the weekend. Website-based companies typically have an application programmer on staff to manage application maintenance, software support, and related changes.

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Discussion Comments

By croydon — On May 16, 2012

@irontoenail - They get paid a fair bit because they work pretty hard. My cousin was an application programmer. His resume was pretty impressive, and he had worked with several big name companies. Sometimes he would work 14 hour days when they had a big project, seven days a week.

And he wouldn't have that job for long either, since a lot of programmers work on contract. They still end up with fairly steady work, but they'd be called in whenever there was a project to work on and then when it was done the job was over.

So, yes, they do get paid a lot, but I think there's a reason for that. I know I would not be suited to the kind of meticulous work a programmer has to do. And I certainly wouldn't do well with those long hours!

By irontoenail — On May 16, 2012

@Mor - Well, you don't have to be a programmer to cash into that phenomenon. I know there are several businesses that have set themselves up to develop apps for people who have an idea for one, but aren't able to make them themselves.

They'll even design it for you, and implement the software, for a price of course, and perhaps a percentage of the royalties.

But I guess in that case you're still better off being a programmer than anyone else in the scenario. You do the work, but you're also guaranteed to be paid for that work and they do get paid a fair bit.

By Mor — On May 15, 2012

You can really make a good living as an application programmer, or you can strike it big with a good idea and make your fortune.

Especially now that there are all the little apps that are used on phones and tablets and people can download them as an impulse buy.

Not only can they sell in huge numbers if they catch the public's imagination, they can also be fairly simple, and perhaps developed by only a handful of people, who can then split the profits only a few ways.

I know there have been software programmer students who have made a fortune with a years work.

Of course, there is so much competition now, it's much more difficult to do this, but it's still one of the modern get rich quick dreams and more of a possibility for people who know how to program.

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