Computer programmers and interactive media developers design computer programs and write, edit, integrate and test computer code. Computer code is a step-by-step set of detailed and logical instructions that tell a computer to perform a task. It’s a language that uses numbers, letters and other symbols which become “words” that a computer understands. There are many programming languages, for example, Java and C++.
Watch the video below to see what a day in the life of a software developer is like.
Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Note:Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Source: 2021 Job Bank Wage Report
Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook
10 year expected job openings: 12,620
N/A - Data not available
Interactive media developers:
Computer programmers and interactive media developers may lead and co-ordinate teams. They may also research, review and recommend a variety of software products.
Depending on the organization, a computer programmer or interactive media developer may need to be able to “build.” This means to convert the source code into something that a computer can execute. In some companies, this might be a specialized team while in others, the developers would do this.
People in this job work in the private and public sectors. This includes software development companies, information technology consulting firms, and in larger organizations, in information technology departments.
People in this field often work long hours to meet release dates or fix problems. Updating or testing code can be a long process that needs attention to detail, although many employers now use automated testing programs, which help in this area.
Computer programmers and interactive media developers spend many hours sitting at their computers. They must be careful to use safe work practices to avoid eye strain as well as stress on their back, neck and shoulders, and joint stress from keyboarding and mouse work.
Source: 2016 Census
Generally, completion of a diploma or bachelor's degree in computer science or in another area with a programming component is required. Other requirements may include:
Experienced computer programmers and interactive media developers can apply for the Information Systems Professional (ISP) designation through Canada’s Association of Information Technology (IT) Professionals (CIPS).
Computer programmers and interactive media developers should be analytical, creative, patient and never want to give up on figuring out an issue. They should enjoy methodical and precise work and be good at solving problems. People in this career need to have a good understanding of computer hardware and software, as well as operating systems and computer languages. They should be interested in developing new software or other media.
People in this job need good communication skills to talk to people using the computer programs and software. They will also need to work with others in the company on projects or in meetings. Someone in this role needs to be able to clearly explain technical problems and solutions to a person who might not have a technical background.
For more information about programs offered specifically for this career, visit EducationPlannerBC.
Every job calls for a certain set of skills. Knowing those skills is the first step in finding a good career fit.
Here, you will find the 35 most relevant workplace skills. Some are more important to achieving success in a certain career than others. These skills may come naturally to you or you may need to gain them through education, training and experience.
See the list of work-related skills below, ranked in order of importance for this career. You’ll also find the skill strength needed, letting you know how capable you must be in that skill.
Check out the list and see if this career matches your skills—take that first step!
The growing use of information technologies means more workers in this career will be needed. There is a strong demand for computer programmers and interactive developers. For example, the health-care and justice systems are hiring more of these workers as they continue to automate processes. The continued use of mobile devices also contributes to the demand for programmers.
Advances in technology have created software that can write basic code, removing the need for computer programmers to perform routine and repetitive work. This means there will be demand for programmers with additional skills. New graduates with knowledge of more sophisticated computer programming languages and with experience working with a variety of programming languages will be in higher demand over those who do not have these skills.
Programmers can expect their jobs to change, depending on which computer languages they use and what is happening in their employer's industry. Understanding the systems that are used in the industry is helpful. Programmers need to keep their skills current to remain competitive.
Interactive media is becoming very popular. It covers a wide range of products, from customizable multimedia for training or presentations to web-accessible databases. People who specialize in this area and have information design skills will be in high demand.
Individuals who start in this career may begin as a junior developer, at a help desk or in quality assurance (QA).
Some people in this career may oversee entire projects and supervise staff. With experience, they may move up to positions with more responsibility, such as computer systems analyst, information architect, information designer, multimedia designer or producer, technical architect, software engineer, team lead or team manager.
Those that have good business knowledge can go on to become the chief information officer or chief executive officer of a company in the software field. Some may choose to open their own company. There are many different career paths, depending on the person’s area of specialty.