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Level of programming skill in non programming job

  1. Aug 29, 2015 #1
    So, I see a lot of people saying and job postings requiring programming skills but are not themselves actual software engineering jobs.

    So my question is for jobs that require programming on the side i.e some non-cs engineering or technical job. How much experience or how many cs classes does one need to be at the level that these places expect?

    For instance I suspect that they dont just want me to write a couple of simple functions with some nested loops and call it a day.

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 29, 2015 #2


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    That's a really tough question to answer, because it obviously depends on the job.

    I think the thing is that a lot of "technical" or STEM jobs in industry are essentially about problem-solving, and programming is a very effective tool for solving certain kinds of problems. In some and perhaps many cases, the capacity to "write a couple of simple functions with some nested loops" is all you need to solve those problems. The advanced programming capacity comes in when you're trying to develop a systematic solution that's optimized for efficiency, capable of solving complex problems, convenient for other not-so-technical people to use and understand, easily understood by other programmers, etc.

    I guess what you're really asking is how much programming you need to take in school. And the answer is that there's no hard threshold. It's generally a good idea to take enough to formally learn the basics of programming and then if you like it, take more. If you don't you'll probably gravitate away from jobs that require that skill anyway.
  4. Aug 29, 2015 #3
    I've been able to succeed in a lot of these with one college programming course, a numerical analysis course that used a lot of programming, and a few hundred hours of programming practice (practical problems) in lab jobs during college.
  5. Aug 29, 2015 #4
    I think this is what worries me the most. I dont want to have to dramatically limit my job pool based not feeling like I have enough programming skill.

    Can anyone share a more detailed account of times they have coded on the job to solve a problem, but where its not their main job?
  6. Aug 29, 2015 #5


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    Don't take 'programming' in industry to always mean originating simple software using a standard programming language like like C or Fortran .

    Many applications of programming skills in industry are to do with use of specialist technical analysis software and control of machinery and test equipment .

  7. Aug 29, 2015 #6
    This is interesting. So you are saying that 'programming' is sometimes used as a generic term for running some sort of specialized software package? Or how do these skills translate to running analysis software and control equipment?

    Perhaps you mean that some equipment is controlled via command line interface that mimickes 'programming'?
  8. Aug 30, 2015 #7


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  9. Aug 30, 2015 #8
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