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Are you interested in a career in computer programming? Are you wondering if you have what it takes? Perhaps you’re fluent in relevant programming languages, but you wonder what other skills are essential to a successful programming career.
Here, we’ll look at how problem-solving skills are essential for programmers. This article will equip you to leverage your problem-solving skills on your programming resume.
A Career in Programming
What is programming? We’re not talking about television programming here. Programmers are also known as computer programmers, systems programmers, software engineers, or coders. Programmers “ are tasked with designing and creating software programs, integrating systems and software, training end-users, analyzing algorithms, modifying source-code, writing system instructions, debugging, and maintaining operating systems.”
What Is Problem-Solving in Programming?
Have you ever encountered a “computer bug?” Maybe you were playing a video game, using an app, or completing work or school assignments on your computer. The bug or glitch became evident when the computer crashed, the screen froze, or the program did not behave as you expected.
Computer programmers use problem-solving skills, along with an in-depth knowledge of coding, to find and fix issues like these. Each time, the programmer will practice some or all of the following steps.
- Identify the problem. Before a computer program, app, or game is released to the public, it is scrutinized by its makers. Programming teams use the software or play the game, searching for errors. They may recruit others through beta testing programs to use the application and report any problems.
- Understand the problem. Once an error is reported, the programmer must evaluate the issue to determine possible causes and solutions. It’s important to take your time with this step – make sure you really understand every aspect of the problem and your not making assumptions based on past experience.
- Work through the problem. To solve the problem, you’ll need to see it for yourself. Use the application and witness the issue. Then, work through it several more times with different variables to see if the issue is consistent.
- Pseudocode. Write out what you need the lines of code to do before translating it to actual code.
- Translate. Turn the pseudocode into code.
- Test your code. Run the program and find out if it functions as it is supposed to.
- Debug. Fix any errors as you go along.
- Simplify. Errors can arise when code is more complicated than it has to be.
- Take notes. Likely, you won’t be the only one to ever work with your lines of code. Even if you are, you may find that in a few months, you don’t remember exactly what each and every line accomplished. So, take notes on what each line is for.
- Ask for feedback. Just as testing may have revealed the problem in the first place, so it can aid you in identifying any additional issues. Other coders, developers, or programmers may see solutions you don’t. They can make suggestions that will improve the product or process overall.
Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills
Many universities offer online courses that can help you learn creative problem-solving skills that relate directly to information technology applications.
You can also practice problem-solving techniques in everyday situations. When confronted with a challenge, try the following:
- Identify the problem.
- Get the facts – research similar problems and ask questions. Practice active listening.
- Find possible solutions – brainstorm. Make backup plans in case solutions don’t work as planned.
- Decide on a plan. Weigh the pros and cons of each possible solution, and choose the one that is best overall. If multiple people are involved in the decision-making process, try to arrive at a decision that meets everyone’s needs.
- Act! Once you’ve decided, implement your plan.
- Look for results. Make observations and talk to others involved. Is your plan achieving the desired results? If not, find more facts and follow up with other possible solutions.
Even problem-solving skills from your daily life will serve you well when challenges arise at work.
How to List Problem-Solving Skills on Your Resume
You can include problem-solving skills on your resume in several ways:
- In your skills list
- In your skills summary or core competencies
- Within your job descriptions
You don’t just have to use the term “problem-solving,” either. Show rather than tell. Could you include statements similar to the following that match your unique qualifications?
- “Assisted a team of 6 in debugging a flagship program two days before the product launch.”
- “Identified 32 discrete lines of code that were in error; debugged, simplified, and optimized the code in question.”
- “Communicated with 24 beta testers from around the world over the course of 5 weeks to ready the program for launch.”
You may also use other terminology related to problem-solving, including creativity, analysis, designing, critical thinking, drawing conclusions, focus, experimenting, evaluation, communication, decision-making, and assessment.