Computer programmers write, revise, test, debug, and maintain the programs that instruct computers how to carry out certain tasks. Programmers write these instructions in coding languages like Java or C++, which computers can then follow. The job of a programmer may involve of a great deal of coding to very little coding in the case of some management positions.
Database Engineers develop, implement, manage and maintain databases that enable you to find a friend's profile on your favorite social media network or find an article in an online library. These professionals define all of the parameters needed to store, retrieve, and delete data. Database engineers monitor, test, troubleshoot, and enhance databases as they grow and change.
Desktop support technicians provide technical assistance to an organization's end-users. They solve problems, answer questions, and provide instructions on how to use technology. These professionals may be part of an organization's IT department or hired on a contracting basis.
Have you ever had a computer problem and wished there was someone to call? Helpdesk support professionals help end-users or customers by diagnosing and assisting with technical problems. These professionals communicate with users in-person, via phone or electronically to address technical hardware and software issues.
IT operations manager
IT operations managers keep the gears of an organization's technical operations running smoothly. They oversee day-to-day processes including performance management, monitoring and evaluation, measuring success, IT purchasing, compliance with policies, infrastructure improvements, and resource maintenance.
IT training professionals ensure that employees and end-users remain technologically savvy through the design, delivery and assessment of training programs. Training topics may include desktop applications, internet browsers, or company specific applications. They might also cover IT professional skills such as project management, security protocols, or programming languages.
Network engineers care for an organization's technological "nervous system" by ensuring that communication networks operate smoothly and efficiently for users and customers. They install, maintain, and support IT systems such as T1 lines, routers and firewalls. These professionals may be part of the IT department or be brought in as part of an IT consultancy.
Have you ever wondered how the next version of your favorite phone or tablet gets released so quickly? Project managers strive to keep the projects that turn ideas into reality on time, on task and on budget. They marry technical knowledge with supervisory skills to lead a team and ensure that projects are completed efficiently and effectively.
Quality assurance analysts ensure that technical products, processes, and equipment receive the gold seal of approval before being released to the customer or end user. They are responsible for establishing quality assurance measures and test plans for IT products or processes. They ensure products work effectively and are in compliance with policies, procedures, and specifications.
Have you ever used a technological product or service that was truly designed with you, the user in mind? Thank a requirements analyst. Requirements or architecture analysts find out what end-users need with regards to a technological product, platform or system. They then work closely with the development team to ensure that those needs are met in the finished product.
Sales analysts connect clients and customers with technological products and services to meet their business needs. They may demonstrate products for customers to help them understand their features. Sales analysts also negotiate sales and follow-up with customers after the sale to ensure satisfaction, identify any problems, maximize usage, and recommend training.
Have you ever wondered how your credit card information is kept safe from hackers when you make an online purchase? Security analysts safeguard and protect an organization's technology and systems from intrusion or harm. They monitor current systems, assess potential threats, and put measures in place to ensure that files are neither deliberately or accidentally changed, damaged, deleted or even stolen.
Software designers create software for an organization or its external clients and customers. They often see a project from inception to completion, taking into consideration the needs of clients or stakeholders. Software designers assess the requirements of the software, and ensure that they are met. They may or may not perform the actual coding for the project.
Software developers research, design, develop, and test software and systems found in technologies ranging from automobiles, to gaming systems, to life saving medical equipment. A software developer can be involved in many different aspects of a project ranging from coding, to design, to project management.
Software is all around us. It is used in smart phones, GPS systems, and digital cameras. Software engineers are responsible for designing, testing, and evaluating the software that we use every day.
Software maintenance engineers are responsible for the care and feeding of software programs and applications. These professionals are tasked with updating, debugging, conforming, and enhancing existing software. Software maintenance engineers ensure that software continues performing without problems and meets the changing needs of users or customers.
Software testers evaluate software from the perspective of the end-users or customers who will be using it. They must test software from all angles to ensure that there are no existing bugs or problems. If issues are found, software testers must document them and communicate them to the development team so they can be corrected.
Technical authors communicate written technical information in a way that is easy for people to understand. Technical authors might create materials such as training manuals, user guides, reference guides, or operating manuals, or even multimedia demos or tutorials.
Web/internet engineers develop web pages and interfaces for an organization's external or internal websites. Responsibilities may include building web sites, internet applications, social media networks, and e-commerce applications through code. They may also include configuring web servers and network security, server-side or client-side scripting, web design and content development.
Dr. Sue Black has demonstrated the power of social networking. She used Web 2.0 technologies to help raise awareness of, and critical funding for, Bletchley Park, the UK World War II center for decrypting enemy messages. She has also been an active campaigner for equality and support for women in technology fields, founding a number of online networking platforms for women technology professionals. A keen researcher, Dr. Black completed a PhD in software measurement in 2001. Her research interests focus on software quality improvements. She has recently won the PepsiCo Women's Inspiration Network award, been named Tech Hero by ITPRO magazine and was awarded the first John Ivinson Award from the British Computer Society. In 2011 Dr. Black set up The goto Foundation, a nonprofit organization which aims to make computer science more meaningful to the public, generate public excitement in the creation of software, and build a tech savvy workforce. Read Sue's blog about The goto Foundation: http://gotofdn.org
Jean E. Sammet was one of the first developers and researchers in programming languages. During the 1950’s - 1960’s she supervised the first scientific programming group for Sperry Gyroscope Co. and served as a key member of the original COBOL (COmmon Business-Oriented Language) committee at Sylvania Electric Products. She also taught one of the first graduate programming courses in the country at Adelphi College. After joining IBM in 1961, she developed and directed the first FORMAC (FORmula MAnipulation Compiler). This was the first widely used general language and system for manipulating nonnumeric algebraic expressions. In 1979 she began handling Ada activities for IBM’s Federal Systems Division. Ada is a structured, object-oriented high-level computer programming language, designed for large, long-lived applications, where reliability and efficiency are paramount. Jean has a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and an M.A. from the University of Illinois, both in Mathematics. She received an honorary D.Sc. from Mount Holyoke (1978).
In 1967, Douglas Engelbart applied for a patent for an "X-Y position indicator for a display system," which he and his team developed at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Menlo Park, California. The device, a small, wooden box with two metal wheels, was nicknamed a "mouse" because a cable trailing out of the one end resembled a tail.
In addition to the first computer mouse, Engelbart’s team developed computer interface concepts that led to the GUI interface, and were integral to the development of ARPANET--the precursor to today’s Internet. Engelbart received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Oregon State University in 1948, followed by an MS in 1953 and a Ph.D. in 1955 both from the University of California, Berkeley.
If you have ever used a PC with a color display you have been acquainted with the work of Mark Dean. After achieving a Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Tennessee, Dean began his career at IBM. Dean served as the chief engineer on the team that developed the first IBM PC, for which he currently holds one third of the patents. With colleague Dennis Moeller, he developed the Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) systems bus, which enabled peripheral devices such as printers, keyboards, and modems to be directly connected to computers, making them both affordable and practical. He also developed the Color Graphics Adapter which allowed for color display on the PC. Most recently, Dean spearheaded the team that developed the one-gigahertz processor chip. Dean went on to obtain a MSEE from Florida Atlantic University and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford University. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, has been inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, and is the first African-American IBM Fellow.
Liz Gerber earned her MS and PhD in Product Design and Management Science and Engineering at Stanford. She specializes in design and human-computer interaction, particularly how social computing supports the innovation process. Her current research investigates crowd-funding as a mechanism for reducing disparities in entrepreneurship.
Gerber's work funded by the US National Science Foundation and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance has appeared in peer-reviewed journals, including Transactions on Computer Human Interactions, Design Studies, and Organization Science.
As an award-winning teacher and researcher, Liz has touched the lives of more than 6,000 students through her teaching at Northwestern's Segal Design Institute and Stanford University's Hasso Plattner's Institute of Design and through her paradigm-shifting creation, Design for America, a national network of students using design to tackle social challenges.
Image credit - Lisa Beth Anderson