Computer Programmer

Pre-Employment Tests For Computer Programmers

Top Skills and Abilities:

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Information Ordering
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Written Comprehension

Top 3 Tasks:

  • Correct errors by making appropriate changes and rechecking the program to ensure that the desired results are produced.
  • Conduct trial runs of programs and software applications to be sure they will produce the desired information and that the instructions are correct.
  • Write, update, and maintain computer programs or software packages to handle specific jobs such as tracking inventory, storing or retrieving data, or controlling other equipment.


Computer programmers are responsible for writing and testing the code that allows software applications to function properly. They often appreciate a good deal of autonomy, with occasional opportunities for collaboration. The U.S. is expected to see a decline in computer programming jobs in the next decade. Computer programming can be done remotely, so jobs in the field are often outsourced to save labor costs. Computer programmers typically have a bachelor's degree in computer science or mathematics. Their median wage is $79,840, with top earners making considerably more.


Hiring talented software engineers is a challenge. They usually need to be able to work independently, meet deadlines, and report to managers. Since programmers need to be able to describe their progress and coordinate with others working on the same project, communication is vital while knowledge of specific computer languages and their applications is important, what separates good programmers from great ones is often their creativity and advanced critical thinking skills.

Assessments for Computer Programmers

So while it is important to hire programmers who have knowledge of the languages that a company uses, critical thinking and learning ability are better predictors of long-term job success for programmers. This is because programming is such a rapidly evolving field and coding languages are changing and developing quickly. For this reason, many employers use general aptitude tests such as the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test (CCAT) to gain insights into the cognitive abilities of prospective programmers.

In addition to a cognitive assessment, employers often administer a behavioral assessment such as the Employee Personality Profile (EPP), which can assess how well someone’s personality fits with the job requirements of a computer programmer. Paired together, these two assessments can help to predict if a person can both do the job and enjoy it long-term. 

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Source: U.S. Department of Labor


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