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Jobs Creating Search Engines

Computer Programmers

The 2006 U.S. Department of Labor bulletin describes computer programmers as people who “write, test, and customize” the detailed software that computers follow. Computer programmers write software programs that tell computers how to access and process data. Programmers use, among others, object-oriented computer languages such as C++ and Java. (Other useful languages include Perl, HTML, Visual Basic, Visual C+++, and CASE tools.) The U.S. Department of Labor notes that computer programmers, like other computer specialists, are largely required to have college degrees. Those seeking jobs as computer programmers should have a bachelor's degree in computer science, mathematics, or information systems, although an associate's degree or technology certificate will be enough for some jobs, depending on the technical skills that are needed. A computer programmer who is hoping to advance to systems analyst will benefit from business experience such as accounting or a business degree.

BEYOND GOOGLE

There are plenty of search engine options that will lead to a world of discovery beyond Google. Below is a list of the most popular:

LookSmart.com: LookSmart is a search engine that features categories to narrow your Internet search such as “Health,” “Education,” “Sports,” and “Style.” In addition, it features an alphabetical listing of the links of print publications on its home page. Other resources include “Resources” and “Web Picks.”

Ask.com: Ask.com has a variety of “human” tools to help people search including a dictionary and encyclopedia, as well as a way to search images, news, and maps. Ask.com also has a link to search popular blogs.

AltaVista.com: AltaVista.com, the Web's first full-text database, divides user categories into groups such as Web pages, MP3 files, images, video, and news. In addition, it allows users to narrow their searching fields by country and/or language. Another bonus is its “Babel Fish” language translator.

Dmoz.com: Dmoz.com is the Web's largest open human-edited directory run entirely by volunteers. Its home page is divided into approximately twenty categories, each one a link to a larger list of more specific categories. For instance, one click on the “Arts” category leads users to a large variety of related categories, each with hundreds (or thousands) of Web pages.

Mooter.com: Mooter.com uses Web clustering to help users narrow their search. For instance, a search of “photography” produces the following options: “art,” “history,” “nature,” “accessories,” and “resources,” each one its own link to further specify results.

The U.S. Department of Labor predicts less growth (8.4 percent for the period between 2004 and 2014) for computer programmers than for some other technology specialists. Its report accounted for 22 percent of the computer specialists in the area of IPs, Web search portals, and data processing services.

Students seeking jobs as computer programmers should take as many math classes as possible, including algebra, geometry, calculus, and even statistics if it is offered. Obviously, most future programmers will attend college, but for those who opt out of a four-year degree, seeking certification as a computer professional could help you learn the skills to get hired. Seek work as a programmer trainee in a large company, apply for internships, take state and federal civil service exams for entry-level programming, or apply for certification in various computer languages until you gain enough experience to enter the job market.

As of May 2004, the median hourly wage of computer programmers was $31.39 (about $65,000 annually); however, in a December 2005 San Francisco Chronicle article, Google was identified as the employer that pushed the average salary of computer programmers in the San Francisco area to $85,840 (up from $66,270 in 1999 when Google was first gaining ground). As a result, competing jobs may pay in ranges that are slightly higher, depending on the region where the positions are located. Computer programmers typically work a forty-hour week, though hours can be longer and overtime is sometimes available, depending on the employer. A benefits package is typically included as a part of an applicant's annual salary and may include health care, retirement benefits, paid sick days, vacation days, and holidays. Stock options are sometimes made available, too, depending on the employer.

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Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesCool Science CareersJobs Creating Search Engines - Computer Programmers, Beyond Google, Software Engineers, Computer Systems Analysts