Job Analysis of Computer Programmer

Dr. D. Dutta Roy, Ph.D

Job analysis occupies a central position in personnel research as it helps in identifying behavioral requirements of a particular job. Until behavioral requirements of a particular job are identified, selection schemes, training programs or performance evaluation systems can not be developed (Landy and Vasey, 1991). In addition, many reward systems are based upon the relative difficulty of particular positions. Job analysis is important for personnel recruitment, training and personnel development, wage and salary administration, performance measurement and rating, job design , organizational planning, manpower planning and control, vocational counseling and guidance (Tiffin and McCormick,1971).

Collection of data

Data were collected from 201 experienced computer programmers working in manufacturing, financial, scientific organizations, software development industries, computer training institutes, and from other departments. In general, they are middle aged (Mean = 35.60, SD = 8.83) and more experienced (Mean = 8.37, SD = 5.64). Most of them were post graduates.

Checklist :

On the basis of literature survey (Jain,1987; Balgurusamy,1991; Roy, 1996), different discussions in the internet on computer programming, and open ended interview with 10 experienced (more than 5 years) computer programmers, a Likert type 6 point rating (0 = inapplicable or does not occur in the job, 1 = may occasionally be a minor part of the job, 2 = a small part of the job, 3 = a moderately significant part of the job, 4 = a substantial part of the job, 5 = a very significant part of the job) checklist with 14 items was prepared to determine relative importance of computer programming job characteristics. Sample respondents were asked to judge to what extent each item of the checklist was suitable for their job. Cronbach’s alpha shows high internal consistency (alpha = 0.74) among the items.


Job characteristics

Principal component analysis of 14 items of the checklist extracted four job dimensions as program writing and testing, human relations, data analysis and user satisfaction. Programmers gave more priority on program writing and testing and least priority on data analysis.


Five specific aptitudes ( comprehension, inference, expressional fluency, associational fluency and alternative usage ) were found as relatively more important for success in computer programming.

Softwares used

Programmers in financial , R&D organizations and administration reported more use of data base management, object oriented softwares, and software packages or tools.

Working Conditions

Most of the respondents worked in cool environment. Few reported noise in their work place.

Team assignment across occupations

Programmers in R & D organizations preferred alone assignment more than other groups

Social interaction

Most programmers preferred team work to alone assignment . Those who were engaged in writing total program related to research problem, preferred alone assignment more. Programmers in R & D organizations preferred alone assignment than other groups. Whereas programmers in computer training institutes preferred team work than other groups.

Occupational disorders

Most of them suffered from spondiolosis and sleep disorders.


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Dutta Roy, D. (2002) Development of computer algorithm for construction of aptitude test battery for computer programmers, project report, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata.

Contact: Dr. D. Dutta Roy