Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Woolschlager, Ruth B.||Maxwell, Lyle

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Business Education


Business education; Computer programming


The purposes of this study were to determine the training and educational requirements of business computer programmers and to determine the requirements for training the programmer at the collegiate level. This study was so designed as to establish a relation-ship between programmer qualifications as viewed by the programmer himself and qualifications as viewed by management. A questionnaire was completed by 123 programmers indicating their general education background and recommending the college curriculum a business programmer should plan. Another questionnaire was answered by 100 employers of programmers stating the hiring policies of their firms and the present level of training their programmers possess. The employers were also asked to recommend preparation patterns, point out deficiencies, and mention unique characteristics that they sought in programmer applicants. The questionnaires were sent to Data Processing Management Association members in the northern Illinois area, The following conclusions are drawn from an analysis of their responses: 1. While programmers indicate a college education is necessary, management does not require this type of training for business programmers. 2. Most programmers did not have bachelor degrees. Those who did held the bachelor of science in business administration primarily. Graduate work was not considered important. 3, A good business background, especially in accounting and general business, is necessary to educate business programmers. 4. Courses in logic, English and communications skills, mathematics, and accounting are essential for the preparation of a programmer by colleges. Logic was considered the most important subject. 5. Deficiencies in training of programmer applicants exist primarily in English and communication skills, logic, mathematical reasoning, and accounting. 6. Most firms indicated programming experience or a college education was desirable for programmer applicants. However, firms do not require such training. 7. Employers will hire persons trained in high school as programmers, trained programmers with no experience, and untrained applicants for on-the-job training. Many firms prefer to train their own employees as programmers. 8. On-the-job in-service company training, colleges, and equipment manufacturers respectively are considered the best sources for preparing business programmers. 9. The majority of programmers surveyed were trained by their present employer or some other firm. 10. Aptitude tests are being used extensively especially the IBM Programmers Aptitude Test. 11. A majority of the firms indicated in-service company training programs. 12. Computer concepts, logic (flow-charting), machine language (COBOL, FORTRAN), programming concepts, and system design or analysis are specialized EDP courses that should be taught within the collegiate curriculum. 13. Unique characteristics such as the ability to think logically, ability to work with others, creativity, ability to define problems, and ability to communicate are sought by employers in programmer applicants. These characteristics were considered more important than formal course work. The following steps are recommended: 1. Secondary school curricula should include an understanding of logic and its relationship to the electronic data processing field. 2. The responding firm# recommended the following college course pattern to be taken by students preparing to be business programmers: business, 39 per cent; mathematics, 33 per cent; liberal arts, 21 per cent; engineering, five per cent; other areas (accounting and logic), two per cent. 3. The serious problem of communication in the programming and computer fields caused by variances in terminology can be solved by definitive research studies. 4. There is a need for further research to establish the degree of validity and reliability of the IBM Programmers Aptitude Test. 5. More research is necessary to determine the place in the college curriculum of such specialized courses as computer concepts, logic (flow-charting), and machine language.


Includes bibliographical references.


4, vi, 112 pages




Northern Illinois University

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