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Become A PLC Programmer

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Working As A PLC Programmer

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $65,874

    Average Salary

What Does A PLC Programmer Do

Computer programmers write and test code that allows computer applications and software programs to function properly. They turn the program designs created by software developers and engineers into instructions that a computer can follow. In addition, programmers test newly created applications and programs to ensure that they produce the expected results. If they do not work correctly, computer programmers check the code for mistakes and fix them.

Duties

Computer programmers typically do the following:

  • Write programs in a variety of computer languages, such as C++ and Java
  • Update and expand existing programs
  • Test programs for errors and fix the faulty lines of computer code responsible
  • Create and test code in an integrated development environment (IDE)
  • Use code libraries, which are collections of independent lines of code, to simplify the writing

Programmers work closely with software developers, and in some businesses their duties overlap. When such overlap occurs, programmers can do work that is typical of developers, such as designing the program. Program design entails planning the software initially, creating models and flowcharts detailing how the code is to be written, writing and debugging code, and designing an application or systems interface. Programmers often use an IDE, which allows them to create, edit, and test code.

A program’s purpose determines the complexity of its computer code. For example, a weather application for a mobile device will require less programming than a social-networking application. Simpler programs can be written in less time. Complex programs, such as computer operating systems, can take a year or more to complete.

Software-as-a-service (SaaS), which consists of applications provided through the Internet, is a growing field. Although programmers typically need to rewrite their programs to work on different system platforms, such as Windows or OS X, applications created with SaaS work on all platforms. Accordingly, programmers writing SaaS applications may not have to rewrite as much code as other programmers do and can instead spend more time writing new programs.

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How To Become A PLC Programmer

Most computer programmers have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related subject; however, some employers hire workers with an associate’s degree. Most programmers specialize in a few programming languages.

Education

Most computer programmers have a bachelor’s degree; however, some employers hire workers who have an associate’s degree. Most programmers get a degree in computer science or a related subject. Programmers who work in specific fields, such as healthcare or accounting, may take classes in that field to supplement their degree in computer programming. In addition, employers value experience, which many students gain through internships.

Most programmers learn a few computer languages while in school. However, a computer science degree gives students the skills needed to learn new computer languages easily. During their classes, students receive hands-on experience writing code, testing programs, fixing errors, and doing many other tasks that they will perform on the job.

To keep up with changing technology, computer programmers may take continuing education and professional development seminars to learn new programming languages or about upgrades to programming languages they already know.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Programmers can become certified in specific programming languages or for vendor-specific programming products. Some companies require their computer programmers to be certified in the products they use.

Other Experience

Many students gain experience in computer programming by completing an internship at a software company while in college.

Advancement

Programmers who have general business experience may become computer systems analysts. With experience, some programmers may become software developers. They may also be promoted to managerial positions. For more information, see the profiles on computer systems analysts, software developers, and computer and information systems managers.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Computer programmers must understand complex instructions in order to create computer code.

Concentration. Programmers must be able to work at a computer, writing lines of code for long periods.

Detail oriented. Computer programmers must closely examine the code they write because a small mistake can affect the entire computer program.

Troubleshooting skills. An important part of a programmer’s job is to check the code for errors and fix any they find.

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PLC Programmer Jobs

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PLC Programmer Demographics

Gender

Male

92.5%

Female

5.7%

Unknown

1.9%
Ethnicity

White

74.3%

Asian

12.5%

Hispanic or Latino

10.0%

Unknown

2.0%

Black or African American

1.2%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

36.4%

Romanian

18.2%

Italian

18.2%

French

18.2%

Vietnamese

9.1%
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PLC Programmer Education

Schools

Cleveland Institute of Electronics

8.8%

University of Missouri - Saint Louis

8.8%

University of Memphis

5.9%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

5.9%

A-Technical College

5.9%

Tri-County Technical College

5.9%

Bakersfield College

5.9%

University of Southern California

5.9%

University of Pittsburgh -

5.9%

Florida International University

5.9%

El Paso Community College

5.9%

University of Houston

5.9%

University of Texas at Arlington

2.9%

Brown University

2.9%

King's College

2.9%

Thomas Nelson Community College

2.9%

University of Alabama

2.9%

Campbell University

2.9%

State University of New York College of Technology at Canton

2.9%

Appalachian State University

2.9%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

29.5%

Electrical Engineering Technology

12.3%

Computer Engineering

7.5%

Computer Science

6.8%

Engineering Technology

4.8%

Mechatronics And Robotics

4.1%

Industrial Technology

4.1%

Business

4.1%

Engineering

3.4%

Computer Engineering Technology

3.4%

Computer Information Systems

2.7%

Mechanical Engineering

2.7%

Music

2.1%

Computer Networking

2.1%

Electrical/Electronics Maintenance And Repair Technology

2.1%

Electromechanical Instrumentation And Maintenance Technologies/Technicians

2.1%

Information Technology

2.1%

Drafting And Design

1.4%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

1.4%

Chemical Engineering

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

33.1%

Other

22.9%

Associate

21.7%

Masters

12.6%

Certificate

6.3%

Doctorate

1.7%

Diploma

1.1%

License

0.6%
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Full Time
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Internship
Temporary

Real PLC Programmer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
PLC Programmer STR Group USA, Inc. Louisville, KY Mar 09, 2016 $169,000
PLC Programmer STR Group USA, Inc. Sterling Heights, MI Mar 09, 2016 $169,000
PLC Programmer STR Group USA, Inc. Everett, WA Sep 22, 2016 $169,000
PLC Programmer STR Group USA, Inc. Sterling Heights, MI Mar 09, 2016 $156,000 -
$202,800
PLC Programmer ATN Hoelzel LP Chattanooga, TN Aug 17, 2015 $92,456
PLC Programmer Lone Star Instrumentation & Electric Corporation TX Sep 01, 2014 $90,513
PLC-Automation Programmer Industrial Power Systems, Inc. Jacksonville, FL Feb 05, 2013 $78,000
Food Processing Equipment PLC Programmer Santini Foods, Inc. CO Sep 16, 2015 $77,043
PLC Programmer Complete Control Services, Inc. Egg Harbor, NJ Sep 17, 2015 $70,000
PLC Programmer/Engineer Complete Control Services, Inc. Egg Harbor City, NJ Sep 24, 2015 $70,000
Systems & PLC Programmer Lehigh Hanson, Inc. Leeds, AL Sep 07, 2010 $68,184
PLC Programmer ATN Hoelzel, LP Chattanooga, TN Sep 19, 2014 $65,000
Instrumentation/Plc Programmer Santini Foods, Inc. San Lorenzo, CA Apr 09, 2016 $60,000
PLC Programmer ATN Hoelzel, LP Chattanooga, TN Sep 19, 2014 $56,000
PLC (Programmable Logic Control) Programmer Advanced Mechatronics Solutions, Inc. San Diego, CA Aug 31, 2016 $52,279
PLC Programmer 1 Retrotech, Inc. Victor, NY Oct 01, 2011 $49,920

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Top Skills for A PLC Programmer

HMIDirectLogicRslogixTroubleshootProcessControlSystemsWonderwareABSlc504ControlNETScadaSafetyAutocadControlPanelsRobotsI/OAllen-BradleyPlc-5DeviceWinccVFDNewEquipmentRS

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  1. HMI
  2. Direct Logic
  3. Rslogix
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Designed, programmed and wrote HMI for a lime system in Curtis Bay, MD.
  • Programmed PLC's: Allen Bradley, Siemens, GE, Direct Logic, Unity Pro and Omron.
  • Provided troubleshooting for technical field problems relating to data/automation of oil and gas well heads.
  • Contract positions Allen Bradley PLC 5 programming WonderWare HMI programming
  • Garner, NC) September 2007 to September 2009 Scada/PLC Control Systems Integragor.

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Top PLC Programmer Employers