A programmer is a role that requires individuals to write computer software. A programmer can vary from a specialist in one particular area or a generalist who can write code for a whole range of computer software. Often the term programmer can be used to refer to a software engineer, computer scientist, software developer or software analyst. If an individual practises a formal approach to programming, they may be referred to as a programmer analyst. The primary language of a programmer is that of computers, for example C, C++, Java, Lisp or Delphi. Programmers will often choose to attach the languages that they specify in, along with ‘web’ if they work in a web environment, as a prefix to their title. Most programmers will possess software engineering skills that are beyond programming and it is necessary to have good background qualifications in the area. There is much debate about the subtle differences between the occupations labelled as a programmer and some even argue that the term programmer is derogatory to those who class themselves as computer scientists or software engineers.
Ada Lovelace is considered to be the first programmer in history. She was the first person to express an algorithm that was intended to run on a computer - Charles Babbage’s analytical engine. However, her work never actually ran and the first programmer’s work to do so was Konrad Zuse in 1941. The first working programmers were the ENIAC programming team.
Until recently programmers have had their own unofficial international holiday, but in 2009 the government of Russia recognised it as official. Now September 13th is a professional annual holiday known as Programmers’ Day.