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Career profile Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmer

Also known as CAD CAM Programmer (Computer-Aided Design Computer-Aided Manufacturing Programmer), Computer Numerical Control Machinist (CNC Machinist), Computer Numerical Control Programmer (CNC Programmer), Programmer

Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmer

Also known as CAD CAM Programmer (Computer-Aided Design Computer-Aided Manufacturing Programmer), Computer Numerical Control Machinist (CNC Machinist), Computer Numerical Control Programmer (CNC Programmer)

Interests Profile
  • Conventional
  • Investigative
  • Realistic
Pay Range
$37,730 - $88,860 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Programming
  • Monitoring
  • Operations Monitoring
Knowledge Areas
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Mechanical
  • Mathematics
Core tasks
  • Write programs in the language of a machine's controller and store programs on media, such as punch tapes, magnetic tapes, or disks.
  • Determine the sequence of machine operations, and select the proper cutting tools needed to machine workpieces into the desired shapes.
  • Write instruction sheets and cutter lists for a machine's controller to guide setup and encode numerical control tapes.
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What does a Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmer do?

Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers develop programs to control machining or processing of materials by automatic machine tools, equipment, or systems.

In addition, Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers may also set up, operate, or maintain equipment.

What kind of tasks does a Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmer perform regularly?

Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Write programs in the language of a machine's controller and store programs on media, such as punch tapes, magnetic tapes, or disks.
  • Determine the sequence of machine operations, and select the proper cutting tools needed to machine workpieces into the desired shapes.
  • Write instruction sheets and cutter lists for a machine's controller to guide setup and encode numerical control tapes.
  • Revise programs or tapes to eliminate errors, and retest programs to check that problems have been solved.
  • Analyze job orders, drawings, blueprints, specifications, printed circuit board pattern films, and design data to calculate dimensions, tool selection, machine speeds, and feed rates.
  • Observe machines on trial runs or conduct computer simulations to ensure that programs and machinery will function properly and produce items that meet specifications.
  • Modify existing programs to enhance efficiency.
  • Enter computer commands to store or retrieve parts patterns, graphic displays, or programs that transfer data to other media.
  • Determine reference points, machine cutting paths, or hole locations, and compute angular and linear dimensions, radii, and curvatures.
  • Sort shop orders into groups to maximize materials utilization and minimize machine setup time.
  • Compare encoded tapes or computer printouts with original part specifications and blueprints to verify accuracy of instructions.
  • Perform preventative maintenance or minor repairs on machines.

The above responsibilities are specific to Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers. More generally, Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers are involved in several broader types of activities:

Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Controlling Machines and Processes
Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

What is a Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmer salary?

The median salary for a Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmer is $57,740, and the average salary is $61,010. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmer salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers earn less than $37,730 per year, 25% earn less than $46,110, 75% earn less than $72,100, and 90% earn less than $88,860.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers is expected to change by 27.3%, and there should be roughly 4,100 open positions for Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers every year.

Median annual salary
$57,740
Typical salary range
$37,730 - $88,860
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
27.3%

What personality traits are common among Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmer are usually higher in their Conventional, Investigative, and Realistic interests.

Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers typically have very strong Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Also, Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers typically have very strong Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Lastly, Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers typically have strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmer tend to value Support, Independence, and Relationships.

Most importantly, Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Lastly, Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, independence, and analytical thinking.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Independence
Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.

What education and training do Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers need?

Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers

  • 9.0% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 38.0% completed high school or secondary school
  • 30.1% completed some college coursework
  • 14.1% earned a Associate's degree
  • 7.6% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 0.9% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.3% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers

Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as computers and electronics, mechanical, or mathematics knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Mechanical
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Engineering and Technology
Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.

Important Abilities needed by Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers

Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers need abilities such as information ordering, near vision, and problem sensitivity in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers, ranked by their relative importance.

Information Ordering
The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Perceptual Speed
The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
Mathematical Reasoning
The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.

Critical Skills needed by Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers frequently use skills like programming, monitoring, and operations monitoring to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Programmers, ranked by their relative importance.

Programming
Writing computer programs for various purposes.
Monitoring
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Operations Monitoring
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Mathematics
Using mathematics to solve problems.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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