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Numerical, Tool and Process Control Computer Programmer  What They Do

Just the Facts


Develops programs to control machining or processing of parts by automatic machine tools, equipment or systems.

This career is part of the Manufacturing cluster Production/Process Technology pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Determines the sequence of machine operations, and selects the proper cutting tools needed to machine workpieces into the desired shapes.
  • Revises programs or tapes to eliminate errors, and retests programs to check that problems have been solved.
  • Analyzes job orders, drawings, blueprints, specifications, printed circuit board pattern films, and design data to calculate dimensions, tool selection, machine speeds, and feed rates.
  • Determines reference points, machine cutting paths, or hole locations, and computes angular and linear dimensions, radii, and curvatures.
  • Observes machines on trial runs or conducts computer simulations to ensure that programs and machinery will function properly and produce items that meet specifications.
  • Compares encoded tapes or computer printouts with original part specifications and blueprints to verify accuracy of instructions.
  • Enters coordinates of hole locations into program memories by depressing pedals or buttons of programmers.
  • Writes programs in the language of a machine's controller and stores programs on media such as punch tapes, magnetic tapes, or disks.
  • Modifies existing programs to enhance efficiency.
  • Enters computer commands to store or retrieve parts patterns, graphic displays, or programs that transfer data to other media.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would sit most of the time. There's some walking and standing. You may have to lift and carry things like books, papers or tools weighing 10 lbs. or less.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Picking out a particular sound in the presence of other sounds
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Detecting sounds and hearing the differences between sounds of different pitch and loudness
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Overtime work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • CNC Process Control Programmer -- Plans the programs that automate machine tools by means of computer generated electronic data.
  • Programmer --