CNC Programmer

Write code that makes computerized manufacturing machines run.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$23,000 – $55,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do CNC Programmers do?

A CNC Programmer’s work is similar to solving a complex, 3D jigsaw puzzle—with the exception that he or she gets to shape the pieces. To build a machine, it must first be cut out piece by piece. Thankfully, technology has developed the CNC machine, a device capable of cutting parts out based on a set of computer instructions. CNC Programmers are the masterminds who examine each part, and create the code that allows the CNC machine to cut every piece according to the programmer’s exact specifications.

If you’re a CNC Programmer, you employ strong mathematical skills and an understanding of computer programming concepts to get the job done. It doesn’t involve programming as in-depth as writing a software program, but it does require you to speak the computer’s “language.”

After examining the blueprints or computer drawings of the piece you need to create, you create the code that tells the CNC machine not only what shape to cut, but also the exact measurements of every side, angle, and curve on the object. Once you’ve put together the code, you input it into the CNC machine. A software program helps you assemble the code—no need to write it out by hand.

After the computer receives the code, it creates a finished piece for you to examine. If you’ve made a mistake in the code, the piece will be incorrect, and you’ll need to start over. Once the part is done, you start on the next piece in your mechanical jigsaw puzzle.

Should I be a CNC Programmer?

You should have a certificate degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Persistent: You keep pushing through, even when faced with tough obstacles.
  • High Achiever: You love the challenge of tackling difficult work.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Computerized Numerical Control Programmer, Profiler

    How to become a CNC Programmer

    Most CNC Programmers have a Certificate. Chart?chd=s:79aaaa&chl=no+college+%2849%25%29|certificate+%2851%25%29||||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,49,51
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