Compilers are programs that convert high-level, human-readable source code written in a programming language such as C++ into machine-readable object code that can be executed by a computer. In the process of compiling, the source code is checked for syntax errors, improper variable and function calls, linker errors, and other common debugging issues, which can then be identified and fixed before compiling or “building” again. Understanding how compilers work and when to compile a program is an important fundamental skill for software development.
A background in working with compiled programming languages such as C++ is essential for pursuing a career in software development. Interpreted languages that don’t rely on compilers such as Python and Ruby are becoming more popular, especially with the advent of “just-in-time” compilation techniques that can improve their execution speed. However, tried-and-true compiled languages remain essential for many applications due to their faster runtimes and more reliable debugging processes.
It’s no surprise that software developers are in demand these days, and working in this field means a wide range of exciting and high-paying work opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, software developers earned a median annual salary of $107,510 in 2019, and these jobs are projected to grow by 22% between 2019 and 2029 - much faster than the national average for all occupations.
Yes! Coursera offers an incredible variety of learning opportunities in computer science, including courses as well as Specializations in C programming and other languages that rely on compilers. You can learn from top-ranked schools like Duke University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and University of California Santa Cruz while paying a significantly lower tuition than on-campus students. And, because you can view and complete course materials on a flexible schedule, learning about compilers through Coursera can be a great fit for students as well as mid-career professionals looking to build new skills in computer programming.
People who work as a compiler or with compilers are most successful when they are detail-oriented and have good problem-solving skills. They also have good computer skills, which can include proficiency in generating code, using programming languages like C++ and Java, and using operating systems like Linux and Windows. People best suited for roles using compilers work well in both a team environment and independently, have strong analytical skills, and possess a strong aptitude for learning and innovating.
It is possible to begin a career path using compilers with a high school diploma or GED and start out with a role as a software build engineer, for example. People who use compilers usually have a bachelor's degree in computer science, information technology, engineering, however, and take on roles like associate software developer, software development engineer, or compiler engineer. Those who want to advance to positions that require more responsibility, such as a senior software engineer, will likely require a master's degree.
The types of places that hire people with a background in compilers are varied and include aerospace and defense companies like Northrop Grumman, technology companies like Intel and Apple, computer hardware companies like IBM, and national security organizations like Peraton. Places that hire software programmers and engineers are where you'll find people with a background in compilers. You'll also find these professionals working for places like Amazon and GitHub in their development departments.
This FAQ content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.