Professional Paths

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Appropriate job titles and job descriptions may be more important than you think! They say a lot about responsibility and respect. For an IT manager, job descriptions can establish a structured definition that ties salary ranges and salary categories. As an employee, a defined job description lets you to know what skills you need to move up in your organization. Although the IT field doesn’t have standardized job descriptions, common job duties are usually consistent from company to company.

AS/400 Programmer

This title refers to someone with one to two years of experience in programming business applications who works under the close supervision of a senior programmer/analyst or project leader. Programmers’ annual salaries can run from $40,000 to $50,000. Programmers typically work on new systems, usually referred to as development programming; they might also work on modifying existing application systems. These tasks are often referred to as maintenance or modification programming.

A programmer needs a specific skill set, including the ability to write basic programs and modify existing application programs. When a senior programmer/analyst or project leader provides the parameters, programmers should be able to write or create basic reports. Programmers are responsible for user documentation and documentation of all system changes, as well as system testing and sign-off before program changes go into production. Programmers have a reasonable grasp of RPG, CL, and the AS/400 system architecture, show an understanding of business principles, and want to learn programming techniques from other staff members.


The next level is programmer/analyst, a title reserved for someone with three to six years of experience programming business applications and who works with minimal supervision from a senior programmer/analyst or project leader. Annual salaries may run from $49,000 to $60,000. Programmer/analysts can fulfill the duties assigned to a programmer, but they also work with users of an application to determine what features users actually need. Programmer/ analysts write moderately complex new development programs or modify existing application programs based on rough job specifications provided by a senior

programmer/ analyst or a project leader. Alternatively, they may develop their own programming specifications.

Programmer/analysts have a solid knowledge of the AS/400 architecture, its capabilities and utilities, and know how to write interactive subfiles. In addition, they can write and create reports with minimal direction. A programmer/analyst needs a solid knowledge of RPG, CL, and interactive subfiles and an in-depth understanding of business principles. Often programmer/analysts will mentor a programmer.

Senior Programmer/Analyst

This title is for someone with six to eight years of experience programming business applications. Salaries range from $60,000 to $75,000. A person with this title reports to a project leader, project manager, programming manager, or IT manager. Senior programmer/analysts often fulfill duties a programmer or programmer/analyst performs. Senior programmer/analysts design and develop complex application programs that interact with other applications or modules and modify existing application programs by developing programming specifications for their own systems as well as for other programmers on a project team. Senior programmer/analysts use structured methodologies for systems development.

Senior programmer/analysts have more expansive skill sets and can readily design, write, and create reports or modify reports to meet a user’s needs. They have an in-depth understanding of RPG, CL, interactive subfiles, and business principles. A senior programmer/analyst conducts user training and has start-to-finish responsibility for projects. Senior programmer/analysts also mentor junior programmers.

Nothing’s Set in Stone

These basic responsibilities provide a starting point. Whether you are the IT manager or the aspiring employee, these job descriptions can assist you in formalizing structure in the IT department at your company.