Summary Report for:
51-4012.00 - Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Programmers, Metal and Plastic
Develop programs to control machining or processing of metal or plastic parts by automatic machine tools, equipment, or systems.
Sample of reported job titles: CAD CAM Programmer (Computer-Aided Design Computer-Aided Manufacturing Programmer), Computer Numerical Control Programmer (CNC Programmer), Process Engineer, Programer, Programmer, Project Engineer, Software Engineer, Welding Engineer
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Determine the sequence of machine operations, and select the proper cutting tools needed to machine workpieces into the desired shapes.
- 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.
- Determine reference points, machine cutting paths, or hole locations, and compute angular and linear dimensions, radii, and curvatures.
- Observe machines on trial runs or conduct computer simulations to ensure that programs and machinery will function properly and produce items that meet specifications.
- Compare encoded tapes or computer printouts with original part specifications and blueprints to verify accuracy of instructions.
- Enter coordinates of hole locations into program memories by depressing pedals or buttons of programmers.
- Write programs in the language of a machine's controller and store programs on media such as punch tapes, magnetic tapes, or disks.
- 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.
- Prepare geometric layouts from graphic displays, using computer-assisted drafting software or drafting instruments and graph paper.
- Write instruction sheets and cutter lists for a machine's controller to guide setup and encode numerical control tapes.
- Sort shop orders into groups to maximize materials utilization and minimize machine setup time.
- Draw machine tool paths on pattern film, using colored markers and following guidelines for tool speed and efficiency.
- Align and secure pattern film on reference tables of optical programmers, and observe enlarger scope views of printed circuit boards.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Angle gauge — Digital angle gauges
- Automatic lathe or chucking machine — Computer numerically controlled CNC lathes
- Calipers — Digital calipers; Vernier calipers
- Comparators — Optical comparators
- Coordinate measuring machines CMM — Coodinate meauring machines CMM
- Dial indicator or dial gauge — Dial indicators
- Drill press or radial drill — Drill presses
- Height gauges — Digital height gauges
- Hole gauge — Bore gauges
- Metallurgical microscopes — Toolmaker's microscope
- Micrometers — Digital micrometers
- Pin gauge — Pin gauge sets
- Precision surface plate — Precision surface plates
- Profile gauge — Transfer gages
- Protractors — Vernier bevel protractors
- Radius gauge — Fillet gauges
- Sine bar — Sine bars
- Squares — Adjustable squares
- Thickness measuring devices — Thickness gauges
- Thread pitch gauge — Screw pitch gauges
- Traveling column milling machine — Vertical computer numerically controlled CNC milling machines
- Turret lathe — Vertical turret lathes VTL
- Vertical turning center — Vertical boring mills
- Wire gauge — Wire gauges
Technology used in this occupation:
- Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD software; Dassault Systemes CATIA software ; Dassault Systemes SolidWorks software; PTC Creo Parametric
- Computer aided manufacturing CAM software — 1CadCam Unigraphics; Delcam PowerMill; Vero Software SURFCAM software; Vero Software VISI software (see all 60 examples)
- Enterprise application integration software — Extensible markup language XML
- Enterprise resource planning ERP software
- Object or component oriented development software — G code; M code
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office software
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
- 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.
- Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Programming — Writing computer programs for various purposes.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
- Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
- Operations Analysis — Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- 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.
- 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).
- 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 there is a problem.
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Interacting 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.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
Detailed Work Activities
- Select production equipment according to product specifications.
- Mount materials or workpieces onto production equipment.
- Plan production or operational procedures or sequences.
- Calculate dimensions of workpieces, products, or equipment.
- Study blueprints or other instructions to determine equipment setup requirements.
- Enter commands, instructions, or specifications into equipment.
- Determine production equipment settings.
- Position patterns on equipment, materials, or workpieces.
- Program equipment to perform production tasks.
- Conduct test runs of production equipment.
- Draw guide lines or markings on materials or workpieces using patterns or other references.
- Create diagrams or blueprints for workpieces or products.
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 95% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 68% responded “Extremely important.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 75% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 78% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 65% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 72% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 75% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 49% responded “Extremely important.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 75% responded “Every day.”
- Time Pressure — 51% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 62% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 54% responded “Important results.”
- Telephone — 47% responded “Every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 35% responded “Very important.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 46% responded “Very important.”
- Contact With Others — 34% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 32% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 65% responded “Every day.”
- Consequence of Error — 38% responded “Serious.”
- Spend Time Standing — 34% responded “More than half the time.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 52% responded “High responsibility.”
- Level of Competition — 27% responded “Highly competitive.”
- Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 34% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 28% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Physical Proximity — 48% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).”
- Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 29% responded “Very important.”
- Deal With External Customers — 27% responded “Very important.”
- Electronic Mail — 45% responded “Every day.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 43% responded “High responsibility.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 46% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 30% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
|Title||Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.|
|Related Experience||Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations 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 these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include food service managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, occupational therapy assistants, and medical assistants.|
|SVP Range||(6.0 to < 7.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
This occupation may require a background in the following science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational disciplines:
Interest code: CIR
- Conventional — 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.
- Investigative — 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.
- Realistic — 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.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- 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.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- 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. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2015)||$23.55 hourly, $48,990 annual|
|Employment (2014)||25,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2014-2024)||Much faster than average (14% or higher)|
|Projected job openings (2014-2024)||12,400|
|Top industries (2014)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data and 2014-2024 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Metal and plastic machine workers . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition.