What Does a CNC programmer do and is it a good job?

Engineer using laptop computer for maintenance automatic robotic arm with CNC machine in smart factory.

Have you ever taken time to think about how the big machines perform tasks “independently†as nobody is there to oversee the process? Who develops the programs that control the processing of plastic and metal parts in the manufacturing industries? The answer: a CNC programmer. 

At United Scientific, these are the people that keep all our processes moving to manufacture aerospace parts, medical devices, vehicle parts, recreational equipment, and more. Visit our website for more information on what we do and how we do it.

Now, many don’t know the meaning of CNC manufacturing, let alone what it does and why it’s crucial to any manufacturing industry. 

We’re going to share information with you about what a CNC programmer does and the salary you might get if you decide to pursue it as a career.

A little about CNC Manufacturing

For decades, we have seen giant leaps in technology. We’ve had many inventions taking place almost every day for the betterment of our living.

It’s still uncertain what we will have in the future, but we keep our faith in technology as it slowly unravels that mystery as the days go.

However, with CNC manufacturing, you can predict the future of CNC programming. Research that has been done to determine this comes to one end – It will be a highly sought-for career in the future.

CNC manufacturing first came into the limelight in the late 1940s, and since then, it has tremendously transformed industrial production.

Automation is one of the major driving forces of CNC manufacturing. What manufacturers designed almost a century ago is different from what we make today. 

As automated manufacturing continues to take foot in the industrial field, new inventions come, and CNC programming has a significant part to play.

Who is a CNC Programmer

CNC programming in full means computer numerically controlled programming. In other words, the tools or machinery parts are controlled by a computer program to manufacture different products.

The work of a CNC programmer in an industrial line is to create program codes or instructions to run the machine that shapes or cuts products like aviation, automobile, or industrial parts.  

Therefore, a CNC programmer is very vital in any industry. If they are not there, nothing can move. They foresee every manufacturing process and quickly come in when they notice a technical hitch in the machines.

At the Factory: Female Mechanical Engineer Designs 3D Engine on Her Personal Computer, Male Automation Engineer Uses Laptop for Programming Robotic Arm.

A Career in CNC Programming

Since CNC programming is becoming one of the most coveted jobs, being a top-rated CNC programmer is an uphill battle. However, the rewards are worth the hard work. 

The industrial world is getting exposed to the importance of CNC programming. With a 16% yearly growth rate between now and 2026, opportunities are multiplying. The employment gap is growing larger as many people have not come to the knowledge of this goldmine.

Before you embark on this career, there are some qualifications that you should possess.

To begin with, you should be good in technical subjects or at least show some interest in them. You should have a prolific mechanical aptitude and be able to work independently. 

Have an open mind to welcome new ideas to help the technological world at large.

As a CNC programmer, you have a high chance of getting into other highly coveted careers like computer programming, software productions, or information technologies. The remuneration for such jobs ranges from $50k to over $100K in some reputable companies.

Now, CNC programming is at par with these careers. According to Glassdoor, a CNC programmer salary ranges from $40k to $80k, with an average of $58,328 per year. 

Reputable companies are ready to part with over $85k year to pay their programmers. CNC programmers are paid these hefty amounts because employers understand the magnitude of the tasks they perform.

Advantages of becoming a CNC programmer

CNC programming has impacted the manufacture of materials significantly, creating significant advances over the old ways of manufacturing. Some of the improvements seen with CNC are;

  • Accuracy in Production

Since man is to error, machines are not. According to studies, humans have a 23% chance of making a mistake, while mechanical devices can only manage 8%. 

However, the 8% error happens if the system did not undergo servicing. So, the error is entirely on man.

With this in mind, a machine manufactures according to the variables keyed into the system. The results of any product that has gone through the hands of a CNC programmer are accurate and uniform.

  • Operation is Safe

Remember, the work of a CNC programmer is to make numerals in the computer that operates the machines. No one has to operate the machine manually, which would expose them to potential danger. 

In short, the CNC programmer works behind closed doors and leaves every work for the device.

  • The Number of Operators is Minimal.

Once hired as a CNC programmer, you are often doing the work of at least five people. Usually, to manufacture something, you need a supervisor, technician, electrician, and a welder. 

As a CNC programmer, your job is to input the concept of the four people while the machine does the whole task.

  • Uniformity in Designs

Unlike humans, a machine manufactures a complete replica of what it has produced before. In CNC production, every product made is precise; why? The next product manufactured uses the same numerals to create a new product.

  • Reliability

Whenever a CNC programmer is absent, it doesn’t mean that the factory will stop working. The codes and schematics are already in the system ready to go, keeping the industry busy and able to meet customer demands.

Worker controls the CNC machine


CNC programming is a game-changer in the manufacturing world. The benefits of a CNC programmer to any firm are countless, and their tremendous contribution to a production firm is irreplaceable. 

Would you want to have a look at the work of expert CNC programmers? If so, you can visit our site, United Scientific and explore the world of CNC manufacturing, its products, and learn more about a CNC programming is all about.