Skip navigation

Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Programmers, Metal & Plastic

Also called: Computer Numerical Control Machinist (CNC Machinist), Computer Numerical Control Programmer (CNC Programmer), Process Engineer, Programmer

What they do:
Develop programs to control machining or processing of metal or plastic parts by automatic machine tools, equipment, or systems.
On the job, you would:
  • Write programs in the language of a machine's controller and store programs on media such as punch tapes, magnetic tapes, or disks.
  • 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.


Engineering and Technology
  • computers and electronics
  • mechanical
Math and Science
  • arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Manufactured or Agricultural Goods
  • manufacture and distribution of products
Arts and Humanities
  • English language


Basic Skills
  • keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements
  • figuring out how to use new ideas or things
Problem Solving
  • noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
People and Technology Systems
  • figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it
  • thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one


  • choose the right type of math to solve a problem
  • add, subtract, multiply, or divide
Ideas and Logic
  • order or arrange things
  • notice when problems happen
Visual Understanding
  • quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things
  • see hidden patterns
  • listen and understand what people say


People interested in this work like activities that include data, detail, and regular routines.
They do well at jobs that need:
  • Attention to Detail
  • Independence
  • Analytical Thinking
  • Dependability
  • Integrity
  • Achievement/Effort


You might use software like this on the job:

Computer aided manufacturing CAM software Hot Technology
  • Delcam PowerMill
  • Vero Software SURFCAM software
Computer aided design CAD software Hot Technology
  • Dassault Systemes CATIA software Hot Technology
  • PTC Creo Parametric Hot Technology
Object or component oriented development software
  • G code
  • M code


Education: (rated 3 of 5)
certificate after high school or
high school diploma/GED
usually needed

Get started on your career:

Find Training Find Certifications Registered Apprenticeship

Job Outlook

Bright Outlook
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.
per year, on average
Check out my state Local Salary Info Find Jobs

Explore More

See more details at O*NET OnLine about computer numerically controlled machine tool programmers, metal and plastic.