Skip navigation

Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Programmers, Metal & Plastic

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

Where in the Navy? In the Navy: Computer Numerically Controlled Machinist

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:
  • 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.


Math and Science
  • arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Engineering and Technology
  • mechanical
  • design
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
  • thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem
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
Visual Understanding
  • quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things
  • see hidden patterns
Ideas and Logic
  • notice when problems happen
  • order or arrange things
  • 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
  • Analytical Thinking
  • Stress Tolerance
  • Dependability
  • Persistence
  • Adaptability/Flexibility


You might use software like this on the job:

Computer aided manufacturing CAM software
  • Delcam PowerMill
  • Vero Software SURFCAM software
Computer aided design CAD software
  • Autodesk AutoCAD software
  • Dassault Systemes SolidWorks software
Object or component oriented development software
  • G code
  • M code


Education: (rated 3 of 5)
associate's degree or
certificate after high school
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.