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"The Sims 4" Walkthrough: Programming Guide

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The Usefulness of Programming

A somewhat meta-skill for many of the people who worked on The Sims 4, Programming is much more useful than it might sound at first. Capable of a ton of different interactions vis-à-vis a computer, most of which earn you money, the Programming skill is a must-have for homebody Sims who spend a lot of time in front of a monitor. Tech-heads will love the opportunities it opens up.

Aspirations and Traits

Programming is a knowledge-based skill, so it stands to reason that you’ll want to take the Knowledge Aspiration—specifically, Computer Whiz. Combining Video Gaming with code, Computer Whiz gives your Sim the benefit of the Quick Learner Trait, allowing him or her to develop their skills, all of their skills, at a faster pace.

Beyond that, your Sim can benefit from the following traits:

  • Genius: Programmers need to be Focused. Genius will make that happen more often, more easily.
  • Geek: Programming is tied pretty closely to the Video Gaming skill. Geek is advisable to keep your Sim happy while they sit at the computer. For the first few levels, at least, they won’t always want to be Programming their guts out.
  • Bookworm: Again, this is not directly tied to Programming, but Sims who pursue Programming—especially with the Quick Learner trait—will probably go after a lot of other skills as well. Books are a staple for this kind of learning.
  • Loner: Programming Sims spend the majority of their time at their computers. There are few chances for frivolity in such a life. This is offset by the need for some social ties if you instead become a Secret Agent, in which case Loner is less desirable.
A sim at a computer in "The Sims 4." Computers are a necessity for sims who want to learn Programming.

A sim at a computer in "The Sims 4." Computers are a necessity for sims who want to learn Programming.

Skill Building

Programming is learned in two places: via books or in front of a computer. It’s wiser to go the computer route; despite the risk of running your computer into the ground, your Sim can earn a fair amount of money. Only go for books when your Sim gets Brain Fried and needs a break, which happens less and less often as your Sim progresses up the skill levels. You can expect to gain the following by pursuing the Programming skill:

  • Level 1: Practice Programming on computers
  • Level 2: Make Plugins, Hack
  • Level 3: Mod Games
  • Level 4: Make Viruses, Hack School Grades (teens only)
  • Level 5: Freelance Work
  • Level 6: Hack Work Performance
  • Level 7: Mobile Phone Apps
  • Level 8: Better at Hacking
  • Level 9: Make Computer Games
  • Level 10: Hack Supercomputers

Other Skills

It’s worth noting that Programming Sims should probably learn two other skills. The first, heavily hinted at, is Video Gaming. It and Programming are tied together on a professional level if your Sim takes the Tech Guru job or the Computer Whiz Aspiration.

The second, which seems pretty obvious once your computer breaks down a few times, is Handiness. You don’t want to pay for a new computer every time your Sim busts one, nor should you risk electrocuting the Sim while they fumble to fix their PC.

Another sim at a computer in "The Sims 4." What can I say, all they ever do is sit at computers.

Another sim at a computer in "The Sims 4." What can I say, all they ever do is sit at computers.

Making Money

Ho ho, here we go. Programming Sims have a lot of opportunities to make money, with or without a career. At first, you’ll probably want to plug your Sim into a cushy Tech Guru job, but once they work their way up to making Mobile Phone Apps or upgraded Hacking, there’s little point in a job. Your Sim can make a lot more money at home.

This is particularly true of Making Computer Games, which take a long time—close to two days, typically—but which will usually net your Sim over $2,000 per game. That is some sweet swag. Hacking is pretty good, too, though it has a bit of cooldown time that can limit its overall effectiveness.

(And despite how it sounds, there’s no risk that your Sim will be arrested by the authorities for all this shady stuff. Not right now, anyway, since the authorities don’t exist in The Sims 4. Corruption! Weeee!)

One of the neater options is Hacking Work Performance, especially if the programmer themselves has a job and is aiming for promotions. Use this option, and your Sims will progress up the ranks much more quickly, allowing you to dip into more money more often.


Programming’s final tier, as you progress from Making Computer Games to Hacking Supercomputers. You get a nice chunk of change for Hacking Supercomputers, no doubt, but the cooldown somewhat kills this as a permanent option for funding your household. Balance Hacking Supercomputers with crafting your own video games, and your programmer will be a lovely little cash cow in no time since video games also bring in daily royalties that can fund your household pretty much on their own.

Completing the Computer Whiz Aspiration will also give your Sim the Webmaster Trait, opening further options on the computer. (Such as, say, Ordering Voodoo Dolls. Ooooh.)


Jshaw71 on August 05, 2015:

I am a big fan of the game Game Dev Tycoon, and loved the idea of programming your games, in the game, but all the Program game lets you do is name your game, no genre, no rting? and no feedback in the game, about your game, you made in the game, (Hopefully they'll be a mod for this in the future...) did I say the word game enough yet?