The Sims 4 Programming Skill

Hacking, Making Video Games and Apps, and Getting Focused

The Sims 4 Programming Skill
The Sims 4 Programming Skill - a Great Office

The Sims 4's Programming Skill allows you to make money with your Computer. The Skill grants the ability to create Plugins, Mod Video Games to make them increase Fun faster, and even turn to the dark side and Hack computer systems. Additionally, you can earn some long-term cash by creating Video Games and Mobile Apps. This Guide to the Skill will cover these various features, while also helping you get your Sim Focused so they can learn the Skill faster and make more money.

How to: Programming Cheats
Press Control + Shift + C then type testingcheats on and press enter. You can now set your skill level with stats.set_skill_level major_programming x (fill in 1-10) - we also have a full listing of Skill Cheats and a master list of Cheats in The Sims 4

Careers that Boost Programming
Two Careers can help you with your Programming Skill by providing extra abilities or items. The Oracle Branch of the Criminal Career lets you get the Hack Mainframe ability, granting additional money from Hacking for 8 hours. Tech Guru will give you plenty of items that grant a Focused Aura, and is also necessary for the Computer Whiz Aspiration, if even temporarily. I would go into Tech Guru for the Aspiration, then move on to Oracle to get Hack Mainframe for maximum profit.

Programming and Handiness
Programming is helped greatly by the Handiness Skill. You can install ECC Ram to make the Computer nigh-Unbreakable, while also updating the Graphics Card to grant faster Fun regeneration when playing games. Lastly, you can install IP Spoofers which help with Hacking. They seem to make you earn more money with the ability.

Good Traits and Aspirations for Programming
The following Traits may help you to become Focused, which helps Programmers. There is also an Aspiration tied to the Skill:

  • Genius Trait - Geniuses randomly get Focused, which will sometimes push you over the line to Very Focused. It can let your Sim gain Skill faster as a result.
  • Lazy Trait - Spending hours in a Chair, this can make your Sim happier - particularly when that chair is comfortable. Extra Happiness boosts Focused, which will help you become Very Focused. There are some drawbacks, but they're few.
  • Loner Trait - Depends on your Household composition. This can give you more happiness when spending time alone in your office Programming, but may not be good if your Sim wants to be social.
  • Computer Whiz Aspiration - In order to complete this, you must be in the Tech Guru Career. However, it doesn't require you to get to level 10. You will also need to work on your Video Gaming Skill. Selecting this as an Aspiration when creating your Sim will give you the Quick Learner Bonus Trait, which boosts Skill gains - always a good thing. The Reward Trait is Webmaster, which gives you extra abilities on the Computer.

Learning Programming
In order to learn the Skill, you need a Computer. You can of course learn through Skill Books, but through the Computer you can earn money as you learn. Every feature of this Skill is found under the Programming category on the computer. You can use a cheap one, but will do much better with a more reliable machine. This Skill synergizes well with Handiness, which will let you upgrade your Computer to be nearly unbreakable and make Hacking more successful.

The Sims 4 Programming - Getting a Sim Very Focused
Getting Very Focused helps Skill Gains and Profits Immensely

Getting Very Focused
Sims who are Focused perform Programming tasks better, leading to faster Skill gains and more money earned from Making Viruses, Plugins, Video Games/Apps and Freelance Work. In order to get your Sim Focused, you should do at least some of the following: Drink Pitch Black Tea from the Tea Brewer, Purchase an Easel and make Mathematical Diagrams while Focused, then hang them near your Desk and enable Auras. 3 to 4 of these Paintings will help give off a nice aura (Max +2 Focused), and you can also view them to get a Moodlet.

Also, you can Browse Simipedia on the Computer. Listening to Music while you work (Classical or Blues are good choices) and making your Sim's Needs high will boost these Focused Moodlets, leading to powerful buffs that result in the Very Focused Moodlet for several Hours. Another buff that takes a little longer to acquire is to read the Book Honing Your Mind's Eye, ordered under the Emotion Section when buying Books from the Computer, which grants a +1 Focused Buff each time you read it for a while. You can stop when the Moodlet comes up. With enough +Happiness buffs, you do not need as many of these options to make it all the way to Very Focused, so see what works for you at any given time.

The Sims 4 Programming -
The first picture demonstrates a better setup;
This Sim is just Learning Programming

Skill Level Unlocks
As you gain Skill in Programming, you learn more abilities and can hack different servers. Here are the various Skill unlocks for each level:

  • Level 1 - Practice Programming
  • Level 2 - Make Plugins, Hack Llamacorn Listserv
  • Level 3 - Mod Game, Hack Lothario Trust Fund
  • Level 4 - Make Viruses, Teens can Hack School Grades
  • Level 5 - Perform Freelance Work, Hack Landgraab Systems
  • Level 6 - Hack Work Performance
  • Level 7 - Make Mobile Phone Apps, Hack National Sims Security Agency
  • Level 8 - Your Sim becomes better at Hacking, increasing the rate at which the task is performed
  • Level 9 - Make Computer Games, Hack Plumbook
  • Level 10 - Hack Crumplebottom Servers, Hack Supercomputer

Practice Programming
This is your entry point for the Skill. You'll find it is only useful for the Computer Whiz Aspiration's requirement of using it for 10 hours.

Make Plugins
This is a quick way to earn some cash, though not much early on. You will see around 10-20x the early earnings by the time you are level 10. However, it's a great way to help your Sim make money until you can move on to bigger, better things.

The Sims 4 Programming - Hacking Supercomputer
Hack Supercomputer can fail, resulting in a Broken Computer

Hacking has a cooldown of 24 hours for each Server. Each higher level Server is worth more money, but even at level 10 you can steal a lot of money from Llamacorn Listserv. This alone would get your Sim by, as you can earn several thousand each day by going through each Server and stealing from their accounts.

At level 10, you're able to Hack Supercomputer, which is a bit dangerous and may only be used once per week. You should only do it when Very Focused, and accept the fact that the Supercomputer may hack you back, breaking your Sim's Computer and possibly making it irreparable. I sent a bug report to EA on this, but am not sure that it's by design. I was unable to repair my Sim's computer even with level 10 Handiness and had to replace it. The machine had ECC Ram and IP Spoofers to help with Hacking, and I still failed twice. On the third try, when I successfully hacked the Supercomputer, I got $1300. I'm sure it's possible you can get a lot more given the cooldown, but that was unexpectedly low. Replacing the Computer before cost $5009. Perhaps this would be best done on a cheap Computer with IP Spoofing and ECC - you can then replace it for a much lower price, should you fail. I do not think higher-end Computers are any better at Programming, period.

The Sims 4 Programming - Repair Computer
Be Prepared to Repair/Replace Computers a lot without Handiness Upgrades

Sims can also Hack Work Performance, granting them a bump in performance. It takes quite a while, but is definitely helpful if you want to get Promoted faster. You still need to do the Promotion Requirements, but will see the Job Progress bar tick noticeably to the right.

Modding Games
Modding Games allows you to increase the Fun of any of the games your Sim has unlocked via the Gaming Skill, but more importantly a super-fun Modded game will give your Sim a 4h +2 Happiness Moodlet that can be used to boost the Focused Mood, allowing you to more easily reach Very Focused for your Programming efforts. You only need to play the game a few minutes to get this Moodlet! It's very much worth the time.

Make Viruses
Making Viruses is another means of using your Programming skills to make money, though it's a bit dark. Sims don't seem to mind the morality of it, however. You'll get a good chunk of change, and there's no reason I've discovered not to use the ability. I prefer to use this when Hacking is on cooldown, as opposed to Freelance Work, below.

Freelance Work
With this ability, your Sim will find a random job on the web and perform the Programming for another Sim. This ability takes a while, but you're able to resume most Programming interactions should your Sim tire or get burned out from Programming too much. This ability nets some decent money, but can take quite a while to complete. I've seen over $1000 with this at level 10, though it took proportionately longer than making a Plugin.

The Sims 4 Programming - Earn Royalties from making Computer Games and Mobile Apps
Earn Royalties from Computer Games and Mobile Apps

Making Computer Games and Mobile Phone Apps
Computer Games take roughly 36 hours to complete, and Mobile Phone Apps 24 hours. Thankfully, you can resume making them, thus are able to do them in little chunks of time. I highly recommend being Focused for a better outcome. Each of these will net you a chunk of change when completed, then provide Royalties that slowly dwindle down to nothing. Royalties can be anywhere from $50-$200/day before they drop to single digits. You'll get cash for all Apps and Games you've made at 10AM each day. I got Royalties for about 6 days before they started dropping, then got less and less as the days went on. They are worth it, even considering the time investment. You could, at most, have 4-5 of these making decent money for you at a time. Use this ability when your Hacking is on cooldown to make the most possible Money with the Skill.

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1 2 > Last
Thank u man, it helped me so much. I already have lvl 10 at programming but I didn't know how much a could earn with each one.
7th July 2015 4:36pm
I'm glad that I could help. Programming was one of my favorites, but Writing/Gardening take the top spots.

Overall I realize people do not have much trouble getting to max level in any skill, but hopefully I can help them get there faster and understand the benefits better when they're masters. I have to edit literally every guide on this site, because there are more useful details that can be put into them with further testing. Goal one was to get the guides out and useful, now I'll aim to make them more detailed :)
7th July 2015 6:00pm
This was a very well written and useful guide. Thank you for posting it!
11th July 2015 10:36pm
omulu chuks
please i want to learn how to hack and creat virus
16th July 2015 3:25am
Pancake Lover
I didn't know that playing modded games gave you the happiness mood.
21st July 2015 7:37pm
How can i hack work performance?
When your sim is at level 6 of the programming skill the 'Hack Work Performance' is unlocked on the PC.
8th January 2016 3:25am
i updated my Sims 4 sometime after august and now the money cheats wont work. can somebody help me out?
25th January 2016 3:07pm
You'll need to update your game again as there have been several patches since August.
Update Info on the Forum
25th January 2016 4:41pm
Is there a way to get rid of the created games and apps? I find those notifications annoying AF since I get like 20 Simelions...
3rd May 2016 11:04am
Not that I know of. Eventually they stop bringing in income and just drop out of the list of notifications.
4th May 2016 7:39pm
Well mine are there for about 5 hours IRL and I am playing on third megaspeed... The benefits stabilized at about 15 bucks each and they are still popping up
5th May 2016 1:09am
You keep getting royalties for about 6 sim days before they drop off completely. Smile
5th May 2016 7:16pm
Can my sim also play his own game?
14th May 2016 3:15pm
No, they just have the options of games that any other sim would have. Be fun if they could though, especially if their own game made them bored! lol Grin
14th May 2016 6:54pm
Thanks, playalot. Maybe somebody made a mod for it.
15th May 2016 4:16am
John Will
pls moveobjects for move sims
7th June 2016 9:21pm
That would be great, unfortunately Carl doesn't work for EA... he just makes awesome game guides. Smile
7th June 2016 9:54pm
I have two questions,
1. Where is the tab to hack work performance I am in level 10 programming and it's not under the hack tab.
2. If you have the Ghostwriter Dissapearing Desktop/GDD and the supercomputer hacks you back, does the computer become irreparable?
3rd July 2016 3:06am
1. It is an interaction on the PC. Program>Hack>Work performance. This ability unlocks at Level 6 of the programming skill.
2. I haven't had this happen recently but that's not to say it still can't happen. Use a cheaper computer with all the upgrades on it just in case. It'll be cheaper to replace.
3rd July 2016 11:40pm
Is there any way I check on the progress of making video games et cetera? Basically so I know how much longer I have left to make them?

I recall having that option in S3.
14th August 2016 8:31pm
Not really, all you can do is take a guess/estimate! Sad
18th August 2016 6:57pm
Hey there
My Sim is making video game and I want earn very very much money :)
I will make 50 games. :) :) Can I earn?
16th August 2016 11:31am
Making video games doesn't really earn a sim large amounts of money. You might be better leveling up the video gaming skill and entering game competitions or live streaming.
18th August 2016 6:58pm
Thanks for reply :)
24th August 2016 5:10am
John Will
Ok. Can Carl order to move Sims under construction ???
28th August 2016 1:44am
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