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#1 Jasonb61  Icon User is offline

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Starting a Career in Programming

Posted 24 May 2009 - 07:54 AM

Hello,

My name is Jason. I'm 21 and have been into computers since I was about 12 or 13. I picked up on the "inner-workings" very quickly and soon got into programming. I started with web-based programming from HTML to PHP - and then moved onto VB, Delphi, C++, etc etc. I've dabbled in a little bit of everything but I've honestly never made any big projects in anything other than VB.

When I was a freshman in high school, I joined FBLA and won 2nd place in state for VB programming. I went onto nationals in Denver, Colorado and was beat with my weakness.. socializing. Instead of studying and trying, I hung out and went on dates and didn't even place while I was in nationals.

My social life also caused me to drop out of school in eleventh grade. However, I did get my GED and am not looking to pursue a career in computer programming. I catch on very quickly and everything I've learned has been self-taught. I was recently accepted into Daytona State for 'Computer Programming' and I really just want to know if I'm on the right track?

I believe my goal would be to eventually be a freelance programmer making my own time and such but at the moment I would really just like to get my foot in the door. Am I limiting myself by going for computer programming or should I shoot for something like computer science or similar? Any tips, information, or experience anyone would like to share? What should I expect in the college life? I assume there will be lots of math but what else?

Thank you
-Jason

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Replies To: Starting a Career in Programming

#2 Martyr2  Icon User is offline

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Re: Starting a Career in Programming

Posted 24 May 2009 - 12:25 PM

Well first of all, computer programming isn't going to be a glorious career in which you make your own schedule and make tons of money. You will make a decent amount of money for sure and perhaps lucky enough to work your own hours and such if you freelance, but it can be a tough life.

For study I would recommend going for a degree in computer science, which programming is a large part of that. But with such a degree you will also learn many other fields of computing from theory to how to work in teams and work in a corporate environment. You will have the math but you will also have team building courses and how to be an IT professional... not just a simple programmer.

Be ready to work hard if you want to succeed. There may be long nights ahead of programming at 1am with deadlines looming. Lots of reading and researching is often needed and if you succeed, you can usually find a well paying job with a corporation. Hopefully by the time you get out of school the economy will have recovered a bit and you will have some opportunities. But do it for the love of programming and be passionate about everything you do and you will do very well.

A tip to follow is look for employment as much as a year before you graduate. The goal will be to have someone waiting for you when you graduate. Don't wait to the last minute.

And my last and most important tip ever... NEVER PROCRASTINATE! In computer science and programming, procrastination will indeed kill you. Sure you may think you can slam out a program in an hour, but most of the time you will hit a bug that just drains your time and next thing you know, you are fighting to get a function to work when it comes time to turn in the code.

Even the most simple of programs can suck the time out of you. Give yourself the most time possible and always anticipate problems and you will do well.

Good luck! :)
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