2 Replies - 784 Views - Last Post: 28 February 2010 - 10:50 AM

#1 AlbuquerqueApache  Icon User is offline

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Newly developed passion for programming

Posted 28 February 2010 - 09:48 AM

Hello guys! I have recently started a .NET course at my school and its the first time I have ever seriously considered programming. I am really enjoying the class and I am sucking up everything I can about it, lol. I did BASIC programming in high school and I absolutely hated it. The concepts did not come easy for me and I actually stole more code from classmates than I wrote(stole is a bit strong of a word, copied is more accurate)! I can still remember my teacher, at the time, raising her eyebrow and saying, "your code either works or it doesn't." I didn't understand at the time what she meant by that but thinking back now, I understand. I also think that I had trouble with programming because I didn't have enough math at the time to truly grasp what was going on.

Anyway, When I got to college I was interested in computers but I purposely avoided programming so I studied the Network side of IT. Naturally I couldn't avoid programming altogether, but I managed with what I had to do.

Now I am taking a .NET course and I am going to be taking a java course as well pretty soon. I have developed a sort of passion for this now. I love to just play around with the code and see what I can get it to do. I wrote a program for my co-workers which randomly selects a lunch destination (thanks for the help)! I had a great time with that. Now that I have worked in the IT field I am also well aware of the opportunities these experiences are opening up for me.

Although I still have a ton to learn, I think I may be a convert, lol. I would like to find a way to this professionally SOME day. I am finishing my BS and the remainder of my programming classes aren't until the end of senior year (next year) and they are geared toward web development (which will be fun too). I seriously considered pursuing a Microsoft development cert in lieu of finishing my degree but I changed my mind on that, lol.

Anyway, when I finish my degree and I am looking for a way to break into a, for lack of a better term, "entry-level" development position. What have you guys found is the best way to do that? I will probably pursue some certs and keep challenging myself in the programming area. Any recommendations would be helpful. I am hoping that at that point I might qualify to at least get in the door somewhere developing some apps.

Anyway, I appreciate input :).

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#2 Martyr2  Icon User is offline

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Re: Newly developed passion for programming

Posted 28 February 2010 - 10:08 AM

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This is one of the most often asked questions for people new to programming and wanting to do it as a career. Our advice is pretty universal and I think most of us can agree that one of the easiest ways is to build up a portfolio of your skills. So while you are in school, continue learning all you can and putting it to use by creating projects that showcase your knowledge. The goal here is that by the time you get out you have a good chunk of work to show employers.

Now I wouldn't make it heavy with stuff you have done in classes, but more along the lines of things you have done up and beyond class. Find some people in your community who want programming work done. I wouldn't necessarily charge for it but if you can get some money at the same time great. The goal would be to work for companies and at the same time build up the following things...

1) Industry experience
2) Creating some visual work to demonstrate your skills (employers want to see what they are buying)
3) If you do work for some community organization you also can showcase community involvement which is always great on a resume
4) Maybe make some extra cash on the side
5) Potentially build some connections in industry. Those same people may then hire you right after you are finished.

I have had to do a lot of pro bono work to build up a portfolio. It is nice to have the skills of a degree, but having something to show for it and can visually take with you into interviews will also be to your benefit. Learn, work, and then show the fruits of your labor. It will also help you learn how to work in industry and if it gets to be too much, you will also find it easier to jumble your schedule around your classes if all the work you are doing for people are free (if they aren't paying, they tend to be a little more flexible with you).

:)

This post has been edited by Martyr2: 28 February 2010 - 10:09 AM

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#3 AlbuquerqueApache  Icon User is offline

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Re: Newly developed passion for programming

Posted 28 February 2010 - 10:50 AM

Thanks for the advice. Having worked in IT while I have been in college, I have come to realize that school gives you a base of knowledge and iots up to you to build on it. The best way is to actually get paid to do it. :)

Anyway, thanks!
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