9 Replies - 3237 Views - Last Post: 04 February 2011 - 10:25 AM

#1 J-e-L-L-o  Icon User is offline

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when do you know you are "good" enough for a job

Posted 03 February 2011 - 09:52 PM

I am a new programmer and I was just wondering...how long does it take and when will you know that you are skilled enough in a programming language (or 2 or...) to be paid for it.

I am a new computer science student and I am taking my first c++ class. By the end of the year I hope to have taken an advanced C++ class, data structures, discrete math and assembly.

Just curious.
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Replies To: when do you know you are "good" enough for a job

#2 hookiethe1  Icon User is offline

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Re: when do you know you are "good" enough for a job

Posted 04 February 2011 - 06:10 AM

In any job you get there will be an expected learning curve, especially if you get an internship. You can almost never say you know everything you need to know walking into a job, but you can have enough background and be resourceful enough to figure it out. That's part of a programmer's job, and why people with computer science degrees are often referred to as engineers, because our job is about figuring out how to do stuff.
I'm in my graduation year and there's still a ton I don't know about programming and software development, but I feel confident that I am able to figure out a lot of stuff on my own, or with the help of google and DIC and my coworkers. I guess when you feel like that you'll be ready to get into the industry.
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#3 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: when do you know you are "good" enough for a job

Posted 04 February 2011 - 07:30 AM

Here's one way to gauge your ability to earn a living at this.
Sign up on one of the on-line coder for hire sites like vWorker.
Watch the contracts going out for bid. How many of them could you fulfil? Of the ones you can do, how long will it take you? Now look at the pay. Can you earn a living at that? If a $100 job would take you 3 days, then plan on being hungry.
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#4 redwarrior_  Icon User is offline

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Re: when do you know you are "good" enough for a job

Posted 04 February 2011 - 08:00 AM

Good advice here; very encouraging as well. I've been out of the business for the last 10 years, but was a very good systems analyst and programmer in my day. And now, I was concerned that there was so much to learn that I would never catch up. Now I realize that I shouldn't worry about that.

My boyfriend keeps telling me not to disqualify myself, which is something I tend to be very good at.

When I was hired as a programmer back in 1986, my employer wanted people with no prior experience because they did not want to have to "unteach." While I don't necessarily think that things are still that way, I think that says something about our industry. We need to be able to learn, adapt, and constantly update our skill set. We will never really arrive, and I like that.
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#5 xTorvos  Icon User is offline

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Re: when do you know you are "good" enough for a job

Posted 04 February 2011 - 08:22 AM

I don't mean to thread-jack, but I think this may add to the discussion:

A similar (but slightly different) question is, how do you know you are good enough in a particular language to put it down as one of your skills on a resume?

I've looked at a lot of code in different languages in tutorials and such. I've written code in most of them, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I could get paid to write code in that language does it? As an example, I've only used Ruby to do the first 10 Euler Project challenges, but that doesn't mean I could write an application with it. Would I put Ruby on my resume?
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#6 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: when do you know you are "good" enough for a job

Posted 04 February 2011 - 08:39 AM

My resume has a section for "familiar with" separate from "proficient with". That's how I handle that. The resume is to get you to the interview where you can explain in more detail when they ask you about it.
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#7 xTorvos  Icon User is offline

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Re: when do you know you are "good" enough for a job

Posted 04 February 2011 - 08:41 AM

That's a very good way to handle it. Thanks!
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#8 redwarrior_  Icon User is offline

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Re: when do you know you are "good" enough for a job

Posted 04 February 2011 - 08:42 AM

View PostxTorvos, on 04 February 2011 - 10:22 AM, said:

A similar (but slightly different) question is, how do you know you are good enough in a particular language to put it down as one of your skills on a resume?

I've looked at a lot of code in different languages in tutorials and such. I've written code in most of them, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I could get paid to write code in that language does it? As an example, I've only used Ruby to do the first 10 Euler Project challenges, but that doesn't mean I could write an application with it. Would I put Ruby on my resume?

I list all of the languages I have any experience in on my resume. When you read job descriptions you will usually see that they have "required" proficiency things and "nice to have but not required" lists as well. So it's important that you not leave anything off. You are really showing your ability to learn, research, and adapt. Also, a good practice for a resume is to have a "noteworthy accomplishments" section to highlight what you have been successful at and not necessarily how you did it. :)
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#9 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: when do you know you are "good" enough for a job

Posted 04 February 2011 - 08:55 AM

I gauged my skills a lot from DIC. When I joined DIC, I was halfway through an Intro to Java class academically, and further ahead on my own. Answering questions on the forums helped me by forcing me to research, and having my solutions criticized by members a whole lot more knowledgeable than myself. It was a combination of my ability to problem solve, teach myself how to use new libraries and work in new programming languages, and my understanding of some theory and design patterns that made me think I was ready for the real world. When I applied for an internship in the Spring, my boss agreed, and thought I was on par with some of his Java people. When I started in the summer, I could work well independently and in a group writing Java/Android apps. :)
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#10 J-e-L-L-o  Icon User is offline

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Re: when do you know you are "good" enough for a job

Posted 04 February 2011 - 10:25 AM

THANKS EVERYONE.

I am really glad to found DIC. It's a huge resource and I have learned a few things just in the weeks I have been a member.

Seems like bottom line, study a lot for good grades, code a lot to find what works and what doesn't, and the rest will happen on its own.
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