Future plans

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#1 xenoslash  Icon User is offline

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Future plans

Posted 18 March 2011 - 04:55 PM

I am in that time of life where I start thinking seriously about what I am going to be after I have finished my studies. I am 17 years old and am just about to transfer from community college (next quarter is my last! woot2!). I am taking computer science as my major and I love3x programming and math. A LOT. I am also an self-taught programmer and love to learn new stuffs. I learn mobile development, applets, JOGL, and basically things that allow me to create "cooler" programs.
However, I am completely clueless about what kind of programming I am going to do later in life. My parents want me to set up my own company, and I understand that having computer science as a major has already set me up in the wrong direction. Or am I wrong?
I would really appreciate it if anyone can give me his opinions on this matter, may it be about what programming topics to cover, whether or not I should go for a PHD, etc.
I realize that I sounded naive, thinking that I can start my business, but please just give me anything you think any student in my position should know about making these huge decisions.

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Replies To: Future plans

#2 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: Future plans

Posted 18 March 2011 - 05:10 PM

Moved to Student Campus.

Programming languages change. The concepts stay the same. Regarding degrees, we get this question a lot. Is a computer science degree useful? Absolutely. The theory is pretty valuable in designing efficient solutions. In contrast, there are a number of members on DIC without a computer science degree (or a degree at all) that are quite good at programming.

In terms of setting up a business, how much experience do you have professionally (getting paid to program)? I would not suggest going into business for yourself until you understand how the industry works. You should have a good feel for what to charge, soliciting and marketing to clients; the amount of work involved in coding, running the business, etc.
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#3 hookiethe1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Future plans

Posted 18 March 2011 - 05:47 PM

Well if you're motivated and a self learner you could start your own business and go to school at the same time. Start by getting involved in projects, or if you can by taking small projects that you can do outside of school. Jobs like that won't make or break you, but will certainly be a good introduction to what you might expect doing freelance work. If you find yourself at some point with so much work on that you can't handle school and you want to leave school and rake in the bucks, that's your choice, but if you don't get to that point school is a nice safety net.
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#4 darek9576  Icon User is offline

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Re: Future plans

Posted 18 March 2011 - 09:36 PM

I dont get it. Why is having a CS degree a wrong direction?
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#5 xenoslash  Icon User is offline

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Re: Future plans

Posted 18 March 2011 - 10:19 PM

View Postdarek9576, on 18 March 2011 - 09:36 PM, said:

I dont get it. Why is having a CS degree a wrong direction?

Because my parents want me to set up my own company, and I thought (I might be wrong here) that most people with a CS degree end up working for others.

@macosx
Honestly, none. I have been doing programming only for fun, but I am going to take internships this summer. Will take your advice thanks.

@hookie
I see, I will ask my professors and see if they have anything in store for me.

Thanks for the input guys. I think I will start off by reading about how some huge software companies come into being during spring break.
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#6 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: Future plans

Posted 18 March 2011 - 10:28 PM

Also, just a piece of advice, but don't start a business b/c that's what your parents want. It takes a lot of time and commitment. You're on call all the time, on and off the clock. You are responsible for employees, paying the bills, more major taxes (based on the size of your business), etc. If you want to start a business, more power to you. But get plenty of experience working for others first to get a feel for the industry and business models, and do your research as well. If you want to go into business, great. But don't go into business b/c that's what your parents want. You may very well end up hating it.
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#7 hookiethe1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Future plans

Posted 19 March 2011 - 05:14 AM

View Postmacosxnerd101, on 18 March 2011 - 10:28 PM, said:

Also, just a piece of advice, but don't start a business b/c that's what your parents want.


This times a million. This sounds like your parents setting you up to fail. If people who go to university and get computer science degrees end up working for other people, who do you think they end up working for? People who didn't go to college? Only very rarely. Yes, we've all heard the stories of the self made billionaires who never finished college, but most of those people had several essential inputs: a good or great idea, serious motivation, in many cases luck, and also in many cases a serious financial backer.
You don't just start a business because you feel like it, you need to be able to offer something that people can't get elsewhere.
I would say your best bet for avoiding complete failure is to go to school and get your degree, get a job, at any point when you feel ready start doing freelance work on the side, try to build your freelance business up until it can support you, then attempt to expand so that it can support other programmers too, and then you will have your business.
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#8 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is online

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Re: Future plans

Posted 19 March 2011 - 06:26 AM

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I can tell you from experience that the people who run/own businesses aren't doing what they enjoy unless they are the types of people who go for business majors. You naturally went for a coding speciality.

A business owner spends his time doing payroll taxes, finding new ways to advertising, worrying about earning enough money to pay the bills, pay paychecks, trying to forward-think enough to create the next cool thing before his competitor THEN HAND THE IDEA TO THE CODERS to see it developed.

My boss who is a brilliant engineer occasionally let's it slip that he wishes he could be an engineer again because he hates doing all the "boss stuff" required of being the business owner.

At 17 you don't know how the world works. You don't know how corporations work. You don't know how company politics work. You do know how school works. Walk through it with me. By far you have the most experience at being a student than anything else in your life because you've done that one job for the last 12 years. Yet do you think you would be equipped to be a principal and run the school?

Now step back and apply that to software engineering. You've only done that for 2-4 years as a subset of your schooling. Does it make sense that you are ready to run a company for it?

You'll get there. Make it a goal. Create a plan and see it through. But first you have to learn and experience what it is to be a full-vested adult working inside a software engineering company. Take the opportunity to be an employee and use it to get a peek at how a company is managed. Learn what employees like and don't like so you can later take those lessons into your own company. Those that do no learn from history are doomed to repeat its mistakes. Learn from the history of those that came before you in coding, so you don't have to make them fresh for yourself.
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#9 xenoslash  Icon User is offline

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Re: Future plans

Posted 19 March 2011 - 12:50 PM

@hookie
AH! Thanks for clarifying my misunderstanding there.

@tlhIn`toq
That was a really helpful piece of advice, and very motivating too. Actually I have debated with my father about working for other people. I told him that I just can't see myself bossing people around, or running a huge company. He replied that he had no idea he could set up his own company was he was my age, but after he worked for a certain company, he decided he wanted to be self-employed. And ta-da now he is successful, and he thinks that everyone in the family should not be working for other people. Oh, but he still tells me to take on a job for about 2 years to see how big corporations are being run, etc.

However, the point which made me take a step back and think is when he told me that he had sent me abroad, paid my college tuition fee, etc, for me to be successful. If I don't set up my own company, then I might as well quit school and run his business (which has nothing to do with programming.)

Conclusion: As of right now, I can't see myself running a big business, and I hate having to boss people around, but maybe like my father said, that could change. And, I thought that it would be selfish of me to waste all the money my parents have spent on my education, just to work for other people instead of continuing the family business.
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#10 SpeedisaVirus  Icon User is offline

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Re: Future plans

Posted 19 March 2011 - 02:40 PM

You are FAR too young and inexperienced to ever start a programming shop. Get a job, get some skills, see how the stuff happens, then MAYBE in 10 years or more you will be in a position to go out on your own. No matter how hot you think you are in software you are not hot enough until you see in it action in the real world. Especially without uni out of the way. Your parents are naive if they think you can spring a business already. IE Dumb.
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#11 xenoslash  Icon User is offline

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Re: Future plans

Posted 19 March 2011 - 03:24 PM

Hahaha, no, it's not like my parents want me to set up a business now. Like the topic says, it's just a long-term plan. I understand that I know nothing about setting up a business, and this is the reason why I am starting the topic. I want to START learning about the things I am getting myself into.
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#12 SpeedisaVirus  Icon User is offline

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Re: Future plans

Posted 19 March 2011 - 03:26 PM

Long term is fine. It will take you no less than 5 years in the work force before you going to be able to handle wimpy web contacts though.
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#13 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: Future plans

Posted 19 March 2011 - 09:07 PM

It really depends on the level of work you do, and your involvement on the projects. If you are heavily involved in the design, the development, or the project management, then you'll probably learn a lot of the necessary skills faster. And don't limit your definition of "workforce" to paid work. If you volunteer to create a website for a local non-profit, that is valuable experience in a lot of ways, both technically and in dealing with people. Non-profits are more likely to be friendly clients, but this is not always the case, as I've encountered in my own experiences. I'm going to have to disagree with SpeedisaVirus' estimate, as I've had some side jobs and by no means do I have 5 years of workforce experience.

Classroom education is often seen as less worthwhile than realworld experience. While this is often the case, classroom experience is also valuable time for you to learn the basics, as well as experiment on your own and go above and beyond.
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#14 SpeedisaVirus  Icon User is offline

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Re: Future plans

Posted 19 March 2011 - 09:35 PM

You are also not a typical programmer.
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#15 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: Future plans

Posted 21 March 2011 - 04:39 PM

Perhaps, perhaps not. In my own experiences, as well as what I've seen of my peers in real life, those who are ready the earliest are those with the greatest sum of aptitude, drive, and experience. A good amount of the first two usually leads to a lot more experience/opportunities. Imo, that's why it depends more on the programmer than the number of years they have been programming.
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