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#1 Dastweeper  Icon User is offline

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How do you know when you're a professional?

Posted 10 October 2011 - 03:17 PM

Hi everyone. So, I've been teaching myself C++ for a while now, and I think that I'm starting to get the hang of it. However, I want to know: when do you think that I will be proficient enough to start to seek freelance work? I have no idea how good I am at C++, because nobody's ever reviewed my stuff; the CS teachers at my college refuse to look over it because I can't afford to take their classes.

What I'd like to do is contribute to some open source projects, and use that to build my experience. However, I don't think that right now I'd have anything good enough to contribute. So, how good do I need to be? What should I have a firm grasp on in order to consider myself at lest a semi-professional? Is there some kind of assessment test I can take to identify holes in my knowledge?

Thanks for any input.

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Replies To: How do you know when you're a professional?

#2 Kilorn  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you know when you're a professional?

Posted 10 October 2011 - 03:20 PM

I'd suggest checking out some of the freelance sites on the web, such as ELance, Freelancer, ODesk, etc. and look for projects in your preferred area. Try to do these projects yourself without any pay and see if you can accomplish them. If you're finding them to be easy enough to complete in a reasonable amount of time, then I'd say you're ready to begin freelancing.
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#3 Dastweeper  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you know when you're a professional?

Posted 11 October 2011 - 01:09 AM

Ok, I'll try that. Thank you.
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#4 Aphex19  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you know when you're a professional?

Posted 11 October 2011 - 04:20 AM

Do you have knowledge of any API's/libraries (e.g. GUI or graphics API's)? If not, that would be useful, since many open source projects won't always be console based applications.

You might want to create an account on Github and upload something, even if it's a trivial program. You could also look around for other people who are looking for contributions and see if you can help them in any way.
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#5 RetardedGenius  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you know when you're a professional?

Posted 13 October 2011 - 03:14 PM

When you're being paid to practice your trade?
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#6 Raynes  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you know when you're a professional?

Posted 14 October 2011 - 12:21 PM

You don't need college professors to review your code. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't trust them to review my code properly.

Just do some work and open source it. Find other programmers to review it for you. You can find them here, or ask for code review on IRC or something. It isn't that hard. It may hurt your feelings, but you'll be better for it.
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#7 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you know when you're a professional?

Posted 14 October 2011 - 12:27 PM

Also watch out for the Dunning-Kruger Effect. Last week I was reading an amusing article on 'self proclaimed' experts and so forth. Someone might get a kick out of it.

http://net.tutsplus....-kruger-effect/
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#8 RetardedGenius  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you know when you're a professional?

Posted 15 October 2011 - 01:47 AM

Ah modi123_1, this line really made me chuckle... :D

Quote

"It’s easier to brag about your next million dollar web application, than to actually create it. It’s more impressive to use the terms “gig” and “contract,” when you really mean, “freebie website for my sister.”

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#9 RodgerB  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you know when you're a professional?

Posted 15 October 2011 - 02:07 AM

The word 'professional' is relatively ambiguous as it's in the eye of the beholder. You will know yourself whether you are competent or not in certain fields of work by putting yourself to the test (and yes, you will run into trouble sometimes, that's just how it is, mistakes are always made professional or not).

I am yet to even start a BSc as I am still completing high school, but I have done some freelance coding projects, and some in which I took on and knew little about. In one project I needed to use Google Spreadsheets as a database in which I cringed at the thought of doing but pursued the idea out of curiosity (wanted to be sure I could code in PHP w/ APIs if I needed to, clumsy me thought Google API's would be relatively uniform and straight-forward).

For those that are wondering, it's a bad solution from what I've gathered, the naming conventions for the tables and spreadsheetids are hard to fish out programmatically and I ended up hardcoding them in due to lack of time and lack of motivation for the money I was being paid. Also would be a horrible replacement solution for a live website as it was notorious for returning Internal Server Error during testing, but my client was only using it for demonstrational purposes.

Anyway moral to the story, labels are for tin cans. Go forth and do what it is you want provided you have faith in yourself that you're capable.
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#10 Orangutan  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you know when you're a professional?

Posted 19 October 2011 - 07:39 PM

You're a professional when you've been in the industry long enough that you don't need to worry about being called one.
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