My 5 year plan (currently a junior)

  • (2 Pages)
  • +
  • 1
  • 2

19 Replies - 2391 Views - Last Post: 26 December 2011 - 11:39 AM

#1 Koreos  Icon User is offline

  • New D.I.C Head

Reputation: 0
  • View blog
  • Posts: 26
  • Joined: 04-February 09

My 5 year plan (currently a junior)

Posted 07 November 2011 - 11:21 AM

Hello everyone!

I have been a member of the forums for a couple years now. I am posting here today with a question that I am finding hard to answer by myself. I will be graduating in Spring 2013 with a Management Information Systems undergraduate degree. State Farm has given me an internship for the Summer of 2012 as a Systems Analyst.

I sort of have a 5 year plan of my future. Right now it is to finish my junior year, do my internship, start my senior year and start applying for real jobs around this time of the year in 2012. All good, right?

The company I want to work for is Blizzard Entertainment, in Irvine, CA. I know I am aiming high, but I think it's realistic. My idea is to enter the company in an entry-ish type of job, such as a Systems Engineer, Web, for which I currently meet all the requirements (link). It's from here on that my plan becomes hazy.

I eventually want to go up in the professional ladder, I assume becoming a Senior Software Engineer and eventually a Lead Software Engineer. I have the feeling that most of the requirements will come as I work for the company. But there's one specific requirement that dreads me. And that is that from Software Engineering to Senior I must become an expert in C and C++. I doubt that I will gain any experience of those languages being a Web Software Engineer, so I feel like I would be stuck in that position.

So, my question is, how do you guys propose I overcome that obstacle? how do I gain expertise in C/C++ if the job I will have at the moment doesn't apply it?

I am not against taking courses or training if the company offers them, but I don't want to depend on wishful thinking. I have taken some C++ in college, but I wouldn't call myself an expert in any measure.

Thanks!

Is This A Good Question/Topic? 0
  • +

Replies To: My 5 year plan (currently a junior)

#2 TonicX57  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Head

Reputation: 4
  • View blog
  • Posts: 84
  • Joined: 13-September 08

Re: My 5 year plan (currently a junior)

Posted 07 November 2011 - 11:27 AM

Look up the Game Institute. This may not be what you're looking for, but they offer relatively inexpensive C++ training focused on game development which you will receive a certificate for. The question is whether or not Blizzard would consider that to be enough.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#3 Sethro117  Icon User is offline

  • Still the sexiest mofo.
  • member icon

Reputation: 236
  • View blog
  • Posts: 2,378
  • Joined: 14-January 09

Re: My 5 year plan (currently a junior)

Posted 07 November 2011 - 10:57 PM

Self-Study, there are plenty of self-study people who hold high positions. You have the degree, learn the language in your spare time, do some development work on the side, build up your portfolio, maybe make a few small games yourself so when you get to the point of being able to become a Senior SE you can show the work you've done.
Was This Post Helpful? 3
  • +
  • -

#4 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

  • Pancakes!
  • member icon


Reputation: 7578
  • View blog
  • Posts: 12,746
  • Joined: 19-March 11

Re: My 5 year plan (currently a junior)

Posted 08 November 2011 - 10:58 AM

The only way to learn to write code is to write code. There's a lot of stuff that can help you, theory and math and whatnot, but if you actually want to write C++, you'll have to spend a lot of time writing programs in C++.
Get to it.
Was This Post Helpful? 2
  • +
  • -

#5 Koreos  Icon User is offline

  • New D.I.C Head

Reputation: 0
  • View blog
  • Posts: 26
  • Joined: 04-February 09

Re: My 5 year plan (currently a junior)

Posted 08 November 2011 - 01:29 PM

Thanks for your answers, guys.

@jon.kiparsky
I would do that, but what am I gonna code? A silly program which won't inspire me? or are there some sort of online projects for people to join and get practice/experience?

I am the type of person that learns the best when is actually engaged into something. I could go through the C++ textbook I used in class (which the course didn't finish), but I am not sure I could call that experience.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#6 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

  • Pancakes!
  • member icon


Reputation: 7578
  • View blog
  • Posts: 12,746
  • Joined: 19-March 11

Re: My 5 year plan (currently a junior)

Posted 08 November 2011 - 01:59 PM

Quote

I would do that, but what am I gonna code? A silly program which won't inspire me?


If you can't find something to write that inspires you, why are you thinking you'll be any good at writing code? I have no idea what you might find interesting to write, that's your business. I'm just saying, you need to write code. You also have to learn about your algorithms and your design patterns, and understand the compiler and probably learn a bit of assembler, and learn some math, but mostly you have to write a lot of code.

Quote

or are there some sort of online projects for people to join and get practice/experience?


You can certainly find an open-source project and try to commit code to it, but you're likely to do better if you've learned a good bit before you dive into that.

One good site for small but non-trivial programming practice is Project Euler- if you can get through a bunch of those, you'll certainly know something about programming, and about math, as well.
Was This Post Helpful? 3
  • +
  • -

#7 DimitriV  Icon User is offline

  • They don't think it be like it is, but it do
  • member icon

Reputation: 583
  • View blog
  • Posts: 2,738
  • Joined: 24-July 11

Re: My 5 year plan (currently a junior)

Posted 08 November 2011 - 02:34 PM

View PostKoreos, on 09 November 2011 - 06:29 AM, said:

Thanks for your answers, guys.

@jon.kiparsky
I would do that, but what am I gonna code? A silly program which won't inspire me? or are there some sort of online projects for people to join and get practice/experience?

I am the type of person that learns the best when is actually engaged into something. I could go through the C++ textbook I used in class (which the course didn't finish), but I am not sure I could call that experience.

Then you have to challenge yourself. I could never read a programming book to learn a language, so I challenged myself to accomplish certain projects and out of this I picked up my programming skills.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#8 Koreos  Icon User is offline

  • New D.I.C Head

Reputation: 0
  • View blog
  • Posts: 26
  • Joined: 04-February 09

Re: My 5 year plan (currently a junior)

Posted 08 November 2011 - 02:42 PM

I am all about self-study, I have learned many things that way. However, a program needs to have a purpose, and that's what I find hard to find. I am not the type to just code things just because, I need to feel like it has a purpose. There are a few different things that I feel conflicted with, however.

Will a company like Blizzard recognize self-studying as experience? would those little projects I would code as I learn be significant for me to mention in my resume?

I guess I am being too critical of this. I feel like I need to put C++ to use in a professional environment in order for me to claim expertise in it.

This post has been edited by Koreos: 08 November 2011 - 02:42 PM

Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#9 Gavisann  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Regular
  • member icon

Reputation: 103
  • View blog
  • Posts: 382
  • Joined: 01-July 11

Re: My 5 year plan (currently a junior)

Posted 08 November 2011 - 02:47 PM

It is very good that you have a plan, my advice for you is to make sure you have a few back-ups in place. For example, if Blizzard doesn't work out, what about a different game studio? A major plus for most applications is work experience; since you have none, that could make it harder to get a job with the big companies so do not get discouraged if some applications are denied.

Good luck!
Was This Post Helpful? 1
  • +
  • -

#10 Koreos  Icon User is offline

  • New D.I.C Head

Reputation: 0
  • View blog
  • Posts: 26
  • Joined: 04-February 09

Re: My 5 year plan (currently a junior)

Posted 08 November 2011 - 02:52 PM

View PostGavisann, on 08 November 2011 - 02:47 PM, said:

It is very good that you have a plan, my advice for you is to make sure you have a few back-ups in place. For example, if Blizzard doesn't work out, what about a different game studio? A major plus for most applications is work experience; since you have none, that could make it harder to get a job with the big companies so do not get discouraged if some applications are denied.

Good luck!


Thanks, I have indeed a backup plan. I will most likely get a full-time offer from State Farm after my internship (the interviewers said so themselves). I, however do have some real-world experience, although not in the coding of games. I have two experiences as a Web Software Engineer, plus one as a Photoshop Specialist. :bigsmile: I went to college later than usual.

I actually think I would branch into some sort of User Interface software engineer, rather than perhaps a pure programing branch.

This post has been edited by Koreos: 08 November 2011 - 02:53 PM

Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#11 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

  • Pancakes!
  • member icon


Reputation: 7578
  • View blog
  • Posts: 12,746
  • Joined: 19-March 11

Re: My 5 year plan (currently a junior)

Posted 08 November 2011 - 04:17 PM

*
POPULAR

If you want to work on something "real", first you have to learn the language. The more you are the person that Blizzard (or whoever) wants, the more you will be able to do on your own. Show a little initiative. You won't write the next Blazing Swords of Doom until you've dealt with your hello, world and learned how to write the basics. "Hello world" doesn't go on your resume, and your little XML parser that you made just to see how that's done doesn't go on your resume, but that stuff is what will get you the job, because that's the stuff that will make you a programmer worth hiring.

Start writing code.

As for getting hired at one place or another, you can be pretty sure that most resumes you send out will not get you a call back, especially if you focus on brand-name employers. If your plan is specific down to the name of the company, it's a bad plan. If you were a good progammer you'd know about making your requirements too brittle. That's something you'll learn by writing programs, though.

Go write some programs.
Seriously, don't screw around. If you want to do this, do it. Stop planning and start writing. You can get back to planning later if you have to.
Was This Post Helpful? 5
  • +
  • -

#12 elgose  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Head

Reputation: 102
  • View blog
  • Posts: 228
  • Joined: 03-December 09

Re: My 5 year plan (currently a junior)

Posted 11 November 2011 - 06:21 AM

*
POPULAR

I hardly thought jon.kiparsky's previous post deserved a down-vote, it's actually really good advice.

I've seen people at school and work environments that never cared about the trivial learning phase of learning a language, and they are worse programmers for it. Many of the people in the business learned to program in school where we've encountered so many mundane programming exercises that it's made us cry - but since we had to do it to pass the courses, we've learned a lot about the language (still plenty of dead-weights are produced after doing this, though). All the self-study people, they're probably better than most at writing "useless programs" (which are actually very useful to the individual) to test out a feature, technique, design, etc. so that they learn how it can be applied and how it needs to be structured.

You don't learn to write well from only ever writing the interesting things - you have to first go through all the drills and vocabulary practice and grammar study et cetera, et cetera, before writing a best selling novel. There are plenty of ways to turn them into little projects or a neater application (i.e. tic-tac-toe for learning input/output versus "Select 1 to print a smiley face! Select 2 to...", or a library system for your DVD's instead of an arbitrary 'save strings' program, and so on), but you still need to get it down. So like jon said, do it.

If you narrow your focus to such an extent with C/C++, you'll only be hurting yourself. You will still develop a knowledge base, but you may never achieve expertise like you want.
Was This Post Helpful? 5
  • +
  • -

#13 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

  • Pancakes!
  • member icon


Reputation: 7578
  • View blog
  • Posts: 12,746
  • Joined: 19-March 11

Re: My 5 year plan (currently a junior)

Posted 11 November 2011 - 09:23 AM

@elgose - thanks for that. I'm not overly concerned about reputation on the site, but I am concerned about the attitude I see expressed by Koreos, and I appreciate your taking the time to address it.

Just to add one more thing: Koreos, I'm 39 years old, and I've been working at some job or other since I was thirteen, in a lot of different fields. I've done a lot of job searching, and I know something about the process. There's plenty I don't know, but I think I know enough to be useful to you.
I suggest you think again about your career planning, and maybe talk to someone in the industry about it. Ideally, you should talk to more than one person, preferably people with more than ten years' experience, and at least one person who has actually participated in hiring.
If you do this and you still like your current plan, I'll have nothing more to say about it.
Was This Post Helpful? 1
  • +
  • -

#14 BenignDesign  Icon User is offline

  • holy shitin shishkebobs
  • member icon




Reputation: 5937
  • View blog
  • Posts: 10,346
  • Joined: 28-September 07

Re: My 5 year plan (currently a junior)

Posted 11 November 2011 - 10:39 AM

Why do you have an issue with the idea of writing code and learning a language on your own?

Do you honestly think that Blizzard is going to grant you an interview, pat you on the back, and say, "We just love your cute little button nose and go-get-em attitude! We're going to hire you for this position and pay for you to learn how to code. Who cares if there are 900 experienced coders applying for this position!? You seem... inspired... so we'll invest more money than is necessary just to get you. Because you're special!"?

It seems to me you may have Blizzard on an unrealistic pedastal and it won't be long before that throne comes crashing down around you. Most companies - Blizzard included, I'd wager - don't care if you're "inspired"... only that you can get the job done.

So unless you have an "in" with the company, I would suggest either learning to code - inspired or not - or learn to say "Do you want fries with that?" in Spanish.

Just my two cents.
Was This Post Helpful? 4
  • +
  • -

#15 Craig328  Icon User is offline

  • I make this look good
  • member icon

Reputation: 1914
  • View blog
  • Posts: 3,448
  • Joined: 13-January 08

Re: My 5 year plan (currently a junior)

Posted 11 November 2011 - 12:28 PM

View PostBenignDesign, on 11 November 2011 - 01:39 PM, said:

Why do you have an issue with the idea of writing code and learning a language on your own?

Do you honestly think that Blizzard is going to grant you an interview, pat you on the back, and say, "We just love your cute little button nose and go-get-em attitude! We're going to hire you for this position and pay for you to learn how to code. Who cares if there are 900 experienced coders applying for this position!? You seem... inspired... so we'll invest more money than is necessary just to get you. Because you're special!"?

It seems to me you may have Blizzard on an unrealistic pedastal and it won't be long before that throne comes crashing down around you. Most companies - Blizzard included, I'd wager - don't care if you're "inspired"... only that you can get the job done.

So unless you have an "in" with the company, I would suggest either learning to code - inspired or not - or learn to say "Do you want fries with that?" in Spanish.

Just my two cents.



aka: "more skills are always better than less skills" (unless the skill in question is setting yourself on fire...in which case, kindly disregard the "aka").
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

  • (2 Pages)
  • +
  • 1
  • 2