Is learning VB6 still useful?

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#1 nK0de  Icon User is offline

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Is learning VB6 still useful?

Posted 15 January 2012 - 05:26 AM

Hello Everyone! :)

I'm 21 years of age and I got a job as a trainee software developer at a software company right after I finished school. I was excited to get into .NET developing. Although my company has been in software industry for almost 20 years now, our moving along with new technologies is a huge failure! All our software is written with VB6! Only now, we're slowly migrating to .NET! I was doing MCTS so I had a basic knowldge in areas like C#, SQL Server 2008 when I joined in so I wanted to do .NET developing. But since I was a trainee, they put me as a supporting developer for the VB6 software. We're doing business solutions btw. Basically what I do is, doing small modifications, database migrations, debugging code (trust me when I tell you, there is a shitload of bugs in these software. :crazy: Its like a QA tester didn't even take a glance at the code! :angry: ) They told me with time, they hand me over a .NET project.

I've been maintaining these crappy old VB6 code for almost one and a half years and I'm not a trainee now. But still no .NET project for me! :pinch: I had no knowledge in VB6 when I started but now I know enough to patch up a broken process. My managers tell me once I learn VB6 well enough, they'll give me a .NET project!

Now I know even Microsoft has stopped supporting VB6 now. So my question is, is learning VB6 still gonna be useful for me or should I start looking for a new job?? :unsure: I feel like I'm wasting my time learning something that's already obsolete. I don't even remember stuff I learned about C# now because I lost the touch.

(Sorry for my lengthy rant. But thought of asking from professionals in the industry before making a decision. :) )

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#2 baavgai  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is learning VB6 still useful?

Posted 15 January 2012 - 05:45 AM

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You've answered your own question, I'm afraid. VB6 is a dead end for anything new. However, it shuffles on in its undying zombie state because of old projects written in it that refuse to die.

Programming is programming. You could work jobs where the language you're using only exists in the place you're working. e.g. Lucas used to program it's black boxes in Lucal, their own dialect of Ada. Conversely, Erickson's house language, Erlang, actually escaped into the wild.

The language you're using shouldn't be a concern. You may feel free to curse it or resent it, but as long as you can use it you're being a good programmer. No matter what language you use, the habit of programming will transfer.

You wish you were using C#? Good. Write something in C#. You can write it for you. Of, probably more productive, you can take some small VB6 tragedy at work and try to port it over. Take the initiative to do this. Even if work isn't ready to make the leap, you'll be ready when the time comes.
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#3 nK0de  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is learning VB6 still useful?

Posted 15 January 2012 - 06:21 AM

View Postbaavgai, on 15 January 2012 - 05:45 AM, said:

You wish you were using C#? Good. Write something in C#. You can write it for you. Of, probably more productive, you can take some small VB6 tragedy at work and try to port it over. Take the initiative to do this. Even if work isn't ready to make the leap, you'll be ready when the time comes.


That sounds really good. Though the lack of time is gonna be a bit of an issue but I think I'll give it a try. Thank you. :)
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#4 Atli  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is learning VB6 still useful?

Posted 15 January 2012 - 06:42 AM

View PostnK0de, on 15 January 2012 - 12:26 PM, said:

My managers tell me once I learn VB6 well enough, they'll give me a .NET project!

That makes no sense. Why would they give you a .NET project after spending all that time learning VB6, only to have to hire or train another VB6 programmer?

Maybe their plan is to have you maintain the VB6 code until they are ready to rewrite it in .NET, and only then add you to the team doing the rewrite.
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#5 nK0de  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is learning VB6 still useful?

Posted 15 January 2012 - 07:48 AM

View PostAtli, on 15 January 2012 - 06:42 AM, said:

View PostnK0de, on 15 January 2012 - 12:26 PM, said:

My managers tell me once I learn VB6 well enough, they'll give me a .NET project!

That makes no sense. Why would they give you a .NET project after spending all that time learning VB6, only to have to hire or train another VB6 programmer?

Maybe their plan is to have you maintain the VB6 code until they are ready to rewrite it in .NET, and only then add you to the team doing the rewrite.


You're completely right! That's exactly what I was thinking too. Now that I'm familiar with their old VB6 code and systems, I don't think they'll give me a .NET project just like that. Probably. But things are depressing at my office. My boss doesn't really like to invest in resources (developers, good PCs to work with) as he should. (trust me when I tell you, he assigned 3 developers and 1 QA to develop a banking system in an year! :hang: ) So everything happens really slow. We got a considerable client base(30+). Except for 3 or 4 places, all others are using the VB6 systems. And to look after all of them, just me and another one guy! (I hate saying sh*t about the place where I work but its the truth) So anyway, I won't get a .NET project anytime soon :( Should double up my time on my own pet projects.
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#6 Toadill  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is learning VB6 still useful?

Posted 15 January 2012 - 09:50 AM

View PostnK0de, on 15 January 2012 - 07:48 AM, said:

View PostAtli, on 15 January 2012 - 06:42 AM, said:

View PostnK0de, on 15 January 2012 - 12:26 PM, said:

My managers tell me once I learn VB6 well enough, they'll give me a .NET project!

That makes no sense. Why would they give you a .NET project after spending all that time learning VB6, only to have to hire or train another VB6 programmer?

Maybe their plan is to have you maintain the VB6 code until they are ready to rewrite it in .NET, and only then add you to the team doing the rewrite.


You're completely right! That's exactly what I was thinking too. Now that I'm familiar with their old VB6 code and systems, I don't think they'll give me a .NET project just like that. Probably. But things are depressing at my office. My boss doesn't really like to invest in resources (developers, good PCs to work with) as he should. (trust me when I tell you, he assigned 3 developers and 1 QA to develop a banking system in an year! :hang: ) So everything happens really slow. We got a considerable client base(30+). Except for 3 or 4 places, all others are using the VB6 systems. And to look after all of them, just me and another one guy! (I hate saying sh*t about the place where I work but its the truth) So anyway, I won't get a .NET project anytime soon :( Should double up my time on my own pet projects.


I agree VB6.0 is useless for building new software, but is still very useful in maintaining or porting old software. I would say that if that is where you work and what you do, that it is worth learning. This may even make you more valuable to the company.

This post has been edited by Toadill: 15 January 2012 - 09:50 AM

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#7 DivideByZero  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is learning VB6 still useful?

Posted 15 January 2012 - 11:07 AM

If a language is paying the bills, I'd say it's worth learning\knowing :)
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#8 Martyr2  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is learning VB6 still useful?

Posted 15 January 2012 - 12:13 PM

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I was in a similar situation several years ago. A retail appliance software developer stuck in VB6 when .NET had been out a few years. Your situation sounds exactly like it did for me where I was stuck working on the VB6 code base with the promise of .NET when they get to it.

Here is the truth... They probably will keep you there for years. If the software is meeting the immediate needs and there is a lot of it, it is going to take a lot of time for them to migrate it over and probably at great expense. There is no incentive to do this if VB6 programs are still doing their job.

There is a point where you have to ask yourself how much you are going to put up with and stifle your career. The position you are in is holding you back.

Surely I respect what the other commenters have said about it being a job and paying the bills or that it still has some application in general programming technique, but as baavgai clearly pointed out it is a dead language.

I would start looking at other programming shops that are more up to date and look to bail at a good opportunity. Otherwise you will be 5 years in and still on VB6, your .NET skills you have now will be a bit more rusty and you won't be working on exciting new projects. Then at that time you will be behind the 8ball.

I did jump ship and had no regrets. I got into a great company and increased pay. Now I work on some pretty cutting edge stuff and enjoy every minute of it. The scariest part was taking the initial leap.

Good luck to you! :)


P.S. I checked back with them almost 8 years later... still in VB6.

This post has been edited by Martyr2: 15 January 2012 - 12:18 PM

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#9 nK0de  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is learning VB6 still useful?

Posted 15 January 2012 - 01:40 PM

View PostToadill, on 15 January 2012 - 09:50 AM, said:

This may even make you more valuable to the company.


you do have a point there. but its not like I'm getting any increment salary-wise or anything. just the workload due to lack of developers. >.<

View PostDivideByZero, on 15 January 2012 - 11:07 AM, said:

If a language is paying the bills, I'd say it's worth learning\knowing :)


haha...it would have been great if money came up with something more and new to learn too, you know :)

View PostMartyr2, on 15 January 2012 - 12:13 PM, said:

I was in a similar situation several years ago. A retail appliance software developer stuck in VB6 when .NET had been out a few years. Your situation sounds exactly like it did for me where I was stuck working on the VB6 code base with the promise of .NET when they get to it.

Here is the truth... They probably will keep you there for years. If the software is meeting the immediate needs and there is a lot of it, it is going to take a lot of time for them to migrate it over and probably at great expense. There is no incentive to do this if VB6 programs are still doing their job.

There is a point where you have to ask yourself how much you are going to put up with and stifle your career. The position you are in is holding you back.

Surely I respect what the other commenters have said about it being a job and paying the bills or that it still has some application in general programming technique, but as baavgai clearly pointed out it is a dead language.

I would start looking at other programming shops that are more up to date and look to bail at a good opportunity. Otherwise you will be 5 years in and still on VB6, your .NET skills you have now will be a bit more rusty and you won't be working on exciting new projects. Then at that time you will be behind the 8ball.

I did jump ship and had no regrets. I got into a great company and increased pay. Now I work on some pretty cutting edge stuff and enjoy every minute of it. The scariest part was taking the initial leap.

Good luck to you! :)


P.S. I checked back with them almost 8 years later... still in VB6.


I'm in that very same boat right now, I guess.. you're right. :) I should move along for there is no guarantee as to when they're gonna let me get into .NET developing. Its risky but worth taking it than wasting time. Thank you very much :)
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#10 innuendoreplay  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is learning VB6 still useful?

Posted 15 January 2012 - 03:05 PM

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My managers tell me once I learn VB6 well enough, they'll give me a .NET project!
That's the killer sentence... :gun_bandana: . Bro, if you don't like vb6 don't waste your time; search another job when you can rise as programmer.
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#11 Beach_Coder  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is learning VB6 still useful?

Posted 15 January 2012 - 03:17 PM

1) If you are that young and you are an expert in VB6, it is an asset. A million guys my age know VB6. Old guys want too much money, aren't fun, and would rather pretend to be executives than do an actual work. For any project or job that requires expertise in VB6, you will have little competition.
2) Knowing old school stuff is never bad. Every so often, there is some f'ing problem no one knows how to approach, and the solution is found when something archaic in your mind gets dusted off and you will enjoy much applause.
3) You work on business applications? I interpret that to mean that it actually does stuff that needs doing rather than just looks cool when it's done. The cutting edge stuff is great when you work for Fortune 500 companies and want to learn a single specific task in detail, or work for a start-up and do everything yourself for stock options that 999 times out of 1,000 get de-listed, or never get listed in the first place. For every shop that does cutting edge work, there are 100,000 that haven't upgraded a dang thing for ten years and won't for another ten. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. If a new "it" will come out of people's bonus checks, fix it and forget getting a new it.
4) If you know VB6, you can do things with MS Office and VBA that will both be useful and impressive. Perhaps even lucrative.
5) In your spare time, write a happy application in the .Net tool of your pleasure that converts your VB6 code to .Net. Make it something brilliant (there's plenty of stuff that is bad, or okay, or good). Then, when someone says "Hey you know VB6, how do I make this aging application .Net?" you press a button, it's done, and you get an office with a plant and a company Amex card.
6) Don't get complacent, you'll be a dinosaur the next time you update your resume. Every time you identify something that needs a solution, invest your evenings, weekends and holidays into developing one in whatever language you please. Show it off. If it's good, they'll put you close to wherever you like. If they don't, don't worry about surprising them when you walk.
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#12 nK0de  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is learning VB6 still useful?

Posted 16 January 2012 - 03:59 AM

View Postinnuendoreplay, on 15 January 2012 - 03:05 PM, said:

Quote

My managers tell me once I learn VB6 well enough, they'll give me a .NET project!
That's the killer sentence... :gun_bandana: . Bro, if you don't like vb6 don't waste your time; search another job when you can rise as programmer.


View PostBeach_Coder, on 15 January 2012 - 03:17 PM, said:

1) If you are that young and you are an expert in VB6, it is an asset. A million guys my age know VB6. Old guys want too much money, aren't fun, and would rather pretend to be executives than do an actual work. For any project or job that requires expertise in VB6, you will have little competition.
2) Knowing old school stuff is never bad. Every so often, there is some f'ing problem no one knows how to approach, and the solution is found when something archaic in your mind gets dusted off and you will enjoy much applause.
3) You work on business applications? I interpret that to mean that it actually does stuff that needs doing rather than just looks cool when it's done. The cutting edge stuff is great when you work for Fortune 500 companies and want to learn a single specific task in detail, or work for a start-up and do everything yourself for stock options that 999 times out of 1,000 get de-listed, or never get listed in the first place. For every shop that does cutting edge work, there are 100,000 that haven't upgraded a dang thing for ten years and won't for another ten. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. If a new "it" will come out of people's bonus checks, fix it and forget getting a new it.
4) If you know VB6, you can do things with MS Office and VBA that will both be useful and impressive. Perhaps even lucrative.
5) In your spare time, write a happy application in the .Net tool of your pleasure that converts your VB6 code to .Net. Make it something brilliant (there's plenty of stuff that is bad, or okay, or good). Then, when someone says "Hey you know VB6, how do I make this aging application .Net?" you press a button, it's done, and you get an office with a plant and a company Amex card.
6) Don't get complacent, you'll be a dinosaur the next time you update your resume. Every time you identify something that needs a solution, invest your evenings, weekends and holidays into developing one in whatever language you please. Show it off. If it's good, they'll put you close to wherever you like. If they don't, don't worry about surprising them when you walk.


I guess this has both considerable pros and cons. As much as I'd love to leave my current job, looking at the job market these days (in my country), I don't think it'll be the best idea as of now. Everyone requires experience like 3 to 5 years at least! Since I'm still doing my degree too and only have 1+ years of experience in VB6 only, I think I'm gonna get lost out there if I leave now. :unsure: I've been thinking and I decided I'm gonna stay here for like another 6 months and while I'm there, I'm gonna take the converting VB6 applications to .NET approach as many have advised. If I don't get a green light, they can shove it, I'm gonna leave! :)
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#13 xclite  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is learning VB6 still useful?

Posted 16 January 2012 - 09:29 AM

I purposely avoid job postings that have VB6 - not because I want to trash the language, but because I'm not interested in the sort of work that comes with managing old VB6 applications and the skill is only transferable to... other places running old VB6 applications. Yeah, learn the tool for the job, but I'd agree that you should look for a job using better tools.
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#14 innuendoreplay  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is learning VB6 still useful?

Posted 17 January 2012 - 10:34 AM

View PostnK0de, on 16 January 2012 - 03:59 AM, said:

View Postinnuendoreplay, on 15 January 2012 - 03:05 PM, said:

Quote

My managers tell me once I learn VB6 well enough, they'll give me a .NET project!
That's the killer sentence... :gun_bandana: . Bro, if you don't like vb6 don't waste your time; search another job when you can rise as programmer.


View PostBeach_Coder, on 15 January 2012 - 03:17 PM, said:

1) If you are that young and you are an expert in VB6, it is an asset. A million guys my age know VB6. Old guys want too much money, aren't fun, and would rather pretend to be executives than do an actual work. For any project or job that requires expertise in VB6, you will have little competition.
2) Knowing old school stuff is never bad. Every so often, there is some f'ing problem no one knows how to approach, and the solution is found when something archaic in your mind gets dusted off and you will enjoy much applause.
3) You work on business applications? I interpret that to mean that it actually does stuff that needs doing rather than just looks cool when it's done. The cutting edge stuff is great when you work for Fortune 500 companies and want to learn a single specific task in detail, or work for a start-up and do everything yourself for stock options that 999 times out of 1,000 get de-listed, or never get listed in the first place. For every shop that does cutting edge work, there are 100,000 that haven't upgraded a dang thing for ten years and won't for another ten. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. If a new "it" will come out of people's bonus checks, fix it and forget getting a new it.
4) If you know VB6, you can do things with MS Office and VBA that will both be useful and impressive. Perhaps even lucrative.
5) In your spare time, write a happy application in the .Net tool of your pleasure that converts your VB6 code to .Net. Make it something brilliant (there's plenty of stuff that is bad, or okay, or good). Then, when someone says "Hey you know VB6, how do I make this aging application .Net?" you press a button, it's done, and you get an office with a plant and a company Amex card.
6) Don't get complacent, you'll be a dinosaur the next time you update your resume. Every time you identify something that needs a solution, invest your evenings, weekends and holidays into developing one in whatever language you please. Show it off. If it's good, they'll put you close to wherever you like. If they don't, don't worry about surprising them when you walk.


I guess this has both considerable pros and cons. As much as I'd love to leave my current job, looking at the job market these days (in my country), I don't think it'll be the best idea as of now. Everyone requires experience like 3 to 5 years at least! Since I'm still doing my degree too and only have 1+ years of experience in VB6 only, I think I'm gonna get lost out there if I leave now. :unsure: I've been thinking and I decided I'm gonna stay here for like another 6 months and while I'm there, I'm gonna take the converting VB6 applications to .NET approach as many have advised. If I don't get a green light, they can shove it, I'm gonna leave! :)

Well, but in that case, i recommend that you continue learning some modern stuff like javascipt, php, c# (.net is your plan), sqlite. And remember that the passion is very important!. Good Luck. Don't waste a lot of time in VB6 ;-)
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#15 nK0de  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is learning VB6 still useful?

Posted 17 January 2012 - 10:39 AM

View Postinnuendoreplay, on 17 January 2012 - 10:34 AM, said:

View PostnK0de, on 16 January 2012 - 03:59 AM, said:

View Postinnuendoreplay, on 15 January 2012 - 03:05 PM, said:

Quote

My managers tell me once I learn VB6 well enough, they'll give me a .NET project!
That's the killer sentence... :gun_bandana: . Bro, if you don't like vb6 don't waste your time; search another job when you can rise as programmer.


View PostBeach_Coder, on 15 January 2012 - 03:17 PM, said:

1) If you are that young and you are an expert in VB6, it is an asset. A million guys my age know VB6. Old guys want too much money, aren't fun, and would rather pretend to be executives than do an actual work. For any project or job that requires expertise in VB6, you will have little competition.
2) Knowing old school stuff is never bad. Every so often, there is some f'ing problem no one knows how to approach, and the solution is found when something archaic in your mind gets dusted off and you will enjoy much applause.
3) You work on business applications? I interpret that to mean that it actually does stuff that needs doing rather than just looks cool when it's done. The cutting edge stuff is great when you work for Fortune 500 companies and want to learn a single specific task in detail, or work for a start-up and do everything yourself for stock options that 999 times out of 1,000 get de-listed, or never get listed in the first place. For every shop that does cutting edge work, there are 100,000 that haven't upgraded a dang thing for ten years and won't for another ten. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. If a new "it" will come out of people's bonus checks, fix it and forget getting a new it.
4) If you know VB6, you can do things with MS Office and VBA that will both be useful and impressive. Perhaps even lucrative.
5) In your spare time, write a happy application in the .Net tool of your pleasure that converts your VB6 code to .Net. Make it something brilliant (there's plenty of stuff that is bad, or okay, or good). Then, when someone says "Hey you know VB6, how do I make this aging application .Net?" you press a button, it's done, and you get an office with a plant and a company Amex card.
6) Don't get complacent, you'll be a dinosaur the next time you update your resume. Every time you identify something that needs a solution, invest your evenings, weekends and holidays into developing one in whatever language you please. Show it off. If it's good, they'll put you close to wherever you like. If they don't, don't worry about surprising them when you walk.


I guess this has both considerable pros and cons. As much as I'd love to leave my current job, looking at the job market these days (in my country), I don't think it'll be the best idea as of now. Everyone requires experience like 3 to 5 years at least! Since I'm still doing my degree too and only have 1+ years of experience in VB6 only, I think I'm gonna get lost out there if I leave now. :unsure: I've been thinking and I decided I'm gonna stay here for like another 6 months and while I'm there, I'm gonna take the converting VB6 applications to .NET approach as many have advised. If I don't get a green light, they can shove it, I'm gonna leave! :)

Well, but in that case, i recommend that you continue learning some modern stuff like javascipt, php, c# (.net is your plan), sqlite. And remember that the passion is very important!. Good Luck. Don't waste a lot of time in VB6 ;-)


I do have the passion! I love programming! :D I'm have already started learning Javascript on my own. I will continue doing so. Thanks :)
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