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#1 OOIsTheFuture  Icon User is offline

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Ready to be professional?

Posted 15 January 2012 - 03:00 PM

Good evening,

I was wondering if I could bend the ear of a few professional programmers for there opinion on where I should go next.
I am a sales engineer by trade but I started programming to make our companies new product selection software. I had to program in VB6 as the use of variants was required to use our suppliers dll and I couldn’t use C++ as the purchase of MSVC++ wasn’t sanctioned as we had a copy of VB6.

I always wanted to be a programmer and I feel I have a knack for it. In fact I want to progress for a full on professional. I have aimed to learn C# as I thought it would be a good language to learn and I always wanted to learn the C syntax. I have worked though the basics from the “Programming C#, 4th Edition by Jesse Liberty” but I am not sure if I am ready. I haven’t finished the book as I learn rapidly through trying and implementation not reading what someone else had done but I have mastered the basics.

I am reluctant to leave my job as it is very stable with good progression possibilities. But I don’t get to design programs and code all day which would be my ideal profession. I also deal heavily in project management so designing programs is as enjoyable as coding. I dream about programming and now see everything as objects and how I would define them. I think I have it bad.

In my VB6 programming I have heavily focused on Object Orientated programming. I am clean and concise with good notation and I use a lot of functions and subroutines to avoid reusing code. I try to be as professional as possible in my approach. I have experience in SQL, VBA, complex engineering algorithms and file creation.

Any advice from any professionals would be appreciated.

Thank you,

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Replies To: Ready to be professional?

#2 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Ready to be professional?

Posted 15 January 2012 - 03:02 PM

Welcome to DIC. I'm going to move this to the Corner Cubicle for better discussion. :)
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#3 CTphpnwb  Icon User is online

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Re: Ready to be professional?

Posted 15 January 2012 - 03:08 PM

Do you have code you wrote six or more months ago? Can you read/understand it without difficulty? Do you find yourself spending more time worrying about writing in a clear, concise way than getting the code to "work"? If you answer yes to these questions then I'd say that you're well on your way.
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#4 OOIsTheFuture  Icon User is offline

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Re: Ready to be professional?

Posted 15 January 2012 - 03:27 PM

I find myself reviewing old code and being disappointed with myself for being sloppy.
I can understand it which is nice, especially as it refers to Thermodynamic processes which can be complicated.
I write code in batches reviewing and reassessing to make it as simple as possible while being clear and using lots of descriptive notes. I have this practice in all my areas of work. Stops me being hung, drawn and quartered if anything went wrong.
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#5 Martyr2  Icon User is offline

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Re: Ready to be professional?

Posted 15 January 2012 - 03:47 PM

You mention a lot of things in your original post. Advice on if you should pursuit a career in programming, if you are ready, what to learn next etc.

1) What to learn next - you said you have yet to finish your C# book. I suggest you continue to the end. By all means experiment on your own. Read a chapter and then try some experimenting. Just because they give you a certain problem in the book doesn't mean you can't change it a little and learn something new with it. Also know that learning C# doesn't necessarily mean you are learning C/C++ syntax. They are similar but C# is highly abstracted and runs on .NET rather than platform independent like C/C++. After you finish your book, grab another and do it again... all the time practicing stuff on the side and with the book's instructions. You should also be reading articles, tutorials and posts on boards like DIC to augment your learning in the book.

2) Are you ready? Not yet but you are on your way! Keep focusing on great program structure and maintain your good habits. The way you are thinking is right on and only adopt other approaches if you can fully see how they may be more beneficial than what you currently have.... don't stick with something just because of comfort level. Really a good programmer ready for industry probably has a few years of a language under their belt to be proficient. You will never learn it all. I am going on year 15 here soon and I certainly still learn more every day.

3) Going after a career in programming - Hey, if you are dreaming of programming and really love it, nothing should stop you. It is pretty tough to jump from a place of financial security to take a risk, but honestly it isn't a risk. If you are passionate and it is a career that you know has a decent market out there, you are only going to jump in and excel. That is because passionate people love to do good work and that work won't seem like work at all. Of course be smart about it, save up some cash on the side that can keep you afloat with your bills and family obligations while you go after your dream. I have done this and it was scary at first, but well worth it in the end. Definitely do it if your dream is to be a programmer!

But it sounds like you are at a great place in life to save a little, plan a little and make the leap. You will be glad you did in the end, trust me!

:)
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#6 OOIsTheFuture  Icon User is offline

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Re: Ready to be professional?

Posted 16 January 2012 - 02:15 PM

Thank you very much,

I think i will stay where i am for a while, i have developed my VB6 code into a dll, which i will then put into c# therefore giving me a chance to develop my understanding of c#. I am basically dividing and conquering, allowing VB6 to handle my customers dll and i handle vb6 from c#.

I am aware that c# is a not a c language as it is heavily dependent on the .net framework and not a language in its own right. From what i am lead to believe it is the .Net programming language with c syntax as opposed to the same language with a vb syntax (vb.net).

My thoughts were on learning c# or Java which i believe is a similar situation, using the Java class lib's/framework as opposed to the .net lib/framework. I opted for c# as i cant see Microsoft not dominating the world. And i want to develop windows applications.

Once i have a few months/years of c# programming under my belt i will possibly reconsider.

I have also read up on c++ in a book based on a programmers perspective and i understand how it is a stand alone language. Free from the requirements having a framework requirement. I have tried to understand the basics of as many languages as possible. As well as programing concepts.

Thank you again for you assistance and insight.
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