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#1 Tharkis  Icon User is offline

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"Breaking in" to the business

Posted 17 June 2012 - 12:06 PM

So, a little background. I'm currently working as a network administrator for an independent laboratory. I handle all things networking, server related and more recently I've been put in charge of our interface engine (Corepoint). The more I do the scripting for the interface engine, the more I realize that my other job duties just bore me to tears. I've taken some programming courses in college (of which I am only in my second year) and loved them. In generally, I find that I really love programming. However, I have very little practical experience excepting my Corepoint programming. I know enough C# to get a start.

Whether it be the fault of a mid-life crisis or my late realization that I really do not enjoy my job, I find that I want to pursue a career in software development. In that end, I've gone out and asked a few of my programmer friends what kinds of things that hiring managers look for. But what they say the managers are looking for and what seems to appear in the ads I see listed are two different things. Furthermore I'm honestly not sure what is a "starting" job in the industry.

I'm not exactly the type to learn by going to classes and sucking up the information for spitting out later. I tend to learn better when presented with a problem and asked to solve it. But no one is going to hold my hand in this industry, so I have to know "something" of it before I start looking for a job.

eh.. I'm rambling.

So I guess what I am looking for is where to start? What positions should I be looking/applying for and what should I be doing in the meantime to build up my skills? While I know I need to do *something*, I'm not exactly sure how to go about it in a manner that would fit into the corporate world. I can hack a program together, but what does the industry in general look for in it's prospective candidates?

Any advice is appreciated.

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Replies To: "Breaking in" to the business

#2 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: "Breaking in" to the business

Posted 17 June 2012 - 12:10 PM

This is discussed at length in our Q&A with the Experts thread. Happy reading.
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#3 Tharkis  Icon User is offline

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Re: "Breaking in" to the business

Posted 17 June 2012 - 12:26 PM

Well I guess it is a helpful post and does seem to answer some of my questions.. I'd still be interested to hear anyone's opinions though. Especially on the subject of where to start and what kinds of positions to apply for.
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#4 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: "Breaking in" to the business

Posted 17 June 2012 - 12:53 PM

I'm sure this was said in that thread, but I'll repeat it...

Don't look at computer programming as an industry. You don't get a job in programming. You get a job at the plastics factory, DOING programming... Or at the insurance company DOING programming...

So what industry would you want to work for... programming for oil drilling machines... medical machines...

Programming like welding will get just as boring as your current job as soon as all the 'new and shiny' wears off. After that you're left with the company and the industry it is in. If you don't like fish, don't look for work tracking the growth of fish populations at the fish farm.

Once you have figured out an industry you need to look at THAT industries wants and needs. If you are wanting to do programming for network aware slot machines for the casino gaming industry then C# won't help you because all that runs on AS400. If you want to work with railroad tracking and management then all that is on an OS called QNX and is closer to C than C# or C++. If you love your iPad and Macintoshes then you need to learn Objective-C and Cocoa, and your development IDE will be X-Code not Visual Studio.

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I'm not exactly the type to learn by going to classes and sucking up the information for spitting out later. I tend to learn better when presented with a problem and asked to solve it.


If you don't learn about something, then how would you have the information for answering "how do I solve this?" I don't care if you go to university or self teach (other than self teaching is far faster at least in the beginning). But you can't walk into programming with little information and think you can be handed a problem, google it, then build a program for it. It just doesn't work that way. If you don't learn, comprehend and practice, practice, practice the concepts of OOP etc. then you will always lack any ability to solve those problems.

So to summarize:
  • We don't know your likes and dislikes. Only you do.
  • Find an industry that you would want to immerse yourself in.
  • THEN find out their programming needs and peculiarities.


My standard resource post for rookies:



Stop trying to architect a program while you are still learning the basics of C#. It just never works. Its like saying you are going to learn home architecting WHILE you hammer boards together without a blueprint, and try to learn both new skills at the same time.

First learn the language. Do a couple hundred tutorial projects where you build what you're told to build, the way you are told to build it WITH AN EXPLANATION OF WHY so you can learn.

Then later you can start architecting your own simple stuff. Build a calculator. Build a DVD library program. Etc. Stuff that doesn't involve the complexity of a game.

Then move up to games.



There are three routes people seem to take when learning programming.
  • Just start trying to create programs
  • Start taking apart other programs and try to figure out the language by reverse engineering
  • Follow a guided learning course (school or self-teaching books)


For the life of me I can't figure out why people try 1 & 2. I strongly suggest taking the guided learning approach. Those book authors go in a certain order for a reason: They know what they're doing and they know the best order to learn the materials.

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Where do I start?


You start by learning a coding language FIRST.
Learn to plan before you type.
THEN you start designing software with a purpose.


If this sounds like you

Newbie/Rookie said:

I have a little programming experience but I need to write ...
read this section
Spoiler


Otherwise, you can just jump to the resources here:
Some of the tutorials below are for C# or Java not C, C++, VB.NET [...]. But the conceptual stuff of classes, object oriented design, events etc. are not language specific and should give you enough guidance in theory of program development for you to be able to look-up specific code example in your chosen coding language.



Resources, references and suggestions for new programmers. - Updated Mar 2012
Spoiler

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#5 Tharkis  Icon User is offline

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Re: "Breaking in" to the business

Posted 17 June 2012 - 04:56 PM

View PosttlhIn`toq, on 17 June 2012 - 12:53 PM, said:

I'm sure this was said in that thread, but I'll repeat it...


Thanks for the great post.. A lot of wisdom and I think I understand what direction your pointing to.
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