4 Replies - 6115 Views - Last Post: 04 August 2012 - 11:55 AM

#1 conure  Icon User is offline

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Some advice regarding programming roles.

Posted 03 August 2012 - 03:44 PM

Hey all,

I currently work in finance and want a career change. I have a strong interest in computers and IT and would like (I believe) to go into software development as I think it probably allows a fair bit of creativity/ingenuity.

Thing is, I'm a little lost. The course at the University near me offers a primarily Java based approach with a few variances in modules. First of all, I am not highly qualified in Math (though finance obviously utilises mathematics but I would presume not to the same level as programming. How advanced is the Math here?

Second, I don't want to commit a large amount of money to a course and find out I don't like it. Can anyone suggest a way for me to "test the water" programming wise, to see if I find it enjoyable? Also, do jobs available with this type of degree allow a fair bit of flexibility and creative though? I feel stifled in finance because although the money is great, the career satisfaction is nil. Does anybody here work in programming and do you dread the 9-5?

Sorry, I know this isn't strictly programming related but thought this the best place to ask.

Much appreciated,

Conure

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Replies To: Some advice regarding programming roles.

#2 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Some advice regarding programming roles.

Posted 03 August 2012 - 05:30 PM

Moving to the student forum..
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#3 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Some advice regarding programming roles.

Posted 03 August 2012 - 05:40 PM

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How advanced is the Math here?


Depends on the program and what concentration you pickup. Calculus.. discrete math.. logical equations and truth tables.. etc.. etc.. etc. Which ever school you are looking at will have a listing of required math and you can get a feel for how they are directing you.

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Second, I don't want to commit a large amount of money to a course and find out I don't like it

That's a little hard with college since.. well.. core classes are core classes and are required to graduate!

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Can anyone suggest a way for me to "test the water" programming wise, to see if I find it enjoyable?

Grab a book on intro to java and work through it on your evenings. You might sit out this semester or next but you'll have an idea.

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Also, do jobs available with this type of degree allow a fair bit of flexibility and creative though?


Depends on the gig. Some places will route you through more grunt work (maintenence, well written out problems, upgrading tech) while the more experienced guys go for the big picture/planning/idea work.. other places will let you tackle a problem your way (with in reason)...

Then of course there's the issue of so you wrote this, now mission critical, chunk of code.. welcome to maintaining it for the duration/lifetime!


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I feel stifled in finance because although the money is great, the career satisfaction is nil. Does anybody here work in programming and do you dread the 9-5?


This also depends the job.. I had a previous employer that was becoming less and less fun going to work.. and an employer before that that was just awful on some days.. but my joint it's not a problem. I am highly independent about my solutions to problems and have found a niche as "that R&D guy".

Of course I've heard of some pretty bad wage slaves in other places. Usually that's a top heavy micromanagement group or bad infighting.. if you've been around the corporate block you can guess how that goes.

If you aren't sure then as I said jump into a book, read through it, do the exercises, and then maybe do some freelance work on the side. There are plenty of people who didn't get the degree paper and do fine. Mind you that you need to take the time to start small and move up. Many greenhorns want to launch off the pier doing massive projects but fail to understand the basics of variables, programming logic, debugging, loops, data structures, and the like.
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#4 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: Some advice regarding programming roles.

Posted 03 August 2012 - 07:59 PM

Rather than going to the university, you can always test-drive a Java course or other programming course at a community college for less money.
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#5 conure  Icon User is offline

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Re: Some advice regarding programming roles.

Posted 04 August 2012 - 11:55 AM

Thanks for your replies all - very useful. I'm actually based in the UK over here and the course I was going to do was with the Open University, which is effectively a "learn at home" degree. They are quite well respected and have (apparently) excellent learning material so I think as far as institutions go it's a good choice.

I would greatly appreciate a bit of advice regarding the modules - Basically the degree I am considering is "BSc IT & Computing" but there are various pathways to follow:

http://www3.open.ac....ication/q62.htm

The pathways are down the bottom. I was thinking maybe pure Software Development would be best but I'm open to any advice you all might be able to offer!

Finally, there is a module in final year to do with AI/Neural computing. Obviously as a huge geek I think this sounds very cool but at the same time I wouldn't want to jeapardise my career position; does this type of module look a bit "out there and useless" or could it be well respected?

I bought an introduction to Java today and am enjoying working through it, and at least at the beginner Software Development level it seems to be mainly entry level Algebra/Trigonometry so feeling confident for now...Sure that'll change as the course progresses!

Thoughts appreciated :)

Cheers
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