Comparing options for learning C#

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#1 patrick7612  Icon User is offline

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Comparing options for learning C#

Posted 15 February 2013 - 07:56 AM

Hi all,
I'm not sure if this is the right forum for my question, but I'm an experienced software developer (over ten years) mulling some options for C# training. As a software developer currently looking for work, I've seen how big C# has gotten in the job market. My local university does not have a C# course this term, so at the moment I'm taking an advanced VB course. At least it's .NET

I have two main criteria for comparing training options. One, what option will help me learn the most. Two, what option will carry more weight with potential employers. My hope is that a class will help some even though most employers in my region want applicants to already have on the job C# experience. Typical catch-22 situation. They want job experience, but I can't get the job experience unless an employer will hire me to do it. Anyway... here are a couple options:

5 week long University of Phoenix C# course
1 week C# training with a certified instructor

Both cost $2,000-$2,500. I think I would learn more in a five week graded course, but I'm wondering if potential employers will think the 2nd option is better. Unfortunately that has to be a consideration.

Any thoughts? Other good options for C# training? I know I can pick up my C# book and study it myself, but in my experience telling an employer "I studied this on my own" carries zero weight. I would probably learn better in a course anyway.

-- Patrick

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#2 darek9576  Icon User is offline

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Re: Comparing options for learning C#

Posted 15 February 2013 - 08:09 AM

You can buy so many books for such a price and the course itself will cover the contents of an introductory book. You can buy the book for $60. You have $2,400 left.
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#3 Ryano121  Icon User is offline

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Re: Comparing options for learning C#

Posted 15 February 2013 - 08:10 AM

Quote

but in my experience telling an employer "I studied this on my own" carries zero weight.


Same here. The only problem is telling them that you did a one week C# training course carries no real weight either. A one week course will get you familiar with the syntax etc etc, but does it give you experience? No not really. I highly doubt one week's worth of training will get you much more weight than no experience at all. Although that being said it all depends on the employer. Some like the short courses, some really don't. My experience has been that they don't so much (well where I live anyways).

Not saying that you shouldn't take one of them, but you will have to do more than that to say to a potential employer 'yes I have experience with C#'. Write something with C# and prove that you do know what you're doing. In my opinion showing an employer a large well designed and implemented project carries a lot more weight. But that's just my experience. My own private work/projects landed me my current job for example. Without that they would be taking my word that I had experience and knew kinda knew what I was doing.

Good luck

This post has been edited by Ryano121: 15 February 2013 - 08:12 AM

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#4 h4nnib4l  Icon User is offline

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Re: Comparing options for learning C#

Posted 15 February 2013 - 08:10 AM

Depends. Do you have experience with object oriented languages, or will this be your first? If you don't have any, then that 1 week training might be more beneficial because having somebody work with you to wrap your brain around the paradigm will be extremely helpful; you could honestly just learn from a good C# book after that. If you're already an OO programmer, then working through a book should be plenty. I like this one: C# In Depth, Second Edition by Jon Skeet. It is written towards the C# 4 spec, not 5, but it's a great book. But there are entire thread about which book to get to learn C# around here...

EDIT: I was extremely lucky. I never "learned" C# in school (my OOP language was Java), but I had to do my senior project in C# so I taught myself, not even with a book, but with MSDN, Dream In Code, and Stack Overflow. My boss has yet to finish his undergraduate degree, and his studies are in business, not CS/CIS. He learned on his own, so, he didn't much care that I hadn't "officially" been trained in C#.

This post has been edited by h4nnib4l: 15 February 2013 - 08:14 AM

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#5 Curtis Rutland  Icon User is online

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Re: Comparing options for learning C#

Posted 15 February 2013 - 08:15 AM

I'm not really sure which would be better, or even if either would be the best option. "One week of training" sounds really weak on a resume, but so does "One class".

Your experience in the industry is worth way more than any language-specific training. If you're a competent developer, you can transition to a new language fairly quickly, and the kind of employers you want to work for will know that. What I would personally do is get a few books, work through them, do all the examples, make a project of my own, then maybe do one of the online freelancer jobs with it. By the end of that, you should be confident and competent enough to list C# as a skill on your resume with far less cost to yourself.
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#6 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: Comparing options for learning C#

Posted 15 February 2013 - 08:20 AM

Don't stress C# on the resume. You can say "10 years programmer. made x, Y & z. My programming languages include: Cobol, C++, C#, Java, whatever" - but don't draw attention to C# or make it look like you are trying to build it up to anything more or less than anything else on your resume.

Learn C# on your own just as others have said. Save the $2500 and put it toward your bills.

A five week course or a 1 week course are going to be equally pathetic.

Here are a ton of resources. Put your social life on hold for a month or three and blaze through them. If your 10 years of experience hold up then you can cut through all of this quickly. If you can't cut through it quickly, then you have realized how out of date your experience is in todays world so you will know to not try to bluff your way to C# jobs.


My standard beginner resources post - Updated JAN 2013


Plan your study route:
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.

  • First learn the language by working 2-5 "Learn C# in 30 days" type books cover to cover.
  • Do a dozen on-line 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.
  • Learn to plan before you type.
  • THEN you start designing software with a purpose.



I don't learn from reading books: I learn by doing.
Spoiler


Newbie/Rookie said:

I have little/no programming experience but I need to write a program by Friday that does XYZ.
Spoiler



Resources, references and suggestions for new programmers.
Spoiler

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#7 patrick7612  Icon User is offline

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Re: Comparing options for learning C#

Posted 15 February 2013 - 08:26 AM

In response to another post, I'm experienced with Java so I have the object oriented knowledge.

View PostCurtis Rutland, on 15 February 2013 - 08:15 AM, said:

I'm not really sure which would be better, or even if either would be the best option. "One week of training" sounds really weak on a resume, but so does "One class".

Your experience in the industry is worth way more than any language-specific training. If you're a competent developer, you can transition to a new language fairly quickly, and the kind of employers you want to work for will know that. What I would personally do is get a few books, work through them, do all the examples, make a project of my own, then maybe do one of the online freelancer jobs with it. By the end of that, you should be confident and competent enough to list C# as a skill on your resume with far less cost to yourself.


Thus far the problem isn't learning a new language myself, it's convincing employers that someone lacking industry experience in the language can still do it. See the other post in the Corner about being pigeon holed into one small segment of the software developer job market. Yeah, I'm frustrated at the moment. I'm sure that shows.
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#8 darek9576  Icon User is offline

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Re: Comparing options for learning C#

Posted 15 February 2013 - 08:28 AM

If you have industry experience then changing the language should be a matter of synatx. Especially going from Java to C#. I landed a C# internship knowing nothing about C#. I knew Java though.
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#9 Curtis Rutland  Icon User is online

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Re: Comparing options for learning C#

Posted 15 February 2013 - 08:29 AM

Well, like I said towards the end: if you can learn enough of it yourself to pick up one rent-a-coder job from a contracting site, then you can use that as job experience. That's what you really need, and those don't require any previous experience, just a low bid. Learn C#, then do one for cheap just to get a bullet point on your resume.
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#10 patrick7612  Icon User is offline

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Re: Comparing options for learning C#

Posted 15 February 2013 - 09:13 AM

View PosttlhIn`toq, on 15 February 2013 - 08:20 AM, said:

Don't stress C# on the resume. You can say "10 years programmer. made x, Y & z. My programming languages include: Cobol, C++, C#, Java, whatever" - but don't draw attention to C# or make it look like you are trying to build it up to anything more or less than anything else on your resume.

Learn C# on your own just as others have said. Save the $2500 and put it toward your bills.

A five week course or a 1 week course are going to be equally pathetic.

Here are a ton of resources. Put your social life on hold for a month or three and blaze through them. If your 10 years of experience hold up then you can cut through all of this quickly. If you can't cut through it quickly, then you have realized how out of date your experience is in todays world so you will know to not try to bluff your way to C# jobs.


Thank you for the resources. I appreciate it.

As far as my resume goes, I haven't drawn particular attention to specific languages when I list my skills. I have found in phone interviews though that the interviewer typically gets specific and wants to know exactly how much experience I have in a particular language, how long ago it was, etc.

View Postdarek9576, on 15 February 2013 - 08:28 AM, said:

If you have industry experience then changing the language should be a matter of synatx. Especially going from Java to C#. I landed a C# internship knowing nothing about C#. I knew Java though.


I agree completely. I'm having great difficulty convincing employers of that fact though. After all this time they still don't seem to get that switching languages is not that difficult. That's even when I'm talking to a lower level manager who directly manages developers.

View PostCurtis Rutland, on 15 February 2013 - 08:29 AM, said:

Well, like I said towards the end: if you can learn enough of it yourself to pick up one rent-a-coder job from a contracting site, then you can use that as job experience. That's what you really need, and those don't require any previous experience, just a low bid. Learn C#, then do one for cheap just to get a bullet point on your resume.


hmm... apparently I'm out of touch as I'm not familiar with the "rent-a-coder" sites.
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#11 Skydiver  Icon User is offline

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Re: Comparing options for learning C#

Posted 15 February 2013 - 09:21 AM

View Postpatrick7612, on 15 February 2013 - 11:13 AM, said:

View Postdarek9576, on 15 February 2013 - 08:28 AM, said:

If you have industry experience then changing the language should be a matter of synatx. Especially going from Java to C#. I landed a C# internship knowing nothing about C#. I knew Java though.


I agree completely. I'm having great difficulty convincing employers of that fact though. After all this time they still don't seem to get that switching languages is not that difficult. That's even when I'm talking to a lower level manager who directly manages developers.


That's because most people are not savvy enough to distinguish between the language (C#, Java) and the supporting libraries that one typically uses that corresponds to those languages. Yes, the conceptually, I jump between C# and Java and have very little trouble understanding how the code functions. But if I had to jump from C# to Java, I would have no idea how to access the file system, or LDAP, or web services without doing some Google searches.

It's very similar to my being able to say I know C++. I know C++ from pre-STL days. If you asked me to use std::set_intersection() to solve a problem, it would be a problem for me. On the other hand, if you described to me what what it does, and asked me to write my own version, I wouldn't have any problem rolling my own.
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#12 Curtis Rutland  Icon User is online

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Re: Comparing options for learning C#

Posted 15 February 2013 - 09:28 AM

However, since you're a savvy coder, you'd be able to pick up that information fairly quickly if you needed to, or were to work in an environment where it was used. If your job tomorrow had you doing STL C++, you'd be up to speed quickly, because you're actually a programmer and not a code-typer.

Sorry for the deviation, btw. I'd also suggest getting with a recruiter in your area. That's how I got my job. It costs nothing, because the recruiters get money from the employer, not the employee. They help you with your resume, help you find opportunities you would have missed, and many will provide tests and evaluations, so potential employers can trust the claimed skills. Try finding a reputable recruiting company in your area.

Also, moving to the Advanced Discussion, since this isn't really programming Q/A.
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#13 patrick7612  Icon User is offline

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Re: Comparing options for learning C#

Posted 15 February 2013 - 11:48 AM

View PostCurtis Rutland, on 15 February 2013 - 09:28 AM, said:

However, since you're a savvy coder, you'd be able to pick up that information fairly quickly if you needed to, or were to work in an environment where it was used. If your job tomorrow had you doing STL C++, you'd be up to speed quickly, because you're actually a programmer and not a code-typer.

Sorry for the deviation, btw. I'd also suggest getting with a recruiter in your area. That's how I got my job. It costs nothing, because the recruiters get money from the employer, not the employee. They help you with your resume, help you find opportunities you would have missed, and many will provide tests and evaluations, so potential employers can trust the claimed skills. Try finding a reputable recruiting company in your area.


I wholeheartedly agree that any of us that are more than "code-typers" could pick up a language variation for a job quite quickly. As I said, the difficulty is in convincing employers.

I've contacted more than one recruiter in the area and recently started working with one regionally. Thus far the recruiters don't even want to pitch me to companies for jobs where I don't have industry experience in the language, so basically they're looking for Java jobs. Well, that's excluding the latest one who set up a phone interview for me on a job he claimed I might fit and it turned out to be completely outside my experience. Terrible fit. I had to agree with the interviewer on that one. I'm an applications developer and they wanted someone for mainly low-level work with assembly, compilers and linkers, etc.
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#14 patrick7612  Icon User is offline

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Re: Comparing options for learning C#

Posted 15 February 2013 - 12:40 PM

View PosttlhIn`toq, on 15 February 2013 - 08:20 AM, said:

Here are a ton of resources.


Bookmarked. Good stuff there... The book I have is called Head First C#. I've done a little bit of it but have been focused on VB lately because of the advanced course I'm taking. The intro course was too easy and a professor recommended I skip it. Good plan. Going through an intro text on my own was easy and much quicker. Now it's getting into some good topics at the advanced level. I'll see if C# turns out to be similar.

I think the real challenge will be related to your suggestions for writing hobby related programs or finding a need at a local business and crafting a program for them.
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#15 patrick7612  Icon User is offline

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Re: Comparing options for learning C#

Posted 15 February 2013 - 04:37 PM

View PostCurtis Rutland, on 15 February 2013 - 09:28 AM, said:

I'd also suggest getting with a recruiter in your area. That's how I got my job. It costs nothing, because the recruiters get money from the employer, not the employee. They help you with your resume, help you find opportunities you would have missed, and many will provide tests and evaluations, so potential employers can trust the claimed skills. Try finding a reputable recruiting company in your area.

Also, moving to the Advanced Discussion, since this isn't really programming Q/A.


Reading your post again, it occurs to me that I've never found a recruiter who provides resume help or tests and evaluations. How do you locate them? I've searched for recruiters. The best I've been able to do is recruitment firms retained by companies to find talent for them. None so far have provided the above. The worst are fly by night independents that just try to throw people at any job possible in the hopes of getting their commission and moving on.
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