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#1 mxdream  Icon User is offline

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A little Guidance

Posted 07 March 2016 - 10:15 PM

Hi, I am looking for some advice from some experienced people, with what turn i should take toward a career in programming.

A little about myself:
-24 years old soon to be 25.
-Love programming but never learned any language fully.
-I have started some C++, C#, HTML, PHP online classes but gave up.
-I work 7 days a week 11 hrs a day, i try to squeeze an hour or two to programming but recently have
wasted my time watching tv shows.

My Goal:
To make programming a career, I am not really aiming to be rich, but to make it a at home or office job enough to support me and my family.

My Problems.
-I never see a practical use of these languages or a project to aim for. I recently read some forums to offer free help on GitHub to gain experience.
-I am scared to learn something that may become useless or is not a going to offer me a career.
-I look at (especially frigging beautiful CSS designs on codepen) and know I may never become good enough

So I basically need help with a roadmap to the highest chance of making a career. I am willing to put in the time.
i want to learn a language(programming) that with turn into a career. for example something future proof or something, I don't need to be the best to get a job. I do try to perfect what I learn but programming is a progressive (always advancing) career and I can't get rid of the idea people who are programmers have a head start and I will be never able to reach them.

I really really appreciate any input and forever will be grateful for any advice you guys provide.

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Replies To: A little Guidance

#2 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: A little Guidance

Posted 07 March 2016 - 10:48 PM

So with a 70-80 hour work week, it's understandable that you're burnt out at nights. Clearly, self-study isn't doing it for you. I think if you're serious about making this your career, you should consider some coursework such as at a community college. In the first year (or maybe even three semesters) of a good CS curriculum, there are three important courses: Intro to Programming, Data Structures and Algorithms I, and Discrete Mathematics. The Intro to Programming class helps you become conversant with a language at a basic level, and to begin to learn how to problem solve. Data Structures and Algorithms are the bread and butter of any programmer, and this is the class where folks become computer scientists.

The Discrete Math course reinforces these problem solving skills and offers some formal mathematics, which are very useful in teaching you how to think.

After these three classes, you should have enough foundation to self-study topics as necessary or to decide that this isn't for you. Perhaps you'll decide to pursue a two or four year CS (or related) degree, or perhaps this is where you'll end your formal education on the subject. Regardless, it's a good starting point.

I want to note as well that you'll always be learning on the job- new tools, new languages, etc. And most of it will be without formal training. Hence, learning how to learn is important.
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#3 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: A little Guidance

Posted 08 March 2016 - 10:49 AM

Quote

To make programming a career, I am not really aiming to be rich, but

Then tackle something off the project lists:
Project Ideas
Martyr2 Mega Project List

.. actually write out a schedule for classes, etc. Map out what you will learn and where/how to apply it. Budget time to _DO_ something with using a given language and a project.

Quote

-I am scared to learn something that may become useless or is not a going to offer me a career.

Then eyeball job boards in your area and start steering towards what they are looking for. Of coures I am not sure what your time frame is.. thirty days, ten months, ten years, etc.

Nothing learned is useless...

Quote

i want to learn a language(programming) that with turn into a career.

See above.

Quote

I can't get rid of the idea people who are programmers have a head start and I will be never able to reach them.

Plenty of folk have changed careers much later in life. 25 isn't that old.
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#4 no2pencil  Icon User is offline

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Re: A little Guidance

Posted 08 March 2016 - 10:54 AM

View Postmxdream, on 08 March 2016 - 12:15 AM, said:

My Goal:
To make programming a career, I am not really aiming to be rich, but to make it a at home or office job enough to support me and my family.
...
I am willing to put in the time.

Is your family? It's an easy enough question to answer now, when the work is a possibility. At 24 you may not be able to hold that perspective in an interview, but as you get older, you'll loose that tunnel vision.

You're only young once. if you enjoy coding, maybe keep it as a hobby.
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#5 turboscrew  Icon User is offline

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Re: A little Guidance

Posted 08 March 2016 - 11:00 AM

I'm worried about this:

Quote

-I am scared to learn something that may become useless or is not a going to offer me a career.

A technology in SW-world tends to become obsolete in about 10 years, and in 30 years even branches become obsolete.

Fact: if it's easy and fun, nobody will pay you for doing it.

This post has been edited by turboscrew: 08 March 2016 - 11:02 AM

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#6 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: A little Guidance

Posted 08 March 2016 - 12:21 PM

View Postmxdream, on 08 March 2016 - 12:15 AM, said:

-I am scared to learn something that may become useless or is not a going to offer me a career.


This is a problem. You can't be scared to take risks, and one of the things you have to be ready to risk is your time. Here's a way to look at it: employers who are worth working for are not looking for cookie-cutter drop-in programmers. People who are doing interesting things want people who are ready to work, so they can meet immediate demands, and ready to learn so they can scale up with the company. The former means you need some immediately deployable skills, but to demonstrate the latter it's actually good to have a range of stuff, some of which is not going to be useful anywhere. For example, scheme is not a language that is typically found on any company's technology stack, but if you've learned it well and can think competently in it, that indicates a flexibility of mind that bodes well for your ability to quickly absorb some other language that might come along. This makes you immensely valuable.

Here's another way to look at it: Programming languages are hard to understand, and one good way to understand them is comparatively. A person who has learned a lot of things in python is useful, because they know a lot of python, but a person who knows a lot of python plus a bit of lisp and some java or C is in a much better position to understand what python can really offer.

Here's the right way to look at it: programming is an engineering discipline that depends on a solid understanding of a very math-oriented underlying science for real success. If you want to succeed as a programmer, you need to be willing to learn much, and to accept that everything you learn will eventually help you be a better programmer.
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#7 mxdream  Icon User is offline

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Re: A little Guidance

Posted 09 March 2016 - 10:30 PM

@no2pencil
I believe your post was meant to be constructive criticism, I am sorry i didn't clearly get what you were trying to say would you mind elaborating. I would like to understand everything everyone has said.


Thank you all for your kind responses. I will take into account the advice and search for a college course, I searched a little into some colleges and they have courses regarding programming for only 3 hrs a day classes for 4 days a week. I think that works well and Thank you all for your advice. until I am able to take time out and get into college I will try to dabble into some more programming so, I can get a headstart.

Sometimes you just need a little validation(I hope you guys understand what I meant) and I believe I have gotten it thanks again All of you.
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#8 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: A little Guidance

Posted 09 March 2016 - 10:34 PM

Quote

I searched a little into some colleges and they have courses regarding programming for only 3 hrs a day classes for 4 days a week.

Note that a 3 credit hour college class requires ~9-10 hours of work outside of class. This is standard for college classes. Lecture is important to see the concepts being presented. Lab is where you get some hands on practice and can ask for help. Homework is really your opportunity to play around with the concepts, chew on them, and discuss with the professor or TAs in office hours. Programming is not a spectator sport.
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#9 mxdream  Icon User is offline

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Re: A little Guidance

Posted 09 March 2016 - 10:58 PM

View Postmacosxnerd101, on 09 March 2016 - 10:34 PM, said:

Quote

I searched a little into some colleges and they have courses regarding programming for only 3 hrs a day classes for 4 days a week.

Note that a 3 credit hour college class requires ~9-10 hours of work outside of class. This is standard for college classes. Lecture is important to see the concepts being presented. Lab is where you get some hands on practice and can ask for help. Homework is really your opportunity to play around with the concepts, chew on them, and discuss with the professor or TAs in office hours. Programming is not a spectator sport.



You have a really good point. I think because there will be a goal, to make a project or assignments as a best to my ability to prove to the professor or get his approval. That might be a good motivation for me to go ahead and play around more with the code.
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#10 no2pencil  Icon User is offline

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Re: A little Guidance

Posted 10 March 2016 - 10:08 AM

View Postmxdream, on 10 March 2016 - 12:30 AM, said:

@no2pencil
I believe your post was meant to be constructive criticism, I am sorry i didn't clearly get what you were trying to say would you mind elaborating. I would like to understand everything everyone has said.


As per your original post :

Quote

-24 years old soon to be 25.
...
My Goal:
To make programming a career, I am not really aiming to be rich, but to make it a at home or office job enough to support me and my family.
...
I am willing to put in the time.

Further define family

Because you say you are willing to put in the time, but I find that the family is not as willing. In the beginning, sure, because there is an end goal. However the industry does not generally cater around 9 to 5. I'm simply point out that you say you are up for things you've not yet encountered, & it's often the fight with the family (for which that you are doing this horrific task) that is sometimes more difficult than actually putting in the long hours.
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#11 astonecipher  Icon User is offline

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Re: A little Guidance

Posted 10 March 2016 - 11:14 AM

Family support is a big thing when going into this field. The learning alone takes thousands of hours.
I don't know what your family consists of, but I have a wife and kids.


I spent many nights going to bed after everyone else, reading and typing away. When work started, I spent many nights working into the wee hours to meet deadlines or read up on something new that we would be using. Now, I am with a company that prefers you keep work at work, but I have still put in long hours and worked the weekend when something just isn't going how it should be. You can expect calls on vacations and weekends. But the main thing now, is putting in the long hours bettering your self and learning the language ( a single language to start with) which takes time, effort, and understanding.
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