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#1 tstew21  Icon User is offline

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Advice for someone considering software engineering as a 2nd degree

Posted 02 February 2017 - 09:54 AM

Hi everyone,
Obviously have not posted here (ever) but I figured this would be a good place to start my search.
I work as an international trade consultant, so I help small/medium sized US businesses sell more of their products internationally and troubleshoot challenges/barriers to doing so. I am good at what I do in the 2 years I've been a professional, but I'm starting to think that sales/business isn't playing to my strengths. I can definitely succeed here but I'm wondering if I will ever be 100% happy in this role.
My friends from school were software engineers and now have very solid jobs with less of the pain points I experience in my role. I feel as if my business background, paired with leadership and communication skills, could put me ahead in a field that my strengths play more to. The jobs/companies I'm familiar with at this time have consultancy roles (which I am qualified for now) & software engineering roles. I think having the skills/experience in both departments could really benefit me.
All this being said, how do I know for sure whether this career path would be good for me? Are any of you aware of any "aptitude" or "placement" tests I could take to reaffirm my initial ideas (or really any general questions to help make a decision one way or the other)?
I appreciate any advice/comments you offer. I've been struggling with this idea of going back to school for the last 4 weeks and I'm ready to act on the idea or put it to rest.
Thanks!
T

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#2 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Advice for someone considering software engineering as a 2nd degree

Posted 02 February 2017 - 10:00 AM

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how do I know for sure whether this career path would be good for me?

You don't.. well, more likely, 'we' (the internet 'We'), don't. Life is a grand play with ever changing parts. Don't like the current script then flip it and try something else. Repeat as needed. Your work career can mimic that as well.. maybe you want to write javascript and php all day.. maybe you want to be be a project manager with less code and more meetings.. business analyst, team lead, QA monkey, or even network ops.

Side note there are a large number of questions similar to this so you may want to give those a review as well.
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#3 tstew21  Icon User is offline

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Re: Advice for someone considering software engineering as a 2nd degree

Posted 02 February 2017 - 10:34 AM

Do you think i would be at a disadvantage starting school at 26 (almost 27) and entering the workforce around 30? I ask this because most companies I've looked at operate in a team setting. I would be entry level at 30. Kind of non-typical in my opinion, but I do relate well to people of all ages.

Also, is there a way to gauge my cognitive ability to what a typical software engineer needs in a degree program? I'm no Einstein but I can certainly do anything I put my mind to (I think lol).

Thanks again,

T
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#4 astonecipher  Icon User is offline

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Re: Advice for someone considering software engineering as a 2nd degree

Posted 02 February 2017 - 10:43 AM

Sounds like you are just suffering from Grass is Greener syndrome.

Do you enjoy what you do, or is it more that your friends say that they have a better career? I can tell you that while the 'pain points' may be different, they are still there!
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#5 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Advice for someone considering software engineering as a 2nd degree

Posted 02 February 2017 - 10:47 AM

Folks go to college at all sorts of ages. I would presume you would attempt to parlay your current job experience for a new job.

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Also, is there a way to gauge my cognitive ability to what a typical software engineer needs in a degree program?

You're 26 - can't you make that sort of assessment based on your past experiences with college, classes, and generally abstract thinking? A quick search indicates there are folks willing to provide tests out three to what ever degree you have faith in them. "programmer aptitude tests.

@astone - Coughlin's Law, anything else is always something better.
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#6 tstew21  Icon User is offline

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Re: Advice for someone considering software engineering as a 2nd degree

Posted 02 February 2017 - 01:34 PM

View Postastonecipher, on 02 February 2017 - 10:43 AM, said:

Sounds like you are just suffering from Grass is Greener syndrome.

Do you enjoy what you do, or is it more that your friends say that they have a better career? I can tell you that while the 'pain points' may be different, they are still there!


I'm in a sales role, while developing new products, completing projects, dealing with ridiculous politicians/gov policies and juggling a thousand different things; which in part is due to our small 7 person office experiencing a growth stage. I'm naturally introverted but can flip the switch as needed, its just draining. That being said, I don't know that I will ever be an excellent at sales even if I move on in the business world to another company. I have exceeded my sales goals and expectations here however. Right now I'm just thinking about overall happiness, my work/life balance (extreme pressure and 60 hours a week), and playing to my strengths. I firmly believe that my experiences thus far paired with the ability to code could really differentiate myself from your average employee.

Definitely could be grass is greener syndrome. I've gotten some awesome experiences and the future is fairly bright for my office, but even at it's brightest I'm having a hard time seeing myself here.

Thanks again for your advice/input!
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#7 tstew21  Icon User is offline

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Re: Advice for someone considering software engineering as a 2nd degree

Posted 02 February 2017 - 01:45 PM

View Postmodi123_1, on 02 February 2017 - 10:47 AM, said:

Folks go to college at all sorts of ages. I would presume you would attempt to parlay your current job experience for a new job.

Quote

Also, is there a way to gauge my cognitive ability to what a typical software engineer needs in a degree program?

You're 26 - can't you make that sort of assessment based on your past experiences with college, classes, and generally abstract thinking? A quick search indicates there are folks willing to provide tests out three to what ever degree you have faith in them. "programmer aptitude tests.

@astone - Coughlin's Law, anything else is always something better.


I would hope my current job experience could tie into a more advanced role in a consulting/software engineering based company. That would be ideal. I just believe I should first be a software engineer. And please, let me know if this line of thinking is idiotic. My generic plan would be to come on as a software engineer, perform proficiently, but leverage my past experiences in management and consulting to help project manage and lead a department.

There is a way to gauge my cognitive ability but I'm kind of an anomaly to be completely honest; especially with a small data sample. My life was pretty rough through HS/College, so I never applied myself truly until my first job when things began to finally calm down. The last 2 years, I've done things I never thought I would be capable of. Regarding abstract/critical thinking ability, i think i have it. I've had to continually think outside the box and creatively everyday for the last two years.

Thanks for your insight! If this came across as cocky or arrogant that was not intended FYI. Just wanted to provide enough detail about what has formed the basis of exploring this.
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#8 astonecipher  Icon User is offline

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Re: Advice for someone considering software engineering as a 2nd degree

Posted 02 February 2017 - 01:48 PM

Honestly, start learning as a hobby. The more you do the more you learn anyway. Granted there is a big difference between hobbiest and professional, but you need to know the programming aspects regardless.
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#9 tstew21  Icon User is offline

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Re: Advice for someone considering software engineering as a 2nd degree

Posted 02 February 2017 - 01:50 PM

View Postastonecipher, on 02 February 2017 - 01:48 PM, said:

Honestly, start learning as a hobby. The more you do the more you learn anyway. Granted there is a big difference between hobbiest and professional, but you need to know the programming aspects regardless.


Do you recommend any specific resources? I will definitely do this with my free time.
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#10 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Advice for someone considering software engineering as a 2nd degree

Posted 02 February 2017 - 01:51 PM

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tie into a more advanced role in a consulting/software engineering based company.

What role is that? Coding? Project management? tech support? sys ops? Cable pulling?

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but I'm kind of an anomaly to be completely honest;

You brought it up - in what way are you an anomaly?
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#11 tstew21  Icon User is offline

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Re: Advice for someone considering software engineering as a 2nd degree

Posted 02 February 2017 - 02:02 PM

View Postmodi123_1, on 02 February 2017 - 01:51 PM, said:

Quote

tie into a more advanced role in a consulting/software engineering based company.

What role is that? Coding? Project management? tech support? sys ops? Cable pulling?

Probably something along the lines of project management, but I'm not familiar enough with the other roles you mentioned. I just want to leverage my skills to communicate effectively, manage a staff/team/department, while also having the engineering knowledge. I've met lots of people through my current job who began as engineers (in any capacity) who had the same skills/experiences and it ended up serving them very well, with similar career trajectories as I've described.

View Postmodi123_1, on 02 February 2017 - 01:51 PM, said:

Quote

but I'm kind of an anomaly to be completely honest;

You brought it up - in what way are you an anomaly?


I just haven't had to truly apply myself until this job. I went from managing a Hollister (lmao) to this role in a matter of 3 months. I had zero international trade experience prior to this but I pushed myself to my limits to learn as much as I could as fast as I could to become valuable. I saw an opportunity and made it work for me at whatever costs.

I also don't know how healthy my industry will be with the current anti-globalization sentiment rocking our country and other countries. The job outlook for software engineering roles outpaces mine in a big way too.

I messed that quote reply up so bad. I was typing that while talking to some of my staff lol. My apologies!

This post has been edited by modi123_1: 02 February 2017 - 02:03 PM
Reason for edit:: fixing quotes

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#12 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Advice for someone considering software engineering as a 2nd degree

Posted 02 February 2017 - 02:04 PM

You don't need to quote the post above yours.. aaaaaaaand probably should work on separating your quotes out.

Go look at a 'management information science' degree..
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#13 astonecipher  Icon User is offline

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Re: Advice for someone considering software engineering as a 2nd degree

Posted 02 February 2017 - 02:47 PM

What language are you currently interested in? Or more to the point, what kind of software interests you?

Everyone wanted to do game development when I started. I never had that bug, I wanted to develop software that would be used by businesses, and I do.

Figure out what you want to develop for, and that will give you an idea of where to start looking.
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#14 snoopy11  Icon User is offline

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Re: Advice for someone considering software engineering as a 2nd degree

Posted 03 February 2017 - 05:52 PM

Hmmm,

Buy Books lots of 'em....

preferably on programming, your gonna need html.. javascript... sql.. and a core language like Java or C/C++ or C# or Objective C.

C# is getting a lot of traction...

Tie it to Xamarin for mobile

Unity for Game dev

Some books on networking...

One book on AI would be a bonus again there are quite a few for C# now...

But ultimately life is what you make it...

If you think however that the software industry is some cushy little number were you get paid zillions for doing next to nothing..... you may get a shock.

You're age wont be a barrier, your level of knowledge might however.

There is no real way to tell if you will have an aptitude for it.... some people just don't get it... ever....

Do you love algebra ?

If you do you just might love programming !
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#15 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: Advice for someone considering software engineering as a 2nd degree

Posted 03 February 2017 - 07:51 PM

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Honestly, start learning as a hobby. The more you do the more you learn anyway.


This. If you think you might want to write programs for a living, start by figuring out if you like writing programs. Try to get beyond the cookie-cutter stuff and learn some fundamentals of computer science. See what doors that opens up - are they doors you want to peek into? If so, you should do so - and at that point you will know more about what to do next.
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