What programming path to take

Trouble figuring out path

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4 Replies - 1699 Views - Last Post: 12 September 2008 - 03:41 AM

#1 legend_018  Icon User is offline

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What programming path to take

Post icon  Posted 11 September 2008 - 04:23 PM

I'm sure others have posted the same thing. I'm a senior technical support engineering for a client/server software company. Minus one class, I have bachelors in Business Administrator with minor in Information Technology.
I have taking a few basic programming courses, but just did enough to get decent grades. This was a long time ago now.

Now I'm a stay at home mom and thinking of a POSSIBLE future in programming. I really can't go to school and don't have the money right now to spend lots of money on learning.

I have been studying and taking an Alice tutorial to try to see if I would like to get back into it.

I have asked a few programmers I know some opinions as well as another IT forum that I belong to there opinion. I know I will have to decide myself.

Some are saying learn C# first and than Visual.NET and others are saying Visual.NET first and than C#.

Most are saying that learning C# and Visual.NET won't be enough to get a job.
I have no experience programming or making anything.

There is this online Community College that offers begineers and intermediate C# and begineers and intermediate Visual.Basic. It's very cheap.

Microsoft certificates seem so expensive and time consuming.

It's not that I want the easy way out. Just wondering if there is some path I can take that would possibly lead me down the road of getting a decent job someday. My job now is decent and due to being a senior I actually get paid very well.

Any input?
Any advise?
Any examples of a possible road I can take?
Any advise on how to gain experience so that employers won't say sorryyyyyy you have no experience.

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Replies To: What programming path to take

#2 Martyr2  Icon User is offline

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Re: What programming path to take

Posted 11 September 2008 - 04:51 PM

Well as for asking which language to learn first you are going to see more of the "this language is better than this language" type of talk just because programmers are passionate about the language they choose to code in. They fall in love with a language and think it is the greatest. The truth is, any mainstream language can land you a job. I know VB.NET programmers and I know C# programmers and I know C/C++ programmers as well as Java programmers who all work in their own jobs. So pick a language you find easy to learn FOR YOU and see what is out there. But make sure you pick a MAJOR language. Don't specialize in Ada and expect to land a job as an Ada only programmer.

If you are feeling it out for what it is to be a programmer, I strongly recommend the class. That is the best way to get in an environment where programming is talked about, theory is thrown around, syntax analysis is done and can give you a great deal of the programmer lifestyle without hitting you too hard with deadlines and huge blocks of code.

As with any technical field the expense of learning can be a bit high at times. Programming books are not usually cheap and the software can also be pricey (unless you get student versions through your school's bookstore or if you can find good free compilers like Microsoft Visual Studio Express Editions which are free). If you can get a cheap class, all the better plus you can make time for the class and dedicate that part of your day strictly to learning it. Plus you can be tested and given an idea of how well you are picking it up.

Vendor certificates (from Microsoft etc) are definitely expensive because usually the software vendor wants to keep the certificate "elite" enough and thus highly prized in the industry. That and they want to target corporations who want to train their staff and are willing to pay the higher price. If everyone has the certificate it won't mean as much and if it is cheap then they would have large class sizes and less than dedicated students (because the class was only 100 bucks versus 10,000 where the students are going to try their best not to waste that money).

So for now I wouldn't worry about the certifications. Just find out if you want to be a programmer and if it is a field you like. Then if you really like it and do well, you can look for funding in the way of grants, scholarships etc because of your good work at school.

But if you are serious about breaking into a great programming job you will need the schooling for sure. At least a diploma specializing in technology but a BSc in computer science is the way to go. But do all that AFTER you know whether you like the industry or not.

I hope this clears up a bit of the confusion and mixed signals everyone is going to give you. :)

This post has been edited by Martyr2: 11 September 2008 - 04:55 PM

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#3 legend_018  Icon User is offline

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Re: What programming path to take

Posted 11 September 2008 - 05:06 PM

View PostMartyr2, on 11 Sep, 2008 - 04:51 PM, said:

I hope this clears up a bit of the confusion and mixed signals everyone is going to give you. :)


Thanks so much for your input. Very much appreciated. I guess the only thing that worry's me is with 2 very young children, going back to school to get a degree seems well not realist in my world. They are 1 and 2 1/2.

I do have my bachelors in Business with concentration in IT and have been in the IT world for over 10 years now. I was hoping that would also help me down the road. When you say diploma, are you talking about an Associates and/or Bachelors degree? I looked into changing majors once and it was like I had to start all over again. I should say I am shy of an official degree by 1 class, due to this strategic management class that is very hard and not something I'm interested in at all. Never mind that it has at least 4 prereqs that I took AGES ago and don't even remember them.

I guess I'm sort of looking for some path to take (wheter it be learning on my own or taking online classes) to allow myself to get into the doors of some company as some kind of programmer. Although I'm already guessing they'll tell me that I have no experience "lol".

You gave me so much valuable information. Thanks!!!!
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#4 Martyr2  Icon User is offline

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Re: What programming path to take

Posted 11 September 2008 - 07:06 PM

Well if you have a bit of IT training that is good, I would go for the diploma program then. When I say diploma I am talking a two year (with potential co-op part) program which in the states is also an Associates degree. You can also apply for a strict IT diploma program. Most tech schools have them... ITT tech, Devry are some of the national schools but also there are tons of programs at local community colleges and even universities.

Being that you have two very young children you are going to have a bit of a dilemma on your hands because the IT field can be demanding for a mother. I believe it is one of the reasons why the IT is so dominated by men too.

Either way I still think taking even just one programming class in a language you think you would like would give you enough of a feel for whether or not you want to do this and can dedicate the time.

It is going to be a compromise for you either way. There is no such thing as free classes that take none of your time, allows 100% family time with your children, and is cheap.

One last thing I have to say is that learning a language on your own really isn't going to amount to too much if the employer can get someone with at least 2 years formal training. You just won't be that competitive to the employer (when it comes to a strictly programming job).

:)
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#5 Programmist  Icon User is offline

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Re: What programming path to take

Posted 12 September 2008 - 03:41 AM

I agree with Martyr about the formal training, but I would tend to steer clear of vocational training schools like ITT Tech and Devry for two reasons: 1. they are very expensive and 2. The "degree" that you get will not be transferrable to other accredited universities and school. So, if you ever wanted to continue, you'd basically have to start over or go back to the vocational school.

I would recommend starting with C# or Java because that is where many of the jobs are now and probably in the near future. Both technologies have their strengths and weaknesses, which have been enumerated more times than I care to count. But, if you are on a budget and want full-featured development tools then you only have one choice between the two: Java. Microsoft tools are expensive. Java tools are free and Java is also fully open source. Anyway, just some food for thought.

This post has been edited by Programmist: 12 September 2008 - 03:50 AM

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