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#1 RodgerB   User is offline

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Got an inkling of a feeling...

Posted 06 August 2011 - 12:12 AM

So I'm at my final year of High School and it's time to select a university/course to study. I chose Software Engineering as my first preference and Computer Science as my second, at a place called RMIT in Melbourne, Australia.

I study the highest level maths so that I will be well prepared to go into an Engineering type course if I would like to, but I know I could make a living out of Software Engineering and it'd very enjoyable, provided I got in with a good company that will get me off the ground.

My inkling of a feeling of negativity stems from seeing posts from ex-employees of IBM on the internet saying they didn't really enjoy working for IBM, and as my third preference I've applied to study a course that gives me guaranteed placement with IBM provided I have good enough scores. I've worked/am working as a freelance developer/KFC employee/student, and I am well aware of all the things that grind my gears (project creep, crazy deadlines, having discussions with people that don't know what you're on about and it's like talking to a brick wall) and it'd be good to have a job where everyone works well in synchronicity, where equality is encouraged (if anybody has had a read of "The final hours of Portal 2", a company like Valve looks like an awesome company to work for).

In summary, I'm looking for a professional career path that I'm not going to go to work and second guess the efforts I've made to do well in school, and the only rewarding thing I've seen posted about programming jobs is the pay. If I wanted good pay, I'd do mining engineering and probably be treated with a better lifestyle than under the guide of a boss that wants me to 'make a GUI interface in visual basic and see if I can track an IP address'.

tldr; Is programming in a job enjoyable? Do you have any regrets in choosing this field of work? Should I just do mechatronics engineering and build intelligent robots that take over the world village by village instead?

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Replies To: Got an inkling of a feeling...

#2 Brewer   User is offline

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Re: Got an inkling of a feeling...

Posted 06 August 2011 - 01:45 AM

First of all, as cliche as this sounds, you should never do something solely for the money. Get that out of your head right now.

I find programming to be highly enjoyable, even as a job, but I would have a hard time fitting into a large company. I have ideas and I want them to be taken into consideration, which isn't something you always get at say IBM or Google. This is why I'm looking for internships in the startup scene.

In a startup you have a lot more work and a lot more control over your project. Really "owning" my project is definitely important to me and that's the number one reason I'd like to work for a startup. The "work hard, play hard" lifestyle you see at many startups is more my style as well.

Ultimately it depends on the type of person you are. If you prefer the normal 9-5 job and not having to take work home with you (which is perfectly respectable) then you'd probably find a job at IBM enjoyable. If you are more like me though and you prefer being able to work whenever you want (at least to an extent) and want to run into the office and start hacking when you wake up at 3 A.M. with a great idea, the a startup might be more your style. Above all else though, you MUST love solving problems. If you don't then you need to pick another career because solving problems is a very large percentage of what software developers do.
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#3 RodgerB   User is offline

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Re: Got an inkling of a feeling...

Posted 06 August 2011 - 04:06 AM

Thanks, that was insightful. I'm not only doing it solely for the money, I just find both sectors almost equally enjoyable due to the problem-solving aspects. I did not want to claim the best years of my life were spent studying SE or CS, and end up working at a 9-5 job as a drone where the only thing keeping me happy is my tools (i.e. your idea of a large company).

I always sort of thought of the eventual goal of possibly making my own startup (when I'm 40 odd), without questioning the viability of joining a startup, you've really helped me see that part through. This is certainly the atmosphere I'd like to be a part of. My first preference has an internship year, which is what made this course my first preference - a foot in the door is important.

I come from a city where programming jobs are extremely scarce. There are small web design startups around in which I could possibly suss out, but Melbourne is an hour train commute away from my city, and that's where all the jobs are.
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#4 macosxnerd101   User is offline

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Re: Got an inkling of a feeling...

Posted 06 August 2011 - 07:34 AM

For an internship, a startup may not be a bad idea. You could get into more of the project than in a larger company. I work for a small, but established IT consulting firm. The advantage here over a startup is the money and job security. I still have ownership over my projects, can work whenever I want, and I have the flexibility to choose my languages so long as they'll work on a platform. Plus, my boss is happy as long as the work gets done. He's not overbearing in the least.

If you said the programming jobs are in Melbourne, and that's where you're going to school, perhaps the thing to do is to look for jobs up there. Often times, colleges have resources to help students find jobs and internships. And if there is industry in your field around the college, that's a good thing.

Hope this helps some. :)
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#5 hookiethe1   User is offline

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Re: Got an inkling of a feeling...

Posted 06 August 2011 - 09:23 AM

An hour train ride isn't that bad, you could live and work in Sydney and still drive well over an hour to work. I drive an hour to work every day each way. You could also consider something radical, like moving to Melbourne, where there's souvlaki's and gyro's on every corner and all the girls take it up the bum. RMIT is a good school too, graduating from there is a good start.
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#6 RodgerB   User is offline

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Re: Got an inkling of a feeling...

Posted 07 August 2011 - 02:55 AM

View Posthookiethe1, on 07 August 2011 - 03:23 AM, said:

You could also consider something radical, like moving to Melbourne, where there's souvlaki's and gyro's on every corner and all the girls take it up the bum.


I lolled.

Is there much work outside of the hospitality/retail industry that take on uni students? Would be good to get in with some web design or software development gig on the side to support myself when going to live in Melbourne. Any personal anecdotes with regards to this?
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#7 no2pencil   User is offline

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Re: Got an inkling of a feeling...

Posted 07 August 2011 - 02:57 AM

View PostBrewer, on 06 August 2011 - 04:45 AM, said:

First of all, as cliche as this sounds, you should never do something solely for the money. Get that out of your head right now.


I quite disagree. As another member of Dream In Code once put it : Payment for a job is simply your compromise of money paid for time of your life.

There is nothing more valuable than time, & money can buy time, so one should always measure their time with money. I'm pretty tired, but that's how it makes sense in my head right now.
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#8 Brewer   User is offline

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Re: Got an inkling of a feeling...

Posted 07 August 2011 - 01:11 PM

View Postno2pencil, on 07 August 2011 - 07:27 AM, said:

View PostBrewer, on 06 August 2011 - 04:45 AM, said:

First of all, as cliche as this sounds, you should never do something solely for the money. Get that out of your head right now.


I quite disagree. As another member of Dream In Code once put it : Payment for a job is simply your compromise of money paid for time of your life.

There is nothing more valuable than time, & money can buy time, so one should always measure their time with money. I'm pretty tired, but that's how it makes sense in my head right now.


I'd much rather take a $10,000 pay cut and work at a company that I like than make a little more money and sit in a cubicle at some financial firm making boring software for the rest of my life. But everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
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#9 ishkabible   User is offline

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Re: Got an inkling of a feeling...

Posted 07 August 2011 - 04:25 PM

10k is a lot of money. im gonna be happy if i make 35k out of college. 10k less would eat at my soul, i don't want to eat ramen noodles every night for the rest of my life.
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#10 no2pencil   User is offline

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Re: Got an inkling of a feeling...

Posted 07 August 2011 - 04:52 PM

*
POPULAR

View PostBrewer, on 07 August 2011 - 04:11 PM, said:

View Postno2pencil, on 07 August 2011 - 07:27 AM, said:

View PostBrewer, on 06 August 2011 - 04:45 AM, said:

First of all, as cliche as this sounds, you should never do something solely for the money. Get that out of your head right now.


I quite disagree. As another member of Dream In Code once put it : Payment for a job is simply your compromise of money paid for time of your life.

There is nothing more valuable than time, & money can buy time, so one should always measure their time with money. I'm pretty tired, but that's how it makes sense in my head right now.


I'd much rather take a $10,000 pay cut and work at a company that I like than make a little more money and sit in a cubicle at some financial firm making boring software for the rest of my life. But everyone is entitled to their own opinion.



10 to 1 odds say you still live at home with your parents. Let me know when you pay your own car insurance, health insurance, food that you eat, your own room & board, gasoline, utility bills, clothing, & so on & so on. Then we'll see how you feel about a $10,000 loss compared to a happy working environment.

Not to mention if your post was some sort of a shot at what I do... you've really got the wrong idea.
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#11 macosxnerd101   User is offline

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Re: Got an inkling of a feeling...

Posted 07 August 2011 - 05:26 PM

Quote

I'd much rather take a $10,000 pay cut and work at a company that I like than make a little more money and sit in a cubicle at some financial firm making boring software for the rest of my life. But everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

If you think professional programming is boring, you haven't done much professionally, you're doing grunt work, or you don't enjoy programming. There are always problems to solve, systems to design, refactoring to be done, etc. Optimizing solutions and solving problems are the major parts of our jobs as programmers. So unless you're doing mortgage calculator and palindrome assignments for an intro to programming class all day, the programming aspects won't get boring very often.
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#12 Curtis Rutland   User is offline

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Re: Got an inkling of a feeling...

Posted 07 August 2011 - 07:30 PM

One point in favor of larger companies that you simply don't get in a self-owned or tiny environment: the chance to work with truly brilliant people. I mean, ok, it's technically possible for you to work in a two man shop and the other guy's great, but the odds are much greater in a place with more developers and the budget to pay these people what they're worth.

For what it's worth, I've learned so much from my supervisor. He really is a brilliant guy, with something like 20-30 years in the field. Being able to work with people who've not only seen it all before, but worked with it, designed it, architected it, maintained it, even developed it from the ground up, all before...it's great.

Not that I'm at a huge shop, but one larger than most that don't produce commercial software. There are nine of us on the windows side, six "integration" programmers (maintaining the interface to the mainframe for external applications), and something like 7 or so "core" team, (pure COBOL, pure mainframe programmers). So there's hundreds of man-years of experience there for me to draw on.

You don't get that at a two-man shop.
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#13 ishkabible   User is offline

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Re: Got an inkling of a feeling...

Posted 08 August 2011 - 04:04 PM

yuck, why are they still working in COBOL? why not at least C or something? what are they doing that couldn't possibly be done in a more modern and up to date language?

This post has been edited by ishkabible: 08 August 2011 - 04:05 PM

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#14 Curtis Rutland   User is offline

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Re: Got an inkling of a feeling...

Posted 08 August 2011 - 04:36 PM

Mainframe programming. Financial institutions still heavily use COBOL, because of it's ~50 years of history in the industry. Financial institutions don't care about modern languages, they care about stability and efficiency. There's nothing wrong with COBOL in the appropriate environment. Hell, if you learn COBOL right now, you'll basically be guaranteed a decent-paying job for the rest of your life, since few first-world developers are learning it, but government/financial/similar industries aren't transitioning off it any time soon.
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