7 Replies - 786 Views - Last Post: 10 October 2019 - 06:50 AM

#1 taz0x   User is offline

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How to start pursuing a "developer" path?

Posted 08 October 2019 - 10:18 PM

Hi there, I am currently looking at possibilities to doing developer type jobs but I realize I dont really have a real "portfolio" per se, so I was thinking of what projects I can do to demonstrate my skills.

Just to give a little background: my last job was in the visual effects field, and for the last couple years I was writing a lot of tool sets for software we use via Python, but i just found development to be pretty interesting. So really other than this i have no real "experience" in development. My knowledge in C++ and Javascript are suuuper novice (though currently trying to learn). I have basic HTML and CSS knowledge. Im currently also looking into what MySQL is.

The other thing is I have no idea what i want to pursue in a development type job, only that i dont want to do anything website based, but i assume its probably good to know how all of that works. Ive been looking at a bunch of job ads too and ive seen "full stack developer" or just "developer" on its own and i dont have a clue on what it is i need to know to be even remotely employable. It just seems like the answer is "you have to know EVERYTHING" and that sounds unrealistic. So what I was thinking was doing some projects to demonstrate what i can do, but i dont have a clue on what to do. should i go try to make a simple program? like what? should i make a website? what kind of website? should i look into writing an app? im kind of lost with what i should be doing to at least get into the whole "developer" route...

can anyone provide some feedback...?

And I understand that my knowledge in the field is lacking in general, I just want to know if it is viable for me to start doing something to pursuing that type of career at my current level...

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Replies To: How to start pursuing a "developer" path?

#2 Skydiver   User is offline

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Re: How to start pursuing a "developer" path?

Posted 09 October 2019 - 05:29 AM

Well, if you don't want to do anything web based, then don't do it. Just always bring a laptop with when you go to interviews and offer to show them your non-web based projects.

For example, I used to carry a demo is a simple DirectX game I made that does some physics, collision detection, portals, shading, shadows, etc. I also had a demo of a scoring program I created while teaching myself WPF. I had a demo Python rogue like game written from scratch.
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#3 Gabrel   User is offline

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Re: How to start pursuing a "developer" path?

Posted 09 October 2019 - 05:38 AM

Some full stack developers especially in 2019 also learn either visual design, web design, project management or user experience skills—to complete their “stack” if you will.
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#4 xclite   User is offline

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Re: How to start pursuing a "developer" path?

Posted 09 October 2019 - 05:41 AM

Demos of working things is awesome. I in particular spend most of my time on infrastructure, and it's actually pretty hard to show much of any of that in a portfolio. I mostly operate by:

1. Having some small projects on my repo. They typically aren't massive but it provides some assurance that I've put something together. These projects aren't web sites, so the README has to have a pretty good amount of details.
2. Have to be ready to talk design - boxes and arrows are how I convince anybody that I can do anything of value for them in an interview
3. (This is a chicken and egg problem) It gets easier when you've got credible experience on your resume in your area of expertise. Once you get the first job and can say "well I solved problem X at this place" and you can talk about it, it's a huge help.

I know everybody is different, but I don't really care about portfolio when I'm reviewing a resume. It can be a nice source of flavor, but more than half the time somebody has one, it's a personal site where they blog about cats.

You CAN spend a bit of time doing something custom and clever (a REST API that treats various parts of your resume as credentials? a filesystem in-browser that does the same? etc) which is neat and can help stand out.
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#5 andrewsw   User is offline

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Re: How to start pursuing a "developer" path?

Posted 09 October 2019 - 06:18 AM

"full stack" is a term open to interpretation. Sometimes they might advertise for a Developer but then the expectations can stretch to what another company would call a Full-Stack Developer.

Generally, it seems a more appropriate term in the web development world, with the stack taken from front-end development (and design), server-side development with APIs, and database querying and creation. So, knowledge would be expected in many areas: HTML/CSS, JS, maybe Angular, ASP.NET or PHP, et al, SQL.
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#6 jon.kiparsky   User is offline

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Re: How to start pursuing a "developer" path?

Posted 09 October 2019 - 11:12 AM

Web is certainly the easiest place to start working as an engineer - there's a lot of jobs, and the expectations are not too hard to hit. As long as you understand the request/response cycle and can think about databases, you can handle the back-end stuff, and front-end engineers can be really productive with a very limited set of skills. So there's that.
If you don't want to work on the web, you should probably be more specific about what you actually do want. There's certainly room to work on all sorts of things, but the expectations are going to be different depending where you want to end up.
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#7 taz0x   User is offline

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Re: How to start pursuing a "developer" path?

Posted 10 October 2019 - 01:24 AM

Thank you all for the great feedback, i think what I have decided on and take the advice of "doing something I want to do", rather than trying to "prioritize" what and what. Hopefully by creating what I want can be utilized to demonstrate my skillsets... Thank you all again!
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#8 astonecipher   User is offline

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Re: How to start pursuing a "developer" path?

Posted 10 October 2019 - 06:50 AM

Dive deep into C++ if that is the goal. There are embedded roles, and desktop roles, but they are fewer and fewer depending on your area, but they are still there. It would require quite a bit of knowledge on the language features and the ability to discuss the why on designs.

Not knowing what to pursue creates a problem on it's own however, because you need a track to take so you can learn. Pick an area and follow it. There are jobs for everything, just depends on how many and what type of experience they are after.
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