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Thread: Career transition

  1. #1
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    Default Career transition

    OK. I tend to get long winded...I will try to keep this brief.
    I am 38yrs old.

    For last 13 years I have been in sales. Run 2 companies of my own. Once successfully, the other time I ran out of money before it became self sustaining.

    My resume looks great for sales...been sales manager, run my own company etc...but I have changed jobs about every 2 years. (not a job hopper...once my company was purchase...twice the place (mortgage industry) I worked was going out of business...etc)

    I have always been into computers...my main laptop runs Linux, and has not had windows on it in years. I used to write simple programs on the TRS80 that was in the school library when I was in middle school and I had to boot it with a cassette. I was going to be a programmer, then got my wife pregnant my freshman year of college, went into the Marines, and then into sales to pay the bills.

    Enough background, long story short, I am burnt out on sales, and I would really like to get into the IT field. I just dont know how to make the change. I took a basic programming, entry level Java, and networking classes at the community college a couple of years ago. I think I like the programming side is more 'me' than networking although I think that it would be harder to outsource overseas the networking than programming.

    Thoughts on how I might transition? Just how much ability do I need in order to get hired? Am I out of my mind? OK, I already know the answer to that one. I have a family...I can take a bit of a drop in pay...but I cant take an internship or work for total peanuts.

    Lastly, if I am going to focus on one language initially...is Java the right one to be marketable, and just how good do you need to be to get hired? From what I have seen in other fields (I would assume programming is the same) you really dont learn enough in school to be effective right away full time...you learn so much more in the real world and on the job then you ever did in school...is programming the same???)

    Thanks in advance.


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    Default Re: Career transition

    Welcome to Java Programming Forums. Don't forget to read the rules.
    Just how much ability do I need in order to get hired?
    Totally depends upon the skills you achieve and the jobs market in the country you live.
    Am I out of my mind?
    You can say better than us. But i would say NO, you can still do much better.
    and just how good do you need to be to get hired?
    You can't set specifically, how good. It varies from job to job. Some jobs demand basic core java knowledge, some only concepts oriented, some demands web programming knowledge. So, you can't say exactly how much knowledge you need to get hired. Well, one advice for you, keep yourself up to date with the current java market in your country and work as the trend is going on.
    you learn so much more in the real world and on the job then you ever did in school...is programming the same???
    I can say, you actually learn in market or by applying on your own. In school you just try to pass the course.

    Good Luck.

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    Default Re: Career transition

    I live in the US.
    I live about 1/2 way between Omaha and Lincoln, NE...so either job market is open to me. Both have low unemployment and a reasonable demand overall...but for programmers specifically, I don't know.

    "THEY" say job market for programmers in the US is good...but on the flip side of that I see a lot of programmers on message boards that are very pessimistic...so I dont know for sure.

    I have been looking for a "way in" since I got out of the Marines about 10 years ago...and instead kept going back into sales jobs. I am finally at the place where I just really want to do what I love instead of just doing what I have been doing.

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    Default Re: Career transition

    I think Java would be a great language to start with, its not to hard to learn but it can be used for a large amount of things. I'd suggest getting a book, if you think you didn't learn enough in the course you took, else make a small program and increase its size and features Take a look at the API, experiment with new classes.

    Hope that helps.
    -Mel

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    Default Re: Career transition

    I am in a similar situation to yourself, mcompton1973. I'm 27, a qualified chef who wants out of the kitchen. I have always loved programming and want to do it for the rest of my life. I've taken a certificate 4 in games programming and partially completed a degree in software engineering. Completely sick of the crappy quality of IT education - no context or imagination. Why the hell is there a three hour written exam for a programming course? I took a unit on project management and all they did was hand us MICROSOFT PROJECT FOR F**K SAKE!! Worse part was, I just got blank looks when I asked about version control, project lifecycles and team development. So far from the real world of software development they thought a gannt chart was worth a 19 week course *slaps head*

    Anyway, I have found it difficult to get a job without job experience. Kind of a catch 22 situation. I'm currently teaching myself Android programming and if I can get a little bit of money flowing from a few apps it should make my resume stick out and make job hunting easier. I have also been told that contributing to open source projects helps because it shows real world experience.

    As for how good you need to be at programming to be successful - pretty good. You should be competent in various scripted and compiled languages, have the ability to solve complex real world problems in the language of your choice without resorting to google every two minutes. Also, experience with version control and unit tests are a must. UML seems to have gone out of fashion but it is worth getting familiar with it. It seems like a majority of the work out there is maintaining an existing program or adding features - very few commercial programs are written from scratch these days, it's just too expensive.

    There seem to be plenty of jobs focusing on Java so it is a good choice. C++ has been the industry standard since the industry got out of diapers but it is harder to learn and Java has the advantage of being used for mobile development so I would stick with it for the time being.

    By the time you are competent you will find that there is very little difference between languages. Sure, some languages are purely functional and imperative (Haskel), some are scripted (python), some are compiled (C/C++) and then there is Java (compiled and interpreted) but fundamentally it is all just 1's and 0's. Learning a new language eventually becomes a monotonous routine of; syntax, style, language agnostics and a link to the API. Experience in a language becomes familiarity with the built in libraries and functions (and recognizing the odd quirk).


    So give it a crack my friend. Best of luck.

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    Default Re: Career transition

    Honestly,
    I set up myself a company with my friend who wanted to be an artist and we've been doing flash games and got $20 donated to our work to be proffesionally trained. I think learning Java as a 1st language is good, but long. No matter what, learning your first language is hard cause you learn everything at that single point. Then you can easily learn new languages in about a month or two compared to your first one which takes about 2 years!
    Good luck!

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