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Any advice for a Programming wannabee

Discussion in 'New Members Introduction' started by Davidus, Jul 18, 2008.

  1. Davidus

    Davidus Nibble Poster

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    Hi Again (for those of you who may have come across me before :))

    To recap - I think I'm hitting the mid-life crisis and want to change career and go into IT. Only downside is my little (or virtually no) experience in this area.

    I originally thought of taking some microsoft certs but see that most people here advice this really for those with experience, so that's me counted out :dry. . . . for now :biggrin.

    I've started self study for Comptia A+ (I know this isn't wholly relevant to programming, but at least I get basic knowledge re hardware etc and also used to the self-study ideal).

    I've picked up some useful tips on which languages to learn (especially if I wished to change tack and go down the web design/development route).

    I've download VS2008 with a view to starting with C#.

    I've made some noises about getting a low-level job (ha he laughs). But this will be ongoing.

    My main question is (at last he gets to it) inbetween now and getting my first IT job, what recommendation does anyone have as regards gaining the studying and possibly programming experience.

    For studying - do I continue with Comptia A+ or perhaps try for a City & Guilds or BTEC/EdExcel qualification as well??

    As for 'experience' well, I've heard of odesk.com but I think that may be more for web designers (maybe shows my lack of research here). Would it be prudent to write some programs for my own use to show potential employers that I have the knowledge, or attempt to do work for free or little renumeration (wow - big word here, lol) for others.

    I just wondered how others made use of the time til they got there first IT job. I just dont want to see the time inbetween wasted so to speak.

    Thanks in advance (and apologies if something like this has been already asked)

    Davidus
     
    Certifications: EDCL (don't laugh)
    WIP: 70-536, Comptia A+
  2. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Well you have the usual bootstrap problem, 'you don't know what you don't know'.

    I would get a few books and read them, a beginners book on C# sounds like a good start.
    Maybe enrol on a college corse HNC/HND/foundation degree. Look into different aspects of computing and see what interests you, read around the subject, browse the net etc.

    Theres many different career paths, even as a programmer there are many choices, you need to get some experience to make a better decision, even if that experience is book learning or a course for now.
     
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  3. Davidus

    Davidus Nibble Poster

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    Thanks for that. Have already ordered a C# book a couple of days ago (Head First or summit like that).

    Am vaguely aware of the many possibilities open to the programmer, and agree that it's hard to make the choice as I dont have the knowledge to get the knowledge, lol (if you follow my meaning).

    Books learning and a course seems to be the answer then. Many thanks.

    Davidus
     
    Certifications: EDCL (don't laugh)
    WIP: 70-536, Comptia A+
  4. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    Figuring out what you want to do can be the hardest thing. I enjoy eveyrthing computers apart from programming especially C# and ASP. My main job want is working with hardware i.e building and repairing comps.

    It was a good idea to get a c# book spend some time having a read and trying a few bits of code out, then if you really like I would suggest looking at your local college to see if there are any programming courses or going for a course that has lots of different aspects to it like a BTEC or HND etc.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  5. Davidus

    Davidus Nibble Poster

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    LOL - Course it was a good idea - twas you who'd suggested it :biggrin

    Thats now my next step - looking up courses at my nearest college(s). Only downside is that it takes a good 30 miles + to get to a decent college :( and not all the courses are relevent, or geared mainly for the complete novice (ie - how do you switch on a computer???), and hardly any available for part-tiem/evening courses.

    Tis only obstacles mind (pesky things).

    Davidus
     
    Certifications: EDCL (don't laugh)
    WIP: 70-536, Comptia A+
  6. Mathematix

    Mathematix Megabyte Poster

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    The kind of knowledge that A+ offers isn't low-level enough to be relevant to programming. You'll only know what the parts look like that you are programming rather than the actual states that you are changing within them.

    C# is a very good language to learn, but I get the feeling that you could have problems if you are a complete novice due your your lack of understanding of programming theory. I would have approached some online tutorials in the first instance to see how you feel with the language.

    Unlikely that any company would let a complete novice loose on thier code base.

    Self-study is always a very good way to learn programming to a competant level.

    I know tjhat I sound a little bit negative, but you appear to have decided on a programming career without having actually programmed anything. Still work towards your developer goal if you wish, but be sure to install and start coding the C# IDE that you 'have a view to using'. :)
     
    Certifications: BSc(Hons) Comp Sci, BCS Award of Merit
    WIP: Not doing certs. Computer geek.
  7. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    Did I? cool :)
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  8. Davidus

    Davidus Nibble Poster

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    Well Mathematrix, what can I say?? lol

    You haven't really told me anything that deep down, I didn't really know already.

    True, I have leant towards programming without doing hardly any (what little I've done was from waaayy back in the annuals of time). That's why I went and got a C# study book to see if I'm competant enough to pick things up again.

    Comptia A+ - Yes, I know but now that I'm into it, it is actually interesting and useful, if only for information only.

    As for getting a job, yes, I hear you mate. I understand - would seeking to get a desktop support job (I know, a different are of IT) help get me into IT and then review my situation???

    As for Negativity - ermmmm, not really. Its a honest comment and I respect and appreciate that. It these kinda comments that I know will help me so thanks for taking the time to help me.

    Any other advice will be much appreciated.
     
    Certifications: EDCL (don't laugh)
    WIP: 70-536, Comptia A+
  9. Mathematix

    Mathematix Megabyte Poster

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    I have to admit that that is refreshing! :biggrin

    Just because you haven't programmed in a while, don't see that as a negative thing. You have programmed before after all, so you at least have a tiny idea of what's involved.

    then no harm can be done, then. :)

    I went from IT to other stuff, to programming in IT for a while, then to games. I don't feel that a support job would be a big plus towards a coding job unless you intend to move up within the company you're working for. Others would be able to better advise you in this respect.

    You have a great aptitude for programming. I hope you achieve your goal. :)
     
    Certifications: BSc(Hons) Comp Sci, BCS Award of Merit
    WIP: Not doing certs. Computer geek.
  10. Davidus

    Davidus Nibble Poster

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    Me too :biggrin

    Thanks. I can see that to get a job in IT (in the programming/coding area) would be EXCEPTIONALLY hard, nigh impossible without experience. Which is why I thought about the desktop support area just to get my foot in the door. To me, It would then mean improving myself to either move up in the company (as you suggested) or to seek out other avenues (all whilst continuing my studies), which would hopefully be somewhat easier now proverbial foot would be inside door :).

    Question would be - would I, by then, still be gunning for programming or would I have changed my aspirations? Only time will tell.

    I think at mo, programming is my aim, but who can say where life takes you, hmm?

    What I think I shall do is pester job recruitment agencies and the like to see what is about.

    I'm not expecting great things at the mo, but nothing ventured.....

    In the meantime...enjoy the weekend.
     
    Certifications: EDCL (don't laugh)
    WIP: 70-536, Comptia A+
  11. Mathematix

    Mathematix Megabyte Poster

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    Sounds like a plan.

    I once got a programming job pretty quickly through Adecco within the same day of joining. I would strongly recommend that you give them a shout. Even if they can't get you a programming job they might give you a support role within a software house. I noticed that they were doing that as well for my last job before I got into games. They normally like graduates, but they might be able to find you something.

    You have a great weekend as well. :biggrin
     
    Certifications: BSc(Hons) Comp Sci, BCS Award of Merit
    WIP: Not doing certs. Computer geek.
  12. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Getting a programming job without previous work experience needn't be that hard depending on a few factors:-

    1. You are prepared to relocate, possibly to a major city.
    2. You can program well and demonstrate that.
    3. You are prepared to take a low paid junior programmers position.
    4. You are prepared to apply for upto 200 jobs for 6 months, and you brush up your interview skills and CV.

    So the first thing is to learn to program well as BM always mentions. If you can manage to get 2 years of good experience then your options will massively increase.

    Best of luck ! :D
     
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  13. jo74

    jo74 Byte Poster

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    What about an OU course? They have programming courses in Java and a new one in Visual Basic (which according to the course description includes some C#), starting in October this year. And they also have a ‘beginners’ course which includes how hardware works and some programming, in Javascript. But one problem is that OU courses are a bit pricey; each of these courses costs £380 (I think they can provide some financial help but I don't know the details). Their courses aren't designed to make you a programmer but they could be useful to a beginner in that they don’t assume much background knowledge and also provide a structure and feedback. Plus you’d have a tutor to help you.
    I’m in a slightly similar boat to you (though with a career change ‘enforced’ by redundancy), but I’m concentrating on the A+ (and N+) first with programming being a possibility, something I’m interested in but very much second to the IT technical certs.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, Sec+
    WIP: CCENT, CCNA
  14. Davidus

    Davidus Nibble Poster

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    Thanks Jo74, looked that up yesterday amoungst other things.

    Hmmm, I see what you mean about not being geared up for a 'programmer' but there's enough there to give it serious consideration. Escpecially the 'Foundation degree in Computing and its Practice'. Only snag for me is that I need to be in a relevant IT job, so thats a big fat No for me at the mo :(.

    I also looked up part-time HNC/HND courses in my neck of the woods. Can I find anything suitable???? (hell no).

    Like you, I'm sticking with Comptia A+ for the short term, but I'm still gonna keep looking to see what other study options are around.

    Davidus
     
    Certifications: EDCL (don't laugh)
    WIP: 70-536, Comptia A+
  15. Davidus

    Davidus Nibble Poster

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    Well, lol, in order of your advice -

    1) Exeter, and Plymouth are my two nearest 'cities'. Relocate there - no. But am prepared to work there, oh yes :D.
    2) :ohmy An area I have to address.
    3) Yep!
    4) :eek: (falls to ground in faint - lol) Yes to that, if thats what's gotta be, then hell, thats what it's gotta be.

    Meanwhile, I'm addressing the HNC/HND qualification and am looking around in local area but cannot find a college/university that would do a relevant course for part-time students. This could be an area of difficulty but one I gotta sort out. Thanks though for the words of wisdom.

    EDIT: There was another little question I'll throw into the hat?? As I'm finding it a tad difficult getting the appropriate courses etc, does anyone know how to certify themselves in the use of computing programmes?? By that I mean, if I decided that I was ok with C#, what singular exam (if any) could I take to show this proficiency??
     
    Certifications: EDCL (don't laugh)
    WIP: 70-536, Comptia A+

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