which road to take
I apologise if thi s is in the wrong section but I wasn't really sure where to put it.
I need some general advice from some old pros about programming.
At the moment i'm twenty four and learning to prgram in C as a hobby. I like playing around wirth computers and at this early stage of my life I won't rule out a career in IT. What I want to know is whether peple like me can get jobs as programmers or whether it takes years of graft and sweat at university to do that? Can a hobbiest just drift into a job or is it necessary to be formally trained at a recognized institute? If I could get a career programming what sre the best things to master to give myself the greatest chance? Or am I mad for even thinking about it when I could be working in the fresh air? I know my questions are a bit lame and may raise a few sniggers but ...heck i'm not in a position to know the answears!
Any advice would be greatfully received.
thanx to all
A better board would be General. I'm sure one of the moderators will move it soon enough.
It's not as easy as it was some 10 or more years ago, but sure a non graduate can take a job in programming. You should be confident in your resume about your knowledge and during interviews. You should also forget about high payment jobs and build your experience on small time companies if necessary. Your experience will dictate success, since companies aim for this, more than anything else. However, at the age of 24 you are already a few years late to start. But I don't think that's a major problem.
Many companies still realize that the best programmers aren't necessarily graduate ones. A good self-taught programmer may indicate exactly the kind of spirit a company looks for. However, on most cases don't expect the same level of wage as a graduate programmer... you can get there in time.
And... always, always, reply to job ads that ask only for graduates. If you know the stuff they are asking, don't deny yourself the chance just because they are asking for graduates. You wouldn't believe the times that is just not as important as it may seem from the ad text.
Moved to General Discussions.
You get a job based on your ability, you get an interview based on your formal education.
So, not having a formal education can make it difficult to get through the initial resume filtering that most companies do, however if you can manage to get an interview it's all about what you know, and what you can do.
Well, maybe, maybe not. Some companies don't care if you can do the work, if you don't have a degree. . . but the flip-side is true too. I know people from both of those worlds. One has been working for a company for 15+ years, is retired US Army with all the skills they taught him, however, his company doesn't give him the $$$ that he's worth due to no degree. Also, he cannot even think about being in a management position without it.
The other side: A know a man that is retired US Navy that is making well into 6 digits having no degree. . . also, he is the second in command of a serious plant.
>his company doesn't give him the $$$ that he's worth due to no degree
Yeah, that's true too. Companies will see you as cheap labour with no degree.
>>You get a job based on your ability, you get an interview based on your formal education.
I like this statement.
I'm afraid I disagree though. It's your resume and introduction letter that get your interview. Otherwise, it wouldn't make much sense to put anything in there other than my formal education. Sure it helps, but it's your previous experience that counts most.
And not forgeting your wanting to learn new and (somtimes boring) intersting ascpects. If you get into the peogramming world, be it in a team or a self-made company of your own, it is highly unlikely you will code an entire project on your own.
Everybody is limited to a certain area of skill, be it graphics, database, data anaysis or testing. It is indeed what you know so far that will most likely get you a job in the future. But one very important point that was not mentioned above is this:
Build a folder / portfolio of any program "you" have personally made. Not ones you have coped from a text book or website when you where learning the language. Having a portfolio of well presented, working and well commented programs can only work in your favor. Protential employers will be more interested in you as a maybe employee if you can bring solid proof of what you are capable of.
Thanks everybody. At least i now know what i can expect and set any ambitions accordingly, It's nice to know that the possability is there if i feel thats the right direction for me.
I take it that getting involved in some online projects can only do good?
>I take it that getting involved in some online projects can only do good?
Building a reputation in an opensource project can sometimes lead to job offers.
>I'm afraid I disagree though. It's your resume and introduction letter that get your interview.
Depends on the size of the company. For example, google gets some ridiculous number of resumes per day (in the thousands). They are heavily filtered. If you don't have a degree or some serious professional experience, no one will ever read your resume or cover letter.