programming career advice requested

This is a discussion on programming career advice requested within the C++ Programming forums, part of the General Programming Boards category; Hi, I decided about a month ago to do the olí career change and thought programming might be fun. Itís ...

  1. #1
    Registered User blight2c's Avatar
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    programming career advice requested

    Hi, I decided about a month ago to do the olí career change and thought programming might be fun. Itís most convenient to leave my current job at the end of the summer, and my aim is make it this summer. That gives me 5 months to be up to speed (6 months total including last month). (Can I do it?) Let me give you more information: Iím doing this on my own (no classes), I have no formal computer science education, just a BA (in patristic of all things), and very little professional experience with computers. Though, Iím at what most of the books call the intermediate level and feel up to the challenge.

    What I ask of the pros and the more experienced is for direction. Most of the programming ads in my area (NYC) call for java, c++, vb, and xml. This is the, naÔve perhaps, timeline I came up with so far:

    February through April, c++;
    May, windows c++
    June though July, java
    Ĺ August, html (just to put my resume online)

    What do you think? Should I nix java for vb? Will things get easier or harder as I progress? Iíd be happy and grateful to take any and all advice and criticisms. Book and web site recommendations are appreciated. Thanks in advance, I hope Iíll be reading from you quite a bit in the next half year

  2. #2
    Registered User biosx's Avatar
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    It will be tough to try and find a job with under a year experience, but I think it is worth getting all the programming knowledge. To tell you the truth, I think it would be better to do:

    C/C++
    Java
    MFC/Win32 C++

    You will get used to basic console applications and what-not in C++. It will also give you an introduction to OOP. Then you can exercise your OOP knowledge with Java. Then when you get to MFC of Win32API (whichever you choose), you will have a broad knowledge of procedural and object-oriented programming.

    Here are some book recommendations (in order):

    The C Programming Language by K&R. Amazon Link
    This should be the first book you read. It will you a super-solid foundation on programming and the C language. It is very complete, very no-nonsense, and easy to read (not too mention it's short). Pretty much the bible on C considering it was the first book ever written on the language and it was written by it's creators.

    C++: How to Program by Deitel & Deitel. Amazon Link
    Alot of people have different opinions about Deitel&Deitel. This book is what taught me C++ (most of it at least). They teach you in a very good order and with the latest of standards. I agree they repeat themselves alot, but at least you can get the picture.

    The C++ Programming Language by Bjarne Stroustrup. Amazon Link
    Pretty much the bible of C++. Written by it's creator it is a tough read. However, I feel that after reading Deitel & Deitel, you should be ready to complete your C++ skills and get a handy reference by getting this book. I have the 2nd edition of this book (somewhat out of date) but I must admit it's dense but it's worth it.

    From here on is beyond me. I own a Java2 book but haven't had time to get into it. My Win32 API skills are basic b/c I learned from a small tutorial on a website (This tutorial is you are curious).

    Ask around the forums and read amazon reviews for other good books. Good luck.

  3. #3
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    Originally posted by biosx
    It will be tough to try and find a job with under a year experience
    My god that is the biggest understatement I've ever heard, why does nobody do graduate positions anymore?? Even junior programmer requires a years industry experience!!!

    As you can guess I'm a little bitter.....

  4. #4
    His posts are far and few Esparno's Avatar
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    I got an Idea, dont become a programmer, stick to your job you have now and leave some room in the job-world for the rest of us programmers who are truly into it. :P
    Signature is optional, I didnt opt for one.

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    I am aiming for the same thing myself and I am in about the same seat as you blight2c. It will be tough to say the least but all I can do is to try. We both gona need alot of luck

  6. #6
    Registered User blight2c's Avatar
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    Gosh, I was hoping for a warmer reception than that Esparno. Are you having trouble keeping a job then?

  7. #7
    Code Goddess Prelude's Avatar
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    At the moment entry level positions for programmers are very few and far between. Persistance is what gets you the job in this particular field, keep sending out your resume and trying to get interviews while at the same time building your knowledge base so that you can sell yourself better.

    -Prelude
    My best code is written with the delete key.

  8. #8
    Registered User biosx's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Unregistered


    My god that is the biggest understatement I've ever heard, why does nobody do graduate positions anymore?? Even junior programmer requires a years industry experience!!!

    As you can guess I'm a little bitter.....
    I don't think he is going for graduate positions or co-op plans. It sounds like he wants to get into the thick of it, work full time, and make a nice salary.

  9. #9
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    its true I do want a full time job, but with a lack of IT experience its prving nigh on impossible.

    But y'know any programmer position would be good for me - its just that prelude is very correct in what he says

    At the moment entry level positions for programmers are very few and far between

  10. #10
    Code Goddess Prelude's Avatar
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    >But y'know any programmer position would be good for me
    You might be better of starting with anything that will get you into the IT field, even if it's something like data entry. Just something to get your foot in the door, then you can show them your programming skills and be one step closer to that programmer position.

    >in what he says
    You're excused because you're new to these forums.

    -Prelude
    My best code is written with the delete key.

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