Hello Friends, I have a question and I needed an experienced programmer to answer me

This is a discussion on Hello Friends, I have a question and I needed an experienced programmer to answer me within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; First of all, sorry if my english is not the best... Well Im new here as you probably guessed, and ...

  1. #1
    The Autodidact Dante Wingates's Avatar
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    Question Hello Friends, I have a question and I needed an experienced programmer to answer me

    First of all, sorry if my english is not the best...

    Well Im new here as you probably guessed, and I would be glad if some experienced programmer, someone who works as a programmer, answers me. Im the kind of guy who passes his whole day inside his room, reading about programming, and programming... I have "programmed" for some time now, and I dont think Im a begginer... But I dont think I have the "level" of a profissional either...And thats what I wanted to ask... I know that Im not a begginer, and I know that Im not a expert either, Im somewhere in the middle... So my question, as you should already know, is "how do I know if I have what it takes to WORK as a programmer"? What do you think I should know to work as a programmer?

    I really love programming, and if liking it makes me a good programmer, then theres no one better... But how do I know if my knowledge is enough to start working as a programmer?

    I really like C and C++, and you know this two languages are for true developers, not the easiest... I think it would be easier to work as a vb or Java developer, but I want to be a C++ developer.... How do I know if I have what it takes to call myself a "C/C++ programmer"? Knowing all of the language features makes me a C++ programmer? What do I have to know?

    Thanks
    Last edited by Dante Wingates; 04-23-2010 at 02:07 AM.

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    This is a good question, I'm interested in seeing the replies
    Thank you, anon. You sure know how to recognize different types of trees from quite a long way away.

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    From my experience, anybody can work as a programmer. Just do many interviews and one of them will be stupid enough to hire even someone who has never programmed before.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EVOEx View Post
    From my experience, anybody can work as a programmer. Just do many interviews and one of them will be stupid enough to hire even someone who has never programmed before.
    But would it not be evident afterward that the individual has no experience?
    Thank you, anon. You sure know how to recognize different types of trees from quite a long way away.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pobri19 View Post
    But would it not be evident afterward that the individual has no experience?
    If anyone working on the company had any experience then, yes. And sometimes you may get fired in that case. But if not, you have plenty of time to completely start coding from scratch and learn while employed by a company.
    In fact, some time ago I came to a company as a consultant. They had one coder who did produce some code, but when I looked at his code it looked vaguely familiar. After doing some researching I found out that the code was some slight modified portion of code from open source software.
    After I found out, I studied more of his code. Every single bit of it was copied from open source projects or free source code on websites. The guy couldn't program at all. He could copy code and slightly modify it.
    He was obviously fired immediately. But had I not come to the company, he would probably still be coding there now, copying code. And maybe after a while someone would find out the company violated the GPL and every other license on the planet.

    My point is not that you shouldn't be a good coder to get a job. But you don't have to. Some companies will be stupid enough to hire bad programmers. You might even get some free posts on thedailywtf.com...

    But do you, Dante, have the experience to be an actual coder in a valid company? Who knows? I've never seen any of your coding. So there's no way I can possibly tell. And even when you show code it begs questions like; did you use any tutorials to write it, did you copy anything from the web, and how long did it take you to write.

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    Master n00b Matty_Alan's Avatar
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    I find this thread interesting as im planning to start uni next year after hobby coding for almost a year and a half, I think after a year and a half of studying by myself (and i study alot) I know a fair bit but not near enough to get job. Not without proper training.

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    When trying to get a job as an entry level programmer, don't aim for the sky.
    Do NOT think you can get a job as a "C++ programmer" or "Java programmer", or especially a "game programmer".
    Take any entry level programming job you can get, which will likely involve on the job training for the tools and technologies being used.
    The company will correctly assume you know nothing and set their expectations of you accordingly, assuming mainly you have a willingness to learn and perform rather than any preexisting knowledge whatsoever (as anyone who's been in the industry for a while knows, there's nothing more dangerous than a fresh graduate who thinks he knows things).

    The job won't be glamorous, you may spend several months maintaining SQL scripts for some batch processes on the side of a mainframe application, but it's a programming job and you'll get hands on experience in how programming teams work.

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    I've been doing programming on my own for about 4 years now (no formal education at all), and just landed on a "game programmer" job as an intern (EA gave me an in-studio interview, too, but didn't want me in the end).

    Hobbyist experience certainly helps a great deal. I got 3 job offers for "software developer" jobs, when most of my friends could only get QA positions, if even that.

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    Registered User rogster001's Avatar
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    How did you get around them asking for commercial experience or whatever? and did you show them a portfolio of work or what? What about them (i imagine) expecting formal qualifications? I am just interested as there is a lot of programming entry level and junior developer work here right now, a lot, the damn thing is they all asking .net or c# of one form or another so i will have to get that under my belt before i can even consider trying my luck like that. Well done yourself with the job though..was it in C++?
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    chococoder
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    sometimes showing that the "requirements" make no sense helps.
    Like they ask for someone in their early 20s (that's no longer legal, but reading between the lines it's usually obvious, like asking people for "our young and dynamic team") with at least 10 years of professional experience using Visual Studio 2010.

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    Registered User claudiu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EVOEx View Post
    If anyone working on the company had any experience then, yes. And sometimes you may get fired in that case. But if not, you have plenty of time to completely start coding from scratch and learn while employed by a company.
    In fact, some time ago I came to a company as a consultant. They had one coder who did produce some code, but when I looked at his code it looked vaguely familiar. After doing some researching I found out that the code was some slight modified portion of code from open source software.
    After I found out, I studied more of his code. Every single bit of it was copied from open source projects or free source code on websites. The guy couldn't program at all. He could copy code and slightly modify it.
    He was obviously fired immediately. But had I not come to the company, he would probably still be coding there now, copying code. And maybe after a while someone would find out the company violated the GPL and every other license on the planet.
    LOL. Wow, that's freaking hilarious.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rogster001 View Post
    How did you get around them asking for commercial experience or whatever? and did you show them a portfolio of work or what? What about them (i imagine) expecting formal qualifications? I am just interested as there is a lot of programming entry level and junior developer work here right now, a lot, the damn thing is they all asking .net or c# of one form or another so i will have to get that under my belt before i can even consider trying my luck like that. Well done yourself with the job though..was it in C++?
    I guess it's partly because I applied through my school's co-op (internship) program, as an electrical engineering student... so they know what to expect.

    I'm assuming "real" software developers get paid more than $20/hr :P. But it's about as high as internship positions pay around here. And the job is pretty cool (very few people can get developer jobs in second year).

    I did show them a few of my bigger personal projects, and they asked me tons of questions on those. I think it really helps because it shows them you are really passionate about programming, not just trying to get ANY job. I've also participated in programming competitions with pretty good results, so that could have helped, too. They also asked me some very technical questions about C++ and programming in general.

    C# is listed as a requirement, and I plainly told them I know nothing about it. They didn't mind. They said it's just for tools and I can probably pick it up on the job quickly (both EA and the company I'm actually going to be working for). The "actual" codebase is in C++, so they are a lot more concerned with that.

    I'd say give it a try anyways! As long as the job is not purely .net/C#. They don't really expect you to be experts in those languages either, just enough to get by, and know how to Google the rest.

  13. #13
    Algorithm Dissector iMalc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dante Wingates View Post
    I really like C and C++, and you know this two languages are for true developers, not the easiest... I think it would be easier to work as a vb or Java developer, but I want to be a C++ developer.... How do I know if I have what it takes to call myself a "C/C++ programmer"? Knowing all of the language features makes me a C++ programmer? What do I have to know?
    If you really want to be good at C++, then just keep using it and you will eventually be good at C++. Don't doubt whether you can or cant make it. Or as Yoda says "Do, or do not; There is not try".

    Becomming a virtuoso pretty much just takes time and dedication.
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    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    Hobbyist experience certainly helps a great deal. I got 3 job offers for "software developer" jobs, when most of my friends could only get QA positions, if even that.
    Since C++ is rarely taught in any schools now one should not under-estimate the value of coding on your own time and continually learning more and more about the language and the application of it.

    Coding on your own time shows me:
    • Initiative
    • Willingness to learn
    • Most likely has good problem solving skills or is continually refining them
    • Passion - not everyone is sick enough to code at home
    • Does not rely solely on one source for all their programming knowledge - knows how and where to find solutions


    Having interviewed many graduates I can say that about 90% of them only did programming while at school. Most of them stopped coding the day they graduated. This doesn't show me they can hit the ground running when they come on board.

    The most important thing you can do before an interview is prepare. Read Bjarne's book or read another book but at least prepare to answer difficult problems and show some code on the old whiteboard. Right now if you are familiar with C++ and you have significant experience with it at home or professionally your skills will be attractive to a C++ studio and possibly a C# studio since you can pick that up very quick if you know C++. Most schools are still teaching Java which doesn't help any of the companies that do not use it. One could say that fundamental CS transfers to every language and it does but in my experience most candidates are Javaites in that they know CS only as much as it relates to Java...which isn't helpful at all. Someone along the way told them that if they know Java then they know or can do C++ and in my experience this is simply not the case.

    It's also very good to be honest in your interview. Don't embellish your resume b/c you probably will be asked about it and if you just plain don't know something then say so. However if you know how to find solutions and how to research that is just as valuable or IMO more valuable than knowing the answer. C++ knowledge comes down to exposure levels. Some have more exposure to more technologies and more intricate portions of the language and others have less exposure. However if you are very comfortable with the language and you can do well on a C++ test (Brainbench or the like) then I would certainly encourage you to apply. If you are going to apply at a game studio make sure you are a gamer and love games. You should be familiar with the industry, it's various popular engines, and you should know what you like and dislike about certain games and certain engines. That will look very good. Most game studios will be looking for a 4-year degree but not all of them require it and because most colleges don't teach a lick of C++ studios are realizing that C++ programmers are becoming more scarce by the day. If someone asks you to write code to allocate some memory and all you can write is Java code...knowing that the primary language is C++ or C#...then you probably are not going to get the job.

    Last I checked there are a lot of game studios hiring. I know for a fact that Stardock is hiring as well as many other studios. Check the jobs section at www.gamasutra.com or you can also google for indie game companies. You are probably more likely to get on at an indie studio than a big name studio like EA. I'm sure Infinity Ward is looking for people now that their core staff quit or were pushed out due to internal issues. Several of my former co-workers either came from game studios or have moved on to game studios so it's not impossible to get in.

    Moved to GD.
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 04-23-2010 at 04:56 PM.

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    The Autodidact Dante Wingates's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EVOEx View Post
    But do you, Dante, have the experience to be an actual coder in a valid company? Who knows? I've never seen any of your coding. So there's no way I can possibly tell. And even when you show code it begs questions like; did you use any tutorials to write it, did you copy anything from the web, and how long did it take you to write.
    Well, to be honest I do read a lot and often use what I've read in pratice, but the reason I started programming was mainly because I dont like being dependent of something to do something... For example: many times I've seen ppl talking about what they did, when they would never be able to do it without the program they used... And who was the real responsable for their "deeds"? The one who made the program... It just would not feel right to me to take credit for something that wasnt me the one who did.

    This is the same reason that makes me liking C++ so much, and even the reason that made me learn enough english to write, read and understand ppl talking... Years ago when I first tried to program it was in Visual Basic... But I hated the fact that Visual Basic was so "IDE dependent"... I made many programs using vb, but I really didnt felt that was me the one who did it(as I said before; dependent of a program), even though I avoided using the visual interface the more I could... In the end, I always wanted to have control over what I was doing, and that led me to C++...

    Many times what I like to read and understand are things that people say that are useless today... Like low level programming, writing a program without any help(like IDE)... I know that IDEs are a great help, yes, but I always seek to know what is going on behind the scenes... I wanna know how a function does something in particular, not what it does... I dont know assembly yet, but I'll give it a try sonner or latter...

    What I talked until now was all about how I treat things, not my actual "level"... But lets say that I can express my toughts in C++, and always was able to make what I wanted... if I cant work as a programmer yet, I think sonner or latter I'll be able to... What made me coming here and asking this question was just because many people that I know always say that studing alone is useless and that without some certificate I'll never get anywhere... I've heard things like that for more than 3 years now, but recently I thought "Will I ever get anywhere, or is it all useless?"...

    I must confess that in the beggining I did not intended to work as a programmer, but after so much time spent programming I cant really imagine working as anything else...

    Can someone say what I should know before trying to work as a programmer? Is C/C++ enough? This way I would know if I already have what it takes, or if I dont know something yet, then I'll know what I need to know.

    thanks

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