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joed
06-26-2006, 07:03 PM
I want to get a job in programming, not necessarily the highest paying but something I would enjoy. I've thought about schools, but I'm limited to going at night since I work 9-5 and have a mortgage, car payment, etc.

I'm stuck between getting a bachelors from Vatterott, or an associates (or transfer credit) from the Community College. I do already have an associates from CC so some credits will be reusable.

The problem with Vatterott is the high tuition (66k for bachelors), and feeling that my resume won't really stack up for the money put into it. The first course is how to use a keyboard/mouse and other dumass stuff, which ends up being like 4k wasted money unless I can test out of it.

I feel I am pretty good in C although by no means a guru. I've written a decent graphics application (~8000 lines) with good success. Just confused about where to go from here.

sean
06-26-2006, 07:15 PM
Another option to consider is just getting certified. I wouldn't be able to give you many details, because I've only looked seriously at Sun's Java Certification. It is of course not as good as a degree, mind you, and since I'm barely starting my working life, my advice shouldn't carry a whole lot of weight, but it's just something to consider given your situation. Some employers will value that stuff more than others, but you'd be able to study on your own schedule and then just take a day off work to do a test, or something like that. Maybe someone here can give you more details on a company that does C/C++ certification.

indigo0086
06-26-2006, 07:16 PM
There should be a typing test that you can take so you don't have to take those instead of starting off programming courses. I took the test after I finished my programming course when I went to community college. Don't know how your time is but colleges (especiially community colleges) cator to busy people.

Wraithan
06-26-2006, 07:17 PM
The best way to get into the field is internships, the problem with that and your situation is they prolly wont pay well enough for your economical situation... I am an intern and I am doing the AS to get a transfer degree, then get my BS in CS at Portland State University.

Perspective
06-26-2006, 07:25 PM
>(66k for bachelors),

holy .........

IfYouSaySo
06-26-2006, 07:28 PM
Consider taking a bunch of programming courses (transferable to 4 year school) at a CC, and do 150% on assignments, and after each course, ask the professor for advice on finding a first job. Lots of times, the CC professors work in industry, so you could get lucky by standing out and being interested. And, if it doesn't work out, the classes that you've taken tranfer to a 4 year school where you can get a degree. But I would not pay 66K for a 4 year degree...I know that in California for example you can go to a state school for < 20K for all four years.

CartoonLarry
06-27-2006, 05:46 AM
Maybe someone here can give you more details on a company that does C/C++ certification.

Last week a contractor told me about brainbench for certifications.

Here is a C test description and outline:
http://www.brainbench.com/xml/bb/common/testcenter/taketest.xml?testId=52

Here is a C++ test description and outline:
http://www.brainbench.com/xml/bb/common/testcenter/taketest.xml?testId=54

Of course, I don't know whether or not they are reputable.

They also have some that are free.

http://www.brainbench.com/xml/bb/common/testcenter/freetests.xml

Govtcheez
06-27-2006, 07:19 AM
Certified people are a dime a dozen. When I see people that list A+, MCSE, etc. on their resumes, I usually just ignore that part.

Getting your bachelor's is the most important thing, but it doesn't have to be from someplace so expensive. Just get it from a state school or something; you should be fine.

(Disclaimer: I don't work for a software company, but I am involved in hiring for the engineering firm I work with, which is primarily EE)

Mario F.
06-27-2006, 07:44 AM
It also needs to be said that there is no such a thing as a certification in C++. The lack of a central authority is the main reason, while another is the fact that C++ is not defined past a set of standards that can be adopted or not (as often they aren't) by implementors.

However, it can be said some companies do a better job than others when it comes to provide a so-called C++ certification program.

It can also be said there are implementation-based certification programs, like for instance the MS Visual C++ Certification Program. However I agree fully with Govtcheez, certification shouldn't be your primary concern on this or any other planet.

Bachelor's, graduation, PhD.... these are the things that can make a difference. Mind you also, that while a certification may seem to open a few more doors, it is your degree that will define what doors open and how much you will earn.

Prelude
06-27-2006, 07:45 AM
>I'm stuck between getting a bachelors from Vatterott, or an
>associates (or transfer credit) from the Community College.
Generally, any form of degree serves one of three purposes. 1) To help you get your first job with companies that headhunt graduates, 2) To help you get into management later on, and 3) As an initial culling point for large corporations that get lots of resumes or have a set culling process.

Any place you'll enjoy working at will probably treat a degree as it should be treated: little more than a piece of paper. You want to entice them with what you can do to get an interview (which means personal contact; that counts for a lot), and then solidify their trust in your suitability at the interview. A good employer or interviewer won't hold a weak degree or lack of a degree against you. Degrees don't write code. :)

laserlight
06-27-2006, 07:46 AM
Certified people are a dime a dozen. When I see people that list A+, MCSE, etc. on their resumes, I usually just ignore that part.
Would you hold it against them if they do not have any certifications other than their basic degree?

Govtcheez
06-27-2006, 07:54 AM
> Would you hold it against them if they do not have any certifications other than their basic degree?

Nope. In fact, if someone lists off a dozen certifications, I'll probably hold them in lower regard than someone fresh out of college. That would show to me that they probably don't have a lot of direction.

Like I said, I don't hire actual programmers, but I expect people who work for me to have a much better than average grasp of computers; there is some programming involved, but it's not the entire job.

Thantos
06-27-2006, 09:47 AM
Side note:

I know that in California for example you can go to a state school for < 20K for all four years.
I'm attending UC Davis in the fall. For my junior year the estimate the total cost of attendance to be $20,256, this includes living expenses and the like. For just the fees part it is $8,299.

Back on topic: I'd say get your degree even if it takes a while.

IfYouSaySo
06-27-2006, 10:54 AM
I'm attending UC Davis in the fall.


Ok, UC schools are more expensive. The California State schools still go for around $1.5-2K per semester (although tuition is rising fast).

dpro
06-27-2006, 12:39 PM
Cripes 8k for expenses. I swear no one will be able to get a degree soon :) good thing I got mine before they started to go crazy on tuition. In any event, I would say go for a degree if possible. Internships can be good, but more often than not they want the warm body for them to do something and thats it. Many headhunting firms also go for that end.

If you want to go the contracting route, look for good solid contracting agencies that are interested in you and try to help you out. I got burned once, by one who didn't even let me know when my contract ran out. (Ah to be stupid and naive again... :) ). Anyway, look for good places which will cater to you. If you got the skills, they will want you.

joed
06-30-2006, 06:51 AM
this was a huge help, thanks...