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School, computers and programming...need advice

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#1   JipeTrade

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 23:32

Well after much deliberation on my part, I have finally decided that I want to major in computer science. I have always been good with computers and anything related to them. I have never started programming or anything of the sort. I now think that I want to try and do this for a living. I recently built a website for my girlfriend and loved every second of it and am now in the process of setting up a commerce store.

My questions are this... am I crazy to get into programming. I realize a huge percentage of people learn on their own or at least start on their own. What languages do you recommend? I want to be independent work as a contractor and not have to worry about bosses, how likely is that. I figured I would post this here because I know a lot of programmers hang out here and thought 'hey, why not'.

lastly...do you enjoy your job? or when I do this for 5 years am I going to rip my own head off and eat it? :)

Thanks for any input/replies/anything

ps I am working on my grammar :)

Edited by JipeTrade, 23 October 2008 - 23:35.

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#2   sLaV-

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 00:11

Finished my computer science degree last year ... got in web development ... ABSOLUTELY LOVE PHP/HTML/XHTML/CSS ... didn't like Java or C, or C++ ... am going back next year to do a single course in .NET ... so if your going to do it I recommend learning .NET ... a LOTTTT of jobs out there with .NET ;)

Wow that was my 666th post ... freaky :P

Edited by sLaV-, 24 October 2008 - 00:12.

#3   Vger

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 00:13

It doesn't matter what job you do - there will be days when you hate it. Fact of life.

As to what language to learn it really depends on your talents. If you're good at Graphic Design then I'd say Flash Action Scripting - good coders very much in demand and can charge what they like.

If not then PHP, MySQL, with a knowledge of the Zend Framework and Smarty Template. You'll also need a good knowledge of CSS and some HTML knowledge. It's not possible to separate the various elements, except for the Zend Framework and Smarty Template - but as they are growing you'd be behind the times if you left them out.


#4   jhande

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 08:07

Hey James,

Before you jump into taking college courses, buying tons of programming books or whatever, do a little market research. That's what I did before I started back at college. You mentioned enjoying designing a web site. That's just the tip of the iceberg. Yes you'll need to learn some languages for it. But this is where the market research comes in. Different parts of the country focus on different languages. The job market here in New England looks for people with knowledge in MySQL, PHP, PERL, JAVA, and quite a few others, but ASP and NET are not to common. I decided to major in networking and minor in web design & maintance. So I searched for a college that had courses tailored to my needs within the degree program.

I wouldn't expect to jump right in to the private sector working for yourself right away. Nothing can beat the experience and knowledge you will learn working for\with someone else. If you are in a position where you can, I would recommend working part time in an entry level position within the field of studies while attending school (if your going to school LOL). I hooked up with a company that allows me to do most of my work from home for them while I take most of my courses online at home. My employer helps me along with my studies, they have a college professor employed there and he tutors me when needed. The company is quite responsive to helping me complete my degree and realizes my studies come before work. They are also looking into the future, I finish my degree and they have a full time employee more than capabable.

There's nothing wrong with doing you own work on the side. Once you feel as though you can fly solo, spread your wings and build a list of your own clientele. Once you learn what you need, now you face another obsticle - getting the work to keep yourself out of the poor house. So you now become a salesman LOL.
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#5   burt


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Posted 27 October 2008 - 09:16

Javascript is the big thing right now.

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#6   php_Guy

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 16:43

Everything related to computers moves very quickly. You could see what's hot now, go to school for that, graduate and find that things have changed and something else is hot. I'd recommend ignoring what's hot and focus on what you enjoy. Get good at that. As time permits learn a new language or new tool. get good at that and then look for something else to add to your skillset. The more tools you are comfortable with, the more valuable you are but always stick to what you enjoy. Personally, I love PHP, XHTML, CSS and PhotoShop. If you want to work for yourself, study marketting! A great many of fantasic developers struggle at making ends meet because they can't market themselves. Good luck!

#7   JipeTrade

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 16:47

Thanks guys. Exactly the kind of insight I was looking for. I am think I am going to get a few books from the library and try to learn a some basics of different types of languages and see where it leads me.

I am also considering programming with c++ or non internet languages but I really do not know anything about it.

research is what I need to do now..
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#8   Dr_DK

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 23:42

Bro main thing is this: Don't put all your eggs in one basket as the other fellas tried to explain by learning more you build value in how much you are worth. But take a look around see what you enjoy, go for a free seminar, training, whatever can give you an idea what those fields are about. Some people can't stick at doing C+ programming more than 5 years it becomes a job not a hobby, some can't stand sitting at the same desk for that long. It all depends what you find that you like right now, but later it might change to something else. So don't get all worried up about "if" but just do whatever feels right for you. Don't worry about tomorrow cause once you are done with school then you'll figure it out. There are many jobs out there but most want people with experience, and don't go too crazy about working for yourself as it might be hard start... Learn the field and then go driving in it! ;-) Later bro.