Career Change


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Thread: Career Change

  1. #1
    Lester Burnham Guest

    Career Change


    I will not be going back to the job and industry I was in. I'm starting over.

    Beyound MS Office I know nothing about computer programming, ok
    some programming from about 20 years ago which doesn't count.

    Where do I start? Does Java, C++, or some other language offer the best
    way
    to get a paying job with some long term career upward mobility?

    Thanks



  2. #2
    Michael Guest

    Re: Career Change


    I was looking at some research that shows that VB, Java, and C++ are the three
    largest languages in that order. VB is the easiest to get up and going in,
    but Java and C++ take more discipline and work. If you are just looking to
    get in on the ground floor, pick up some VB, if you want to get serious,
    go with Java.


    "Lester Burnham" <choton@swbell.net> wrote:
    >
    >I will not be going back to the job and industry I was in. I'm starting

    over.
    >
    >Beyound MS Office I know nothing about computer programming, ok
    >some programming from about 20 years ago which doesn't count.
    >
    >Where do I start? Does Java, C++, or some other language offer the best
    >way
    >to get a paying job with some long term career upward mobility?
    >
    >Thanks
    >
    >



  3. #3
    Jim Pragit Guest

    Re: Career Change


    Lester,

    C++, Java and Visual Basic are the three "big" languages in use today. There
    are literally hundreds of languages around, but these three comprise about
    90% of the job market. So, if you learn any of these three, you'll do alright.


    Pros and Cons: C++ is the hardest of the three and some experts predict its
    use will be dropping off. Java is new and somewhat unproven, but so far
    so good. VB is easy to learn and very straight forward, but MS is the only
    vendor of VB. With MS's current legal problems, I have my doubts whether
    they can deliver the next version of VB on time.

    Avoid RPG and Cobol as they're on their way out. Avoid Delphi too. It was
    a good language but never really took off. In the midwest (where I live),
    there are 40 VB jobs for every Delphi job.

    In terms of money, I've seen one report that said Java programmers (on average)
    make about $5-$10 thousand a year more than VB programmers. I'm not sure
    where C++ programmers fit in.

    Where to begin? I would recommend going back to school, even if it's only
    for a few night classes at a junior college.

    - Jim

    "Lester Burnham" <choton@swbell.net> wrote:
    >
    >I will not be going back to the job and industry I was in. I'm starting

    over.
    >
    >Beyound MS Office I know nothing about computer programming, ok
    >some programming from about 20 years ago which doesn't count.
    >
    >Where do I start? Does Java, C++, or some other language offer the best
    >way
    >to get a paying job with some long term career upward mobility?
    >
    >Thanks



  4. #4
    pronster Guest

    Re: Career Change


    Java is WAY WAY hard than VB. If your not already a programmer, (and older
    than 15), it might be too hard to start with.

    I'd recommend VB. You can always change languages later. My buddy Bri tried
    to start with C and then Java as a way to break into programming. 5 years
    later he's STILL struggling with those languages at home.

    Start small, maybe work the help desk somewhere. If youve time & money -
    get a degree in Comp Sci somewhere - thats instant respect.

    pr0nster


  5. #5
    Bard dZen Guest

    Re: Career Change

    I own my own consulting company and after sifting through many resumes=20=

    and interviews of CIS majors that know absolutely nothing about what the=
    y=20
    are applying for, even supposed "experienced" developers, having a CIS=20=

    degree really means squat unless you want a management role down the=20=

    road.

    If you want to be a programmer, get some practical experience, actual or=
    =20
    on the side. Degrees are secondary. Also, this tends to be the opposite=
    =20
    if you are applying to a larger companies, as they expect you have no=20=

    experience and have the resources to wait 6-8 months for you to do OJT. =
    =20
    Mid to smaller companies simply don't have the time or money to waste=20=

    waiting for you to learn your role.

    I'd hire someone who knows their stuff than someone who doesn't with a=20=

    degree any day of the week.

    > Start small, maybe work the help desk somewhere. If youve time & money=

    -
    > get a degree in Comp Sci somewhere - thats instant respect.


    > pr0nster


  6. #6
    Mick Mickelson Guest

    Re: Career Change


    Lester,

    I started learning VB at home, while in college. I do not have a degree
    in any discipline nor did I attend any CS classes.

    My first computer related gig was on a help desk doing hardware/software
    support. Within a few months I was programming custom apps for application
    integration.

    My advice is...

    Start with VB. It is much easier to comprehend than Java & C++.
    Once you get a grip on VB, Java will be easier to understand. You can assume
    that Java is the direction to go in. C++, while being the most versatile
    across operating systems, is extremely difficult to become proficient in.
    It takes a lot of time and experience.

    A degree may not be necessary, however, it is a key to opening many doors.
    I have applied for positions where my experience and skills matched perfectly
    as described with the exception of that degree, only to receive a letter
    indicating that they had no openings for someone with my skills. Yea...right.

    To establish some credibility, I am employed now as a senior systems analyst/architect.
    All of my education in these areas has been "self-taught". While I do not
    have a degree, I am considered by my peers and customers as the "go to guy"
    for difficult problems.


    Hope this helps.
    Mick Mickelson

  7. #7
    Mark Guest

    Re: Career Change


    For those considering Java, I highly recommend taking
    one or more of Sun's exams. The most important exam
    is the Sun Certified Programmer exam. The other two
    important exams are the developer exam and the architect
    exam.

    Of course, you will need to study diligently for these.
    Read James Gosling's 'The Java Programming Language', and
    take advantage of some of the free practice exams on the
    web.

    Getting one of these certifications 'under your belt'
    will certainly give you a 'shoe in'.

    Mark

    "Mick Mickelson" <mickmcklsn@earthlink.net> wrote:
    >
    >Lester,
    >
    >I started learning VB at home, while in college. I do not have a degree
    >in any discipline nor did I attend any CS classes.
    >
    >My first computer related gig was on a help desk doing hardware/software
    >support. Within a few months I was programming custom apps for application
    >integration.
    >
    >My advice is...
    >
    >Start with VB. It is much easier to comprehend than Java & C++.
    >Once you get a grip on VB, Java will be easier to understand. You can assume
    >that Java is the direction to go in. C++, while being the most versatile
    >across operating systems, is extremely difficult to become proficient in.
    > It takes a lot of time and experience.
    >
    >A degree may not be necessary, however, it is a key to opening many doors.
    > I have applied for positions where my experience and skills matched perfectly
    >as described with the exception of that degree, only to receive a letter
    >indicating that they had no openings for someone with my skills. Yea...right.
    >
    >To establish some credibility, I am employed now as a senior systems analyst/architect.
    > All of my education in these areas has been "self-taught". While I do

    not
    >have a degree, I am considered by my peers and customers as the "go to guy"
    >for difficult problems.
    >
    >
    >Hope this helps.
    >Mick Mickelson



  8. #8
    Ken Oler Guest

    Re: Career Change


    Hi Lester,

    I am an application engineer working at Agilent Technologies - formerly Hewlett
    Packard. After reading through the rest of the replies posted - I would
    say that your peers are giving you some great advice.

    The comment I wanted to add has to do with Programming Methodology rather
    than Programming Language. I feel that it is extremely important, especially
    for beginners, to have a solid understanding of design principles such as
    OOP (Object Oriented Approach). Structuring your code/applications for scalability,
    usability, supportability, etc. is more important (to me) than the language
    you choose. Once you have mastered your first language you will find that
    to code the same algorithm using a different language is just a matter of
    syntax – they all support “if” statements, “loops”, etc.. The point is -
    no matter which language you choose, if your writing spaghetti code your
    applications will suffer and your users will not be happy campers.

    Also, before you get started should ask yourself this question: What type
    of programming am I most interested in? UNIX, Windows, Internet, etc. Answering
    that question will help drive which path to follow.

    As with the other respondents, I don’t think you can go wrong starting with
    VB – (sorry UNIX users – although I believe there is a UNIX version of VB
    out there somewhere). I don’t know what your learning style is but if you
    are the self motivated, self teaching, kind of guy – look for a VB starter
    book that includes the Learning Edition VB Compiler. If you are not a self-starter
    or self-teacher, I would consider a different career path. To keep up with
    the rapid change of technology you have to be both self-motivated and able
    to learn/grasp new concepts by reading (or in my case be very stubborn).
    If you can’t find a book that includes the VB Compiler you can pick it up
    for about $100.00 – the Learning Edition lets you compile and run applications
    on your desktop, you just can’t distribute your apps.

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/vbasic/pro...se/pricing.asp

    Good Luck,
    Ken Oler


  9. #9
    John Timney (MVP) Guest

    Re: Career Change

    Got to agree with Kens comments...and the rest too.

    I do many of the technical interviews for one of the largest IT companies in
    the UK, from graduate to experienced. We look for an ability rather than a
    specific langauge, but I have to agree that VB is easier to learn than Java,
    VBScript is even easier to learn than VB - and all free, something like that
    and a few good books will teach you all about techniques and structure as
    well as the language quirks.

    Dont be suckered into the Java/jsp / VB/asp argument - it doesn't exist in
    the real world because projects are task driven rather than technology
    driven. One thing I would say seems to becoming more apparant - the biggest
    shortage in the industry without a doubt is for web / server side
    developers - if you can aquire some skills in that then upward mobility
    follows because of the skills shortages. If you have no experience in
    developing, start with something like xhtml, then learn how to script - (asp
    or jsp), then learn how to program (vb - java) and learn how to integrate
    technologies, (dont forget the databases)...and make lots of use of the
    newsgroups and developer sites cos there is a lot of free help out there for
    the taking.

    Regards

    John Timney (MVP)
    Co Author Pro JSP


    Ken Oler <ken_oler@agilent.com> wrote in message
    news:3947a090$1@news.devx.com...
    >
    > Hi Lester,
    >
    > I am an application engineer working at Agilent Technologies - formerly

    Hewlett
    > Packard. After reading through the rest of the replies posted - I would
    > say that your peers are giving you some great advice.
    >
    > The comment I wanted to add has to do with Programming Methodology rather
    > than Programming Language. I feel that it is extremely important,

    especially
    > for beginners, to have a solid understanding of design principles such as
    > OOP (Object Oriented Approach). Structuring your code/applications for

    scalability,
    > usability, supportability, etc. is more important (to me) than the

    language
    > you choose. Once you have mastered your first language you will find that
    > to code the same algorithm using a different language is just a matter of
    > syntax - they all support "if" statements, "loops", etc.. The point is -
    > no matter which language you choose, if your writing spaghetti code your
    > applications will suffer and your users will not be happy campers.
    >
    > Also, before you get started should ask yourself this question: What type
    > of programming am I most interested in? UNIX, Windows, Internet, etc.

    Answering
    > that question will help drive which path to follow.
    >
    > As with the other respondents, I don't think you can go wrong starting

    with
    > VB - (sorry UNIX users - although I believe there is a UNIX version of VB
    > out there somewhere). I don't know what your learning style is but if you
    > are the self motivated, self teaching, kind of guy - look for a VB starter
    > book that includes the Learning Edition VB Compiler. If you are not a

    self-starter
    > or self-teacher, I would consider a different career path. To keep up

    with
    > the rapid change of technology you have to be both self-motivated and able
    > to learn/grasp new concepts by reading (or in my case be very stubborn).
    > If you can't find a book that includes the VB Compiler you can pick it up
    > for about $100.00 - the Learning Edition lets you compile and run

    applications
    > on your desktop, you just can't distribute your apps.
    >
    > http://msdn.microsoft.com/vbasic/pro...se/pricing.asp
    >
    > Good Luck,
    > Ken Oler
    >




  10. #10
    Mike Reilly Guest

    Re: Career Change

    C++ will last for performance reasons. VB will for ease of learning and
    speed of development. Java will for cross platform capabilities (erm, as
    much as anything can be cross platform <g>). And if you really want to
    optimize those 3d games, asm comes in handy (though compilers are getting
    pretty darned good at optimising, I wouldn't put them up against my buddy
    Craig, who speaks asm as his first language, but has worked hard and now
    does fairly well talking to people in English).


    Jim Pragit wrote in message <394657ce$1@news.devx.com>...
    >
    >Lester,
    >
    >C++, Java and Visual Basic are the three "big" languages in use today.

    There
    >are literally hundreds of languages around, but these three comprise about
    >90% of the job market. So, if you learn any of these three, you'll do

    alright.
    >
    >
    >Pros and Cons: C++ is the hardest of the three and some experts predict its
    >use will be dropping off. Java is new and somewhat unproven, but so far
    >so good. VB is easy to learn and very straight forward, but MS is the only
    >vendor of VB. With MS's current legal problems, I have my doubts whether
    >they can deliver the next version of VB on time.
    >
    >Avoid RPG and Cobol as they're on their way out. Avoid Delphi too. It was
    >a good language but never really took off. In the midwest (where I live),
    >there are 40 VB jobs for every Delphi job.
    >
    >In terms of money, I've seen one report that said Java programmers (on

    average)
    >make about $5-$10 thousand a year more than VB programmers. I'm not sure
    >where C++ programmers fit in.
    >
    >Where to begin? I would recommend going back to school, even if it's only
    >for a few night classes at a junior college.
    >
    >- Jim
    >
    >"Lester Burnham" <choton@swbell.net> wrote:
    >>
    >>I will not be going back to the job and industry I was in. I'm starting

    >over.
    >>
    >>Beyound MS Office I know nothing about computer programming, ok
    >>some programming from about 20 years ago which doesn't count.
    >>
    >>Where do I start? Does Java, C++, or some other language offer the best
    >>way
    >>to get a paying job with some long term career upward mobility?
    >>
    >>Thanks

    >




  11. #11
    Mike Reilly Guest

    Re: Career Change

    OK, while the topic has been breached, maybe I can ask a quick question. I
    live in a place that's fairly isolated from the big cities and high tech
    centers (central Vancouver Island). Because of this, there were no real
    programmers filling the local needs for developers. I did some programming
    in university (for fun!), and have done it for a hobby, and now teach info
    tech in the local school district. Word got out that I can do some
    programming (been with VB since version 1). This has led to a small
    consulting business, where I do standalone VB apps (including databases -
    Access, SQL Server, etc. 2 and 3 tier), web development (ASP, a little MTX,
    HTML a little DHTML, IIS, Exchange Server/VBScript/Outlook), some MS Office
    automation, as well as Access programming. I also have done a little
    Apache/PHP work, and am now developing C++ and Java basic skills in case I
    need them for a project. Recently, I realized I might be getting reasonably
    good at this, and have started to think about a carreer move. Am I correct
    in thinking that I might be better off writing code than in a teaching job?
    I like both of them fine as far as job satisfaction is concerned. Thing is,
    I would probably have to move. Just not enough work around here to keep me
    working local, and I'm burning the candle at both ends with this dual life.

    Hope nobody minds the OT and fairly self centered nature of the question <g>

    Regards,
    Mike Reilly

    John Timney (MVP) wrote in message <3947f61f@news.devx.com>...
    >Got to agree with Kens comments...and the rest too.
    >
    >I do many of the technical interviews for one of the largest IT companies

    in
    >the UK, from graduate to experienced. We look for an ability rather than a
    >specific langauge, but I have to agree that VB is easier to learn than

    Java,
    >VBScript is even easier to learn than VB - and all free, something like

    that
    >and a few good books will teach you all about techniques and structure as
    >well as the language quirks.
    >
    >Dont be suckered into the Java/jsp / VB/asp argument - it doesn't exist in
    >the real world because projects are task driven rather than technology
    >driven. One thing I would say seems to becoming more apparant - the

    biggest
    >shortage in the industry without a doubt is for web / server side
    >developers - if you can aquire some skills in that then upward mobility
    >follows because of the skills shortages. If you have no experience in
    >developing, start with something like xhtml, then learn how to script -

    (asp
    >or jsp), then learn how to program (vb - java) and learn how to integrate
    >technologies, (dont forget the databases)...and make lots of use of the
    >newsgroups and developer sites cos there is a lot of free help out there

    for
    >the taking.
    >
    >Regards
    >
    >John Timney (MVP)
    >Co Author Pro JSP
    >
    >
    >Ken Oler <ken_oler@agilent.com> wrote in message
    >news:3947a090$1@news.devx.com...
    >>
    >> Hi Lester,
    >>
    >> I am an application engineer working at Agilent Technologies - formerly

    >Hewlett
    >> Packard. After reading through the rest of the replies posted - I would
    >> say that your peers are giving you some great advice.
    >>
    >> The comment I wanted to add has to do with Programming Methodology rather
    >> than Programming Language. I feel that it is extremely important,

    >especially
    >> for beginners, to have a solid understanding of design principles such as
    >> OOP (Object Oriented Approach). Structuring your code/applications for

    >scalability,
    >> usability, supportability, etc. is more important (to me) than the

    >language
    >> you choose. Once you have mastered your first language you will find

    that
    >> to code the same algorithm using a different language is just a matter of
    >> syntax - they all support "if" statements, "loops", etc.. The point is -
    >> no matter which language you choose, if your writing spaghetti code your
    >> applications will suffer and your users will not be happy campers.
    >>
    >> Also, before you get started should ask yourself this question: What type
    >> of programming am I most interested in? UNIX, Windows, Internet, etc.

    >Answering
    >> that question will help drive which path to follow.
    >>
    >> As with the other respondents, I don't think you can go wrong starting

    >with
    >> VB - (sorry UNIX users - although I believe there is a UNIX version of VB
    >> out there somewhere). I don't know what your learning style is but if

    you
    >> are the self motivated, self teaching, kind of guy - look for a VB

    starter
    >> book that includes the Learning Edition VB Compiler. If you are not a

    >self-starter
    >> or self-teacher, I would consider a different career path. To keep up

    >with
    >> the rapid change of technology you have to be both self-motivated and

    able
    >> to learn/grasp new concepts by reading (or in my case be very stubborn).
    >> If you can't find a book that includes the VB Compiler you can pick it

    up
    >> for about $100.00 - the Learning Edition lets you compile and run

    >applications
    >> on your desktop, you just can't distribute your apps.
    >>
    >> http://msdn.microsoft.com/vbasic/pro...se/pricing.asp
    >>
    >> Good Luck,
    >> Ken Oler
    >>

    >
    >




  12. #12
    John Timney (MVP) Guest

    Re: Career Change

    I would move, sounds like you have some useful skills......depends on how
    much you love teaching I suppose and how nice it is in CVIsland - because
    there are places I wouldn't go if they were going to give me Caprice to make
    my day more pleasing (well perhaps Caprice would get me to the States if she
    begged). The grass may not be greener on the other side, just a murky hay
    colour.

    But the IT industry has a few years left in it, you can always come back to
    teaching, and probably with a lot more real world IT skills to pass on and
    its quite easy to move between jobs.

    Regards

    John Timney (MVP)

    Mike Reilly <mike_reilly_no_spam@bc.sympatico.ca> wrote in message
    news:3949c386@news.devx.com...
    > OK, while the topic has been breached, maybe I can ask a quick question.

    I
    > live in a place that's fairly isolated from the big cities and high tech
    > centers (central Vancouver Island). Because of this, there were no real
    > programmers filling the local needs for developers. I did some

    programming
    > in university (for fun!), and have done it for a hobby, and now teach info
    > tech in the local school district. Word got out that I can do some
    > programming (been with VB since version 1). This has led to a small
    > consulting business, where I do standalone VB apps (including databases -
    > Access, SQL Server, etc. 2 and 3 tier), web development (ASP, a little

    MTX,
    > HTML a little DHTML, IIS, Exchange Server/VBScript/Outlook), some MS

    Office
    > automation, as well as Access programming. I also have done a little
    > Apache/PHP work, and am now developing C++ and Java basic skills in case I
    > need them for a project. Recently, I realized I might be getting

    reasonably
    > good at this, and have started to think about a carreer move. Am I

    correct
    > in thinking that I might be better off writing code than in a teaching

    job?
    > I like both of them fine as far as job satisfaction is concerned. Thing

    is,
    > I would probably have to move. Just not enough work around here to keep

    me
    > working local, and I'm burning the candle at both ends with this dual

    life.
    >
    > Hope nobody minds the OT and fairly self centered nature of the question

    <g>
    >
    > Regards,
    > Mike Reilly
    >
    > John Timney (MVP) wrote in message <3947f61f@news.devx.com>...
    > >Got to agree with Kens comments...and the rest too.
    > >
    > >I do many of the technical interviews for one of the largest IT companies

    > in
    > >the UK, from graduate to experienced. We look for an ability rather than

    a
    > >specific langauge, but I have to agree that VB is easier to learn than

    > Java,
    > >VBScript is even easier to learn than VB - and all free, something like

    > that
    > >and a few good books will teach you all about techniques and structure as
    > >well as the language quirks.
    > >
    > >Dont be suckered into the Java/jsp / VB/asp argument - it doesn't exist

    in
    > >the real world because projects are task driven rather than technology
    > >driven. One thing I would say seems to becoming more apparant - the

    > biggest
    > >shortage in the industry without a doubt is for web / server side
    > >developers - if you can aquire some skills in that then upward mobility
    > >follows because of the skills shortages. If you have no experience in
    > >developing, start with something like xhtml, then learn how to script -

    > (asp
    > >or jsp), then learn how to program (vb - java) and learn how to integrate
    > >technologies, (dont forget the databases)...and make lots of use of the
    > >newsgroups and developer sites cos there is a lot of free help out there

    > for
    > >the taking.
    > >
    > >Regards
    > >
    > >John Timney (MVP)
    > >Co Author Pro JSP
    > >
    > >
    > >Ken Oler <ken_oler@agilent.com> wrote in message
    > >news:3947a090$1@news.devx.com...
    > >>
    > >> Hi Lester,
    > >>
    > >> I am an application engineer working at Agilent Technologies - formerly

    > >Hewlett
    > >> Packard. After reading through the rest of the replies posted - I

    would
    > >> say that your peers are giving you some great advice.
    > >>
    > >> The comment I wanted to add has to do with Programming Methodology

    rather
    > >> than Programming Language. I feel that it is extremely important,

    > >especially
    > >> for beginners, to have a solid understanding of design principles such

    as
    > >> OOP (Object Oriented Approach). Structuring your code/applications for

    > >scalability,
    > >> usability, supportability, etc. is more important (to me) than the

    > >language
    > >> you choose. Once you have mastered your first language you will find

    > that
    > >> to code the same algorithm using a different language is just a matter

    of
    > >> syntax - they all support "if" statements, "loops", etc.. The point

    is -
    > >> no matter which language you choose, if your writing spaghetti code

    your
    > >> applications will suffer and your users will not be happy campers.
    > >>
    > >> Also, before you get started should ask yourself this question: What

    type
    > >> of programming am I most interested in? UNIX, Windows, Internet, etc.

    > >Answering
    > >> that question will help drive which path to follow.
    > >>
    > >> As with the other respondents, I don't think you can go wrong starting

    > >with
    > >> VB - (sorry UNIX users - although I believe there is a UNIX version of

    VB
    > >> out there somewhere). I don't know what your learning style is but if

    > you
    > >> are the self motivated, self teaching, kind of guy - look for a VB

    > starter
    > >> book that includes the Learning Edition VB Compiler. If you are not a

    > >self-starter
    > >> or self-teacher, I would consider a different career path. To keep up

    > >with
    > >> the rapid change of technology you have to be both self-motivated and

    > able
    > >> to learn/grasp new concepts by reading (or in my case be very

    stubborn).
    > >> If you can't find a book that includes the VB Compiler you can pick it

    > up
    > >> for about $100.00 - the Learning Edition lets you compile and run

    > >applications
    > >> on your desktop, you just can't distribute your apps.
    > >>
    > >> http://msdn.microsoft.com/vbasic/pro...se/pricing.asp
    > >>
    > >> Good Luck,
    > >> Ken Oler
    > >>

    > >
    > >

    >
    >




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