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#ActualMoe091

Posted 29 November 2012 - 10:18 PM

Hello Gamedev. I know this post is huge but please at least skim through it and offer any help you can, I'm quite desperate. And sorry for the general topic name let me try to specify a little better.

Right now I'm between what I consider the beginner and intermediate skill levels with programming. I only know one language well(Java) and I don't even know it that well, as I'm beginning to realize. I know all the basics pretty well, I know how and when to use as well as understand the implications of things like multidimensional arrays, arraylists, inheritance, polymorphism, interfaces, etc. I can pick up new libraries pretty quickly but right now I'm only proficient in a few(Swing/awt, android(to an extent), and a couple third party libraries, I'm sure I'm forgetting a few also). I don't really know what else I can learn or where to go next, I'm studying for the OCA java programmer test and I find I already know pretty much all the material in a general sense but I'm still picking up some new things as I go through it, mostly just gaining a deeper understanding of all the things I'm decent with now(Sorry that reminds me I have a small detour I have to go off on):

How useful are the OCA/OCP java certs for a first/second year comp sci student at a community college, I'm sure i won't get a regular
programming job with just that but do you think I'll be able to find any job/internship in the IT field once I become certified? Am I wasting
my time? What else can I do to get myself a job working with computers if that isn't enough? It doesn't have to be high paying or glamorous
or anything, right now I'm working at a car shop that I hate making $10 dollars an hour and I just got dropped down to a measly 8 hours a
week because business is so slow, so yah I'll pretty much take anything I can get. I'm 21 btw if that is a relevant factor </tangent>

Anyway, back to the specifying, I told you where I'm at now and I need help finding out where to go and how to get there. I see there are a couple different routes I could take but which one I want to take depends on a few different things. My main goals are to become a more well-rounded programmer and be able to make money from programming. Don't get me wrong I totally enjoy programming and I mostly do it for the enjoyment, but I'm having SERIOUS trouble finding a job even flipping burgers or something because I have a DUI on my record :/ and I'm gonna be homeless soon if I don't find something, I'm starting to consider lying about it on my applications. So yah money is a big factor right now, I spend all my time applying for menial jobs and when I'm not doing that I try to improve my coding skills as programming is my only shot at making enough money to support myself eventually.

One thing I could do is to get some books or find some good tutorials on different libraries that are currently in demand(things like Spring or GWT im guessing, not that I even know what they are I just here a lot about them, what libraries would you suggest if I go this route?) This is something that would definitely be useful to learn at some point, but I'm not really interested in this option unless its feasible for me to get a job where I'd actually use these skills in the near future, I don't really think it is but I'm having trouble researching these types of things, what do you guys think? If I get my certification and learn some good libraries, maybe make a couple apps for a portfolio, do you think I'd have a chance of getting a job?

Another option, which I am currently half pursuing, is to build a good profile on elance or freelancer and start doing work for people there. I think I need to learn more in order to do this because when I look at all the job listings for Java there isn't much that I already know how to do at all, and I'd feel wrong claiming that I can do a job when I don't fully know how to do it yet just so I can get the job, then praying that I'm able to figure it out as I go. The skills requirements for most of these jobs is so random and broad that it's hard to figure out what I should learn if I want to be capable of doing future jobs. Hmmm, as I think about it I'm beginning to realize that the reason I don't feel confident bidding on any of these jobs is because of my lack of complete projects. I've made several completely custom games, from design to implementation of the 'engine' that drives the game, but thats usually where it ends for me. I write the game up to the point where I have all or most of the functionality I want, then once I've convinced myself that I could do it I abandon the project. My getting things done skill is quite low. Also I've never made anything besides games that was bigger than a 1000 lines of code. Anyone have any ideas for preparing myself to do some freelance java work? or ideas for apps I could make that would look good in a portfolio and also teach me to complete a project? Any general advice for a beginner looking to get into freelancing and do you think this is a good route to take in my situation?

I've saved the best for last, my third option is to create my own indie game and try to make a few bucks off of it. 90% of my programming experience is programming games in Java and it's the one thing I feel confident doing. With enough time I feel like I could handle writing the code for almost any 2d game, and although I haven't done much 3d at all I understand it a bit and could definitely learn as I go on a smaller project. This is obviously the most fun way to do it, but I don't know if it's a good choice because I wouldn't be learning as much as if I made something other than another game and it also seems like a unreliable way to make a few bucks as it's likely my first game will make me 0 dollars - if it gets finished. Also there's the problem of finding an artist or working around the fact that I don't have one :/. I have a few decent ideas for games that I feel confident I could make but I have no idea what the market is like for a lone indie developer. From what I can tell android is getting flooded with amateur games and I'm assuming that it'll be next to impossible to make even a few hundred dollars without some actual marketing, is that true? Is it possible to make a profitable desktop game as a solo developer in Java and if so what do you think the best way to do that would be, should I try making a browser game(do those flash portals still host java applets?) or maybe a facebook game(can you even use java for facebook games? That's something I haven't looked into yet) or possibly a larger normal game for the hardcore indie gaming crowd, I have an idea for a 2d space shooter with a dash of rpg that I really wanna make and that would fit into this category well. Does anyone think this is a viable option and what market do you think I should target? I'm not looking for the MOST profitable but rather the MOST LIKELY to be profitable at all, with a preference for smaller games that I'm more likely to finish in time. Even if I just make $500-1000 that'll buy me enough time to make some more money before I'm out on the streets.

Sorry for the long post, Although I asked about those 3 options specifically feel free to suggest anything at all that you think would be helpful in my situation. I'm kinda desperate and there's really not much I can do besides keep applying for jobs and when I'm done doing that hone my programming skills and become more skilled/well-rounded so I can get a job or do some freelancing or something. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

Oh also do you think it'd be a good idea for me to start building a portfolio now? anyone have examples of good portfolios, suggestions for programs I could make for a portfolio that would also teach me valuable skills to make, or other general tips.

Sorry if this post got a little messy towards the end I'm really tired and I just needed to get it done

#1Moe091

Posted 29 November 2012 - 10:15 PM

Hello Gamedev. Sorry for the general topic name let me try to specify a little better.

Right now I'm between what I consider the beginner and intermediate skill levels with programming. I only know one language well(Java) and I don't even know it that well, as I'm beginning to realize. I know all the basics pretty well, I know how and when to use as well as understand the implications of things like multidimensional arrays, arraylists, inheritance, polymorphism, interfaces, etc. I can pick up new libraries pretty quickly but right now I'm only proficient in a few(Swing/awt, android(to an extent), and a couple third party libraries, I'm sure I'm forgetting a few also). I don't really know what else I can learn or where to go next, I'm studying for the OCA java programmer test and I find I already know pretty much all the material in a general sense but I'm still picking up some new things as I go through it, mostly just gaining a deeper understanding of all the things I'm decent with now(Sorry that reminds me I have a small detour I have to go off on):

How useful are the OCA/OCP java certs for a first/second year comp sci student at a community college, I'm sure i won't get a regular
programming job with just that but do you think I'll be able to find any job/internship in the IT field once I become certified? Am I wasting
my time? What else can I do to get myself a job working with computers if that isn't enough? It doesn't have to be high paying or glamorous
or anything, right now I'm working at a car shop that I hate making $10 dollars an hour and I just got dropped down to a measly 8 hours a
week because business is so slow, so yah I'll pretty much take anything I can get. I'm 21 btw if that is a relevant factor </tangent>

Anyway, back to the specifying, I told you where I'm at now and I need help finding out where to go and how to get there. I see there are a couple different routes I could take but which one I want to take depends on a few different things. My main goals are to become a more well-rounded programmer and be able to make money from programming. Don't get me wrong I totally enjoy programming and I mostly do it for the enjoyment, but I'm having SERIOUS trouble finding a job even flipping burgers or something because I have a DUI on my record :/ and I'm gonna be homeless soon if I don't find something, I'm starting to consider lying about it on my applications. So yah money is a big factor right now, I spend all my time applying for menial jobs and when I'm not doing that I try to improve my coding skills as programming is my only shot at making enough money to support myself eventually.

One thing I could do is to get some books or find some good tutorials on different libraries that are currently in demand(things like Spring or GWT im guessing, not that I even know what they are I just here a lot about them, what libraries would you suggest if I go this route?) This is something that would definitely be useful to learn at some point, but I'm not really interested in this option unless its feasible for me to get a job where I'd actually use these skills in the near future, I don't really think it is but I'm having trouble researching these types of things, what do you guys think? If I get my certification and learn some good libraries, maybe make a couple apps for a portfolio, do you think I'd have a chance of getting a job?

Another option, which I am currently half pursuing, is to build a good profile on elance or freelancer and start doing work for people there. I think I need to learn more in order to do this because when I look at all the job listings for Java there isn't much that I already know how to do at all, and I'd feel wrong claiming that I can do a job when I don't fully know how to do it yet just so I can get the job, then praying that I'm able to figure it out as I go. The skills requirements for most of these jobs is so random and broad that it's hard to figure out what I should learn if I want to be capable of doing future jobs. Hmmm, as I think about it I'm beginning to realize that the reason I don't feel confident bidding on any of these jobs is because of my lack of complete projects. I've made several completely custom games, from design to implementation of the 'engine' that drives the game, but thats usually where it ends for me. I write the game up to the point where I have all or most of the functionality I want, then once I've convinced myself that I could do it I abandon the project. My getting things done skill is quite low. Also I've never made anything besides games that was bigger than a 1000 lines of code. Anyone have any ideas for preparing myself to do some freelance java work? or ideas for apps I could make that would look good in a portfolio and also teach me to complete a project? Any general advice for a beginner looking to get into freelancing and do you think this is a good route to take in my situation?

I've saved the best for last, my third option is to create my own indie game and try to make a few bucks off of it. 90% of my programming experience is programming games in Java and it's the one thing I feel confident doing. With enough time I feel like I could handle writing the code for almost any 2d game, and although I haven't done much 3d at all I understand it a bit and could definitely learn as I go on a smaller project. This is obviously the most fun way to do it, but I don't know if it's a good choice because I wouldn't be learning as much as if I made something other than another game and it also seems like a unreliable way to make a few bucks as it's likely my first game will make me 0 dollars - if it gets finished. Also there's the problem of finding an artist or working around the fact that I don't have one :/. I have a few decent ideas for games that I feel confident I could make but I have no idea what the market is like for a lone indie developer. From what I can tell android is getting flooded with amateur games and I'm assuming that it'll be next to impossible to make even a few hundred dollars without some actual marketing, is that true? Is it possible to make a profitable desktop game as a solo developer in Java and if so what do you think the best way to do that would be, should I try making a browser game(do those flash portals still host java applets?) or maybe a facebook game(can you even use java for facebook games? That's something I haven't looked into yet) or possibly a larger normal game for the hardcore indie gaming crowd, I have an idea for a 2d space shooter with a dash of rpg that I really wanna make and that would fit into this category well. Does anyone think this is a viable option and what market do you think I should target? I'm not looking for the MOST profitable but rather the MOST LIKELY to be profitable at all, with a preference for smaller games that I'm more likely to finish in time. Even if I just make $500-1000 that'll buy me enough time to make some more money before I'm out on the streets.

Sorry for the long post, Although I asked about those 3 options specifically feel free to suggest anything at all that you think would be helpful in my situation. I'm kinda desperate and there's really not much I can do besides keep applying for jobs and when I'm done doing that hone my programming skills and become more skilled/well-rounded so I can get a job or do some freelancing or something. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

Oh also do you think it'd be a good idea for me to start building a portfolio now? anyone have examples of good portfolios, suggestions for programs I could make for a portfolio that would also teach me valuable skills to make, or other general tips.

Sorry if this post got a little messy towards the end I'm really tired and I just needed to get it done

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