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Sean T. McBeth

Member Since 11 Sep 2000
Offline Last Active Today, 05:41 AM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: VS 2015 is here

22 July 2015 - 06:26 AM

I?.Love?.The?.Null?.Propagating?.Operator();

In Topic: Engineering vs Programming?

16 June 2015 - 09:11 PM


IMO, if you make your hobby your job, it can get old fast.

To me, programming for my job and programming for my hobbies are so completely different that I don't really associate the two. One is not using up my mental capacity or my tolerance for the other. If anything, the hobby work recharges me for the pro work. It's kind of like reading and writing by this point: reading things and writing things at work has no relevance to the things I read or write on my own time. It's just a different form of literacy.


In Topic: Engineering vs Programming?

16 June 2015 - 08:58 AM


Living expenses in MD/DC/VA are actually great too and there are even some nice places to live.

 

Uh, maybe in the ass-end of Maryland or the boondocks of Virginia, but anywhere near enough to DC to not make commuting to work a daily living hell is extremely expensive, one of the most expensive places to live in the country. Here in Alexandria, rents go from $2 - $3 / sq-ft, which certainly isn't San Francisco, but it's definitely over twice what my sister is paying in downtown Des Moines, Iowa. Places *in* the District are going $3 - $4 / sq-ft. Not a lot of well-paying tech companies in the District, either. There is a growing startup scene, but they all pay shit.

 

Mostly, you'll be looking for a place to work in Bethesda, Arlington, or Anacostia. You'll still probably have to buy a car. DC's metro is pretty good, as far as US metro systems go, and it's *possible* to get by without a car in this area, but you'll pay extra to be near the metro. If you really don't care about living in a city, you can look as far as Reston and Herndon, but then you will *certainly* have to buy a car, and most likely end up commuting an hour one-way every morning to work.

 

Freelancing, man. Don't play those games. They're rigged.


In Topic: Engineering vs Programming?

16 June 2015 - 08:27 AM

There is a general problem in the US right now that the average salary for middle-class workers is not keeping pace with the cost of living in those places where jobs are available. Your first job out of college, you're probably going to struggle to make ends meet, because many of the tech jobs have moved to expensive cities and they aren't going to pay you well to start.

 

I've had more hands-on, away-from-the-computer work as a programmer who isn't afraid of soldering irons than most of my electrical engineer friends who view programming as just a necessary evil.

 

Bachelor's degree is mostly a waste of money. Get one as cheaply as possible, don't go to an expensive school, try not to pay for it yourself, don't go into massive amounts of debt. Unless you're going to end up working for NASA, nobody cares if you went to MIT. The vast majority of employers only care that you *have* a degree at all, not where it was from or what your GPA was. Master's degree is a complete waste of money. If you want to do research, go get into a PhD program. Master's degree program is just to let people who are afraid of learning on their own or afraid of committing to a PhD program to dump more money into the system.

 

Best way to make money is freelancing. Fully 1/3rd of the US economy is now freelance, and it's growing. No companies are increasing the number of full-time employees they are hiring, established companies are dumping everything off on outsourced work. Might as well set your own terms. Market yourself, stay on top of your skills, learn more about business than just programming (which no university is going to teach you). You're never going to be paid what you're worth at a job, and the vast majority of employers you're going to end up finding will treat you more like a burden than the source of their livelihood.

 

I socialize a lot, just not with my "coworkers", because I don't have any coworkers. I work out of a freelancer's' space, the monthly dues are less than what I was spending at coffee shops, plus it still comes with coffee, the wifi is better, and nobody is bringing in their screaming kids in strollers. I also attend meetups of various types in my area. So, I get to meet a lot of different types of people, not just programmers.

 

I'm also going to buck the trend in this thread and say forget everything about any concept called "Passion In Your Work". It's nice when you're working on something that you enjoy, and I recommend it to the fullest extent that it is possible, but the way it is pitched makes it sound like a never-ending honeymoon at work. It ignores the fact that there is a heaping helping of work that *must* be done that you will *never* be passionate about. You *have* to understand how taxes work. You *must* make sure your health is taken care of.  If you work independently, you *are absolutely required* to advertise and market yourself, network with others, and pitch services to people. The specific details aren't important, you certainly like and dislike a completely different cross-section of things than me. There are times when even the core work that you love will become a chore, but it still has to be done! Everyone has to get this notion that "passion in my work = success" out of your head. I think it is more dangerous than it's worth.

 

Scratch everything else I said, except for "stay out of debt". If you can manage to stay out of debt, you can do whatever you want. It doesn't really matter. Stay out of debt and you could work 10 hours a week writing stupidly simple web code and you'd be able to support yourself perfectly well. Add another 10 hours a week and you could support a small family. 20 hours a week of work is not a lot, I fit it into 2 days, then do whatever the hell I want the rest of the time. But you *have* to stay out of debt. It doesn't work otherwise.


In Topic: Primrose - edit source code in a texture

30 January 2015 - 04:32 AM

I'm personally going to use it to experiment with virtual workspaces. I also think it might be cool for AI-bot coding games, ala a graphical version of CRobots or something.

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