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Info Needed Pleeeease

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Hi everyone Ok where do I start. I need some advice from all of the trainees/junior/proffesional programmers out there. Here goes hope you can put me on the right track: I started studying C++ about 6 months ago and am enjoying it but finding it pretty tough, any how I decided to enroll with a college for a 7 week evening class working aroung my daytime job, the class was a beginners course and the teacher was very knowledgable, unfortunatley there wasnt many begginers in the class and he just kept advancing to far ahead to take it all in. Anyway after my 7 weeks was up a couple of people had dropped out(But Not me) this didnt put me off I was still really keen to carry on programming this is how I know that is the road I want to go down. So I had some advice to learn C first before C++ which I am now doing and yes the advice is good starting to understand the whole programming language now. Now the problem I have is that I have looked at many job sites to see what qualifications I would need, and I also rang a few course providers and inquired about some of the programming courses and basically told that there wasnt many C++ courses I could learn in my own time(i.e. Open University type course)and if I didnt have any degree or Microsoft certificate no one would look at me twice is this true? I now feel I have hit a brick wall, Im 29 and am now wondering if its to late to change courier and start off in the programming world or do I carry on with my own studying and sit my own exam which I would pay for and hopefully get a job in programming or should I try and find a course where I can get a recognised qualification????? I would like to hear from anyone that is in the same position as me or anyone that is in the industrie,...Any Advice will be greatfully received....

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The reason many places don't bother teaching C++, or <insert language here>, or whatever, is because knowing a language sufficiently well is only the very beginning of being a good programmer. An understanding of general concepts, design, methodology, etcetera, are what are critical, and are harder to learn during one's own time. Learning languages during your own time is pretty straight forward. Learning the more generalized concepts, however, obtain a large benefit from experienced direction, i.e., a professor or other form of a teacher.

You can either continue taking classes, learning all of those non-language-specific concepts, maybe even work towards getting a (second?) Bachelor's degree. Or you can make programming a primary hobby, and gain "unofficial" but still valuable experience that way. The former will be quicker, and will more reliably lead to jobs, but such a path may simply not be very practical for you.

Or you might just consider making programming a hobby, with no concrete intentions of eventually turning it into a second career. I might recommend this even more if you're specifically interested in game development, which is quite likely, considering the nature of this site. [smile] The game development industry can often expect quite a lot of dedication, and while that is perfect for some people, for other people, it's just too much. You might be able to acquire more enjoyment by developing games on your own time, at your own pace. In addition, you get to have a much more integral or broad role in the games you develop, or even have total control, if you work independently. You won't be confined to just programming parts of the AI, or parts of the physics system, or just tools. And you'll be able to immediately take part in or take full control of the design of the game, something that might take years if you work as a programmer in the industry.

Just some thoughts, maybe they'll be helpful.

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Hi,

Not from a 'trainee/junior/proffesional programmer', but from someone who is in a similar position to yourself. All I really have to offer is encouragement, and some of my own experiences!

You're in a similar position to myself. Just turned 30, spent 8 years doing medical research as a mathematician (trust me, mathematicians are part of medical research). I'd done a fair bit of programming before, but primarily with mathematical languages, never anything that a 'programmer' would use.

We decided to have a change in direction (and we emmigrated to a new country at the same time - some upheaval, huh?). Since then I've been learning C++ (as well as a couple of other languages) - originally with the intention of working in the games industry. However, since the EA hoo-raw I'm a lot less convinced (plus I know someone at Rockstar, who confirms the above posters points about it requiring 'quote a lot of dedication'. I have a family and numerous out-of-work things that take up a lot of my time that I am not willing to sacrifice and so that's probably a path I personally won't take now. Not quite sure where I'm going to end up doing now - but I still think programming has potential (either that or contract work in my old discipline, as there's precious few folks around who can do some of the work I do).

So - I've not actually broken into new ground yet - but on the other hand, I think it is possible to learn the skills you'd need as a programmer under your own initiative - albeit with the considerations Agony makes above. My understanding has been that showing you can write working code is hugely important - put together demos of some quality work that you do. Learn as much as you can - try and target your learning to what you want you eventually want to do.

I don't believe changing career is an easy path. But I do believe it's possible. People will try and drag you down, and tell you you'll be living off the streets, but the same folks are those who sit at jobs they hate for 45 years of their lives, hating every day, but never doing anything about it. Is that what you want? Not me!

All the best in your quest!
Jim.

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Here is the simplest and quicket way to learn C. Especially since you have a day job. Now you do have to have enough discipline to do this on your own.

"Teach yourself C in 21 days" by Sams Publication. It is an older book, but I am sure you can get it from Amazon new or used. Now you probably won't go through it in 21 days, but give it 60 days and you will know more about C than most people :) I hope this helps.

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