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Career Change: How do I make a jump into programming?

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I am at a cross-roads in my career. My work experience is with desktop support, but my education is with computer programming. Work Experience: Currently I am doing Help Desk and working as a subcontractor for Desktop support. Computer Programming: I have a Computer Programming Diploma and a Computer Programming Certificate from University. I am familiar with programs like C, C++ and VB. ---------------------------------------------------------- I would like to move away from computer support and into computer programming. I don't know how to make a jump into programming. Any advice would help please.

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Original post by RealMarkP
Do you have time to do Schooling? What about at night (part time)?


This thought has crossed my mind, but I don't know what are the next programming courses to take.

I don't need to take basic programming courses because I have already done the basics already. I already know about for, loops, printf, etc.

I need courses that allow me to develop fully functional programs, not mickey mouse programs like "Hello World".

I don't know how to bridge the gap between the basic programmer to a full fledged programmer.

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Original post by rzetlin
I would like to move away from computer support and into computer programming.

I don't know how to make a jump into programming.

Any advice would help please.

Spend your free time practicing your programming skills - write programs that challenge you to improve your knowledge of algorithms and design principles - and apply for entry-level programming positions. Many places do not require a specific education for entry-level programmers, and consider demonstrable ability more important.

Good luck!

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Another option would be to do some schooling (programming) which has (paid) co-op terms. If you have the time and money to do this, it could greatly increase your chances of successfully starting in the programming field.

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Original post by Oluseyi
Spend your free time practicing your programming skills - write programs that challenge you to improve your knowledge of algorithms and design principles - and apply for entry-level programming positions. Many places do not require a specific education for entry-level programmers, and consider demonstrable ability more important.

Good luck!


I second that! Talking from personal experience, most of the skills I developed were during college when I used to read and practice whichever way I could. The rest I got through working in an entry-level programming job after graduating, but most of the core skills were already there; what remained was more usage than concept.


Quote:
Original post by rzetlin
This thought has crossed my mind, but I don't know what are the next programming courses to take.

I don't need to take basic programming courses because I have already done the basics already. I already know about for, loops, printf, etc.

I need courses that allow me to develop fully functional programs, not mickey mouse programs like "Hello World".

I don't know how to bridge the gap between the basic programmer to a full fledged programmer.


Personally, I don't really like courses -- that's just me, though. That said, I still think a better use of your free time would be to try and write programs and challenge yourself by finding out how to do all the things that you can't do right now. Browse/search the internet, ask questions on forums (but sensible questions, please, and only after you've spent enough time searching and you're convinced you can't find anything new by further searching), and simply keep trying.

Since you're past the basic concepts and the "Hello World" programs, try writing more complex programs. One idea would be to create an address book, then see if you can add some useful functionality like searching, sorting, filtering, etc... That's just one example, and I'm sure you yourself can come up with a dozen others. You might argue on the point behind creating such things, which obviously doesn't add much to the world of technology, especially that my guess is that you are still working with console programming; but you wouldn't believe how educational it was to write such programs, and the amount of experience you get through trial-and-error in the process. After you're very comfortable expressing yourself in code, you might want to start learning how to work with something other than the console, such as GUI applications.

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Well, first I think you're going to have a hard time getting an MCAD if you're familiar with only the basics of programming. Like the others said, , take some courses first - not just in learning a language (after your second or third language picking up a new one is cake) but also in learning data structures, algorithms, etc. That's what will teach you how to be a programmer.

Any sod can program, honestly. It's not that difficult to write code. How to write it well, and be able to come up with interesting, efficient, creative solutions to difficult problems.. that's what tests the merit of a programmer.

Re: MCAD - If you want to go into games, I think the MCAD may be close to worthless. I've never seen anyone in games talk about any MS certifications that ended up being useful in making games. I am very much open to be corrected though. But, if you want to be a non-game programmer, go for it! I think it would then come into great use.

If your goal is game programming, and you don't want to spend time in courses, try landing a job as a gameplay scripter. It's basically really light programming, and will give you a taste of what its like.

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Quote:
Original post by rzetlin
Computer Programming:
I have a Computer Programming Diploma and a Computer Programming Certificate from University.

I am familiar with programs like C, C++ and VB.


Might be just a language difference, but any particular reason you say "programs"?

What did you graduate from? What kind of diplomas are that? What have you programmed so far?

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Quote:
Original post by Antheus
Quote:
Original post by rzetlin
Computer Programming:
I have a Computer Programming Diploma and a Computer Programming Certificate from University.

I am familiar with programs like C, C++ and VB.


Might be just a language difference, but any particular reason you say "programs"?

What did you graduate from? What kind of diplomas are that? What have you programmed so far?


I think I made it clear as to my education and the different programming languages I know.

One of the largest programming project I have taken on is a VBA school project creating a payroll system.

I somewhat wished my C and C++ teachers had done more than small programs like "Hello World".

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Meh. The biggest projects I had in school were making a compiler, and making an OS. Everything else was just stupid little things to teach you individual concepts. The key to being a good programmer really is just making a big hobby out of it. Think up something, and attempt to do it. It doesnt matter how hard you fail at it, as long as you make progress in your understanding. In the end you will have at least a few functional demo games / tools with source that you can show off to employers. Showing competence in the field goes a long way, and having some kind of demo projects / code really shows competence (even if it is something as simple as tetris)

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