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What path to take in programming?

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Hey guys,

 

     So, I'll get right into it. I just talked to my college adviser, and I can complete my degree next semester (Community College). We talked for a good while, and it would be a brutal semester but I could do it. Or I could take two more semesters, and take a few extra classes here or there, and get to know more of what I want to do. Let me bold this for anyone who skims  the biggest problem I'm having is that I do not know what niche in the programming world I want to fill. Do I want to be a game programmer? Maybe, it sounds like fun. Do I want to do mobile apps? Website? Back-end server? Data Analysis? Security? I don't know. And what I decide on, matters. If I decide of mobile apps, he suggested taking the extra semester, and taking a course with him in C# (The main language they teach in the college is Java, for 3 semesters, so that's the only language most of us know who come from there).

    So if anyone has suggestions, or brief layouts of the different niches in the programming world, that would help a lot. I know you might be hesitant to try to suggest anything, because you don't want to push someone into doing something. It's a decision they need to make on their own. I'm just looking for information here, the ups and downs of certain fields, so I can try to plan accordingly.

 

**Edit** It's early and I have to leave for work right now, but it seems I failed to mention that I DO plan on pursuing a Bachelors, and hopefully even a Masters degree in Computer Science. I'm just trying to decide if I should get my Associates a semester early, or take the extra semester, and an extra class or two, before going on to a four year school.**Edit**

 

     Thanks!

Edited by ThinkingsHard

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By not knowing any Java myself, before deciding to extend any more time in school, I would pick up a book at the library or bookstore covering the recommended language to see if I could make the transition from 1 to the other on my own.  ( Chances are you probably could !!).   If I felt I could, then I would shorten my stay, finish my studies and pursue something with that obtained knowledge.  If I then find that I would want to continue my studies at a later date ( within a year or 2 ) then I could always return to school, even if only part time to pick up the extra knowledge.

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Hi,

 

Since you do not yet have information direct from game development companies about what skills they seek, seeking that would be the most helpful to you at this point.  While you are researching that issue, if deadline comes to schedule classes, then I recommend taking the C# course, continue Java, and extending into more network (such as cloud based) oriented classes. Any web development course will benefit you, too. I do not know if you have anything at your school which focuses on mobile development, but if so then that would be prudent as well.  Take as many classes as you can in a couple semesters before you graduate because you really must make the most of the opportunity you have there. 

 

Do NOT wait too long between graduation and landing in a company.  The more time that passes after graduation then the less probability of getting hired. The sooner you make contact with prospective employers, even while in school, the better.

Edited by 3Ddreamer

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Yes, get a feel for the big picture first. You might not want to specialize too early ... but do try to go for hands on experience with different technologies.

 

I wrote something for my cousin a while ago ... maybe something there is interesting for you ...

http://izitforyou.blogspot.de/

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If you honestly don't know, I'd go to a library and get a book called "What Color is your Parachute?", and look up the chapters on the flower diagram. The exercise takes about a week if you intend to give it an honest effort, but the results are profoundly personal.

If you are using Windows you could download the free Kindle program and for $9.99 buy the book to read and do those chapters. If you are using Linux, get Chrome and install the Kindle Reader then buy the book. I got it so I could read through it just a few minutes ago.

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Thank you all for you responses. I've looked into it a little bit and I've found Algorithm Design, Scientific Computing, and Game Programming to be the things that interest me the most. Now I just have to talk with my adviser about either finishing my associates in the Fall, or Spring, and then where to go for my Bachelor+. Thanks!

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**Edit** It's early and I have to leave for work right now, but it seems I failed to mention that I DO plan on pursuing a Bachelors, and hopefully even a Masters degree in Computer Science. I'm just trying to decide if I should get my Associates a semester early, or take the extra semester, and an extra class or two, before going on to a four year school.**Edit**

 

If your community college is accredited (some are, some aren't) and the credits will transfer, stay in community college the extra semester and get as many 'basic' courses out of the way as you can. You'll be studying the same stuff at a four year school, but it will cost you a lot more for the same information.

 

If you plan on going forward in Computer Science - mathematics is going to be the most important things for you to study at the start. Once you cross the 'discrete mathematics' line and move into areas which are much more about 'proofs' than they are about computation you'll really push your logical knowledge. Topology is an obvious one, but there are others as well. Higher computational math will help you as well, particularly if you want to go into 3D game design. Differential Geometry, for example, is what's used to map a skin to a mesh.

 

For the computer programming part: learn to code. It doesn't matter whether you're designing a game, a spreadsheet app, the back end for a database client, or a OS Kernel - algorithms are universal. Read as many of the 'classic' texts as you can get your hands on (Knuth, Gang of Four, etc...), and code as much as you can.

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Take the extra semester, but no more courses than you have to. Use your increased free time to dig into game programming on your own. A community college won't be able to teach you near as much about what you're after as hands-on experience making a game.

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Take the extra semester, but no more courses than you have to. Use your increased free time to dig into game programming on your own. A community college won't be able to teach you near as much about what you're after as hands-on experience making a game.

 

But a community college can teach him history, and a foreign language, and a lot of other courses that he'll have to take at some point to get a degree. If the course credits transfer, it's much better to take them at community college prices than wait until you're in a big name university and pay their tuition fees for the same courses.

Edited by Mouser9169

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Don't assume you get job training, get a job, then retire and die.  Life is short: make it wide.  Stay in school, get a broad and unfocused education.  Learn.

 

I graduated some time ago, and I'm now working in a field and using technologies that weren't even dreamed of when I was in university.  Focus now on learning as much as you can about as much as you can, worry about the job training you'll need in your just when you finish your education and the job you fall in to has been created.

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