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Bringing it all Together (What's next for a beginner?)

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I don't know what classifies one as beginner, intermediate, or advanced when it comes to programming, but I think I don't consider myself a beginner anymore. 

 

I ventured to learn programming by myself within a year. DONE!

 

Now I am even doing small classes teaching people programming basics

 

So far I have messed with:

 

  • LUA
  • Python
  • HTML
  • CSS
  • Javascript

 

I have been doing most of my programming practice on the iPad:

 

  • Codea (Lua)
  • Pythonista (Python)
  • Editorial (Python, Regular Expression, Javascript, HTML, CSS)

 

I only have cared to use one game engine:

 

  • Maratis (Lua)

 

This is a quote from the FAQ:

 

Remember that a good programmer will know many different languages in time, and be able to learn new ones easily. Just because you do not learn C++ first does not mean you should not learn it ever.

 

 

Here is the thing though. I am making example code for beginners here and there, and making small utilities. I have done a lot of refactoring lately.

 

I have some experience:

 

  • 3D modeling
  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Audio Editing
  • Video Editing
  • Programming

And much more..

 

HOWEVER!!!

 

I can't find a way to bring it all together! I am not a great programmer (as so many of you prove with each post). I am not a great modeler, nor artist, nor etc. However, with a bit of focus, I am sure I can produce something great.

 

But what to produce?

 

I still feel I don't know enough though.

 

Once again, I feel I am a beginner, at a new stage. I need a project, and I need a good portfolio too. 

 

I have been thinking I should find a small but useful app to try to create, but I don't know where to start (I like to make things as easy as possible). 

 

To make things more complicated. I am unemployed, and will perhaps be homeless within 2 months. I am not an elite programmer, but I would really like to use what skills I do have to get a job. 

 

So here is the main question:

 

What can a beginner do to go to the next level?

 

And what is the next level for beginner?

Edited by Tutorial Doctor

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What can a beginner do to go to the next level?

 

And what is the next level for beginner?

 

To get to the next level you have to create a significant project from start to finish - deciding what project that is and how to carry on with creating/finishing it are part of getting to the "next level"

 

There really is no level classifications like "beginner", "intermediate", etc - There is just a gradual curve that looks somewhat logarithmic I would say - though that is no definite definition. Experience is an easy way to divide programmer skill - but sometimes someone can have all the experience in the world and they just don't get it. That's why, if I'm looking at having someone join my project, I like to see projects that they have completed.

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I would, if I were you, start to really plan two different paths you have to walk at the same time, at least for now:

 

- Getting programming expirience and start building small projects (I GUESS you want to build games, but that is not so clear (which, by itself is a problem. If your not 150% sure you want to build a game, better leave it alone... to much work for to little gain involved otherwise))

- Getting a job.

 

Yes, I said it. Get a job. Now. IF you think you are good enough, try to apply for entry level programming jobs. You might get lucky. Without a good degree that might prove difficult though (which, again, I don't know if you have from your OP).

Important thing, to me, is: you need to be able to pay the bills. This is the most important thing at the end of the day. Without money no food, no PC to program on, and so on.

If you need to be self sustaining (I assume here you don't live with your parents anymore), hobbies, unpaid freelancing gigs, even education have to be a second priority in your case.

 

ESPECIALLY as in game dev, even more if you really want to continue down the Indie route (what I read from you wanting not only to program, but also modelling and art), a project can take you a long time to finish, and while smaller games will take up less time, creating a full portfolio from scratch will again take time.

Time where you will need to rely on your day job to pay the bills.

 

 

Now, as to the question at hand. Personally, I would go with whatever really looks interesting to you. If you have no passion for a project, its hard to keep working on it without pay or pressure.

Of course you need to be brutally honest with yourself: You will not be able to build an MMO in a lifetime, and even a good looking shooter takes a lot of time.

 

Start with small games (Tetris, Pong), and this time concentrate on finishing it. Maybe even create the art in a vector graphics program. Then move on to bigger challenges.

Edited by Gian-Reto

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As another alternative, you could identify which of your skills is strongest that you enjoy the most, and join an existing team to utilise that skill. You don't want to spread your skill set too thin, as the phrase goes, you could become a "jack of all trades, master of none"...

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I ventured to learn programming by myself within a year. DONE!

 

This tells me you're on the right path, at least in the fact that you set a goal and a time frame and achieved it. This is nothing to scoff at as a lot of people cannot do this and meet their goal. 

 


You don't want to spread your skill set too thin, as the phrase goes, you could become a "jack of all trades, master of none"...

 

I agree. A lot of times trying to learn multiple things at once can make the learning process harder/longer and you may find that you will fizzle out with a general understanding of everything and that's as far as you get. I would pick something that you really want to learn and focus ~75% of your attention on that. You can still play around with other ideas, just keep focused on that one thing. For instance, I am learning C#. I would consider myself still a beginner, if not border line intermediate coder in C#. I am doing a refresh on HTML/CSS and plan on teaching myself Javascript so I can help out on projects at work our developer is working on, but I will still devote my most of my attention on C#. Doing something like this will get you to the "intermediate/advance" knowledge in one language, and you will still have some experience in other languages to bring to the table. If you need to fill in some gaps with another language/topic you can always do so on an as needed basis, there are plenty of resources out there to help. 

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Wanting to make money off of games without a degree and not much experience...especially without a plan:

 

I should find a small but useful app to try to create, but I don't know where to start

...It could work...you could end up being a millionaire in 2 months if youre that lucky/gifted, but its a risk.

 

If you are actually that desperate for money I think its best to not bet it on getting lucky on a video game and spend your time getting a job...even if it has nothing to do with creating games

 

Eitherways, The next step for a beginner is probably not found on books or some secret 'Learning to make games' recipe...but rather through trial and error.

If you think you know enough to make a simple app, go ahead and do it, and learn/improve from it...what app to create exactly? Well if you want money off of it...it should be original so we can't help with that :/

Edited by Penanito

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Dude I agree with first comment from Satharis. If you risk having no home you should be certain you got at least a job instead of a programming/game job. But since this is advice for game dev. I would get really fucking good at something specific which is necessary at the market right now - you need to do research, what are game programming companies looking for now... My thoughts anyway :)

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Thanks for the replies.

I am starting to see how "logarithmic" the curve is.

I have been pushing to learn python more the last few months. My goal is to have something on some App Store by the end of next year (useful, simple, polished).

I took a break from game development, and coming back, it looks foreign.

However, I have been learning some programming methods, which will help anywhere.

It just seems that super programmers know about all of the various terminology, and also how to apply the concepts introduced.

I have been making extensions using python for an app called Editorial on IOS. Perhaps a good way to get my feet wet is making extensions/plugins for various software?

And maybe contributing to some open source software?

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