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Vincent_M

Career Advice

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I've been programming as a hobby for well over a decade now, but I've only been programming professionally for 2 years. Due to this, I have access to mentors who know their stuff, but I also have access to some pretty gnarly code bases. I've only worked for small companies during this time. My only work-experience skills are in Unity/C# (some C# development outside of Unity), Python, ActionScript3, and a few libraries within all those.

 

I have a lot of personal experience in C++, but not in the workplace yet. I also have personal experience with PHP, SQL (I've only used MySQL for the implementation), Java, and Objective-C. I've also got experience with Qt, the Android and iOS SDKs, and a bunch of libraries. I have a degree in Management Information Systems, but I'm at most, junior-level in everything. I'm in my mid-20s, and ambitious like most people my age. Unfortunately, I lack the skills of a seasoned professional. I want to get those skills.

 

I really want to get a lead developer role in something involving backend or tools development. I really enjoy programming, and try to put in 20 hours into it a week after work and gym. I think I'm decent in C++ and C#, but far from mastery. I've been told I have potential by a potential employer, but results are what they want. I really want to have a sense of mastery when it comes to software design in general.

 

There are plenty of software development jobs in Las Vegas where I live, but I've become picky on what to apply for. Part of my pickiness comes from lack of experience. Most of my experience is in C++, but everyone wants juniors. Would it be wise to seek out a junior-level job in a field I'm not really comfortable in? I really want to run a small-time video game studio, and make fun games for mobile, and Steam. Again, who wouldn't want that here on these forums? haha

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1. I've only been programming professionally for 2 years. ... I've only worked for small companies during this time. My only work-experience skills are ... I'm at most, junior-level in everything. I'm in my mid-20s, and ambitious like most people my age. Unfortunately, I lack the skills of a seasoned professional. I want to get those skills.
I really want to get a lead developer role

2. There are plenty of software development jobs in Las Vegas where I live, but I've become picky on what to apply for. Part of my pickiness comes from lack of experience.

3. Most of my experience is in C++, but everyone wants juniors.

4. Would it be wise to seek out a junior-level job in a field I'm not really comfortable in?

5. I really want to run a small-time video game studio, and make fun games for mobile, and Steam.


1. Well, that'll take more time, then, won't it? You describe yourself as a junior programmer. After you haven't been junior for a while, then you can get serious about the lead position.

2. I'm not following that part. Might it make sense that those who lack experience can least afford to be picky?

3. Not following that either (what the problem is; what the point of the statement is). If everyone wants juniors, and you're a junior, then you can get work.
People who want lower costs want junior people. People who need skills want senior people. It's about the money, and what they can afford.

4. It seems like a bad idea, unless you're just saying you're not comfortable with (i.e. knowledgeable in) the field you want to go into. Again, not sure what the point of the question is (what it is you're really trying to determine with the question).

5. Great. You can. You'll just need to get some experience in the industry, and good contacts, a plan, and some money. My article 29 might shed more light on that part. http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson29.htm

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I've been really tired today, so I'm struggling to conveying my thoughts.

 

1. Of course, it'll take more time. I've spent a long time trying to get experience on my own, but it appears that I'm only working harder, not smarter. I can't seem to focus on a single thing.

 

2. I'm picky because I'm so new to the software engineering industry in general. I don't know what most job roles really are, or even what I want. Not only do I need experience, but I need to figure out what I want that's obtainable right now. Then, I actually know what to work toward.

 

3. I meant seniors. Most companies are looking for senior developers, not junior developers.

 

4. I mean not knowledgable in as "uncomfortable." If I see something I might be interested in, should I just go for it? Getting a job in that field could land me a reliable mentor.

 

5. This warrants a quote:


5. Great. You can. You'll just need to get some experience in the industry, and good contacts, a plan, and some money. My article 29 might shed more light on that part. http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson29.htm

I completely agree. I need more experience in the industry in general, not just programming. I try to balance my programming, gym and family time with a social life too. I'm always meeting people who want to do projects with me. Again, lack of experience and direction on my part's destroyed every personal project I've done to date. I'll post back when I'm done reading your article.

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4. I mean not knowledgable in as "uncomfortable." If I see something I might be interested in, should I just go for it? Getting a job in that field could land me a reliable mentor.


If you are interested in it, go for it. If you don't know if you're interested in it, go take the interview and ask good questions. Find out if you're interested in it.
Sounds to me like mainly what you need to do is read, reflect, stay in your present job, do great work, save money. It might be necessary to move to find the job that you really want. See http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson27.htm

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1. I've only been programming professionally for 2 years. ... I've only worked for small companies during this time. My only work-experience skills are ... I'm at most, junior-level in everything. I'm in my mid-20s, and ambitious like most people my age. Unfortunately, I lack the skills of a seasoned professional. I want to get those skills.
I really want to get a lead developer role

1. Of course, it'll take more time. I've spent a long time trying to get experience on my own, but it appears that I'm only working harder, not smarter. I can't seem to focus on a single thing.

Aren’t you rushing things? I was in my mid-20’s when I had been programming professionally for 2 years, and I worked at that first small company for 5 years. And now I am 33, and still not a lead developer (though I have been the lead on some projects).
What’s the rush?
 

2. I'm picky because I'm so new to the software engineering industry in general. I don't know what most job roles really are, or even what I want. Not only do I need experience, but I need to figure out what I want that's obtainable right now. Then, I actually know what to work toward.

Cutting yourself out of the race is the fastest way to make sure you never win.
Apply, interview, and then cancel the job if it is not a match.
Most job descriptions are very generic and not all-encompassing. At my current company, I applied as a senior graphics programmer, but during the interviews they asked if I would be willing to branch out if needed and do animation (for example).
If you find you aren’t a 100% fit for the job for which you applied, they may just reassign you to another role.
 

3. I meant seniors. Most companies are looking for senior developers, not junior developers.

I become an official senior programmer (current job) when I was 32. Before that I was implicitly a senior in many cases, but I was still much older than you are now.
What’s the rush? The only thing that can make you a senior, or a lead, is time and experience (or enough money to start your own company and give yourself whatever title you want). It literally doesn’t matter how good you are.
And it happens faster in smaller companies than in larger ones, not more slowly.


L. Spiro

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