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ajm113

Getting a Job As A C++ Programmer With Web Dev Experience

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I'm going to assume I'm answering my own question and I'm doing wishful thinking, but I would like to hear some opinions. I've been in web development for 3 - 4 years now working with Linux/Unix, Windows almost as a full stack developer. I really enjoy my job and find it secure, however I've always have had my heart set being a C++ developer forever. (Assuming developer is much more achievable then an engineer.)

 

Can anyone give me some tips or pointers what US states have the largest cpp market, and perhaps giving me some pointers on what to look for and what to use on the resume? Obviously recent C++ projects, but should I include my web development jobs anyway? Should I shoot for a jr. position that pays decently (60k+) or sr. role (less working with code and more working with clients/managers).

 

Also has anyone had luck landing a job as a cpp developer position with simply programming experience and no college degree? I plan on working to get my CS degree some time in the future.

 

Sorry if this isn't in the proper area of the forum.

 

Thanks,

 

Ajm

Edited by ajm113

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1. I really enjoy my job and find it secure, however I've always have had my heart set being a C++ developer forever.
2. (Assuming developer is much more achievable then an engineer.)
3. Can anyone give me some tips or pointers what US states have the largest cpp market,
4. and perhaps giving me some pointers on what to look for and what to use on the resume? Obviously recent C++ projects, but should I include my web development jobs anyway?
5. Should I shoot for a jr. position that pays decently (60k+) or sr. role (less working with code and more working with clients/managers).
6. Also has anyone had luck landing a job as a cpp developer position with simply programming experience and no college degree?
7. I plan on working to get my CS degree some time in the future.
8. Sorry if this isn't in the proper area of the forum.


1. So you're making a difficult decision between the ideal and the practical, you say. Why do you think you can't have both? Go for it already. It pays well and is reasonably secure.
2. Okay, I admit it - I don't know what the difference is. Care to explain?
3. Why do you think you need a large market? What's wrong with the state where you live? You never mentioned games in your post, so although this is a game forum, I assume you're not looking for a game job.
4. You should put all your work experience on your résumé.
5. You should shoot for a position that you'd be good at and also enjoy.
6. Some people have, but that's irrelevant. How old are you?
7. Why not now?
8. I moved it to the right one.

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For where in the country to get work, obviously bigger cities and tech hubs are more likely to have work.  Rural areas and small towns will have far less tech work, although people still need web sites and such.

 

For your resume and job application, put what you have done that relates to the job.  With only a few years of experience you'll want to include your full job history. Seeing that you can hold a job as a custodian or burger flipper or whatever else you did before the professional world shows you can actually hold a job.  Once you've accumulated a decade or so of professional experience you can let your non-professional jobs held as a teenager start to roll off the bottom.  

 

For your description of "pays decently" I suggest you study the job market in your prospective city. For several major tech hubs $60K is a salary for junior developers fresh from college. If you're considering a senior position in one of those locations you're about $50K too low, and your pay won't cover housing.

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1. I really enjoy my job and find it secure, however I've always have had my heart set being a C++ developer forever.
2. (Assuming developer is much more achievable then an engineer.)
3. Can anyone give me some tips or pointers what US states have the largest cpp market,
4. and perhaps giving me some pointers on what to look for and what to use on the resume? Obviously recent C++ projects, but should I include my web development jobs anyway?
5. Should I shoot for a jr. position that pays decently (60k+) or sr. role (less working with code and more working with clients/managers).
6. Also has anyone had luck landing a job as a cpp developer position with simply programming experience and no college degree?
7. I plan on working to get my CS degree some time in the future.
8. Sorry if this isn't in the proper area of the forum.


1. So you're making a difficult decision between the ideal and the practical, you say. Why do you think you can't have both? Go for it already. It pays well and is reasonably secure.
2. Okay, I admit it - I don't know what the difference is. Care to explain?
3. Why do you think you need a large market? What's wrong with the state where you live? You never mentioned games in your post, so although this is a game forum, I assume you're not looking for a game job.
4. You should put all your work experience on your résumé.
5. You should shoot for a position that you'd be good at and also enjoy.
6. Some people have, but that's irrelevant. How old are you?
7. Why not now?
8. I moved it to the right one.

 

 

  1. Good point, why wait, basically.
  2. Developer would simply be bug fixing, maintaining code, and integrating new features, as an engineer, you would be using engineering principles for software creation. i.e. wide picture of a big project. One way I see it at least.
  3. Where I currently live now in Arizona has a very small cpp software market. It's mainly .NET, CPP is very rare and when one position shows up the requirements are pretty high. I want to do simply software at the moment. I've written small game engines using C++ > Lua, SDL/OpenGL, but nothing more then that.
  4. Even smaller projects that simply used C++/C?
  5. True, I would need to spend a bit of time researching the market.
  6. 24, a lot of HR will shoot down an app with no degree, at least my experience anyway.
  7. Too many damn bills and things to take care of at this moment. (Fingers crossed to get back in school next year.)
  8. Thanks! :)

 

 

For where in the country to get work, obviously bigger cities and tech hubs are more likely to have work.  Rural areas and small towns will have far less tech work, although people still need web sites and such.

 

For your resume and job application, put what you have done that relates to the job.  With only a few years of experience you'll want to include your full job history. Seeing that you can hold a job as a custodian or burger flipper or whatever else you did before the professional world shows you can actually hold a job.  Once you've accumulated a decade or so of professional experience you can let your non-professional jobs held as a teenager start to roll off the bottom.  

 

For your description of "pays decently" I suggest you study the job market in your prospective city. For several major tech hubs $60K is a salary for junior developers fresh from college. If you're considering a senior position in one of those locations you're about $50K too low, and your pay won't cover housing.

 

I could see that, not sure if a place like Portland vs San Diego would have a large difference for cpp programmers. I was planning on starting a business in online marketing and slowly merging to other areas like A/V, and advertising, when things get rolling, but I'm not 100% sure on that yet.

 

I can see that, put whatever you have pretty much.

 

I suppose all that would highly depend on where you live, living in AZ housing would be dramatically different then NY, or NJ. If I got a sr. position I would differently want that 100k salary. haha

Edited by ajm113

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Your distinction between developer and engineer doesn't really exist in the real world. What you're describing is basically the difference between junior and senior positions. 

There's no industry standard, but titles are generally along the lines of

  • junior developer: simple tasks, minimal decision making. Basically, you're there to learn.
  • developer: more complex tasks, some decision making. 
  • senior developer: most complex tasks, some high-level design work
  • technical lead: responsible for the technical direction of the project, chooses technologies (frameworks, engines, etc) for the rest of the devs.
  • architect: doesn't do much (if any) programming. purely responsible for the high level design of the project.

Those are VERY broad strokes and highly dependent on the size and nature of the company and the project you're working on. A small project might have one person covering all of those roles, whereas a massive project will have teams of people at each level for various components/subsystems.

 

Anyway, why do you want to be a C++ programmer? Do you have a specific end goal in mind (e.g. games, high-performance computing, etc)?

 

Most positions these days are more focused on the mobile or web space and the most common languages are java, c# and javascript.

 

This might be kind of a big question, but have a think about what you want out of your career (and by extension, your life). In terms of money, you can do just as well (probably better) as a competent web developer. If you want to do game dev, then C++ is pretty much required for the big AAA studios, but understand that it often comes with less pay for more hours.

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Your distinction between developer and engineer doesn't really exist in the real world. What you're describing is basically the difference between junior and senior positions. 

There's no industry standard, but titles are generally along the lines of

  • junior developer: simple tasks, minimal decision making. Basically, you're there to learn.
  • developer: more complex tasks, some decision making. 
  • senior developer: most complex tasks, some high-level design work
  • technical lead: responsible for the technical direction of the project, chooses technologies (frameworks, engines, etc) for the rest of the devs.
  • architect: doesn't do much (if any) programming. purely responsible for the high level design of the project.

Those are VERY broad strokes and highly dependent on the size and nature of the company and the project you're working on. A small project might have one person covering all of those roles, whereas a massive project will have teams of people at each level for various components/subsystems.

 

Anyway, why do you want to be a C++ programmer? Do you have a specific end goal in mind (e.g. games, high-performance computing, etc)?

 

Most positions these days are more focused on the mobile or web space and the most common languages are java, c# and javascript.

 

This might be kind of a big question, but have a think about what you want out of your career (and by extension, your life). In terms of money, you can do just as well (probably better) as a competent web developer. If you want to do game dev, then C++ is pretty much required for the big AAA studios, but understand that it often comes with less pay for more hours.

 

Interesting, can't say I've ever worked at that level, most people I've worked with is 10. Half of them were UI/UE designers.

 

To answer your question, I suppose it's simply something I'm most comfortable at of doing and knowing low level of things. i.e I would much rather build the server software that runs the website and dealing with worker threads, logging, and learning the HTTP protocol extensively then actually putting together the PHP and HTML that shows up.

 

I'm definitely noticing that where I live with all the .NET positions cropping up. Perhaps I'm stubborn, and should just pick up a few books on .NET and deal with the current market to adapt. Not to start any flame wars, or no offense to any die hard fans, I just found .NET a very limited platform, which is why I don't bother with it and I do see why companies use it. Something breaks then there is someone else to yell at. ;)

 

In all honesty, I'm looking for something rewarding in the long run. (health insurance, retirement, salary). Just something a little more stable, where I work I get no benefits, just pay by the hour. Got a few people telling me they get 40k a year and work 50-60 odd hours a week in the game dev world, seems a lot of stress for nothing.

 

Hate to say it, but I'm kinda leaning towards the self start up idea of opening a online marketing business that will evolve into other areas. Definitely will need a bit of time and money, before that can get rolling. Of course one thing at a time. ;) You can't be a "astronaut, doctor, and president at the same time".

Edited by ajm113

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I'm mostly a c++ guy and prefer non-web development, but ended up doing Web development for a long time as a career.

If I can move from c++ to Web I'm sure you can move from Web to C++ with a bit of effort and planning :)

Good luck in your career!

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  • Where I currently live now in Arizona has a very small cpp software market.

As frob said:
 

For where in the country to get work, obviously bigger cities and tech hubs are more likely to have work.


So just decide where you'd like to live that has more of that kind of work for you. You enjoy your current
job and find it secure, you say - so stay with that for now, save as much money as you can, and then
move when you can.
Maybe see if you can get a low-cost Associates degree in that city, then transfer to a 4-year school
and get a CS degree. All while working to keep yourself fed and housed. Edited by Tom Sloper

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Also, get your hands on the book "What Color Is Your Parachute". It has been republished every year for decades, find a reasonably current version.

 

Somewhere in the book (the exact place changes by edition) there is a series of exercises called the Flower Diagram.  Work through them thoughtfully. Through a series of introspective exercises, you will figure out your passions and favorite skills, your own preferred places geographically, your favorite interests, your favorite work environments, your values that you want to further, conditions, and responsibility levels.

 

Most people who I know that worked through it had some major self-discovery when they finished. 

 

Use that Flower Diagram where you identify how you want to grow to help plot a course through your career.  Repeat it every few years, as your individual growth changes, old aspects of your life fall away and new aspects of your personal growth will want to grow.

 

Then use the rest of the book to help you get a job that advances what you discovered.

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Interesting, can't say I've ever worked at that level, most people I've worked with is 10. Half of them were UI/UE designers.


That's ok. Most people don't work on that kind of project. It's typically for a really large desktop or enterprise application.
Most software is written at an SME level.
 

To answer your question, I suppose it's simply something I'm most comfortable at of doing and knowing low level of things. i.e I would much rather build the server software that runs the website and dealing with worker threads, logging, and learning the HTTP protocol extensively then actually putting together the PHP and HTML that shows up.

Those kinds of jobs are relatively rare. To take your specific example, you're talking about writing a web server. There are basically only a few web servers that people use: Apache, nginx and IIS are most of the market. It's not easy to get a job working on them.

Of course, if you mean writing web applications that run on a server then....

I'm definitely noticing that where I live with all the .NET positions cropping up. Perhaps I'm stubborn, and should just pick up a few books on .NET and deal with the current market to adapt. Not to start any flame wars, or no offense to any die hard fans, I just found .NET a very limited platform, which is why I don't bother with it and I do see why companies use it. Something breaks then there is someone else to yell at. ;)

 .Net is actually a really good platform for the kinds of work you describe, and C# is a very nice language that's getting better with every version (IMO).
 

In all honesty, I'm looking for something rewarding in the long run. (health insurance, retirement, salary). Just something a little more stable, where I work I get no benefits, just pay by the hour. Got a few people telling me they get 40k a year and work 50-60 odd hours a week in the game dev world, seems a lot of stress for nothing.

Then stick with web programming. Try to get onto bigger teams. In a few years, see if you can lead the team, maybe even manage the project. Eventually, ditch coding altogether and move into management. If you want rewards and stability, that is the way to go.
 

Hate to say it, but I'm kinda leaning towards the self start up idea of opening a online marketing business that will evolve into other areas. Definitely will need a bit of time and money, before that can get rolling. Of course one thing at a time. ;) You can't be a "astronaut, doctor, and president at the same time".

As long as you're aware that you're getting into one of the most cut-throat, competitive industries out there. Online marketing, SEO, etc is a dog-eat-dog world.

If you can succeed at it, more power to you, but if stability matters to you, stay away from it.

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