Results are out! Find what you need...fast. Get quick advice or join the chat
Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free to post

How to begin a computer programming career with limited programming knowledge

Announcements Posted on
Applying to Uni? Let Universities come to you. Click here to get your perfect place 20-10-2014
    • Thread Starter
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    Background:

    I graduated over a year ago in Mathematical Sciences (in Exeter University) and went down the Finance route. After working in Finance for about14 months I came to the conclusion that Finance is not the career for me (it contains many benefits and is an ideal job market for a lot of people- but it’s not where my passion lies). After much thought, I decided not to study for any Accountancy exams.

    My interest lies in computer programming- In fact I put a small program together for the company I work for using Visual Basic as a side project (often developing it in my spare time). Many people would look at programming as dull/ boring/ tedious but I am fascinated by it; and time flies when I’m editing code to reach a desired goal. I have never KNOWN what I want to do in life until recently and I’m determined to do whatever it takes to secure a job in computer programming.

    Issue:

    The only experience I have in computer programming was during A level Computing (which I enjoyed and attained an A grade). This only covered the language Visual Basic in depth. I have strong computer skills, I am very methodical and studying maths taught me an algorithm- based way of thinking. A year working with accountants has given me a strong understanding of Excel and has helped me brush up on my VBA knowledge- but I could not even come close to competing with someone with a computer programming degree for obvious reasons

    Questions:

    1) What are the best languages to learn (what are the most widely used languages in industry such as C++?)

    2) How is the best way to go about learning them (would I stand a chance getting on a graduate course for this- would someone with a programming degree be chosen without me even being considered? Or would I be better off taking classes at a college or buying books etc?)

    3) What jobs are out there for people starting out on a programming career? (I have looked on job sites but it seems to be mainly experienced programmers needed so far), it would be good if I could see a small list of potential career paths to aspire to follow

    Many thanks in advance to anyone who replies to this thread. This career move is very important to me and I’m aware it may not be a straight forward transition, so any help and guidance would be MUCH appreciated

    Thanks again!
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    Depends.

    Are you interested in making websites? Games? Business applications? Databases?
    • 1 follower
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    VBA is really useful if you use access / excel at your work. However, outside those businesses it is not as useful.

    It really depends on what u do. Knowing kick ass c++ would be a waste if you wanted to do web developement. There is no shortage of languages to learn, and they each are best suited to a purpose. I think its more important you do some research into exactly what programming you wanna do.

    The only advice i can give you is to learn an OO language well, eg java, which has many applications and this will help you later on when you have to adapt to other languages, eg c# etc
    • Thread Starter
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    I am particularly interested in software development so it seems java and Linux are quite important. C++ seems to crop up quite a lot also. Is the fact that my degree wasn't programming based? Is it too late now? Where do I go from here?

    Thanks for your help
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by drew0101)
    I am particularly interested in software development so it seems java and Linux are quite important. C++ seems to crop up quite a lot also. Is the fact that my degree wasn't programming based? Is it too late now? Where do I go from here?

    Thanks for your help
    Like the previous posted said, each language is usually fit for a particular purpose, so you really define what type of software development you want to progress in.

    It's not impossible, but without drilling down into what exact type of software programming you like/want to have a career in, you'll end up just learning stuff which probably won't be useful. (Example would be you go off learning Ruby, but you figure out that in fact you want to create Business database applications)
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    Having 'strong computer skills' and 'knowing a programming language' is not even nearly good enough. I'm afraid that software engineering companies are not looking for people whose programming knowledge is limited to hobbyist. They are looking for people who have significant professional/academic experience programming. No, A Level is nowhere near sufficient either.

    In answer to Q2, yes, the person with a 'programming degree' will be chosen above you every single time and for good reason. Even people with a decade worth of professional programming experience and no degree can struggle to beat out a CompSci graduate. Your best hope is to get some real qualifications, either academic or industrial because with neither these nor interior company connections, you will pretty much not stand a chance. Yes it is possible, but programming isn't a career that you can just decide you want to do one day and get a job the next week, or even month.
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by coldplasma)
    In answer to Q2, yes, the person with a 'programming degree' will be chosen above you every single time and for good reason. Even people with a decade worth of professional programming experience and no degree can struggle to beat out a CompSci graduate.
    :P

    http://qkme.me/3563wq

    Take a look at this it shows how popular things are

    http://www.itjobswatch.co.uk/default...d=900&lid=2618
    • 3 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    Entry level development jobs seem to be very thin on the ground so every advertisement is going to be flooded with qualified CS grads.

    The first thing you need to do is build a portfolio to demonstrate your skill and enthusiasm. It's unfortunate you are asking about what languages to learn to be honest as this implies your pretty inexperianced as a hobbyist.

    .net languages or java would be good for business applications. C++ tends to be used in niche applications where efficiency and speed are paramount.

    The language shouldn't matter too much on an entry level job as they are looking for potential and enthusiasm. It doesn't take a decent programmer long to learn a new language.
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by nojoegohome)
    :P

    http://qkme.me/3563wq

    Take a look at this it shows how popular things are

    http://www.itjobswatch.co.uk/default...0&lid=2618
    Thanks for the stupid image macro, moron. If you think I haven't had to search for jobs, and my friends haven't had to search for jobs, then you are just as stupid as the image you just posted. Companies aren't looking to take 'hobbyists'. Infact, they aren't looking to take anyone without a degree, significant work experience, or at the bare minimum a real industrial qualification. I know this because my housemate spent 7 years as a software engineer before being forced to go to university to get a CompSci degree because he found it impossible to get a job following a redundancy. Employers just simply weren't looking for someone without a degree.
    • 2 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    Java
    • 1 follower
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by coldplasma)
    Thanks for the stupid image macro, moron. If you think I haven't had to search for jobs, and my friends haven't had to search for jobs, then you are just as stupid as the image you just posted. Companies aren't looking to take 'hobbyists'. Infact, they aren't looking to take anyone without a degree, significant work experience, or at the bare minimum a real industrial qualification. I know this because my housemate spent 7 years as a software engineer before being forced to go to university to get a CompSci degree because he found it impossible to get a job following a redundancy because employers just simply weren't looking for someone without a degree.
    Truth is there is no programming jobs available every thing is outsourced to India ,China, and all those low cost countries. I graduated in 2005 with a degree in CompScience and I still can't find a job which is to so with CompScience or programming.
    • 27 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Arekkusu)
    Java
    C#
    • 27 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by MUN123)
    Truth is there is no programming jobs available every thing is outsourced to India ,China, and all those low cost countries. I graduated in 2005 with a degree in CompScience and I still can't find a job which is to so with CompScience or programming.
    It's not what you know, it's who you know....:eek:
    • 27 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by coldplasma)
    Having 'strong computer skills' and 'knowing a programming language' is not even nearly good enough. I'm afraid that software engineering companies are not looking for people whose programming knowledge is limited to hobbyist. They are looking for people who have significant professional/academic experience programming. No, A Level is nowhere near sufficient either.

    In answer to Q2, yes, the person with a 'programming degree' will be chosen above you every single time and for good reason. Even people with a decade worth of professional programming experience and no degree can struggle to beat out a CompSci graduate. Your best hope is to get some real qualifications, either academic or industrial because with neither these nor interior company connections, you will pretty much not stand a chance. Yes it is possible, but programming isn't a career that you can just decide you want to do one day and get a job the next week, or even month.
    heh

    Every professional programmer I have spoken to says the same thing; Uni is far too theoretical, and that they have become better coders through work experience alone.

    With that said, yes, you are right CS does give you a good grounding on things, but that is about it. I haven't had to use half the stuff I learnt on my degree course in my professional life. Why create a MVC framework from scratch when you can use a prebuilt framework that does it for you?

    ...oh and god forbid if i ever have to deal with turing machines again...
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    I agree, you won't use half of the stuff in your degree in your job. Infact, a lot of the people I know also agree that you learn so much more when you actually start real work. 30 years ago, it was all about getting a job out of secondary school and getting a sizable amount of experience. Degrees were reserved purely for the elite. Strange how nowadays, degrees are seen as necessary and work experience is highly valued. It's almost as if the focus has been reversed. Oh well.
    • 27 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by coldplasma)
    I agree, you won't use half of the stuff in your degree in your job. Infact, a lot of the people I know also agree that you learn so much more when you actually start real work. 30 years ago, it was all about getting a job out of secondary school and getting a sizable amount of experience. Degrees were reserved purely for the elite. Strange how nowadays, degrees are seen as necessary and work experience is highly valued. It's almost as if the focus has been reversed. Oh well.
    The degree only matters with finding your first job and breaking into industry, that;s it imo, even then you need a bit of luck - hint: build a network, start of small - OP look at start ups companies for example as you will gain a **** load of experience from being in one from the start of the s/ware lifecycle. I am working for one; and we now have HP interested in our product, with microsoft partnering us.

    Graduate schemes is what everyone goes for, only 6% gets onto them.

    After you get into your first job, nobody cares which uni you went to, or what mark you get (although a 2.1+ is what everyone should aim for) - in our industry it's all about experience (i.e. can you do the job), and your track record...were your projects successful etc.

    A friend of mine is on a 100k contracting as a developer/data mining dude - how did he get the role? - word of mouth. Such silly cash to be made.

    OP you can look into building a portfolio by freelancing for now, become a contractor on odesk.com /elance.com
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by coldplasma)
    I agree, you won't use half of the stuff in your degree in your job. Infact, a lot of the people I know also agree that you learn so much more when you actually start real work. 30 years ago, it was all about getting a job out of secondary school and getting a sizable amount of experience. Degrees were reserved purely for the elite. Strange how nowadays, degrees are seen as necessary and work experience is highly valued. It's almost as if the focus has been reversed. Oh well.
    It is insane the amount of people who come out of university not knowing what source control is.
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by n65uk)
    It is insane the amount of people who come out of university not knowing what source control is.
    This is why you don't hire from the University of Mickey Mouse.
    • 27 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    I don't think you can pass a CS degree if you don't know what/and how to use sub version.

    It should be fundamental in any software engineering module.
    • 1 follower
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by fat_hobbit)
    It's not what you know, it's who you know....:eek:
    What do you mean? Do I have to know people in the software industry to get a job.

Reply

Submit reply

Register

Thanks for posting! You just need to create an account in order to submit the post
  1. this can't be left blank
    that username has been taken, please choose another Forgotten your password?
  2. this can't be left blank
    this email is already registered. Forgotten your password?
  3. this can't be left blank

    6 characters or longer with both numbers and letters is safer

  4. this can't be left empty
    your full birthday is required
  1. By joining you agree to our Ts and Cs, privacy policy and site rules

  2. Slide to join now Processing…

Updated: March 24, 2012
New on TSR

Submitting your UCAS application

How long did it take for yours to be processed?

Article updates
Useful resources

Quick Link:

Unanswered IT and Technology Threads

Groups associated with this forum:

View associated groups
Reputation gems:
You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.