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 Post subject: Computer programming - Where do I start?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 7:42 pm 
8086
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Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2006 6:31 pm
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I would like to start learning computer programming. I know that there are so many languages out there, and I am unsure where to start. I am a gamer, so maybe an emphasis on programming pc games would be cool. But to start, I'd like to be a jack of all trades, master of none. I feel that is a good way to find my calling in life. I have my A+ certification and I currently do tech support for a software company for 45k a year. Helpdesk is high stress, and a thankless job. Also, I will never be able to afford a house on that kind of salary.

I hear about programmers making 60-100k a year all the time. I'd like to make that kind of money, and not have to talk to customers all day on the phone. I am the type of person that is very dedicated in what ever I am trying to do. I know that there is much to learn with programming, but I'd like to see if it is for me.

Therefore I have a few questions, and I am hoping someone will have the answers.

1.) What programming language do I learn first? (The closest I have come to programming is writing a batch file for capturing LPT ports)

2.) Is 60-100k a reasonable expectation for the job market in southern California?

3.) If 60-100k a year is reasonable, how much time is typically invested to earn that much (schooling as well as on the job experience)?

4.) I remember there being a Maximum PC issue on programming. I spent about 20 minutes skimming through my collection, and can't seem to find the issue where C++ or Visual Basic was reviewed. Anyone know which month/year that was?

I appreciate any feedback on this matter. Thank you.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 9:28 pm 
Little Foot
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Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2006 9:51 am
Posts: 130
I recommend C++

hard to find a job as a programmer, though.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2006 8:41 am 
Little Foot
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Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2004 5:52 am
Posts: 110
i hear alot of programming jobs going overseas to the indians and asians. i think this topic is a poll under the programmers area.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2006 9:47 am 
Team Member
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Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2005 7:10 am
Posts: 1167
Location: Virginia
Filesreloaded,

I would recommend C++. Its widely used and after getting a good foundation in that, any other language can be picked up.
If this is something you are planning to do as a career, I would suggest at the very minimum you enroll in some classes. Its easy learning programming languages, but the moment your project goes beyond a few thousand lines of code, your lack of core programming concepts will make it difficult to complete the project efficiently.

I think in your region you will find it difficult getting a job as a full time programmer, especially if you do not have a track record and no degree.
Most project manangers will want samples of completed projects, especially if a candidate is lacking a degree.

That being said, its not impossible to do what you want. Its fairly easy to pick up contract jobs. The easiest way is thru networking. In each community there are usually groups of small businesses that meet on a monthly basis. They are meet & greets that I attend all the time. These businesses do not usually have a full time IT staff or someone in the office with programming knowledge. Thru them, you can land a small project and then build off of that experience.
My biggest break in consulting came thru a very boring conference and having drinks with someone. He found out I contract out and new of someone that had a project almost completed, but his programmer quit on him. I stepped in, beat the dealine and I used that as a reference. From that point on, I have never answered a published ad for work. Just networked with more people.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2006 4:17 pm 
Malware specialist
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Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2005 12:49 pm
Posts: 11696
Location: Kansas City, KS
1. Visual Basic
2. C++
3. Delphi
4. Java
5. Assembly

That's my list.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2006 11:23 pm 
8086
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Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 11:10 am
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Location: Albuquerque, NM
markmark69 wrote:
If this is something you are planning to do as a career, I would suggest at the very minimum you enroll in some classes. Its easy learning programming languages, but the moment your project goes beyond a few thousand lines of code, your lack of core programming concepts will make it difficult to complete the project efficiently.


Do you usually pseudocode everything out first or do you flowchart it?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2006 12:59 am 
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Im no expert but i sugggest java.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2006 9:20 pm 
Team Member Top 100
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Joined: Thu Jul 01, 2004 12:17 pm
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Location: Chicago area
yodacola wrote:
markmark69 wrote:
If this is something you are planning to do as a career, I would suggest at the very minimum you enroll in some classes. Its easy learning programming languages, but the moment your project goes beyond a few thousand lines of code, your lack of core programming concepts will make it difficult to complete the project efficiently.


Do you usually pseudocode everything out first or do you flowchart it?


I only do flowcharts when I'm writing some complicated assembly code that I need to carefully plan the branching. For anything higher level than assembly, flowcharting has fallen out of mainstream use. I still use pseudocode (my bread and butter is functional programming).

Now, with object-oriented development, UML is the design tool du jour. It is a mostly graphical representation of various facets of the software (e.g., subsystem decomposition, class diagram, statechart, etc.)

I hope that helps.


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 Post subject: Re: Computer programming - Where do I start?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 5:54 am 
8086
8086

Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2006 5:41 am
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I think to get a good paying programming job is MUST have a 4 year degree. I've been working in the field for 30 years and no big company wants to look at you without a degree. It's a waste of time and money to go to these technical schools for programming. I beleive the best paying programming jobs are in banking and brokerage companies. They are doing alot of offshore work.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 10:27 am 
Klamath
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Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 7:51 am
Posts: 219
Quote:
I currently do tech support for a software company for 45k a year. Helpdesk is high stress, and a thankless job. Also, I will never be able to afford a house on that kind of salary.


May I ask where you live?
In the buffalo, NY area there are not many helpdesk / support techs that make that kind of scratch. You have to be in the server game or programming to pull that.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 9:41 pm 
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I would recommend C# or Java. C++ tends to be a little tough syntactically.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 2:32 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2006 7:14 pm
Posts: 50
Location: Illinois
I started at 45k and year later 65k.


If you live in Southern California, good luck b/c SoCal happens to be one the most expensive places to live. New York is high too.

Try looking for something in Silicone Valley but you will quickly find the cost of living there is even higher. Really the whole state of California is the worst place to work if you want to put some cash in the bank.
Believe me I know, I lived in San Diego and you can't touch a house unless you make 70k+ so I completely understand your frustration.

No degree? well, just no way you will get a good paying job without a degree because employers won't risk hiring someone if they can NOT prove on paper they are qualified for the job.
Once you do get the degree I suggest you look outside SoCal towards the mid-west or southern states.

Honestly, without at least an associates degree in C.S. (or similar) you will struggle finding anything in IT over 45k.
I make good money, but I have almost 7 yrs of experience, an Associates degree and whole bunch of certs.

Tips: Become proficient with at least 4 diff languages but at the very minimum learn Java and C++.
To be a PC game programmer then you will need to know C++ very thoroughly and you might want to take some game dev classes.
In the meantime, you can make maps/mods of your favorite games using the developer's kit. For example, Far Cry Sandbox Editor... Also, you can crack open .pak files and try to interpret the lines of code and if it looks greek then you still have a long way to go. :shock:

ITPro,
#1 Gamer of all Gamers


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