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  1. #1
    Mekender is offline Member
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    Default Transitioning from a good understanding to a functional job

    So, I have ~90% of my BS degree that was in CIS, and we covered everything from Java to C++ to SQL/Oracle to UML... But, due to some idiocy on my part as a senior, I did not complete a CIS degree and ended up getting a degree in Technical Management about 8 years later. I am now 2 classes from finishing my MIS.

    So at this point, I find myself in a screwball area of my career... No one wants to hire me as a manager because I dont have any management experience. I have found myself unemployed for 9 out of the last 18 months and the general job outlook for what I have been doing sucks.

    So I am starting to explore other ideas and one area that seems to be really solid in terms of low unemployment and decent pay is developing.

    I figure my skill level with Java and C++ is probably about on par with a fresh grad, I can look at code and understand what it does, and if someone wanted me to find problems with a code, I could probably dig in and see what was going on. But, if someone asked me to "write a program that does XXX, XX and XXXX" I would probably be stuck in a book for quite a while in order to get started on it.

    So, my question is, how do I go from where I am now, to being able to functionally market myself as a developer for employment purposes?

  2. #2
    KevinWorkman's Avatar
    KevinWorkman is offline Crazy Cat Lady
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    Default Re: Transitioning from a good understanding to a functional job

    What do you *want* to do?

    Forget for a second about markets and who will hire you and what will pay well. What do you find engaging, interesting, or even fun?

    As for development, you're only going to strengthen yourself if you create some kind of portfolio. What have you done? What can you do? What would you like to do? Create a few personal projects (which will help you learn how to code) and throw them on a website that you can direct any potential employers to.
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  3. #3
    Mekender is offline Member
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    Default Re: Transitioning from a good understanding to a functional job

    Ummm, well when it comes to IT, I really think that the only two things that I have ever shown a passion or drive for are programming and PC building and the latter does not pay real well unless you own a company. I had this realization a few months back that the one thing that I always loved doing was coding, all the way back to the days of Boy's Life magazine and BASIC programming on my Apple ][, and I missed doing it. But I dont really know how to transition myself from what I know to what I should know. I have, for most of my live, had the knack of being able to look at real world situations and lay them out in my mind as to how I would handle the logic of making them into a program.

    Forget for a second about markets and who will hire you and what will pay well
    Unfortunately as the bread winner for a family of 6, that is not an option, I have to consider such things.

    As for development, you're only going to strengthen yourself if you create some kind of portfolio. What have you done? What can you do? What would you like to do? Create a few personal projects (which will help you learn how to code) and throw them on a website that you can direct any potential employers to.
    That is what I was somewhat looking for, I have not done much coding since my BS classes and that was 10 years ago. To say that I am rusty would be an understatement. So fixing that is probably step one.

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    KevinWorkman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Transitioning from a good understanding to a functional job

    I'm not saying you should totally forget about making money, just that you're approaching it from the wrong angle. Instead of asking "I want to make money, so how do I get interested in what makes me money" you should ask "I'm interested in XYZ, how do I get a job doing that?"

    Even saying you're interested in programming is pretty general: what type of programming? Desktop application? Mobile development? Server-side? Web frontends? Robotics? Something else? Figuring that out is probably an early step in your journey to becoming a professional developer. Creating a portfolio can help with that, as you can experiment with different types of projects and see what you like.
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    Mekender is offline Member
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    Default Re: Transitioning from a good understanding to a functional job

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinWorkman View Post
    Even saying you're interested in programming is pretty general: what type of programming? Desktop application? Mobile development? Server-side? Web frontends? Robotics? Something else? Figuring that out is probably an early step in your journey to becoming a professional developer. Creating a portfolio can help with that, as you can experiment with different types of projects and see what you like.
    I agree, I think that is part of what turned me off when I was working on my BS, the courses all were centered around business programming, specifically database related stuff and I did not find that appealing. But I understand it and can do it, and I also see the world a whole lot differently than I did back then too :-)

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    Mekender is offline Member
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    Default Re: Transitioning from a good understanding to a functional job

    But to answer your question, I think that I will probably need to focus on app, mobile or server stuff in the financial industry since the market in my area is all about banking.

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    Default Re: Transitioning from a good understanding to a functional job

    That sounds good, but it still doesn't really narrow it down very much- I'm not trying to be obnoxious, but if you want to market yourself as a developer, you have to be proficient in at least one specific area. Not just familiar enough to muddle through, but proficient enough to be given a task and complete it without wasting too much time learning the concepts. So I would say that step one is doing that focusing- pick something you're interested in, go get a book on the topic, and create a personal project to become more familiar with everything.

    You're going to have a lot more luck if you can point to a specific project you've worked on than if you just say something like "well I'm interested in everything". You can try to be a jack of all trades, but you need more than a basic familiarity to get a job.

    You could also try to be a software tester. That could also act as a doorway to development.
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    Mekender is offline Member
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    Default Re: Transitioning from a good understanding to a functional job

    I am not taking this as you being obnoxious, I came here to this forum specifically to ask these kinds of questions and get answers that I hope may be brutally honest.

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