wood burning stoves 2.0*
The moose likes Jobs Discussion and the fly likes career change to programming Big Moose Saloon
  Search | Java FAQ | Recent Topics | Flagged Topics | Hot Topics | Zero Replies
Register / Login


Win a copy of Murach's Java Servlets and JSP this week in the Servlets forum!
JavaRanch » Java Forums » Careers » Jobs Discussion
Bookmark "career change to programming" Watch "career change to programming" New topic
Author

career change to programming

Bin Maina
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 04, 2003
Posts: 4
I know the hiring market is very weak, and lots of talented programmers looking for job.
I am a non-CS degree holder, still expecting career change to programming. May sound odd to some, but I'm serious. Could someone guide me about the prospects, or where and how I should start?
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
First and foremost, you won't stand a chance without real life experience anymore.
As you said, there's a lot of experienced programmers desperately looking for work and they can get productive a lot quicker than someone just starting out.
A good start would be to get some serious experience in open source projects. There's always projects who can use talent and don't mind if you're no guru with 10+ years experience in EJB 2.0 (I've seen similar impossible requirements in joblistings all too often ).
While doing that (if you have money to burn do it fulltime, otherwise spend the evenings and weekends) consider certification training.
While no longer the holy grail it was a few years ago when a certificate meant almost guaranteed hiring, it's better than nothing and nothing is what you have right now.
At the least it shows you should know the talk and walk the walk, even if not as quickly as someone who's done it in the real world for a few years.
If your current employer has a software development team, try getting switched to that if there are openings.


42
Tina Desai
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 13, 2003
Posts: 365
And why are you considering a career change? why did u choose software field?
Tina


Alongwith being a good coder, try to be a good professional as well!
Bin Maina
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 04, 2003
Posts: 4
Thanks Jeroen for the long comments. I really need still longer lectures like that. I will keep in mind your suggestions.
>>you won't stand a chance without real life experience anymore.
Yes, that may be true.
First, what constitutes a real life experience?
CS isn't the only field where program writing is required.
I've written several programs during my studies and job. The first was probably more than a dozen years ago in FORTRAN-77 when my college curriculum included a short course on that. The programs I've written during my job life are usually short routines to solve some mathematical/analytical problems as needed on the job. They are written for personal use, and discarded after a while, like we throw away class notes after graduation. The problem now is it's difficult to prove that I know (some) programming, while in reality I'm not a programming newbie; it's just that I've no programming experience in a professional environment, if that is what you mean by real life experience.
In my field, the prog. language used is exclusively FORTRAN. Most existing programs are in FORTRAN, and sadly, people have strong resistance to learning new things once they settle in a job. All of my colleagues are still using FORTRAN-77, and haven't even bothered to peer into FORTRAN-90 while the world has moved far ahead. I, in search of new things, switched to Java a few years ago.
At the present situation, I don't have opportunity/time to do some serious programming, which I would like to do, because that would take time and concerted effort. The present job has been a problem to me. I can neither leave it nor continue it. That's the dilemma. Leaving it without getting another would result in immediate living problem. And in these uncertain times who knows how long I have to return to forums like these before landing a job.
>>And why are you considering a career change? (by Tina)
Well, the reason is I'm unsatisfied with the job I'm in. I find here no chance to learn, no chance to increase creativity, and no chance to use my 'head'. That's my personal judgment about myself. So I need to change track, and fast, assuming that it is not already too late.
>>why did u choose software field?
I found that that is the one area where I can be proficient without any formal studies, I mean by self study & practice alone. In writing it, I am assuming that programming is the major part of software engg. And I want to establish myself as a programmer. To me, writing programs is a tedious but funny job. To write serious programs needs a lot of creativity (you real programmers know it better than me), and to create new things is what I like this:
http://www.coderanch.com/t/26384/Jobs/careers/Midlife-Career-Change-Possible
[ October 06, 2003: Message edited by: Bin Maina ]
Peekaboo Switchback
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 18, 2003
Posts: 33
Hi Bin,
I understand your enthusiasm for getting in to programming. These days you have to have something special to offer in order to succeed in programming. There are too many people w/o formal CS education that can not find jobs in programming today. If you are creative and innovative and have a related degree, your chances will be better. (unless you are directly related a big shot in the same company)
stara szkapa
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 27, 2003
Posts: 321
Originally posted by Bin Maina:

>>And why are you considering a career change? (by Tina)
Well, the reason is I'm unsatisfied with the job I'm in. I find here no chance to learn, no chance to increase creativity, and no chance to use my 'head'. That's my personal judgment about myself. So I need to change track, and fast, assuming that it is not already too late.

If this is the reasons, you might get disappointed. Even if you get a job in programming you will quickly find out it is not as glamorous as you think. Debugging, fixing someone�s mistakes, reading someone�s code, following orders of superiors which you don't agree with, deadlines, stress, long hours. Computer Science might be very interesting hobby, but at work you have to do what is required not necessary what is interesting or intellectually challenging.
Ashok Mash
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 13, 2000
Posts: 1936
Fair play to OP, if he/she really loves programming, I dont see why he/she shouldn't get into it. May be its not the right time to leave present job and to start fresh in programming, but thanks to OpenSource community, there are enough chances for a beginner to get a taste of the real thing and build up some reputation before sending out their CVs.
Also, however unlikely it looks, still there is a chance that there could be surge in demand for programmers couple of years down the line, who knows?


[ flickr ]
Ashok Mash
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 13, 2000
Posts: 1936

In writing it, I am assuming that programming is the major part of software engg. And I want to establish myself as a programmer. To me, writing programs is a tedious but funny job.

Hmmm, not really. However, if you get into writing system tools, OS components etc (for Linux for example), you may have a better chance to work on your own, with out having to worry about your peers, business analysts, changing requirements, loud and greedy users etc. But such 'geek' work may not necessarily pay your bills though.
Still, programming is definitely for anyone who loves it!
Stephen Pride
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 14, 2000
Posts: 121
>>And why are you considering a career change? (by Tina)
Well, the reason is I'm unsatisfied with the job I'm in. I find here no chance to learn, no chance to increase creativity, and no chance to use my 'head'. That's my personal judgment about myself. So I need to change track, and fast, assuming that it is not already too late.

Careful not to get lulled into the "grass is always greener on the other side of the fence" way of thinking. While the IT field can be fascinating at times, just as a previous poster said, it doesn't necessarily mean the intangebles of the job (working long hours, working with/for less-than-suitable co-workers/bosses, etc.) will be any different.
>>why did u choose software field?
I found that that is the one area where I can be proficient without any formal studies, I mean by self study & practice alone. In writing it, I am assuming that programming is the major part of software engg. And I want to establish myself as a programmer. To me, writing programs is a tedious but funny job. To write serious programs needs a lot of creativity (you real programmers know it better than me), and to create new things is what I like.

Up front, this sounds good, but as many in the field can already attest, programming may get you the job, but stronger SWE skills (project management, architecture design, etc.) will usually be the deciding factor on whether you advance over your colleagues. (And even then, it may be of little sugnificance - see Offshoring threads.)


SCJP
Bin Maina
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 04, 2003
Posts: 4
Hello friends, I have got both encouraging and discouraging comments. But I am not going to be easily discouraged because I've a vision for myself regarding where I want to be, say 5 yrs from now. The timing is definitely not right right now, as you guys always get preference before me. I pray all of you CS graduates who are unemployed get job soon and open the door for me. In the mean time, I will have to keep learning in whatever spare time I can mangage.
>>programming is definitely for anyone who loves it!
Agreed. That's why I am here.
I've strong background in GIS and remote sensing fields, though as an end-user/analyst. And as a end-user, I know the needs of this field. So my hope is to come across an employer who thinks "CS degree alone is not a guarentee to be a good programmer" and who wants to take advantage of my previous experiences in non-CS fields. My real ambition is to be a GIS developer, or some sort of scientific developer, or whatever it is named, who develops analytical modules used by environmentalists, civil engineers etc. I guess to do those kinds of programming a pure CS graduate may not be a right choice; rather someone who combines coding ability and the working knowledge of that field would be a better choice, or am I right? Since I have to learn lots of things before I can call myself a professional code writer, I am seeking to enter a programming job to raise my skill levels.
>>Debugging, fixing someone�s mistakes, reading someone�s code, following orders of superiors which you don't agree with, deadlines, stress, long hours.
I'm not afraid of long hours. Actually, I expect it because otherwise I, the late starter, cannot beat well-versed programmers like you guys. Dealing with the boss? Tell me where this is not needed, unless you own the company.
Anyway, thanks for comments. The discussion here has really been interesting. Let's hope good days for programmers returns again and soon.
By the way, here is my latest little program which I wrote as a self-assigned exercise, just to try myself out. To you it might seem trivial, but I needed to use some 'head' to create this. Any comment is welcome.
http://www.geocities.com/mainaleebp/java_puzzle
[ October 06, 2003: Message edited by: Bin Maina ]
[ October 06, 2003: Message edited by: Bin Maina ]
 
 
subject: career change to programming
 
Similar Threads
Why did you get into I.T?
Functional Resume needed
Something (may be) Unusual?
Career Change
Getting position of a word in a text file