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how does a non-technical major get a programming job?

david jebediah lee
Greenhorn

Joined: Apr 04, 2012
Posts: 1
i'm looking to change fields from teaching to programming because 1) the environment in teaching is terrible, 2) i enjoy programming despite the occasional hair-pulling, and 3) i think i'm decent at it.

i took an advanced placement course in computer science in high school. then i did a summer programming internship in high school. when i decided to get back into programming, i took an intro course to refresh my skills. i found it to be too easy. so i took a course in java at a local university and did very well.

programming jobs have -- or at least had, pre-recession -- a reputation for being accepting of non-computer science majors, but all the postings these days say a related degree is required. the internships seem to be reserved for current students.

what do i need to do?
keep taking courses?
get certification?
apply to more positions (or find better job posting sites)?
find random people on linkedin who can get me a job?
offer to work for a company free to show that i can do the job?
beg?

any help would be appreciated.
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
Bartender

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 11497
    
  16

I think the same rules apply as always...

Network with everyone.
Continue taking classes. My major is a B.A. in theatre. I went back to school and took the CS courses required to earn a B.A. although I never enrolled in an actual degree program.
Get involved in an open source project.
Join any local programming groups. We have a Java group in my town that I (used to) go to.


There are only two hard things in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors
Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective
Marshal

Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 31057
    
232

david jebediah lee wrote:programming jobs have -- or at least had, pre-recession -- a reputation for being accepting of non-computer science majors, but all the postings these days say a related degree is required. the internships seem to be reserved for current students.

Depends what your degree is in. People are more likely to be accepting of a math degree than Fred's theatre degree. (no offense Fred)

Something to complement your degree would help in getting an entry level job though. Either a certification or a "concentration" at the university. Also, you can gather experience on your own. Does your school have a website? What would make it more useful that you could do?


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Henry Wong
author
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 19060
    
  40

david jebediah lee wrote:find random people on linkedin who can get me a job?


In my opinion, you should linkedin with people whom you like or respect (perferrably both), and whom you will be willing to help. There should be no expectation that your links should help find you a job.

Random people (ie. people whom you don't know) don't fulfill this requirement. And would be very unlikely to help, even if you have this mistaken expectation.

Henry


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arulk pillai
Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 31, 2007
Posts: 3274
I changed from mechanical engineering to IT. All you need is

1. Pick a mainstream language.
2. Get a good beginner's book.
3. Start learning the concepts.
4. Make use of good online tutorials as learning the theory and applying it should go hand in hand.


It will be challenging, but if you are dedicated and passionate enough, you can do it. Once you get a good grasp of the fundamentals

1. Get some experience on your CV --> http://java-success.blogspot.com.au/2010/12/handy-tips-to-get-some-work-experience.html
2. Try different avenues looking for a job --> http://java-success.blogspot.com.au/2010/12/handy-job-hunting-tips-in-tough-times.html


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