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kevingaffney
Jun 27, 2013, 09:35 AM
Hope this is in the right forum but here goes. I'm 51, have a graphic/sign business which I hope to hand over to my daughters in a couple of years if everything works out. Ive been 30 years at it and want a new challenge. In 1984 I programmed in mBasic, the language of the day, but didnt follow that career path. Heres my question people. I'd love to get back into the programming area but dont know where to start. It has to be an area where I can earn a living from. Is this even feasible at my age through evening courses or the itunes university. App programming really appeals to me and realise I'd need to become proficient in a couple of languages. Any advice would be greatly appreciated



Mr. Retrofire
Jun 27, 2013, 10:17 AM
@kevingaffney:
I do not know. I think the market is flooded (Mac App Store).

Cocoa/Xcode (free) is probably a good start or Xojo (was Real Studio) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xojo). Xojo uses an extended version of Basic, like Visual Basic .NET (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_Basic_.NET) on Windows. You can call system functions, and much more. The Xojo IDE is written in the Xojo language (a version of Basic).

ChrisA
Jun 27, 2013, 11:19 AM
Hope this is in the right forum but here goes. I'm 51, have a graphic/sign business which I hope to hand over to my daughters in a couple of years if everything works out. Ive been 30 years at it and want a new challenge. In 1984 I programmed in mBasic, the language of the day, but didnt follow that career path. Heres my question people. I'd love to get back into the programming area but dont know where to start. It has to be an area where I can earn a living from. Is this even feasible at my age through evening courses or the itunes university. App programming really appeals to me and realise I'd need to become proficient in a couple of languages. Any advice would be greatly appreciated


I'm about your age also. Also changing careers. I've done 30 years of software development. Now I'm going to "retire" and get into education. I'm a full time grad student now.

You just have to accept that you will be starting at the bottom and you will have to accept the pay a 20-something would accept because you have their level of experience in that field: Zero.

But what you can do is get into a field of programming that is very dependent on grphic design. I think you picked the right one, IOS Apps. You'd be building a graph design that interacts with a user. This might let you get ahead of the other beginners with no design skills.

First off the big learning curve is NOT the programming language. That is like learning to spell when the goal is to write a novel. Yes you have to learn but the bigger thing you must learn to program on IOS is the HUGE set of APIs. You will mostly be using the language to interact with the thousands of functions that IOS provides. Studying IOS itself will be the larger task, after you learn a bit of Objective C.

If you want to work on Android the APIs ar different (kind of the same in concept but no in detail) then you need to learn Java so you can access those APIs

How to learn? Start by programming on your Mac. In fact you start by writing programs that run inside the terminal window and are test-based. Typical beginning programs do things like compute postage based on weight and zip code, simulate a vending machine or maybe an ATM machine.

If you find a class you like don't mind the programming language to much if they teach C++, they are really teaching programming and you can adapt to Java or Objective C later very quickly

Java is a good place to start Get a book or on-line class. But the BEST place will be the local community collage. An instructor led class where the instructor is there is answer questions will be the most effective use of your time

PatrickCocoa
Jun 27, 2013, 02:10 PM
I was in a similar situation to yours. Several comments:

1. In the old days, you had a simple language (BASIC) and you built all of your own "stuff". Now, you have a simple language (Objective-C) with an incredibly complex and full featured set of "stuff" (Cocoa or Cocoa Touch). In the old days you knew the language and used it to build your code. Now, there's a class or method in Cocoa/Cocoa Touch that does what you want, you just need to find it.

2. In the old days, your code took over the computer your code was in charge. Now, the code you write is actually called by an invisible run loop that decides what to call and when. In the old days, if you were at a point in your code where you needed to do "something", you would write code to do it and put that code right there. Now, you figure our where the run loop will call a method at the time you want your code (that does "something") to run, and you put your code in that method.

3. In the old days, you would organize your code based on what functions it did, and call those functions as needed. Now, you organize your code based on the data and functions it contains (called a class), and create instances of those classes (called objects) and send them messages via methods.

Unfortunately none of this will be understandable until you do it. My advice: Download Xcode 4. Go to raywenderlich.com. Pick a basic level tutorial. Do it. Repeat until you're a respected iOS / OS X developer or a millionaire.

You will feel confusion, frustration, bewilderment, frustration, anger, frustration, elation, frustration, disappointment, frustration, and joy. Welcome aboard.

estorstenson
Jun 27, 2013, 02:27 PM
If you have experience with graphic design, why not do web stuff? Learn HTML5, CSS3, etc. Once you are happy with that, you can move on to PHP, Ruby/Rails, Django/Python, Scala or plain ol' Java + framework, etc. to handle the server side of things.

kevingaffney
Jun 27, 2013, 03:35 PM
Huge thanks to you all. Fantastic advice and food for thought. Don't think the web design will be for me as I've spent so long in the graphics game. Have a two week holiday around the corner and will read up big time on some of these suggestions. I have renewed confidence to give it a go