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Cromulent
May 27, 2009, 05:10 PM
I'm getting pretty fed up with not being able to pursue the jobs that I would really like due to a lack of relevant education. I've been wanting to study Computer Science ever since I was young and certainly since I started posting in this forum when I was learning the ins and outs of programming. But unfortunately money is still a problem for me at the moment so I don't think I will be able to go for at least another year.

In the mean time I have desperately been trying to think of ways to get my foot in the door. Any kind of programming job would be good really as it just shows I have some experience.

I was considering taking the Microsoft Certified Professional Developer exams just to give myself some qualification I can show to people to prove I have at least some skill but was told by someone that they actually tend to think of certificates in a negative way, rather than something positive when they get candidates for jobs.

I just don't really know how to approach this problem, every place I look requires a degree yet for the time being a degree is the one thing I can't really get.

If anyone has any suggestions for someone in my situation I would be extremely grateful.



icyderguru
May 27, 2009, 05:56 PM
Do what everybody does who got the skills but not the proper papers to show them.

Create your own company, i am sure you have some ideas in your head which you could use - if you dont have any ideas go and ask your friends, talk to people. I am sure something will come up.

I am gonna give you one simple business idea for free (you only need php,sql,html, photoshop skills):

-Setup/customize oscommerce (or whichever software you prefer) for small business owner. If they require your service they sure as hell will require future maintenance which will provide a steady income stream.

If you develop a software which doesnt turn out you thought it would, no harm done - you gained experience.

The important thing is to keep swinging, Major League Baseball players miss all the time but the thing is that they keep swinging till they hit.


Remember, most of the time the idea doesnt matter but the execution of the same idea makes a whole lot difference.

xStep
May 28, 2009, 03:32 AM
I was considering taking the Microsoft Certified Professional Developer exams just to give myself some qualification I can show to people to prove I have at least some skill but was told by someone that they actually tend to think of certificates in a negative way, rather than something positive when they get candidates for jobs.

Not everyone thinks that way. For instance, it shows drive to further your career. Also, they just don't hand these things out, you actually have to study and take exams, so completing these says that you at least have the raw (narrow) knowledge. The thing is raw knowledge doesn't mean you can actually do the work. But then again, when people come out of college, what is their experience?

I'm not sure how certificates would work out for you because you don't have the formal background of college or university and real world work experience. Perhaps with certificates in hand, you could get work through head hunter firms. You could also volunteer time to gain real world experience.

I think you need to do more research of people in your position.

Cromulent
May 28, 2009, 08:38 AM
I think I am going to go for these exams, I have just found out how much it costs to take them and they really are very cheap. If it doesn't help then so be it but at least I will have learnt something in the process and that is the important thing.

Maybe I'll do okay with them. The books are only 35 each and the exams are only 88 a pop so really I think it would be stupid not to do it.

GorillaPaws
May 28, 2009, 09:35 AM
The other thing you can do is to devote some time to open source projects. You'll hopefully make some friends with whom you might be able to network for employment, will improve your skills and do some good for the world in the process (a win-win-win imo). This is the strategy I plan on pursuing once my knowledge/skills are up-to-par (I'm thinking about getting involved with PostgreSQL for Mac (http://www.postgresqlformac.com/) but I still have a ways to go before I'm going to be more of an asset than a burden). I think this is one area where there is a lot of potential for future growth, and I can envision many possible applications where robust, multi-user back-ends with a free licensing scheme would be very desirable.

Cromulent
May 28, 2009, 09:43 AM
The other thing you can do is to devote some time to open source projects. You'll hopefully make some friends with whom you might be able to network with for employment, will improve your skills and do some good for the world in the process (a win-win-win imo). This is the strategy I plan on pursuing once my skills are up-to-par (I'm thinking about getting involved with PostgreSQL for Mac (http://www.postgresqlformac.com/) but I still have a ways to go before I'm going to be more of an asset than a burden)

Hmm, that is a very good idea.

The problem is that my dream job would be a games physics engine developer and alas those kinds of projects do not seem to be all that prominent in the open source world. I mean there are some but I'm not sure how established they are.

Thanks for the advice though, certainly a very useful idea. Plus it is free! Can't lose :).

lee1210
May 28, 2009, 09:51 AM
http://www.alientrap.org/nexuiz/

There are open-source games, where you could at least look at the engine, tinker, etc. even if you aren't making a lot of improvements or fixing bugs right away.

-Lee

wrldwzrd89
May 28, 2009, 10:02 AM
Speaking of open-source games... my dream job is EXACTLY the same as yours, but I have the same problem you do. So... I've taken up writing open-source games as a hobby, to improve and refine my programming skills as well as build experience for a future job. Right now, I only have one active game (on my website) but I plan to add more.

You might want to give this a try, or help someone like me out. Who knows what might happen! ;)

Cromulent
May 28, 2009, 04:42 PM
http://www.alientrap.org/nexuiz/

There are open-source games, where you could at least look at the engine, tinker, etc. even if you aren't making a lot of improvements or fixing bugs right away.

-Lee

That looks like quite a cool game with the advantages of being written in C and quite a large scope for improvement. Thanks for the suggestion.

Speaking of open-source games... my dream job is EXACTLY the same as yours, but I have the same problem you do. So... I've taken up writing open-source games as a hobby, to improve and refine my programming skills as well as build experience for a future job. Right now, I only have one active game (on my website) but I plan to add more.

You might want to give this a try, or help someone like me out. Who knows what might happen! ;)

I'd love to help you out with your game but I am not really a Java guy. I am sure I could brush up my skills but all I know at the moment is what I learnt while I was playing around with Java Server Pages.

Still, from the bits and pieces I have done I am confident that it wouldn't take long to get up to speed with it.

ChrisA
May 28, 2009, 05:10 PM
Hmm, that is a very good idea.

The problem is that my dream job would be a games physics engine developer and alas those kinds of projects do not seem to be all that prominent in the open source world. I mean there are some but I'm not sure how established they are.

Thanks for the advice though, certainly a very useful idea. Plus it is free! Can't lose :).

You can combin Open Source and starting your own company. If the goal is not to make money. There is at least one Open Source physic engine that is well known. Become an expert, write about it on-line and offer consulting services. You don't need to make money but you do want to be seen as an authorative souce of information. I've found that putting toget a web page, papers and so on to be a good way to.

Get your name out there and have it assoicated to physic engines and tutorials and demo code on how to use them and so on.

Cromulent
May 28, 2009, 05:46 PM
You can combin Open Source and starting your own company. If the goal is not to make money. There is at least one Open Source physic engine that is well known. Become an expert, write about it on-line and offer consulting services. You don't need to make money but you do want to be seen as an authorative souce of information. I've found that putting toget a web page, papers and so on to be a good way to.

Get your name out there and have it assoicated to physic engines and tutorials and demo code on how to use them and so on.

That is another excellent suggestion. Which open source physics engine were you thinking about? The only one which I know of that is any good is Bullet.

Sander
May 29, 2009, 03:50 AM
Have you tried simply writing letters to the companies you're interested in? I know that vacancies in my company usually state a certain education level "or equivalent experience" so you might still be able to get your foot between the door.

SRossi
May 29, 2009, 04:47 AM
I'm currently at college studying software development at a HND level (thats Higher National Diploma) in Scotland. I'll be heading to university after it and even after that I have been told that I may not be able to get a job.

So what I have started to do is looking at http://sourceforge.net to try and get some experience in working in a project.

So Id have a look there and see if there is anything that takes your fancy and gaining experience from there.

Stephen

eviltobz
Jun 2, 2009, 09:18 AM
...Also, they just don't hand these things out, you actually have to study and take exams, so completing these says that you at least have the raw (narrow) knowledge. The thing is raw knowledge doesn't mean you can actually do the work. But then again, when people come out of college, what is their experience?...
well, that's kinda the problem, not so much these days, and maybe not so much in the development area compared to the sysadmin area, but you used to be able to get MCP courses with guaranteed passes a few years back. things may have changed from then, but that sort of legacy lingers around like a bad smell and could well put people off. it won't put everyone off though, so if you fire out job applications all over you'll get plenty of people who see it as an asset.

developing a website or some apps of your own and sticking them up in public will be a good idea (as long as the quality is there to not put them straight of you) getting in with an open source project relevant to the area you want to work in would be awesome, eg. work on NHibernate then pimp yourself out to businesses that use NHibernate making it known that you're on the dev team will get you a job in no time.