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Old Feb 13, 2009, 01:00 AM   #1
techmonkey
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Recently unemployed, whats a good programming language to start learning? Win or Mac

Ive been unemployed since December and I want to get into the IT field. I have some experience with VB & VBA, but I only did a little bit of it in my last job. I usually just cut code from different programs to make my own. I want to start learning a programming language from the bottom up since I have a good bit of free time right now.

Whats a good programming language that I should teach myself that would be worthwhile in a IT field? Something that looks good on the resume?
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Old Feb 13, 2009, 01:40 AM   #2
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Learn some thing cross platform like C, or c++, or java. There are a lot of java jobs right now, and knowing c++ is very good on the resume.
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Old Feb 13, 2009, 03:07 AM   #3
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Java or C# on Windows.
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Old Feb 13, 2009, 08:12 AM   #4
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Sorry, I don't mean to discourage you, but isn't IT one of the most depressed fields now in the US? Companies are either bringing in foreign IT workers to the country on the H1B visa, or are outsourcing software development to India. I'm just not sure if software development is still as hot as it used to be.
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Old Feb 13, 2009, 08:40 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jas312 View Post
Sorry, I don't mean to discourage you, but isn't IT one of the most depressed fields now in the US? Companies are either bringing in foreign IT workers to the country on the H1B visa, or are outsourcing software development to India. I'm just not sure if software development is still as hot as it used to be.
I still get emails and calls from recruiters on a regular basis. I think that's largely exaggerated.

I think the real problem is talent. While hiring senior-level developers I can't find people that are qualified enough.

To answer the original question, I'm going to speak from my experience, which is mainly a Windows dev. C#/.NET/ASP.NET are all pretty big right now. Java is also in demand too. I don't think you could go wrong with either. I'd love to say Ruby on Rails, but I'm not sure how the market for that is in your area. It's pretty small around me. I would check out the job sites for your location. Kick the tires a bit just to see what's going on and what's hot at the moment.
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Last edited by sbauer; Feb 13, 2009 at 08:53 AM.
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Old Feb 13, 2009, 08:55 AM   #6
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C# is one of the most widely used languages and is often the preference for .Net developers. The .Net platform is very powerful. But more importantly learn some good coding practices and patterns that can be applied to any language.
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Old Feb 13, 2009, 02:25 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by techmonkey View Post
Whats a good programming language that I should teach myself that would be worthwhile in a IT field? Something that looks good on the resume?
C# and Java are cross platform, and pretty good to know if you plan on working in a Windows or Linux shop. C# is good for back end stuff only on a Mac, though, because Mono doesn't have a good implementation of Windows.Forms for OS X. Java Swing apps should look reasonably good on a Mac with some tweaks.

Objective C is the programming language that's worth learning for the Mac. Carbon was a good choice until Apple decided to deprecate it and not update it to 64 bits or with many new APIs.
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Old Feb 13, 2009, 03:02 PM   #8
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You probably won't find a job in software development right now when you don't have years of experience in a very specialized field. And even then you just have to be lucky to a job.

That being said:
If you already know some Visual Basic, stay there and --really-- learn Visual Basic.NET. It is widely used in the business world, not only for Office automation, but also for individual software solutions and server-side web programming (ASP.NET).

The alternative would be C#. C# and Visual Basic.NET are functionally 100% equivalent; what you can do in one you can also do in the other. Mostly only the syntax is different.

If your wish is to enter web development, learn either PHP, Python or Ruby (my favorite: Python) --and-- JavaScript --and-- ActionScript/Flash/Flex --and-- HTML, of course.

Java is where all the boring big business-jobs with A LOT of competition are. Unless you know at least a dozen Java-related buzzwords inside-out, you won't have a chance here. It's the new COBOL. Well, mostly.

Unless you have a super-brilliant idea for Apple-related development AND financial support to follow it through ON YOUR OWN, don't even think about learning Objective-C and Cocoa. It'll be a waste of your time. You can learn this if you want to start your own Shareware business, but it won't help you finding a job anywhere.
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Old Feb 13, 2009, 03:11 PM   #9
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Get a good foundation first

To learn good solid programming I would advice to take computer science classes. If you get in deep enough you will have a strong foundation to write efficient algorithms and not see too much difference in a programming language. One of my best classes was learning assembly language(68000 PowerPC) gave a real good background how pointers and functions work. The issue of language becomes a non-issue - but C++ is pretty hard but once you learn it you kind learn most languages in two weeks(As I with Cocoa).

Eugene

Quote:
Originally Posted by techmonkey View Post
Ive been unemployed since December and I want to get into the IT field. I have some experience with VB & VBA, but I only did a little bit of it in my last job. I usually just cut code from different programs to make my own. I want to start learning a programming language from the bottom up since I have a good bit of free time right now.

Whats a good programming language that I should teach myself that would be worthwhile in a IT field? Something that looks good on the resume?
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Old Feb 13, 2009, 03:12 PM   #10
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No its not its still C++

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Originally Posted by BayouBengal View Post
C# is one of the most widely used languages and is often the preference for .Net developers. The .Net platform is very powerful. But more importantly learn some good coding practices and patterns that can be applied to any language.
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Old Feb 13, 2009, 03:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
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No its not its still C++
He said it is one of the most widely used languages, not the most widely used.
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Old Feb 13, 2009, 06:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xyzeugene View Post
No its not its still C++
Where I live there are very, very few C++ jobs and plenty of .NET type positions.
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Old Feb 13, 2009, 09:32 PM   #13
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Unless you are some kind of genius, you might well starve to death before you learn enough so that someone takes a chance and hires you. Brutal I know, so you might want to find SOMETHING in the meantime.
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Old Feb 13, 2009, 09:39 PM   #14
techmonkey
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Unless you are some kind of genius, you might well starve to death before you learn enough so that someone takes a chance and hires you. Brutal I know, so you might want to find SOMETHING in the meantime.
LOL, I dont plan on learning a language and looking for a job solely on that language...hehe

Since I have free time while I am looking for a job, I want to learn a programming language. I dont expect to be a guru, just want to be productive with my time
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