Author Topic: Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?  (Read 4768 times)

Kevin S.

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Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?
« on: October 31, 2017, 09:43:05 AM »
Alright so i have been a claims adjuster for most of my adult life. It's an ok job. It pays the bills but where i'm at is basically a dead end - career. It's sustainable for the time being but i honestly can't see myself doing this crap for the rest of my days. I need to increase my income (who doesn't).

I have a couple friends that work as programmers / software analysts / IT , etc.

A bit of my background...

I have always had an interest in computers but not the extreme interest that my friends have had. I went into the automotive field(where my initial interests were). I went to tech school - worked autobody for a number of years, now work as a claims adjuster (did i mention i hate it? lol). My body is beat up now (bad back and right shoulder) doubt i would make it working as an autobody tech - you couldn't get me to do that work again though - even if my body was in the right shape to do it! It's a tough life and i was generally never more miserable than i was being a body tech. My current role as a claims adjuster is a slight improvement but not by much.

I'm 36 yrs old. Been looking at my options - they are somewhat thin. It's either I stay in my field - possibly take a pay cut and end up with another insurance company that will tell me the same thing - dead end , no room to grow (unless i go to school and get a bachelor's degree). This is where i'm stuck. I'm not a traditional school type of person. I hated high school. Never enjoyed learning in the traditional sense. I would ace most tests and then forget about the class a day later haha. I'm much better than i was when i was younger though.

My question is this. Should i go to a school like this - http://www.codingdojo.com/ to learn to write code. My friends that work in the tech field all highly recommend that i go into this field.

Does anyone here have experience with writing code ? I have another friend that is high up on the totem pole for DoD who highly recommends i get into cyber security.

I have a (Very) basic understanding of computer software/programming. I messed around with java way back when it first came out forever ago. 

I need to do something career wise. I just am not sure where to turn. Thanks for any and all help / criticism !
« Last Edit: October 31, 2017, 10:03:17 AM by Kevin S. »

sokoloff

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Re: Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2017, 10:03:19 AM »
I am a career software engineer (now turned pointy hair manager of engineers).

I am not a fan of coding bootcamps. I feel like they are the cargo cults of our industry, but even worse, many are preying on job seekers with high fees and questionable marketing tactics. (I have no specific information on the one you linked to, good nor bad.)

BTW, my degree is not in EECS, but rather in mechanical engineering, though I've never worked a day of Mech E in my life since a college internship that was half mech E/half comp sci; since then, it's been all computers.

In your shoes, I'd rather see you develop a portfolio of small things that you can show off to prospective employers, start learning with free online resources. (Check out AWS.amazon.com; they have free [limited] computing resources on the internet that you can use for the first 12 months of your account and then cheap after that.) Take some free EdX or cheap Udemy courses on technologies that you're interested in or that employers might be interested in. Ask your friends for some guidance. Ask them for help (occasionally) on your side projects. But power through and struggle through most of it on your own. Ask them for leads; go on some interviews.

IMO, it's a great job for the people who really love it. (That's probably true of a lot of industries, of course.) There is a definite stratification though; the work-a-day Joe and Janes who are passable but not particularly good will struggle to compete against an increasingly global workforce for pure coding. (Those who bring client engagement skills in addition to coding will do better, as that's harder to offshore.) The ones who are truly talented, smart, hard-working, able to convert a business idea into working software will never struggle to find highly paid work, IMO. At least not in my working lifetime.

I'm happy to discuss more on or off line, but at a minimum, please carefully vet any coding bootcamp you're considering. As a hiring manager, I don't look at them anywhere near the same way I look at a university Comp Sci degree, and I even favor EdX/Udemy, etc over a bootcamp.

Kevin S.

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Re: Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2017, 10:17:10 AM »
Thank you sokoloff. So i'm registering at the aws amazon - which level do you recommend , basic ?


Basic
Description: Customer Service for account and billing questions and access to the AWS Community Forums.

Price: Included


Developer
Use case: Experimenting with AWS

Description: One primary contact may ask technical questions through Support Center and get a response within 12–24 hours during local business hours.

Price: Starts at $29/month (scales based on usage)


Business
Use case: Production use of AWS

Description: 24x7 support by phone and chat, 1-hour response to urgent support cases, and help with common third-party software. Full access to AWS Trusted Advisor for optimizing your AWS infrastructure, and access to the AWS Support API for automating your support cases and retrieving Trusted Advisor results.

Price: Starts at $100/month (scales based on usage)
 Enterprise

Kevin S.

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Re: Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2017, 10:20:09 AM »
I am a career software engineer (now turned pointy hair manager of engineers).

I am not a fan of coding bootcamps. I feel like they are the cargo cults of our industry, but even worse, many are preying on job seekers with high fees and questionable marketing tactics. (I have no specific information on the one you linked to, good nor bad.)

BTW, my degree is not in EECS, but rather in mechanical engineering, though I've never worked a day of Mech E in my life since a college internship that was half mech E/half comp sci; since then, it's been all computers.

In your shoes, I'd rather see you develop a portfolio of small things that you can show off to prospective employers, start learning with free online resources. (Check out AWS.amazon.com; they have free [limited] computing resources on the internet that you can use for the first 12 months of your account and then cheap after that.) Take some free EdX or cheap Udemy courses on technologies that you're interested in or that employers might be interested in. Ask your friends for some guidance. Ask them for help (occasionally) on your side projects. But power through and struggle through most of it on your own. Ask them for leads; go on some interviews.

IMO, it's a great job for the people who really love it. (That's probably true of a lot of industries, of course.) There is a definite stratification though; the work-a-day Joe and Janes who are passable but not particularly good will struggle to compete against an increasingly global workforce for pure coding. (Those who bring client engagement skills in addition to coding will do better, as that's harder to offshore.) The ones who are truly talented, smart, hard-working, able to convert a business idea into working software will never struggle to find highly paid work, IMO. At least not in my working lifetime.

I'm happy to discuss more on or off line, but at a minimum, please carefully vet any coding bootcamp you're considering. As a hiring manager, I don't look at them anywhere near the same way I look at a university Comp Sci degree, and I even favor EdX/Udemy, etc over a bootcamp.

I believe i have more client / customer service skills than most engineers directly out of school / boot camps. Who knows though for sure. Always a bigger fish!

What is EdX/Udemy ? sorry i can't google here at work. No wifi on the phone either.

RWD

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Re: Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2017, 10:24:02 AM »
I'm a software engineer, degree in Computer Science. At my company there's no way we would hire a programmer with only a coding boot camp education. Being able to write code is easy. You can learn the syntax and basics of any language in about a week. Knowing good programming practices, computer science theory, and software development life cycle stuff is much more important.

Kevin S.

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Re: Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2017, 10:36:15 AM »
I'm a software engineer, degree in Computer Science. At my company there's no way we would hire a programmer with only a coding boot camp education. Being able to write code is easy. You can learn the syntax and basics of any language in about a week. Knowing good programming practices, computer science theory, and software development life cycle stuff is much more important.

Thanks ! What is the best way to learn the above ? Experience ?

RWD

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Re: Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2017, 10:43:33 AM »
I'm a software engineer, degree in Computer Science. At my company there's no way we would hire a programmer with only a coding boot camp education. Being able to write code is easy. You can learn the syntax and basics of any language in about a week. Knowing good programming practices, computer science theory, and software development life cycle stuff is much more important.

Thanks ! What is the best way to learn the above ? Experience ?

Well I learned most of it in school. I'm sure it's possible to learn everything yourself through experience and the internet, though it would be difficult to prove your knowledge on your résumé.

sokoloff

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Re: Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2017, 10:47:17 AM »
Thank you sokoloff. So i'm registering at the aws amazon - which level do you recommend , basic ?
Absolutely basic (which is "self-service support for most things". That's all you need. You're going to be using Google, stackoverflow/stackexchange, and other online sources for support. (That's how many people learn best anyway.)

sokoloff

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Re: Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2017, 10:51:27 AM »
What is EdX/Udemy ? sorry i can't google here at work. No wifi on the phone either.
EdX is an MIT-affiliated (among other universities in the consortium) MOOC (massive open online courseware). Basically, a way to host university-style individual classes online, often for free.

Udemy is a little different and largely the same. Udemy focuses more on single-topic, shorter topic types of video courses. If you wanted to learn about a smaller topic and with heavy emphasis on application (vs theory), Udemy might have a better fit. Udemy is more commercial (most courses cost money) but often runs 90% off sales, so often that I'm not sure anyone who doesn't work in QA at Udemy ever pays full price for a Udemy course.

You need both theory and practical exposure to topics; knowing how to install the tech stack your coding camp used is less than 1% of the value. Knowing *why* to choose that tech stack and how to *apply* it is where the value is.

Dave1442397

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Re: Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2017, 11:06:38 AM »
I work in mainframe programming, currently FORTRAN, DCL and SQL in VMS and Linux environments. I've also worked with COBOL/CICS/JCL/VSAM in the past.

As RWD said, learning the syntax and basic principals is easy, but you must be able to think logically and figure out the best/most efficient ways to code.

My current department had a policy that they wouldn't even interview anyone with less than ten years experience, just because the system is so complicated. A now-departed CIO decided that we'd start using offshore people to save money, but of course no one over there learned FORTRAN in college, so they had these contractors take a one-month coding class.

That was a few years ago. I can't even count how many of their people have quit and been replaced, but out of all of them (at least 30 at this point), I personally have only worked with three who had a clue about writing logical, efficient code. They were recently allowed to work on a small project with no oversight on our part. As soon as the code got to the test environment, it crashed all sorts of other events that relied on output from the one they changed. I say that just to illustrate the difference between being able to code and being able to actually write useful code. And yet, they get paid :)

I have known many people who got into good jobs by learning the basics and then signing up with a contracting company. In times of need, most contractors just have to look ok and be able to pass a tech interview to get a job. Once you get a foot in the door, you can learn a lot and move on up from there. Most of the mainframe coding jobs at big companies in my area will pay $45-$55 an hour if you go thru a contracting company. As an example, this was the last company I used to get into my current job - http://intepros.com/

I would also agree that cyber security is a good field.

Here's a sample list of COBOL interview questions. https://career.guru99.com/top-50-cobol-interview-questions-answers/

I used to interview a lot of contractors, and they all had the same study guides :)  The only way to figure out if they were really programmers was to ask them how they would approach a coding problem or how they would debug an issue. At least then you could tell if they'd ever actually coded, or taken the time to do some extra studying!


« Last Edit: October 31, 2017, 11:12:07 AM by Dave1442397 »

brute

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Re: Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2017, 12:11:18 PM »
I've been working in the software industry for about a decade now. It wasn't until I earned my M.S. in computer science that I really started getting decent job offers. Without a formal education, most people will never be very good at writing software. There are plenty of exceptions, but learning how to think correctly to write efficient code to do real work isn't necessarily intuitive. Now with that being said, there are plenty of jobs where you're just writing small pieces of code to automate boring tasks. That kind of stuff anyone can do with a little motivation and a decent google search here and there.

My suggestion would actually be database administration. It pays pretty well, there's always a need for it, and it's much easier to come up to speed on than writing enterprise level software.

honeyfill

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Re: Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2017, 02:32:51 PM »
My nephew had good luck with a coding bootcamp.  He got a degree in Industrial design and could not find a job.  He signed up for a bootcamp in the Bay area and within a couple of months of graduating, he got a job with Google.  the bootcamp did not charge him anything until he got a job and also helped him network and find companies to interview with.

GuitarStv

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Re: Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2017, 02:46:47 PM »
Software developer of about 10 years here.  It's extremely hard to find a job developing software without a related degree.  Most places around here will give you a multi-stage exam  . . . some combination of programming questions (especially your data structures: Dykstra's algo, N log n search algorithms, heaps, binary trees, maps, arrays, linked lists), language specific syntax for the job, and write a program/debug a program on the spot.

You can certainly get a taste of what programming is all about with those boot camp types of things . . . but you're going to be expected (and tested) to have the same level of competence as the computer science guys you're competing with.  Practice, dedication, and an awful lot of time are going to be needed in addition to the boot camp to get there.

Neva6

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Re: Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2017, 09:14:32 PM »
I would start here and get involved in this community. You will find they are super helpful.

www.freecodecamp.org


undercover

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Re: Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2017, 10:29:41 PM »
The thing about software is that you must enjoy it and not be doing it for the money. You absolutely don't need a degree but you have to get to a certain point where employers can't ignore you. That takes time and dedication. And yes, it will be very hard. No degree doesn't mean it's going to be easy or cheap. No degree simply means you don't have to waste your time learning things you won't necessarily need to get hired. You're either going to have to spend some money or spend copious amounts of time. Entry level software jobs don't really exist. That's what most people entering bootcamps don't understand.

Not to discredit anyone who has previously posted, but most of it is highly anecdotal. There is no one path in the world of tech. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Though a coding bootcamp is not necessarily a scam, of course it can be a bad idea. It can also be a good idea - see https://haseebq.com/farewell-app-academy-hello-airbnb-part-i/ The problem with bootcamps is not that they're a bad or a good idea - it's that a lot of people go into them willy nilly without any actual intention of following through with what they're starting. Too many assume the program will take them from zero to hero without tons of effort and commitment on their part.

gooki

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Re: Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?
« Reply #15 on: November 01, 2017, 01:54:30 AM »
Undercover is spot on.

The only entry level software jobs we have is through our graduate program. We do however take graduates of all ages.

2Cent

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Re: Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?
« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2017, 07:37:12 AM »
A good entry point in software is test automation. It is considered too boring by most software engineers so they basically take anyone who can do a little coding. It is harder to go up high in the testing field as it is a bit menial. But once you're in, you can learn coding in a paid job and in a professional environment, so you don't have to waste 4-5 years in school or do it in your spare time.
And the current programming paradigm is shifting to include testing with the coding, so testing is actually a big part of what you need to learn anyway.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?
« Reply #17 on: November 02, 2017, 08:08:26 AM »
I second undercover and gooki's point that entry-level software jobs just don't exist; those that do tend to be reserved for recent college graduates.  You usually need a good two years of experience to apply for a job that's been posted....and if you don't have a degree, they often ask for an extra 4 years of experience to make up for the lack of degree.

My husband was in a pretty similar position as you.  He dropped out of community college at age 20 (school is boring/sucks) and worked as a mechanic for 15 years until his body started to break down a bit.  He thought about switching to claims adjusting, and instead, he went back to school.

He still thinks school is stupid, but I'm able to explain now why this seemingly dumb topic is actually relevant to his future career.  Although he WANTS to be a programmer, he isn't going to a university with a great career services center, so instead he's planning to go into Help Desk-style support.  He got an Associate's degree, which should be enough to get a job (albeit one that pays less than his last job), and decided to finish a Bachelor's.   [He is doing AMAZINGLY WELL in school this time.  Apparently, an attitude change is all it took.  I also run a tutoring group for him and a bunch of his friends, since I do this stuff for a living.]

He'll work in Help Desk for a few years, and then see if he can transition within that company into a more "fun" role - programming or server admin.  He also had a plan - I helped him get an internship.  He also does a lot of projects at home that we put on his resume - building and maintaining servers (Minecraft), networking, etc.

Another option is to learn web development and build a portfolio.  This will require a lot of hustle to find clients - small places through the Chamber of Commerce, etc.

If this is something you're serious about, talk to your friends who are already in the business.  They can tell you what they see in your particular market.  Talk to some colleges and boot camps - find out how much help they give with job placement, because that will be crucial for you. 

smisk

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Re: Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?
« Reply #18 on: November 02, 2017, 08:11:49 AM »
Threads like this kinda bum me out. I have a CE degree, but have never considered myself a great programmer. I've been working on software/hardware for a defense company for the past few years but more of a development support/infrastructure role. I often feel that I want more challenging work, and the scripting I do is my favorite part of the job, but I'm not sure I'd be cut out to be a developer. I keep telling myself I'm gonna do some programming in my spare time and build up a portfolio, but it's hard to motivate myself to do stuff like that in the evenings and weekends.

2Cent

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Re: Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?
« Reply #19 on: November 02, 2017, 09:22:11 AM »
Threads like this kinda bum me out. I have a CE degree, but have never considered myself a great programmer. I've been working on software/hardware for a defense company for the past few years but more of a development support/infrastructure role. I often feel that I want more challenging work, and the scripting I do is my favorite part of the job, but I'm not sure I'd be cut out to be a developer. I keep telling myself I'm gonna do some programming in my spare time and build up a portfolio, but it's hard to motivate myself to do stuff like that in the evenings and weekends.
Look into DevOps. This combines software development and operations (you build it, you run it). The whole deployment process should then be automated so that a new piece of code is automatically tested and published. Because it is quite new you can get into pretty decent jobs. Once you're there you can pick up actual software development from the rest of the team as they pick up operations knowledge from you. So if you're serious about wanting to do development work you should move soon. In a few years everyone will have it figured out and have someone who can do this work.
https://www.indeed.com/q-Devops-Engineer-jobs.html

Broadway2019

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Re: Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?
« Reply #20 on: November 02, 2017, 11:14:39 AM »
I did not read the entire thread but wanted to share my story as I have worked at 4 fortune companies in data analytics. I have an MBA and Masters in Engineering. In order to get a good job you would most likely need to go the traditional school route and at least get a bachelors.

I would consider the code school a bonus, however, I would never do one myself. I see that as more of a hobby. Also, the technical aspect is not the only skill you need. Sure if you just want to be a programmer but many are outsourced to other countries. You need to get into a management - this is where the money and job security is. Now you need to know coding, systems, and generally how processes work, however, I think to be good you need to really understand the data flows and be somewhat creative.

If you can just code something someone else told you to do step by step - well your job will be outsourced or you will not be paid much. You really need to understand and also have business sense. Coding/programming is not just about technical skills.

GuitarStv

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Re: Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?
« Reply #21 on: November 02, 2017, 11:27:49 AM »
If you can just code something someone else told you to do step by step - well your job will be outsourced or you will not be paid much. You really need to understand and also have business sense. Coding/programming is not just about technical skills.

This is very true.  Anyone can write code.  It's difficult to find people who can design and write good code that's efficient, maintainable, and reusable.

Kevin S.

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Re: Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?
« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2017, 12:37:22 PM »
A good entry point in software is test automation. It is considered too boring by most software engineers so they basically take anyone who can do a little coding. It is harder to go up high in the testing field as it is a bit menial. But once you're in, you can learn coding in a paid job and in a professional environment, so you don't have to waste 4-5 years in school or do it in your spare time.
And the current programming paradigm is shifting to include testing with the coding, so testing is actually a big part of what you need to learn anyway.

So after talking more with a buddy of mine who seems to really know his stuff. He stated something similar to what has been said here. He recommending going to a coding boot camp still but also said I should look into the software testing field. Specifically a " QA Software Analyst "

What do you guys/gals think ?

What is the best approach to learn , a quick search on udemy came up with this.
https://www.udemy.com/qa-software-testing-training-course/


jeromedawg

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Re: Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?
« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2017, 01:36:32 PM »
A good entry point in software is test automation. It is considered too boring by most software engineers so they basically take anyone who can do a little coding. It is harder to go up high in the testing field as it is a bit menial. But once you're in, you can learn coding in a paid job and in a professional environment, so you don't have to waste 4-5 years in school or do it in your spare time.
And the current programming paradigm is shifting to include testing with the coding, so testing is actually a big part of what you need to learn anyway.

So after talking more with a buddy of mine who seems to really know his stuff. He stated something similar to what has been said here. He recommending going to a coding boot camp still but also said I should look into the software testing field. Specifically a " QA Software Analyst "

What do you guys/gals think ?

What is the best approach to learn , a quick search on udemy came up with this.
https://www.udemy.com/qa-software-testing-training-course/

Starting in QA and going into development is probably the most 'de facto' way to get into development if that's the goal.

I'm a 'career' QA guy with some infosec background - honestly, I'm pretty tired of it. The infosec portion keeps it mildly interesting but in my current job situation I'm basically doing functional QA testing of a security product (therefore I have an "information security" title). Manual and functional QA testing is the most drab work out there in QA-land. Once you get into automating stuff, it gets better and is a good way to 'ease' into things as others have stated. While I love the thought of automation, I stink at it. It's one of those things where guys will say "I'm lazy, so I automate" - the flip-side of that is that in order to automate [well] you can't be lazy (especially the learning part). For *most* of us out there, you really have to practice at it (and reading helps...along with those free courses out there - each person learns differently) to get really good. It takes time, hard work, dedication and discipline. Once you're in the 'zone' though, it can be a good thing and I think that's why the guys who do it [and love it] keep doing it.

Of course, I would argue there are *those* guys who are just naturally good at coding who you'll talk to and just hate. Though they may say things like "it took a lot of hard work, dedication, etc" some of them might just be BSing to compensate and not make you feel so bad... at least, that's the way I call it. LOL. I see a lot more of the "they're just naturally good at it" in the infosec hacking world. The thing is, the guys who are *really* good at something usually love what they do and don't really consider it a job. Think about it: hacking? If you can exploit the function of an app (or the entire app) to make it do something it was otherwise intended for, that can seem really fun and cool, and especially more so the more malicious or bad the exploit is. I think this is what drives successful hackers to keep doing what they're doing regardless of intention (white/black/gray). Same thing with a 'naturally good' coder. 

A pretty common language you could start playing around with is Python - these days, it seems like it's pretty universally recommended for beginners. But it has its place even for experienced coders.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2017, 01:45:04 PM by jeromedawg »

2Cent

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Re: Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?
« Reply #24 on: November 03, 2017, 04:11:48 AM »
A good entry point in software is test automation. It is considered too boring by most software engineers so they basically take anyone who can do a little coding. It is harder to go up high in the testing field as it is a bit menial. But once you're in, you can learn coding in a paid job and in a professional environment, so you don't have to waste 4-5 years in school or do it in your spare time.
And the current programming paradigm is shifting to include testing with the coding, so testing is actually a big part of what you need to learn anyway.

So after talking more with a buddy of mine who seems to really know his stuff. He stated something similar to what has been said here. He recommending going to a coding boot camp still but also said I should look into the software testing field. Specifically a " QA Software Analyst "

What do you guys/gals think ?

What is the best approach to learn , a quick search on udemy came up with this.
https://www.udemy.com/qa-software-testing-training-course/
There are a lot of free courses as well. Like:
https://mva.microsoft.com/en-US/training-courses/software-testing-fundamentals-8305
Also it's nice to get some hands on experience with Selenium which is the most used website/web application test tool.

sixup

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Re: Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?
« Reply #25 on: November 03, 2017, 06:19:52 AM »
I completed a boot camp and got a jr. Web development job with a small local company making 55k. It took me 4 months to get hired after graduation. I don't have a degree but I am working on an online bachelor's. All 11 of my boot camp classmates eventually got hired at least at 50k. The highest in my class was 80k, although he had a TS clearance. He jumped to another job within 6 months and makes over 100k. He did have a bachelor's already, in IT or something barely related.

For me the boot camp was a great choice. The things I learned have been immediately applicable to the job, even though the tech stack is different than what I learned in the bootcamp. I have consistently impressed my company with my output. They have given me projects that they didn't think I'd complete on time only to have me knock it out of the park.

I could have learned all the things I learned at the boot camp on my own, but it would have took longer than the 5 months I spent there.


stashing_it

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Re: Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?
« Reply #26 on: November 03, 2017, 10:40:35 AM »
I'll somewhat disagree with some of these comments

My degree is in aerospace engineering, and I've worked the past 11 years as a mechanical engineer.   I am working to transition to programming / data science.   i.e. doing coding at work, in my spare time, working at programming competitions, Kaggle etc

At the moment I'm in the process of interviewing with one of the big 5 tech companies, and have made it through the first couple of stages  (i.e. through the programming interview)   It took me about 2 months of intense self study to really feel comfortable with all the computer science basics, but I did, and the programming interview wasn't hard after that

I'm not certain I'm going to get a job offer from this.  But the company I am talking to had no qualms about my background, and the mid-range compensation for entry level hires at this company is ~20% more than i'm making now.   (I.e. I can make more as a Level 1 software engineer than as a Level 3 aerospace engineer)

PM me and I can give more details about my history

skifast

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Re: Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?
« Reply #27 on: November 05, 2017, 09:30:57 PM »
Another idea to throw out there: work your way into the industry with a support role.

Most small to medium size software companies (particularly those selling installable software) have large support teams. Tech support can be a great way to dive into computer systems; the opportunity to fix things rewards the curious. Ultimately, support is a great way to get into software development because, if you end up programming, you’ll spend most of your time debugging.

I’m self-taught, dropped out of college 3x, have been working 10+ years with WordPress, and have a reasonable career for myself. If you consider yourself a tinkerer and fixer, software engineering is pretty enjoyable. I like to say that the only thing I don’t like about my job is that I sit at the computer all day. Which is most jobs these days.

dhc

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Re: Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?
« Reply #28 on: November 06, 2017, 08:16:46 PM »
In addition to thinking about how to find a career in the software industry, it's worth thinking about how you figure out what you'd actually be good at and happy doing. If you're smart, analytical, and willing to jump through hoops including moving across the country, it's very possible to get some job at a software company and figure out how to work your way up. However, you shouldn't put a lot of effort into learning development-related skills unless you already know you'll enjoy writing code.


I'd suggest picking something like Python, thinking of something you'd like to try to create with it, and using the various online materials available to see if you even enjoy the process of struggling through teaching yourself. If you do, look more seriously into education options.


If you don't, there are still software-related jobs out there. Might your background be a better fit for something like business analysis, where you translate real-world problems into requirements for software, or sales or customer support for a software product? (Note - with the possible exception of helpdesk-type support at companies you don't want to work for, none of those are usually "entry-level", either. Gives you a better idea of what you're shooting for, though).

gerardc

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Re: Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?
« Reply #29 on: November 06, 2017, 09:54:50 PM »
Of course, I would argue there are *those* guys who are just naturally good at coding who you'll talk to and just hate. Though they may say things like "it took a lot of hard work, dedication, etc" some of them might just be BSing to compensate and not make you feel so bad... at least, that's the way I call it. LOL. I see a lot more of the "they're just naturally good at it" in the infosec hacking world. The thing is, the guys who are *really* good at something usually love what they do and don't really consider it a job. Think about it: hacking? If you can exploit the function of an app (or the entire app) to make it do something it was otherwise intended for, that can seem really fun and cool, and especially more so the more malicious or bad the exploit is. I think this is what drives successful hackers to keep doing what they're doing regardless of intention (white/black/gray). Same thing with a 'naturally good' coder.

Read "Talent Is Overrated" by G. Colvin. Hard work and natural talent often occur at the same time. I'm naturally good at coding but, for example, throw a riddle, a math/probability problem, or tricky algorithm question at me, and I'll think about it the entire evening, for 5 hours straight, even if I don't particularly want to (it's called "nerd sniping"). So, day in an day out of that regimen, of course I'll get better. The thing is, are you like that? Or are you like most people who can't focus more than 30 seconds without wanting to drink some wine?


As for getting a software job, it's extremely simple: get to the yellow level on TopCoder (practice until you get there). Then you'll be able to get a $200k/year job in Silicon valley at the top companies, guaranteed. Get only to blue and you can probably get $100-200k right off the bat. Good luck

stashing_it

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Re: Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?
« Reply #30 on: November 21, 2017, 06:30:35 PM »
I'll somewhat disagree with some of these comments

My degree is in aerospace engineering, and I've worked the past 11 years as a mechanical engineer.   I am working to transition to programming / data science.   i.e. doing coding at work, in my spare time, working at programming competitions, Kaggle etc

At the moment I'm in the process of interviewing with one of the big 5 tech companies, and have made it through the first couple of stages  (i.e. through the programming interview)   It took me about 2 months of intense self study to really feel comfortable with all the computer science basics, but I did, and the programming interview wasn't hard after that

I'm not certain I'm going to get a job offer from this.  But the company I am talking to had no qualms about my background, and the mid-range compensation for entry level hires at this company is ~20% more than i'm making now.   (I.e. I can make more as a Level 1 software engineer than as a Level 3 aerospace engineer)

PM me and I can give more details about my history

Update - I just signed an offer doing software development for one of the big tech companies, and will get a ~20% raise when I start the new job.     So it is definitely possible to make the transition into software from other roles

obstinate

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Re: Anyone here work as a software engineer / writing code ?
« Reply #31 on: November 23, 2017, 03:41:49 PM »
No, you should not go. Most of these schools have shitty results. Even the ones with good results only get those results due to selection bias (they pick the best students).