Flash Poll #3 is on a slightly more serious note; reflection and wisdom. If you were chatting to a young person considering a career in software development, what you say? Has it turned out to be all you expected? Did you pick this career or stumble upon it? How will it look in 10 years? Will it even exist in its current form?
Let me know your thoughts and take a second to place a check against your favoured option.
Posted via email from mikeormond's posterous
I got into this business by accident. It has become my hobby as well as my job. You have to keep on learning. People have been predicting the demise of IT, progamming etc. for ever. It will change. There will just be new challenges, languages etc.
I'd send them this: www.informit.com/.../content.aspx
This is one of these polls where there's more than one 'correct' answer, in my opinion. Absolutely get a degree but also get stuck in and 'play' with the technology. Get some work experience and definitely don't tie yourself to just one language. This industry moves so fast that you need to have the passion to make a career for yourself. The degree answer is probably the weakest but it will remain a useful thing to have.
I really would like it to be Get Stuck in or Don't Commit to one language but currently credentials like Degrees count for more with most employers than actual experience or passion
I didn't do a computing degree - I've just spent 10-12 years picking things up as I go along. I have a fairly open mind when it comes to working with unknown languages, so have been happy to tackle all sorts of code and learn new things.
But I'd definitely recommend some formal training (which I'm now studying for) so that the terminology and foundation principles are correct. Everything else can build on that.
Do a degree. You won't need it for 90% of the work you do, but with a degree you are "forced" to learn some very boring concepts that you will never bother getting to grips with in your spare time and that are surprisingly handy sometimes. It will also save you from looking like a complete twat when the other programmers talk tech over lunch. Plus, most (well-paying) jobs require a degree or an equivalent.
I would recommend a 50/50 approach Education / Work
if you can (of course), if you can't get a job do the degree.
A single skill is a good starting point from which you can expand
If you are young, experience as many things as you can before you decide you want to be a developer, as you may discover something that you like even more; developing is cool, but life has so much to offer and you could miss your true calling. If you decide developing is for you, study for the degree first, and at the same time play around with various languages and technologies, plus get some work experience whilst doing so, even if it means working for free. Then use the qualification and experience to land a junior role.