Going from educational coding to professional coding
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Thread: Going from educational coding to professional coding

  1. #1
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    Going from educational coding to professional coding

    So, I have an educational background in coding but have never actually done it professionally. I am starting to think that I really have been overlooking the fact that coding is something I have always had a passion for. So how do you go from an educational background to one that is actually functional in a professional environment?

  2. #2
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    Re: Going from educational coding to professional coding

    Depends upon your definition of 'educational background in coding' and what sort of programming job in what area you're looking for. In which programming languages would you consider yourself proficient - and which have you used?
    All advice is offered in good faith only. You are ultimately responsible for effects of your programs and the integrity of the machines they run on.

  3. #3
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    Re: Going from educational coding to professional coding

    Good point, so I should clarify... The first 3 years of my BS were CIS related classes. I dealt with C++, JAVA, HTML, UML, etc... But that was 10 years ago and I never actually used any of my programming classes in the real world. So as for proficient, I have to say that depends. I can look at code and understand what it does and how it is doing it, but if you asked me to write a program that does XXXX, XX and XXXXX, I would probably have to spend significant time in a book before I could pull it off. So I suppose that I am not far off in terms of skill from the level of a fresh college grad with no experience. I have been going through a few C# books and tutorials and it is not much different from the other languages and I think I am preferential to that. I am fairly comfortable with mathematical operators, logic operators, loops, if/then, case/switch, etc... I think for me the real issue is going to be when it comes to the input and output from a program to memory, memory management, threading, etc... You know, the advanced stuff that is only briefly touched on in the college courses.

  4. #4
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    Re: Going from educational coding to professional coding

    If you want a job as a programmer (junior/traineee) you will probably have to pass through a company selection process that could include any or all of telephone interview, written test(s), face-to-face interview, group exercises etc. At the level of a BS graduate I would expect you to be able to design and code (in the required programming language) shortish non-trivial programs without requiring having to look anything up (simple syntax errors allowed). I often tend to get our applicants to produce data manipulation programs working as a team given only a spec of input data and the required output - but nothing more. For an interview, I would be concentrating on the project you developed as part of your 3rd year BS. If you applied for a job requiring a particular langauge, I would expect demonstratable experience of that language (which would include usage for a 3rd year BS project). Any candidate who couldn't provide this would get a very detailed interview and possibly additional written tests.

    There are various books available that provide information regarding passing interviews. These are very useful for the candidate - but remember that the interviewer has also seem them! I've heard the comment 'I mugged up for that interview from xxx book some one suggested and I wasn't asked a single question from it'!!!

    The one concreate piece of advice I can offer is to write programs, write programs and write programs. Read books/internet articles on your chosen language(s) and write programs. The more you write, the more you get familiar with writting programs and the easier it becomes. I always ask what programs applicants have written. The keen ones usually can describe several they're written over and above course work etc. Don't overlook program design and algorithms either. Understanding lists, queues, stacks, sorting etc doesn't depend upon any particular langauge.

    As for the 'advanced stuff', I would expect knowledge of the issues (eg race conditions for multi-threading) but not necessarilly at this level the ability to code this. That would come with experience and learning as part of being a junior/trainee programmer. A typical interview question would be 'describe in English a situation that might lead to deadlock'.

    Remember you need to answer this question 'Why should I be hired?' which I often ask. Also in your case because of the 10 year gap, why now do you want to become a professional programmer?

    Good luck!
    All advice is offered in good faith only. You are ultimately responsible for effects of your programs and the integrity of the machines they run on.

  5. #5
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    Oct 2013
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    Re: Going from educational coding to professional coding

    Thank you, that is kinda a bit of what I was looking for... Though one thing did make me crack a smile:

    describe in English a situation that might lead to deadlock
    I spent a year as a Windows cluster SME for Microsoft, the term deadlock means a whole lot different to me than what it does in your paragraph

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