Anybody here a programmer or mobile app developer?

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  • So I'm 31, always been a very hard worker, but have always kind of taken the "safe" route in life and never really took a chance and challenged myself too much, gotten out of my comfort zone.

    I've been a laborer for years, but have always dreamed of being in the "tech field" if you will. I was originally going to go to Oregon State with a couple buddies for Computer Programming right out of HS, but took a different route instead and have regretted it since.

    I have a buddy who is a Senior iOS developer for Nike and through my few chats with him(I get to see him about once a year now) I've grown interested in trying to get into that field.

    I know there are a ton of free online resources for stuff, but I'm just curious if anybody had any suggestions on how to build a "base", get my toes wet, if you will. Instead of just trying to jump right into learning Objective-C.

    I guess I have a bit of fear too, feel sort of like an old man(silly I know) jumping into a field with a bunch of fresh-minded early 20 year old kids.

    Any thoughts, or suggestions would be absolutely fantastic!
    Last edited by nin96932 on Sat Jun 07, 2014 1:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    nin96932
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  • I would seek out TravTex for input. He just went through an 11 week course after deciding to leave his medical career.

    I lucked into the development field by bootstrapping myself at Boeing. At the time I was working as an electronic tech, working on Boeing simulator I/O gear and catching on with a core group of ex-military techs where we developed diagnostics on our then newly developed VME I/O gear. Did the whole K&R white book coding self-teach. Got good at developing embedded code using VxWorks Real Time OS.

    Anyway, as my experience grew there got a chance to leave Boeing in 2000 and latched on developing Linux Device Drivers for a couple of communications startups. Now I am doing higher level stuff that I am not that happy about, but for a long time, I was in the low level space I really enjoyed. No College degree but the experience is at the point where that never seemed to deter folks who wanted to bring me on.

    I am not sure I could repeat this in the current env. But listening to Trav's tales about his career change, I think you have a good chance. I agree, step out and take the chance. I think companies are looking for folks with the mindset and creativity to think through complex problems and provide clean solutions. Plus as you learn the developer environment, moving from one language to another is part of the deal. Java today, Python scripts, C++, assembly, you name it, could be something you end up having to work with.

    I am currently with Cray, doing a bunch of stuff with Big Data, HPCS etc. I rather be initializing a controller or bringing a new board up providing the boot code but I fear those days are gone. Good luck!
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    drdiags
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  • nin96932 wrote:So I'm 31, always been a very hard worker, but have always kind of taken the "safe" route in life and never really took a chance and challenged myself too much, gotten out of my comfort zone.

    I've been a laborer for years, but have always dreamed of being in the "tech field" if you will. I was originally going to go to Oregon State with a couple buddies for Computer Programming right out of HS, but took a different route instead and have regretted it since.

    I have a buddy who is a Senior iOS developer for Nike and through my few chats with him(I get to see him about once a year now) I've grown interested in trying to get into that field.

    I know there are a ton of free online resources for stuff, but I'm just curious if anybody had any suggestions on how to build a "base", get my toes wet, if you will. Instead of just trying to jump right into learning Objective-C.

    I guess I have a bit of fear too, feel sort of like an old man(silly I know) jumping into a field with a bunch of fresh-minded early 20 year old kids.

    Any thoughts, or suggestions would be absolutely fantastic!


    I know nothing about getting into tech fields, but I do know about 'changing horses in the middle of the stream.'

    First thing: If you're not happy doing whatever you're doing...change it. I decided in my early 50's to go to college and earn a paralegal degree...after being a bartender for 18+ years. For me it was a great choice. And trust me, I'm no genius.

    Did I find it intimidating, going to school with folks younger than my children? Nah. What I found was my life's experiences and my work ethics, helped me immensely and enabled my to stay in the top 10% of my class, Also understand, I dropped out of HS at 16, and had no computer experience whatsoever...expect maybe running a cash register.

    If you're serious, your experience and knowledge of how to get a job done should help you a great deal.

    Go for it! Don't wait another 15 years! Even if you fail, you'll know you gave it your best shot, which IMHO, is way better than 20 years down the road wondering, "If only I'd...

    Again, if I could do it, anyone with half a brain, and lots of desire can do it! Do it!
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  • Hi. I wouldn't worry too much about which syntax you're going to be looking at -- Well, don't go off and start learning LOLCODE, but anything reasonably popular will get you down the road of basic principles. Best benefit for me going into a Dev bootcamp was having experience with kicking around a few other languages. Had a firm grasp of control structures and moving data around in general, and learning a new syntax wasn't a real problem (In the wild, you'll probably spend most of your time digging through docs and forums, anyway... this is the actual benefit of 'A vibrant community'. Greater range of things to google.)

    Anyway, starting out -- I'd recommend getting yourself an account with Treehouse, first. If you're leaning more heavily toward mobile development you'll be looking at Objective C (Apple) or Java (Android), but like I said, learning a new syntax is not much to worry about. Treehouse has quite a bit of stuff to work through with Javascript, PHP, and Ruby and for their quirks, you'll be starting out doing the same basic stuff. Passing around and modifying variables, reading from inputs, creating functions, etc.

    If treehouse gets too easy, look into Code School. Lots of Javascript and a Ruby focus, there, though I think there is an IOS track.

    Keep building up a github repository as you go -- That was the biggest benefit for me from bootcamp, the portfolio and the connections.

    I think there are a few online options, but you're starting to get into spending quite a bit more money with different courses and/or camps, and I think I got a lot more out of them by coming in with some better understanding of basic development principles -- Don't spend your money learning what a variable is in class time. You can do that for like 25 bucks a month on treehouse/codeschool.

    Just some random thoughts -- Feel free to PM for anything in particular.
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  • I totally get where you're at. It's never too late to make a better life for yourself. I went back to school at 30. Although I'm technically not doing what I originally went to school for, I sort of just fell into the programming thing and have been doing it now for the last 15 years. I guess I should be a manager or director by now but I just love working in code. Every day is new puzzle solve. If you are looking to get started, MS has a ton free training and tutorials...

    http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/
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  • Like dr.diags I lucked into it at Boeing also. Maybe not the same path, but having a strong understanding of computers as a kid and being raised around them helped. I started as a mechanic that moved into robotics and automation, where the computing side was second nature or a by-product of getting things to do what I wanted them to do. At this point, I have been part of things as simple as application hosting and development to things as complex as satellite based targeting and navigation systems. The crazy part about this business is that there is no end to learning it if you want to stay in it. In addition, there are so many different types of language and systems that there isn't enough time in a life to learn them all. The good thing is it sounds like you have a focus where you can start and if you choose you can grow from there.

    To understand programming, I firmly believe that one has to fully grasp the core computing principles and have a good idea of networking with how it relates to communication. That's just me though, because it was how I learned. There are many programmers that are just that, programmers or developers that do some very good work without strong knowledge of Computing as a whole.

    There are resources available online for free, I would gladly point you to some if I knew where you stand right now from a knowledge aspect. As always, Google is your friend, but feel free to PM me to figure out exactly where you are at.

    One other thing. It can be done. One of the guys I worked with in the factory with absolutely zero knowledge of Computing and I mean zero took a medical layoff in his 50s. He started with a few classes and I can't believe it but in a few short years he was in business, not just entry level stuff either. He ended up with the city working in computer forensics and retrieving data for the police department. Very cool gig and he is in his 9th year. He will have 2 different pensions and a load of benefits when he retires.
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  • TravTex wrote:Hi. I wouldn't worry too much about which syntax you're going to be looking at -- Well, don't go off and start learning LOLCODE, but anything reasonably popular will get you down the road of basic principles. Best benefit for me going into a Dev bootcamp was having experience with kicking around a few other languages. Had a firm grasp of control structures and moving data around in general, and learning a new syntax wasn't a real problem (In the wild, you'll probably spend most of your time digging through docs and forums, anyway... this is the actual benefit of 'A vibrant community'. Greater range of things to google.)

    Anyway, starting out -- I'd recommend getting yourself an account with Treehouse, first. If you're leaning more heavily toward mobile development you'll be looking at Objective C (Apple) or Java (Android), but like I said, learning a new syntax is not much to worry about. Treehouse has quite a bit of stuff to work through with Javascript, PHP, and Ruby and for their quirks, you'll be starting out doing the same basic stuff. Passing around and modifying variables, reading from inputs, creating functions, etc.

    If treehouse gets too easy, look into Code School. Lots of Javascript and a Ruby focus, there, though I think there is an IOS track.

    Keep building up a github repository as you go -- That was the biggest benefit for me from bootcamp, the portfolio and the connections.

    I think there are a few online options, but you're starting to get into spending quite a bit more money with different courses and/or camps, and I think I got a lot more out of them by coming in with some better understanding of basic development principles -- Don't spend your money learning what a variable is in class time. You can do that for like 25 bucks a month on treehouse/codeschool.

    Just some random thoughts -- Feel free to PM for anything in particular.


    I started a programming course at the local community college last year having no prior programming experience, and I love it. Trav is correct tho, if not for tuition reimbursement through my employer, I would have gone that route. And don't listen to him about LOLCODE, it's fun!

    HAI
    CANHAZ(STDIO)? BTW this is basically an include or import statement
    THX

    I HAZ A VAR ITZ 10

    IM N YER LOOP UPPIN YER VAR 'TILL ITZ 20 BTW this is a simple loop
    VISIBLE(VAR)
    IM OUTTA YER LOOP

    KTHXBYE


    Any language where the switch statement is 'WTF?' is a language I want to code in.

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  • peachesenregalia wrote:
    TravTex wrote:Hi. I wouldn't worry too much about which syntax you're going to be looking at -- Well, don't go off and start learning LOLCODE, but anything reasonably popular will get you down the road of basic principles. Best benefit for me going into a Dev bootcamp was having experience with kicking around a few other languages. Had a firm grasp of control structures and moving data around in general, and learning a new syntax wasn't a real problem (In the wild, you'll probably spend most of your time digging through docs and forums, anyway... this is the actual benefit of 'A vibrant community'. Greater range of things to google.)

    Anyway, starting out -- I'd recommend getting yourself an account with Treehouse, first. If you're leaning more heavily toward mobile development you'll be looking at Objective C (Apple) or Java (Android), but like I said, learning a new syntax is not much to worry about. Treehouse has quite a bit of stuff to work through with Javascript, PHP, and Ruby and for their quirks, you'll be starting out doing the same basic stuff. Passing around and modifying variables, reading from inputs, creating functions, etc.

    If treehouse gets too easy, look into Code School. Lots of Javascript and a Ruby focus, there, though I think there is an IOS track.

    Keep building up a github repository as you go -- That was the biggest benefit for me from bootcamp, the portfolio and the connections.

    I think there are a few online options, but you're starting to get into spending quite a bit more money with different courses and/or camps, and I think I got a lot more out of them by coming in with some better understanding of basic development principles -- Don't spend your money learning what a variable is in class time. You can do that for like 25 bucks a month on treehouse/codeschool.

    Just some random thoughts -- Feel free to PM for anything in particular.


    I started a programming course at the local community college last year having no prior programming experience, and I love it. Trav is correct tho, if not for tuition reimbursement through my employer, I would have gone that route. And don't listen to him about LOLCODE, it's fun!

    HAI
    CANHAZ(STDIO)? BTW this is basically an include or import statement
    THX

    I HAZ A VAR ITZ 10

    IM N YER LOOP UPPIN YER VAR 'TILL ITZ 20 BTW this is a simple loop
    VISIBLE(VAR)
    IM OUTTA YER LOOP

    KTHXBYE


    Any language where the switch statement is 'WTF?' is a language I want to code in.

    :thirishdrinkers:


    I second the github use. Major community.

    Also codepen if you end up dabbling in that web type stuff.
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  • peachesenregalia wrote:

    Any language where the switch statement is 'WTF?' is a language I want to code in.

    :thirishdrinkers:


    Just make "WTF?" a variable that you can use a lot.
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  • Trav had it right. Get on github and practice. For a smaller company like mine we love devs who love to code and who enjoy problem solving.

    For me personally I'm a front end guy so javascript is my home and there are so many jobs for good js guys, but you might be looked down on by older devs who think it's a bs language.
    I enjoy ruining threads by making them about personal attacks and then commenting about how personal attacks make the other person's argument invalid.

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  • SonicHawk wrote:Trav had it right. Get on github and practice. For a smaller company like mine we love devs who love to code and who enjoy problem solving.

    For me personally I'm a front end guy so javascript is my home and there are so many jobs for good js guys, but you might be looked down on by older devs who think it's a bs language.



    Are you talking about those jobs with pensions and such that don't exist anymore?
    And this post is not directed at anyone personally.
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  • Wow, thanks for all the great responses guys!

    Awesome to see each of your stories, very motivational.

    I've read great things about Treehouse and Code School as well. Just found out that my wife has an account with Lynda.com through her work that she hooked me up with the username and password, so I'll check out there for sure too.

    I also joined Code Academy since it was free.
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  • loafoftatupu wrote:
    peachesenregalia wrote:

    Any language where the switch statement is 'WTF?' is a language I want to code in.

    :thirishdrinkers:


    Just make "WTF?" a variable that you can use a lot.


    Solid switch statement. During bootcamp, especially in the early goings, I had ample opportunity to entertain myself with side projects. My Arrested Development quips got quite a bit of love.

    function blueMyself() { // obnoxious color-changing functions }

    define('THE_BANANA_STAND', 'Money');
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  • SonicHawk wrote:Trav had it right. Get on github and practice. For a smaller company like mine we love devs who love to code and who enjoy problem solving.

    For me personally I'm a front end guy so javascript is my home and there are so many jobs for good js guys, but you might be looked down on by older devs who think it's a bs language.


    JS still makes my world go round and it can be found on at least half of the thousands of web servers we have at the large aerospace company. It kicks ass. I'm kind of old too.. well kind of
    Last edited by loafoftatupu on Tue Jun 10, 2014 6:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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  • TravTex wrote:
    loafoftatupu wrote:
    peachesenregalia wrote:

    Any language where the switch statement is 'WTF?' is a language I want to code in.

    :thirishdrinkers:


    Just make "WTF?" a variable that you can use a lot.


    Solid switch statement. During bootcamp, especially in the early goings, I had ample opportunity to entertain myself with side projects. My Arrested Development quips got quite a bit of love.

    function blueMyself() { // obnoxious color-changing functions }

    define('THE_BANANA_STAND', 'Money');


    HAHAHAHAHA that's great man
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  • TravTex wrote:
    loafoftatupu wrote:
    peachesenregalia wrote:

    Any language where the switch statement is 'WTF?' is a language I want to code in.

    :thirishdrinkers:


    Just make "WTF?" a variable that you can use a lot.


    Solid switch statement. During bootcamp, especially in the early goings, I had ample opportunity to entertain myself with side projects. My Arrested Development quips got quite a bit of love.

    function blueMyself() { // obnoxious color-changing functions }

    define('THE_BANANA_STAND', 'Money');


    Ha! Yeah.

    I just started Intro to Java last week, it's alright so far. Haven't really done any OOP yet, so this is somewhat new territory. I really enjoy it so far though.

    And Sonic - js is a bs language 8)

    Just kidding....ish. It's basically C++ with some modifications and OOP stuff sprinkled in. Wasn't it Netscape who came up with js?
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  • peachesenregalia wrote:
    TravTex wrote:
    loafoftatupu wrote:
    peachesenregalia wrote:

    Any language where the switch statement is 'WTF?' is a language I want to code in.

    :thirishdrinkers:


    Just make "WTF?" a variable that you can use a lot.


    Solid switch statement. During bootcamp, especially in the early goings, I had ample opportunity to entertain myself with side projects. My Arrested Development quips got quite a bit of love.

    function blueMyself() { // obnoxious color-changing functions }

    define('THE_BANANA_STAND', 'Money');


    Ha! Yeah.

    I just started Intro to Java last week, it's alright so far. Haven't really done any OOP yet, so this is somewhat new territory. I really enjoy it so far though.

    And Sonic - js is a bs language 8)

    Just kidding....ish. It's basically C++ with some modifications and OOP stuff sprinkled in. Wasn't it Netscape who came up with js?


    yep.. it was the Netscape dude. Of course, folks still be using the offspring.
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  • I will confess to still having some perl shit out there used for system monitoring. I just haven't had time to mess with it and it works although I am positive that I could probably cut the line count down by 70 percent if I did.
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  • Jesus H... I will also confess to some home built framework with cfml.. I forgot all about those 12 year old web apps.

    But that's it, I'm not admitting any more hackery.

    They want all of it on .net before the end of the year and we haven't even started.

    Not going to make that business goal.
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  • Hey OP..

    I gotta tell ya, there is another one you can learn that will give you ultimate dominance in the system world. I have been force feeding it on the side because it is so bad ass. That is the latest PowerShell releases. If you are just getting started it is THE way of the future with MS hosted systems, it is not a developer thing, but I promise you that if you combine developer skills with system management and PS scripting you will become a very dangerous dude.

    Like IT fricking Ninja
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  • I'm one of those weirdos that really likes Javascript. I'm not sure if my jQuery/JS hybrid syntax is entirely kosher, but...

    It's quirky as hell at times, but as I've heard the occasional dev say, "When the nuclear apocalypse happens, all that will remain of the world are cockroaches and javascript."

    Interesting times to be a JS person. Frameworks galore on the front end, Node on the server, json everywhere...
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  • This isn't a direct answer to your app developer question, but there was a deeper one in there...

    After 30+ years of being a nuclear reactor operator or electronics technician, I quit my job in 2007 (age 48) and went back to school full time. Graduated from Pierce College (Tacoma) with an AS in Engineering in 2009, graduated from UW with a BS degree in Electrical Engineering in 2011, and I've just finished year 2 of a 3-year program at UW where I'll have an MS in Electrical Engineering (while working full time as a Nuclear Controls Engineer). My only regret is that I didn't do this when I was your age.

    As 'Dear Abby' used to say when she'd tell people to go back to school, and they'd say "Do you know how old I'll be in 4 years when I graduate?" Her response was always "How old will you be in 4 years if you don't?"

    So don't think your 'old age' should be a deterrent- just the opposite. Since I treated school like my job, I always set the top of the curve in pretty much every class. If my buddies asked me to sandbag on a test, I'd tell 'em to keep up. Now it's your turn.
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