|What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a programmer?
Shoot for the stars and practice as much as you can. The only limit to programming is your own creativity and knowledge.
Programming will change a lot in the next five years! Be ready to adapt!
There's more money in becoming a doctor, twice as much again if you become a lawyer, and an endless stream of attractive women (or attractive men, if that is your preference) waiting to be seduced by yoir every word if you succeed as a Euro-MEP.
- Focus more on algorithms than language.
- Start with a lower level language (C or C++ are the ones I'm familiar with) to understand the internals of a program
- Learn a high-level language
- Learn a scripting language
- Find a niche that you like and play with that
- Be curious
Think practically before starting the coding
My advice is be persistent and be honest. That's all.
Use the MSDN resources, they do work and even if you get frustrated, keep going. See if you can find some buddies to program with, that always makes things easier.
I would tell anyone interested in becoming a programmer to never underestimate the importance of good communication skills. If you are working for a company, or even as an independent developer, you will constantly be going to meets, talking with clients, writing reports, and many other things relating to communication on a daily basis. Also learn basic writing skills. You will do a lot of writing when you are working in a company or if you are a freelancer you will be making contact with potential clients. Being able to write well will help you out in your career.
Just start doing it. You'll never be a programmer if all you ever do is think about it.
1 - Don't get blinded by the dollar signs. You have to like doing it, or you're going to burn out and change careers. I've seen numerous students who have chosen software development because of the relatively high pay. However, they don't understand the intense mental work that's involved in the field, and they don't understand that there are going to be times where you have to work off-hours and many hours to either fix bugs or get a software release ready.
2 - Have other skill sets besides coding. Companies want to do more with less, and if all that you can do is code, most companies won't hire you.
Learn as much as possible and practice... and if you don't really love programming, quit it. We don't need any green-horns here.
RTFM over and over !
If you want to become a professional programmer, you have to really want to be one. As you get older, things change and you have to keep learning new languages, systems, and even whole new concepts.
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