AMA Request Computer Science

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Ahkita
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AMA Request Computer Science

Postby Ahkita » Wed Mar 02, 2016 1:09 pm

hope this is actually the right place for this. I'm studying Computer Science, but my current job is aircraft maintenance. My primary question is how do you get a cs job without experience?
I've also got some questions about game programming and how to make an app.

So...is this AMA thing a good place to ask about that kind of stuff anyway?

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Re: AMA Request Computer Science

Postby clintmemo » Wed Mar 02, 2016 1:37 pm

I've been a programmer since about 1990 - COBOL, then Clipper, then ASP (VB), then VB.net and now c#.net. During those last few things, I also picked up SQL, javascript and HTML.
To misquote M*A*S*H, I do "meatball programming." Don's ask me about the latest TLA (Three Letter Acronym) tool that people are using, because I don't know about it - even if I am unknowingly doing it.

Anyway, I can only answer your question by telling you how I got into it - an internship. Where I went to school, 2-3 semesters of an internship was a requirement for graduation - and by internship, they meant a full-time paid job in your field. Fortunately, they had a department at the school that arranged these for the students. My first real job was from the company where I was interning. They promoted me from an intern (level 0 programmer) to a level 1 programmer.
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Re: AMA Request Computer Science

Postby Wayne » Wed Mar 02, 2016 4:21 pm

I will always sing the praises of internships. Get your foot in the door while you are in school.
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Re: AMA Request Computer Science

Postby Ahkita » Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:32 pm

Well I heard that internships suck :P
*sigh* I guess I'm doomed, then. There's no way I can get into an internship right now, and by the time I can do it, I'll be done with school. (really close to graduating already) I guess I could go to school again... GI Bill would cover it, but I don't know how I feel about going through the same classes a second time.

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Re: AMA Request Computer Science

Postby Citizen Joe » Mon Mar 07, 2016 10:23 am

I've got two workshops in a line of workshops. My shops are about 500 ft apart. Cable goes to all the shops. I want to set up cable Internet in one shop and then have wifi extend to the other shop 500 ft away through block walls and machinery. I don't want to pay double for cable. The back of the shops are open to air. The front are as well, but we can't string anything bulky on the storefronts. I checked Cat5 cable but that would need a booster, which would be in a shop I don't control.

How can I connect my two shops?

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Re: AMA Request Computer Science

Postby tombombodil » Tue Mar 08, 2016 9:10 pm

I'm a 5th year senior double majoring in Math and CompSci. I've interned at two video game companies in Seattle and work on my own projects regularly. I certainly don't have as much experiences are more veteran programmers herabouts but I have a lot of knowledge.

Internships are awesome/awful with about the same regularity as jobs are. I've had about a 50/50 split with the last two at the same game company being some of the most useful post-high school learning I've had.

They are relatively important and are EXTREMELY valuable even if it just lets you know what you don't wanna do. Every tech company HR director I've talked to, personally and in interviews, say that each internship you have during your undergrad increases your employ-ability because it basically means they get to hire someone for an entry level position that already has some work experience.

They also teach you how to actually work in a dev office, which is knowledge that group projects can't even begin to expose you to.


Also more to your specific question:

1. Having a robust portfolio of your own projects helps quite a lot. Not just fun things you've made, but complete programs designed with a purpose in mind.

2. Learn to use Github, Visual Studio, and other industry standard tools.

3. Contribute to open source projects, and keep detailed records of what you've contributed too, what version your code was used in, and keep copies of it all on your github.

4. Just write code. Lots of it. All the time. Assuming you're thoughtful about your work and show it to others for critique, every single line of code you write makes you a better programmer. Never before has the 10,000 hour rule been more applicable. If you only ever write code for your class assignments, you're going to be miles behind the people who spent most of their free-time during school coding as well and exploring different tools/techniques/languages etc. Obviously since you also work full time this one won't be as easy.

5. Expose yourself to tons of different languages, for a good sampling:

C/C++/Java/C# -- because "curly brace" languages are the lingua franca of programming
Go/D -- alternative takes on "curly brace" languages that have much to recommend them. They can also replace scripting languages like Ruby/Python.
Elixir -- a completely different way to think about server programming, really worth learning. Ruby-like syntax on top of a highly concurrent architecture that emphasizes reliability and distributed computing.
Racket/Clojure -- Lisp-like languages that have lots to recommend them. Programming in a lisp will change the way you look at problems.
Last edited by tombombodil on Tue Mar 08, 2016 9:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: AMA Request Computer Science

Postby tombombodil » Tue Mar 08, 2016 9:13 pm

Citizen Joe wrote:I've got two workshops in a line of workshops. My shops are about 500 ft apart. Cable goes to all the shops. I want to set up cable Internet in one shop and then have wifi extend to the other shop 500 ft away through block walls and machinery. I don't want to pay double for cable. The back of the shops are open to air. The front are as well, but we can't string anything bulky on the storefronts. I checked Cat5 cable but that would need a booster, which would be in a shop I don't control.

How can I connect my two shops?


What EXACTLY is the connection going to be used for? Provide as much detail as you can.

Can you bury a cable?
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Re: AMA Request Computer Science

Postby tombombodil » Tue Mar 08, 2016 9:24 pm

Ahkita wrote:Well I heard that internships suck :P
*sigh* I guess I'm doomed, then. There's no way I can get into an internship right now, and by the time I can do it, I'll be done with school. (really close to graduating already) I guess I could go to school again... GI Bill would cover it, but I don't know how I feel about going through the same classes a second time.


You could always go for something else, Math, Electrical Engineering, or even just a Liberal Arts degree, The latter would make finding time for internships more manageable.
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Re: AMA Request Computer Science

Postby Ahkita » Fri Mar 11, 2016 5:47 am

It's okay to get an internship doing something that has nothing to do with your degree? ... Can you get an internship by just taking random classes, or do you normally have to be in a degree program?

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Re: AMA Request Computer Science

Postby clintmemo » Fri Mar 11, 2016 7:11 am

tombombodil wrote:
5. Expose yourself to tons of different languages, for a good sampling:


I definitely agree that is a good thing when you are in school and/or just starting out. However, for a career, your best bet is to find a small set of things and be really good/productive at them. That's assuming that you want to stay in IT doing IT work and not management. Once you get into management, it's more about managing resources than coding.
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