April 15th, 2011, 11:58 AM
Switching from finance to web programming
Hello all this is my first post, and I need some help shaping my career path. As of now I have a finance degree from a top 40 business school, but I wish to change careers. For sometime now I have dabbled with the idea of maybe getting into web programming (short of tricking out my myspace page I have no programming experience and I know HTML is not programming). I just recently applied to a local community college to get into their ďObject Oriented Computer Programming and DesignĒ certificate program; itís a 7 course program that focuses on Java and C++. I feel that this would be a good start, however I feel like thatís it just a start. I would like to know what would be a good next step for me, because my end goal is to be able to create my own websites that I can maintain for a profit, but before hand I would like to be able to get a 40k+ programming job . So can anyone tell me what would be my best next step, should I look into going back to school full time, do I need a bachelor degree or not?
P.S. Iím pretty sure I want get involved with web programming, and I understand I have to take some web design classes and learn php and mysql in order to create run and maintain a website.
April 15th, 2011, 12:49 PM
Whether you can get $40k/yr depends on the area and how starved they are for programmers. That figure is very low for a programming career job - more like entry-level work. But you're at a disadvantage: you're learning late in the game, and with a degree that has very little to do with the field. And no, a certificate isn't worth much when it comes to an actual job.
My suggestion is to see if you can relate programming and finance in any way. Make a web application to help you manage your own finances or something.
The point is to get a feel for the thing before you launch head-first into it. A few courses at a CC is great but don't put away your diploma just yet. Assuming you didn't pick a degree that you hate, make some money first. Get a job. Web programming is something you can pick up in your spare time.
Also, "web design" is more about designing the appearance and functionality of web sites. You can get away not knowing it so long as you have some semblance of common sense when it comes to designing stuff. "Web development" is the side that actually gets stuff done with PHP and MySQL and whatnot.
April 15th, 2011, 01:20 PM
Thank you for your reply requinix, I guess I should of said that I graduated in 2008. I tried to teach my self Ruby on Rails I was making some progress but I think I require the structure of a class (at least for my first language). After reading your response though it sound like I might want to look in to getting a degree if I want to be competitive in the job market. The question that remains do I go back and get a BS?
Originally Posted by requinix
April 15th, 2011, 01:58 PM
Should you decide eventually that you really want to do web development (or simply programming in general), you'd do well to get a degree.
Originally Posted by CloudVII
However it's a technical field: degrees don't mean as much here as they do in other, non-technical fields. They still mean stuff - don't get me wrong there. A degree is worth it.
Depending on circumstances you can get a great job without the magic piece of paper. The knowledgeable employers (good luck finding them) know that it's more about skills and experience than book smarts. But you say that you need a structured environment to learn. If your potential employer knew you personally then they would be a little put off if you didn't have a degree. If not for the degree, go back to school for the real education.
I'll say it again: give what you have now a shot. Don't give up on something you've spent a long time to achieve just because the grass looks greener in another pasture. Do part-time finance stuff now, take CC classes on your time off.
April 16th, 2011, 10:24 AM
I'd like to highlight how important this is. Unless you dislike finance, you have a great opportunity here. The financial industry hires a fair number of programmers, and if you're familiar with finance already that is going to be a massive boost both in landing a job and your salary if you choose to exploit it (by looking for a programming job in the finance industry).
My advice is to take the certification class so that you learn the basics of programming. Make sure you actually like it. Once you know the basics look for an internship. Most programming internships are paid, so this will do three things for you: provide you with some cash, provide you with some experience for your resume and tell you what skill areas you need to improve.
If you do well at the internship, there is a good chance that the company will offer you a full time position. Finding good programmers is hard, if you've already worked for them for 3 or 6 months it massively reduces the large risks involved with hiring a new full time employee.
Whether or not you land a job from the internship, you will know the skill areas in which you need to improve. You should be able to find higher-level classes that address these specific skill areas and take those to improve your skills. Alternatively, if you're a self directed learner it is absolutely possible to teach yourself everything you need to know.
April 28th, 2011, 10:32 AM
I would like to thank you all for you very insightful advice regarding this topic, but just one more side question. Is there any value in obtaining a Sun (Oracle) java certificate I know there are several levels but are the worth the time and effort of starting the track?
Certificates generally don't mean much. How much PHP do you know? Is the company you're working at in need of a web developer? Ask if they need any more hands on deck. Moving positions in the company is easier than moving positions outside of the company.
I would agree with the first reply... combine what you know about finances and program around it. Have a goal to solve an issue that you see that links the web with dealing with personal/business finances. What services do you wish were available to people pertaining to financial services on the web?
Best way to learn how to program is to have a problem that can be solved with a program... then start taking steps to making that program. You'll learn faster because:
1. You have a goal
2. You're more focused because there are specific things that need to be done to reach your goal... not just randomly searching for code.
3. It's real-life application
I had a career background of sales and management... I wanted to get into I.T. however. My current boss had me take an assessment and personality test, and then they had me take a technical assessment. They hired me and told me I would have to learn the linux shell, programming, web design yadda yadda. It's been 6 months and I've learned HTML, CSS, some JAVA, Batch Scripting, some VBS, and some shell scripting because I was given specific tasks that had problems that programming could solve.
June 16th, 2011, 01:07 PM
I agree with you 100% mechaflash, I have been reading a JAVA book for a few weeks now (I'm taking a JAVA class in the spring and figure id get a head start) and I understand the some of fundamentals of the language. However, there is so much to learn about JAVA I figured if I had some projects to practice doing it would help me along right now Iím working on making a four function calculator as my first not text program and I was wondering if there were any other good projects for a beginner to attempt.
June 16th, 2011, 03:12 PM