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Where do i go?

Hey guys,

My names Casey. Im 17 and going to be a senior in high school this year. I have already taken a school class in python and it was a really big help for me as it taught me a lot more then i would have been able to figure out on my own. It was nice being able to have a teacher there that i could talk and ask questions to. It was also great to be able to work with some kids my age that were into programming like me. We were able to work on things together and really helped me stay focused and keep learning at a good pace.

After the class ended though i am running into problems. I have no idea where to go or how to further my understanding and knowledge of this language. Ive gone past the point where i can really teach myself the stuff. I will usually run into little problems and spend a ton of time trying to fix them. Or just run into parts that i really do not understand. Which i understand is part of programming but it is quite annoying not being able to ask someone about it or have someone around to help me. And I hate having to go on these forums all the time and ask silly questions of people here. So now that ive told ya my problem. Ill tell you guys what i want to find out so that i can get on the right path to becoming a good solid programmer.

Here are my questions:

1. I want to know where do go next. I have a fairly solid understanding of the language python. I dont mean anything special. Ive made a very simple game on it and thats about the max that i can do with it. But what do i do next. Is there an online course i can take? Where maybe some instructors are there and some people around my skill level i can talk to?

2. How can i get a job in this field? I really wanna do this for a living, whether as a free lancer or getting a job somewhere else? i really dont know. But what does it take to get to a point where i could make a small amount of money doing this? And how long would that take? I feel like ive been working on programming for a long time but i dont have a set goal to reach as i dont know what that goal should be. There is so much out there to learn and its overwhelming. One place tells you its better to learn C++ first. Another says learn a simple language first.

3. Basically i wanna know exactly what steps i should take to get a job working with a programming language. Do i absolutely HAVE to go to a college before i get a job? Because i have another year in high school and ive already taken all the computer classes offered. I dont want to have to wait a full year to get headed in the right direction. I wanna get going now. By the end of this year i want to be as close as i can to getting a job or something programming. I dont care how much work it takes. Ill work hours and hours as i have before. But i wanna be working toward something. I feel like im always working hard but never making progress. I learn all these things but when i look at elance the jobs say things i dont even understand. Nor do i understand how to get to the point of being able to do them.

If you guys could help that would be awesome. If not no worries. This whole thing was probably confusing but im just really tired of wondering.


Aug 15 '09 #1
6 6472
11,448 Expert 8TB
If you have the prerequisites go to college; it'll take a couple of years but you'll not only study Python but other languages as well (C, Java, C++, Lisp etc.) you don't know it know but you may like these languages. More important is that you'll not just study those languages but also the theory behind it all; ICT basically is part of mathematics and you can even prove things to be correct or fundamentally wrong or impossible to do with a computer. That knowledge will be a great foundation for your further career. It'll be better than if you'd do everything yourself and the jobs pay better too ;-)

kind regards,

Aug 16 '09 #2
Hi Josah, I support ur comment. Collins, if U really want to make ur living in ICT world, U hav to in into it full time. I'm a final year student of computer science in Federal Polytechnic, idah in Nigeria and i think i'm enjoying the freedom. I make money even as a student by solving programming assignment for students in my school, projects like automation of activities such as accomodation system, medical diagnosis system, criminal information system, stock control system and other big projects. It's really well going in ICT world
Aug 16 '09 #3
3,503 Expert Mod 2GB
Hey Casey! Glad you posted. :)

Having people with the same interests, especially from a coding perspective, can really benefit you and your learning curve. If any of the people you took the class with are as heavily into it, think about getting together on a regular basis to not only keep up your skills, but to also work on new things and new topics.

Speaking as someone who is completely self taught, I don't think its a matter of not being able to teach yourself, I believe your just stuck in the "where do I go now " rut, and that can be difficult.

You probably learned enough about Python to be dangerous and still have the yearning to learn more. That's a good thing. To continue learning, I would recommend reading any one of the plethora of python books available. There are a few available online for free. The "Dive Into Python" book, liked under 'available' is a good book. You can use those to attack new topics.

One place you can use to practice and further your python skills, and to hone them nicely, is the Python Challenge. You need to solve the puzzles, with Python code and use the answer as the URL for the next puzzle. Its quite interesting and challenging at points.

Other than my previous suggestions, I would also hop on to a forum (like Bytes.com) and start answering people's questions. You will most certainly find questions that you have to research to get the answers to, and in the mean time, learn a bunch in the process.

Freelancing as a whole is not an easy thing to do. There are too many companies from other countries that will routinely go in and underbid the lowest bidders and snag up the jobs, leaving you with no work.

To get a job as a coder, the more languages you are fluent in, the better chance you will have of landing a job. But, languages aren't the only thing. You need to know things like networking and protocols, and know them well! Its a tough market and those who know things like that are the ones getting the jobs.

If you go to college, and I recommend you do, and study computer science, you will find yourself taking some pretty interesting courses. Take everything you can.

Learn, learn, learn, that's what you can do now. One more suggestion, go on to some place like sourceforge.net and join a project. That will get you even more experience.

Hope this helps.


Aug 16 '09 #4
Thank you all. This is a lot of help. especially numberwhun. Thanks for the links and ill be checking them out now and continue to further my learning by myself i till get into college. Hopefully i can find someone to work with. So thanks again. I needed a direction and i think i have one now. :)
Aug 18 '09 #5
3,503 Expert Mod 2GB
Just glad we could help. :)


Aug 19 '09 #6
Jyoti Ballabh
115 100+
great read!!!!! but I feel college is a must. No online coaching or degree can supplant that.
Jul 23 '10 #7

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