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When am I good enough to apply for IT job.

By tech_guy_dave ·
I'm attending a local 2 year tech college for programming. The 'deepest' course is intermediate VB. This just doesn't sound sufficient to land a job in IT. What metrics can I use to assess myself and know that I have what it takes to land and keep a decent job? I fear that I will be so far over my head that I will hurt any company I work for. I am presently the best there is at my job now(construction), but I hate it and need to make the jump for medical reasons.

I think it might help to add that I have been a programmer in my heart for over 2 decades but haven't had the time to keep up with it. At 40 years old I feel compelled to follow my dreams or give them up. This is more than an income to me. It is my lifes dream. I will do whatever it takes, but the clock is ticking and I need to make a career move soon.

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A little clairification?

by Mickster269 In reply to When am I good enough to ...

Do you want an IT job, a programming job, or what?

While not mutally exclusive, they are two seperate beasts.

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My bad...

by tech_guy_dave In reply to A little clairification?

Programming is the field of choice, but I don't know if I shouls limit myself, but I don't want to spread myself too thin either.

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doesn't hurt to try

by ceddy In reply to When am I good enough to ...

Programming is a really competitive field. The two friends I know who are currently programmers at major firms (Bungie & MS) entered with previous experience. To that extent, an internship would likely be a good thing to have.

Apart from that, though, a good cover letter outlining your dreams (programmer in your heart does make it sound better) and why you think you would be good for the position might just land you a job with a properly done resume.

Assessing yourself, however, is really your job. Having a good portfolio of programs you've created is a big deal. Look at them, and see if they're up to snuff. That's something potential employers definitely like to see. If you've got a good portfolio, a good resume, and good problem-solving skills then you won't be over your head for too long. Granted, "intermediate" doesn't sound good, but it works. If you've done GUIs and made programs, you've done what most prof. programmers do--honestly, they have books and look up the stuff they can't remember. Also, C++ knowledge would help, as that's pretty much the given standard.

But if you're looking for a job or internship and it's your dream, like you said: the clock is ticking. Just go for it. Your hard work might just pay off.

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by poj_tejada In reply to doesn't hurt to try

i am encouraged by your reply. I am an electronics engineer stuck in a dead end job. I've always wanted to be a programmer (i started in the 90's doing Pascal, C++ programs) but since working in manufacturing for years, I never had the chance to use these skills on the job. I am working on Excel VBA projects on the side and was wondering if I could make the switch to a full time programming job.

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Go fot it!

by Laurie_G In reply to doesn't hurt to try

I'm 54, be 55 by the time I WILL get a job as a programmer! I've been out of it for 12 years, but as I started in 1982, will huff, puff and **** doors down until I do :)

Just have a look at some of the work out there - some outstanding, some from the minds of 10 year olds!

Keep a workbook called 'Computer Says No', and record which site, software has what bugs, what you'd do to alleviate them.

When you do get that interview, present your workbook and any examples of fixes or alternatives you've made.

Finally, believe in you!

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Depends on what your applying for..

by Shellbot In reply to When am I good enough to ...

Can't say what its like there, but from my side of the world its like this:

Someone in your position would apply for a Junior development role, or an Application support role which includes bug fixing, code troubleshooting. With the support role, they would then move on into programming form there. I'm not talking desktop support..over here we'd call it Level 2 support..

What else is in your course?
Again, from my own experience, having just 1 thing can hold you back. So your doing VB.. is that Are you learning data access (databases) with that?

I started out doing VB and have yet to actually use it :) I ended up falling into a job with databases and went from there. I'm one of those "jack of all trades master of none" but I've found it's often put me in the position to get a decent job. For example, I'm a SQL 2000 DBA technically, but my current job calls for some javascript, c#, SQL 2005, several ancient databases (DataEase, Prism, Paradox), xml, xsl, html..etc. I may not be a hardcore heavily experienced DBA but put together with my other stuff..I manage to beat out the other DBA's because they either can't or don't want to do the other work.
Same with my last job, they wanted a DBA, but when they seen my CV they said "oh, woul dyou be able to throw together a little web app for this and that" I said sure, not as quick as a someone more experienced, but I could do it.. they had planned on hiring someone else for a short term to do the web work but they just hired me, for a longer term and for more money than they were origianlly offering..

Don't hold yourself back..I do that sometimes..I think "oh I don't think I'm qualified for that" or "thats beyond my skills"..then I bite the bullet, get the job and I look around at my new collegues and see that they are just as, if not more clueless than I am :)

Work hard and you'll find somehting!

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i see light at the end of the tunnel...

by poj_tejada In reply to Depends on what your appl ...

My course includes VBA for Excel, VB6 but not I have worked on Access databases before creating queries for data analysis. I also worked on ancient databases so old that they may not be relevant anymore (i can't even remember because I have not touched Visual Foxpro in a decade!)

But you underscored what I had in mind: that is exactly what I want to do - "bug fixing, code troubleshooting.." - do support roles. I think a junior developer role really sounds like a good starting point.
The main drawback that i see is that I do not have the work experience that would help me make that "jump" into programming. Help!

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