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It's a high school equivalency "diploma" you can get via exam in lieu of finishing school.
Part of the problem with me staying in school is there was a truancy law on the books which would have landed me in juvenile detention a lot because I wasn't able to show up for all of my classes every day because I had to worry food and a place to sleep. So to avoid jail, I dropped out.
Basically it's a way to test out of high school so you're not quite as bad off as if you had just stopped going.
Thank you for your post! It brought up such an interesting discussion and I feel truly humbled by the diversity of experiences that developers come from.
Compared to what some of you guys have been through, my life seems the pinnacle of boredom: saw a book about a new thing called "programming" when I was 15 and, for some strange reason, decided that's what I do in my life. Luckily I found some guys who would pay me a decent wage for doing that. Many years later I still don't know to do anything else. Talk about being monomaniacal .
That's not that far off from how I picked it up, except i was a bit younger.
My parents bought an Apple ][gs in 1986 and it came with a programming manual for Applesoft BASIC.
I read it because I read while eating otherwise the act is boring. Not very mindful of me, but then I'm not a buddhist so it's fine.
It converged with my problem of circuit building. I took things apart and made things with them but to do anything serious in terms of building gadgets required money i didn't have at 6 and 7 so software allowed me to build things without continually shoveling more money at Radio Shack.
I don't think you can go that route today, there is too much focus on qualifications and too many get rich quick brats.
I had a similar route except I am mentally eminently stable and grounded despite running away from a dysfunctional family at 15, working approx 20 different jobs till I discovered software in my 30s (in the late 80s). Worked as a consultant (quote, build and chase the invoices) till I worked out that contracting you did not have to do the f***ing paperwork involved in running your own business.
Ended my career as a highly paid and valued developer at one of Asia's top banks. Today that path is not possible.
Have not coded in 2 years, it turns out I was a tart (please forgive the gender reference), only into it for the money.
Never underestimate the power of human stupidity -
I'm old. I know stuff - JSOP
I'm not sure. The last four clients I've had didn't even ask for a resume.
One of them scouted me from my articles here.
Maybe I'm just being optimistic, but I think if you have talent and a little luck you can maybe still pull it off, even if the culture has changed. You may not be able to work at Microsoft anymore without a serious CV but I don't know - i'd like to think they'd still hire anyone that had the endurance for a 4 hour panel interview with whiteboarding. I've done that.
My first software job was 40 years ago. Curiously, my take is that it's easier to get a job without "qualifications" these days, though there's a lot of "certification" horseshite. But in 1981, everyone expected a degree. It might not be in computer science, because there weren't enough of us. But engineering, mathematics, or physics would do, especially if you'd done a bit of programming. I used to say that the problem with our software was that we had too many straight engineers, and it was comparable to someone landing a job designing circuits because they'd played around building speaker systems in their garage.
I grew up in a home (family, not foster), but I surely do have a heap lot of emotional baggage (including having spent a couple weeks of my life in a psychosomatic clinic and a couple years more with regular counseling to get to gripes with life).
I managed to finish school & university, but I've studied physics, not informatics. I work as a programmer now and one of the dudes at the company once told me that they didn't really want to hire me (for not having the right field they're looking for), but they were really desperate.
On the other hand, some educated-in-informatics co-workers of mine are way worse learners, than I am. That kind of guy who say "I've learned to do it like that half a century ago", utterly ignoring all the progress made in said half century.
I love programming for, among other reasons, similar to yours: you can do that stuff self-taught. I never needed a single cent to get into it, IDEs are free, learning resources are free, all that's left is the own will to learn and to think.
Consider this beyond wealth, but to include family/friends/vocation/recreation/everything, you may wish to consider something I read off of one of the front wall in a house-of-worship I attended many years ago.
"Who is rich? He who is satisfied with his portion."
Well, my story is a little boring, I also grew up, went to school and university.
I am always glad that I learned at University a lot about mathematics, I am using Fourier transforms quite often and even Laplace.
Wrt computers (computer science?) I learned about the PDP-8 and PDP-9, programming in assembler code, using DECtapes for storage. While I am not using PDP-8 or PDP-9 instruction sets nowadays, I really believe that it helps me in my programming.
What I further learned was some language theory (type X grammars, 2VW grammars, attribute grammars etc etc), typical things you best learn when you are young. Now from time to time
I even use these formalisms to structure my programs.
I am fully aware of the fact that after my university education I could write programs but essentially could not program. In the early 70-ties I wrote some parser generators (LL and LALR) and a few compilers (one for Algol 60) and to put it mildly: with my current experience I would have written it differently. Nevertheless, for writing these programs I needed some
math, though not calculus. But these programs had a size such that one starts to think
about structuring the code and the development process (the language of the 70-ies was for me BCPL). After the 80-ties with Unix and C, I ended up as manager. The last 20 years of my working career I was involved in management, and there were days that I did not use a fourier or Laplace transform of though about formal verification of program (fragments) .
After my retirement I started programming again at a level that - at least what I think - would have been impossible without some formal training and some experience in my younger years. My current domain is software defined radio, and there is quite some math in my programs.
Summarizing, writing good code is not something you learn from a book, but a slightly more formal training may make it easier to understand what code is good, why it is good, and what code smells
I have degrees, but most of the top notch programmers I know do not. Being self taught does wonders for your confidence and although coding styles, standards and protocols are often missing, the skills and understanding are what matter most.
When I interview, most of the interviewers are impressed enough by a degree to call you in, but the questions fall along lines of what you know and what you can bring. They are most often concerned with key things in the technologies they consider tough to do and less on what lies behind the paper. Only Chemical Abstracts demanded a degree and then only because they advertise their degrees as a way of selling their product.
Truth be told, I would rather have someone easy to work with and go to lunch with than a degree in the cubical next to me. Sometimes a second set of eyes is all you need. Other times, you need to share technical expertise or receive technical expertise, but it works better if the person is a good communicator.
Having a degree got me the opportunities, but I don't even think about it when working. Unless someone hung their shingle in their cube, I wouldn't know or care.
Having a degree got me the opportunities, but I don't even think about it when working.
That sounds sensible.
I had to learn styles and standards on the job, and it took me awhile. Since I haven't been working on teams so much my style has drifted more back to my natural form.
But my natural form is almost what I'm stuck with now. It doesn't help that I code without thinking half the time these days, and the stuff even works sometimes. Not sure if that's a feature or a bug, but ever since early 2017 I've been able to hold conversations while coding. That was about the same time I went over the high wall and had a massive psychotic event, and I think they might be related since I haven't been the same since. My routines got longer. My comments fewer. My code tighter. My designs better. So it's good and bad.
I work over in Yakima (mid-Washington state). there is a lot of software dev jobs around if you know where to look; they are just not software companies. The fruit and produce companies and supporting industry do have uses for developers.
I never finished collage, when my first job offer came around, my wife and I were pretty hurting on income and took what I could. fast forward: now I'm 45, been developing software professionally for 23 years, but this year I'm going back to collage (WGU) to get a degree and be able to move up in my career a bit
honey the codewitch wrote:
I can't tell you how grateful I am that this industry values talent over credentials.
This really is a great industry to be in. and for the most part pretty forgiving on formal education, although we all have to constantly be learning something new to keep up to date.
Yeah, I live in the western half, and I've had contracts from florida to canada but never local. *shrug*
There's some IT, but there's not enough demand and I think most of the positions like you speak of are filled by Roger, the same software guy that worked there since 1992 and put their page on geocities.
In some situations, yes the same guy stays with the company forever, but when you do get an opening, it's total job security. programmers are very rare around here, but there is a demand.
I can think of 4 companies currently looking for someone. I've had way too many job offers in the last year, but I'm very happy where I'm at currently and plan to retire from here if possible; so I end up telling them that I'll keep an open eye for other devs looking.
My first job was with an industrial controls company, to automate the fruit warehouses, went everywhere from Canada, to Mexico, to Pennsylvania, but mostly in the Nortwest for 18 years. It was great work, and I could have worked there forever, but it got dull after awhile and had to move on. It was about that time that I discovered how much the industry was hurting for more good devs on everything from embedded, to desktop, to Web. They just don't tend to advertise on most job boards, always looking for someone local to hire.
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