Discussion in 'Yellow Pages' started by El distraído, Apr 15, 2020.

  1. El distraído

    El distraído Johnny Foreigner

    Hi all. I hope you're all keeping well during these difficult times.

    Do any of you have any experience of coding? If so, do you enjoy it? What are your job prospects like?

    The reason I ask is that I work in the travel industry. We are anongst the worst affected by the fall out in jobs and there's just no guarantee that things will return to normal once this whole thing blows over.

    As a consequence, I've been thinking about how I can best use my time right now (I'm on furlough) and have been strongly considering learning how to code, because to my understanding there are plenty of courses that can be done from home and with the way technology is constantly improving, I can only foresee more job opportunities continuing to increase for those with the right skillset and experience.

    Is there anyone here that can offer any advice? I didn't study computer science at university (I studied archaeology) and am an absolute beginner, but I've started an intro course on Grasshopper (through Google) to give me a feel of what coding actually is and whether I'd enjoy it or not.

    If I decide that I enjoy this, I will speak to recruiters to find out what they would need to see from me for me to seriously look at a career change. I've also watched plenty of videos from Software Developers on YouTube to get a feel of how feasible a career change might be (I'm 30). I'm looking at and udemy also.

    Whilst I'm cracking on with this intro course, if anyone has any insight that they'd like to share, any helpful tips or experience of working in the industry, I'm all ears.

    Stay safe all.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2020
    Optimistichornet likes this.
  2. zztop

    zztop Eurovision Winner 2015

    If it helps, I learned Morse Code as a _ . . _. ._ _ _. . ._.
  3. Arakel

    Arakel First Team

    You can certainly retrain, but bear in mind you're going to have a bit of an uphill struggle due to coming into it late. Assuming you did a 3 year course and graduated, you'd be 33 and have zero experience under your belt; you'll be on an equivalent foot to 21/22 year old coders coming out from university, and they'll likely pick things up faster than you. Just means you'll have to work harder.

    Coders your age will likely have at least 10 years of experience under their belt, probably more (since they likely knew a bit about coding before going to university).

    The best advice I can give you is to make sure you learn how to code in an in-demand language. Some languages are very niche and won't offer many employment opportunities, so it will pay to do your research. Once you understand one language, you can often leverage that to learn new ones; many concepts translate between programming languages, so it's definitely worth your time to understand the theory of good programming in addition to the specifics of individual languages. Many basic concepts are true for most (if not all) languages out there, particularly hygiene things like code structure, commenting etc.

    As long as you're willing to put the work in and you have a logical mind with a dash of creativity, it's very achievable. I can't speak for the quality of those courses though; all the developers I know went to physical universities.
  4. sydney_horn

    sydney_horn Squad Player

    In my opinion, the best coders have a natural aptitude for it. I think you need to be very logical, very thorough and be able to communicate well with the end user to properly understand their requirements.

    I got into coding in 1989 through the Inland Revenue (as it was at the time). They offered 6 week coding training, including 3 weeks to learn COBOL! I never looked back after that.

    If your main drive to retrain is to be employable I would suggest looking to see what skills and languages are in demand.

    One area that always seems short of people is databases. You could consider getting into database design or becoming a database administrator (DBA).

    There is always strong demand for coders that can understand and interrogate databases so becoming proficient at SQL is another career path option.

    I can't say I've always enjoyed my career. A lot depends on the job and the politics that surrounds it. But it is very lucrative if you get a reputation for good reliable work and then become "in demand". I've been freelancing for 15+ years now and have never been short of work, much of which I can do from home.

    Good luck!
  5. Bwood_Horn

    Bwood_Horn Squad Player

    I would echo what @Arakel and @sydney_horn have said especially the stuff about DB design, administration and interrogation.
  6. nornironhorn

    nornironhorn Administrator Staff Member

    I did my undergraduate degree in actuarial science but found there weren't many jobs in Belfast in that profession (didn't fancy moving).

    I worked for a year in a crap job for one of the Big 4 Banks and hated it so decided to do a 'conversion course' Masters in Software Development. We had modules on Java, Web Development, Databases, Software Testing, etc.

    Once I finished that I was able to get a job straight away as a Data Scientist for a tech start-up (my undergraduate was heavily statistics focused). I've since moved on and currently work as a full-stack developer/data scientist at a more established company. There are loads of jobs in Belfast within the tech industry.

    My advice would be to do a lot of courses and don't leave big gaps between lesson 1 and lesson 2 for example. Before my masters I started doing that and struggled to fit it all in so I felt the taught course would be better for me.

    Java is a decent language to learn in my opinion as it makes jumping to other languages much easier as it is so robust. I currently do my back-end work in Python and found it very easy to switch from Java to Python but I would imagine it would be much more difficult to learn Python and then switch to a Java position.

    I've only been in these roles for just under 2 years but I do really enjoy it.
  7. Bwood_Horn

    Bwood_Horn Squad Player

    Python is Open Source (free) and there are loads of resources available on the net - particularity studio suites which make life much, much easier.

    I use linux so I'm not that au fait with windows but this looks familiar.
  8. nornironhorn

    nornironhorn Administrator Staff Member

    Yea, I'm linux based as well and use VS Code for most of my development.

    Jupyter Notebook tutorials are also quite good for learning as you can see what each individual line or cell does quite clearly. I know VS Code has Notebook functionality too but Jupyter is a little cleaner looking for someone wanting to start out.
    Bwood_Horn likes this.
  9. Bwood_Horn

    Bwood_Horn Squad Player

    Thanks for that. I moved from python to 'R' (RStudio) for my/our database needs so I'm a little rusty on python.

    I really shouldn't have opened the 'R'/python can of worms...
  10. nornironhorn

    nornironhorn Administrator Staff Member

    I've barely looked at R in truth (beyond one project in my undergraduate!).

    My company is going down to 4 day weeks for the next few months as we are quite a small firm so need to protect ourselves - planning on spending my extra day playing around with a few things I haven't used before so maybe that will be one.
  11. Bwood_Horn

    Bwood_Horn Squad Player

    Be warned it's an extremely powerful statistical suite designed and written by statisticians who didn't want to pay for 'S' - so you can probably guess how user friendly that is...
    nornironhorn likes this.
  12. El distraído

    El distraído Johnny Foreigner

    Hi all. Thanks so much for the responses.

    You're right, it would certainly be an uphill struggle (at the beginning at least). I certainly wouldn't go back to university. From what I can see, there are 'coding bootcamps' that run for example 9/10 week courses, with the aim of you becoming employable after that. Courses like this one are a good example and one I've seen a fair bit on the web

    Good advice. Thank you.

    Thanks for this. I'm not sure if I have an aptitude for it yet, but I certainly want to continue with the free courses online to see if I enjoy it and if what I'm learning is beginning to sink in at all. Amazing that Inland Revenue sent you on that course!

    Thanks for the heads up re databases. Yes I have heard from many people that careers in software development can be lucrative. The money in the travel industry isn't great so this is admittedly one reason why I have considered software, but ultimately if I feel I have a knack for it but don't enjoy it then I'm not sure I'd take my interest further to be honest.
  13. El distraído

    El distraído Johnny Foreigner

    Great that you made the move and did the conversion course. I didn't know that Belfast is such a hub for tech.

    Thanks for this. From what I can see, Java is one of the most used languages in software development, so as you say it makes sense to start here. Good that you are enjoying your career :)
    nornironhorn likes this.
  14. reids

    reids First Team

    Done a tiny bit on Python, but planning on getting really stuck into it in the next few weeks.
  15. SkylaRose

    SkylaRose Administrator Staff Member

    I starting learning C when I was 14 from an old library book and am now quite good at it. I've coded a few small games using free graphics and sound engines like
    STL and BASS. I know scripting languages are all the range now, Python, PHP JavaScript etc. Heck even C# and Visual Basic still have a slight hold on Internet
    production of scripts. Coding is a very rewarding experience, and thankfully there are hundreds of free online tutorials and even some free courses you can take.

    I would advise against learning Objective-C though, Swift is the way to go if Apple apps is your goal. If you want to get into Android development, learn Java or
    Klein Lust likes this.
  16. Optimistichornet

    Optimistichornet Penguin Assassin

    @El distraído been looking for something new to do, so downloaded the grasshopper app this morning. thanks for the inspiration mate!
    El distraído likes this.
  17. El distraído

    El distraído Johnny Foreigner

    No worries! Good luck with it. The instructions within the various modules are all laid out very well IMO.
  18. Optimistichornet

    Optimistichornet Penguin Assassin

    they are, it’s a nice little app to give you the basics. I am enjoying it so far, would be keen to hear of your experience if you do further courses so please keep me updated.

    I’m in a similar boat to you, 31 years of age and just up for learning a new skill and seeing where it can take me :)
    El distraído likes this.
  19. Arakel

    Arakel First Team

  20. nornironhorn

    nornironhorn Administrator Staff Member

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  21. El distraído

    El distraído Johnny Foreigner

  22. Arakel

    Arakel First Team

  23. Optimistichornet

    Optimistichornet Penguin Assassin

  24. Arakel

    Arakel First Team

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