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Getting Started

 
Jim Perdue
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I have some questions about getting started in Java Programming. I am 30 years old, and I am currently in the mechanical engineering field ( no degree though ). I was in the Navy for 8 years and been working for the past two. I was wondering what kind of routes I can take to get into this field. I have a book on Java Programming ( Java:Hot to Program by the Dietel ) and have begun to go through it. I am an excellent self-studier, and was wondering if this is a viable route to getting into the field. I am also interested in Web Programming. How many companies would hire someone who has just self-studied? Should I self-study and get certified?? Or is it NECCESSARY to go to college and get a degree in computer science? I have the G.I. Bill to pay for it, but at 30, I kind of want to get the ball rolling and if I can bypass 4 years then I would like to (just take night classes, which I am currently doing). Any suggestions/ideas/criticisms/etc. are greatly appreciated. Thanks for all your help!
Jim
Long Island, NY
 
Rufus BugleWeed
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This is a bad field for age discrimmination. Careers are short. The industry really likes to hire people your age and younger. Without a BS getting the door open will be difficult. Experience counts against you.
In my opinion, there are better options out there. A person who can pick winning stocks will always be employed.
YMMV
 
Jeffrey Hunter
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How are you at web design? If you're looking to shortcut the degree, and go on experience alone, you may want to look into web design companies. This is more towards the design/marketing aspect of web programming, so it may not be your cup of tea, but it is probably more accesible than a hardcore development company (and keep in mind, there is always room for server-side programming in web development, so learning Java will certainly be a bonus).
Nowadays, a web site is a necessity for most businesses, and if you can come up with some good designs and a good portfolio, you'll be able to market yourself without a degree (I didn't learn jack about web design/development in school, and I'm the primary web developer at work right now).
So my advice: if you have some creative horsepower, use it to create some web sites, build a portfolio, and get out there and market yourself.
In the design world, it is all about the portfolio.
[ April 20, 2004: Message edited by: Jeffrey Hunter ]
 
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