Too old for software engineering

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vivek in Hyderabad, India

28 months ago

Vampire in Lakeland, Florida said: My Boss who is 43 right now was in resturant business till 36, when he moved to computers by getting an associates degree in information systems. he is doing ok and is a senior analyst now.. so jump right in my friend,,

if u have good managerial skills, its all you need to climb up the ladder; programmers have their limits and only coding skills cannot take one to the top !


Yes u r absolutely right
There is a lot of difference between coding and managerial skills.i too believe a lot to succeed with the help of managerial skills but basically before going to that position u should have the skills of coding also ..i am an engineering student of computer science before i worked as a supervisor as for 2 years after completion of my intermediate i know the value of managerial skills where the person can go with his strategies.

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crypticsailor in Old Westbury, New York

28 months ago

There's tons you can do about it, you're just lazy. When you get out of work, study, learn, build projects. Be enthusiastic about what you do! Its the easiest way to get experience. Being a good software developer is about always learning, you should have known that when you got into the field. It isn't like a Homer Simpson career where you just get the job and sit on your ass and get paid. You clearly must suck at your job if you think H1B's who in general lack proper communication skills in English and have gotten through school with a group mentality(aka cheating) can replace competent programmers. The world is always falling for losers; grow up and take responsibility, the world doesn't owe you anything.

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crypticsailor in Old Westbury, New York

28 months ago

hoapres in Oakland, California said: Translation

If the world is falling apart around you then keep your mouth shut as there is nothing you can do about it.

also, what is this "world is falling apart" business? The world is just fine. You're falling apart and your view of reality is screwed. If you can't find a job then go enjoy some sunlight and get a better perspective and appreciation for being alive, jeez. You want to be negative? How about this: you are never ever going to be successful.

People like you will never find good jobs, and if somebody is stupid enough to hire you with such a bad mental disposition and a quitters attitude, you will still not be happy. Congrats! There are tons of people in software engineering doing just fine, who aren't worried about their jobs. They are not the majority but it is the honest truth(And, btw... this is coming from somebody who did not go to an "elite school") ;)

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crypticsailor in Martinsburg, West Virginia

28 months ago

I agree that it should be complained about, but software engineering is a good field that can be very rewarding. To talk about it as all doom & gloom and "everyone" getting their job replaced by H1Bs who come here for the money is simply not being realistic.

The high level software development, design and engineering jobs are still going to be dominantly Americans because communication and teamwork is one of the most fundamental parts of the process(and have you just... -tried- reading a lot of the H1B stuff or seen the code being spewed out? Also, on another note, sure there are smart guys from India out there but have you went to school with kids from India? Not to say this is absolute but in my school 90% of them cheat their asses off because they have some 'groupwork' culture, directly plagiarize off of stuff they find on Google for reports bc apparently in India they aren't as strict and couldn't code from a hole in the wall).

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crypticsailor in Martinsburg, West Virginia

28 months ago

Lmao! "top 10 university with a PhD". That is absolutely hilarious. You definitely do not live on Earth.

You also do not know anything about designing quality software if you think throwing in 1000 h1bs into a very large scalable project will make the situation possible, better and most importantly cheaper and employers are beginning to take note as well(hence the sub field "software engineering" which we are discussing and not just "programming". But its obvious that I'm having a conversation with a sourface code monkey here. Good luck buddy.

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Wayne Farmer in Winona, Minnesota

28 months ago

hoapres in Oakland, California said: ...If employers are beginning to take note then I will believe that claim when I see it. And Yes you really do need a PhD from a TOP 10 school if you are just starting out. Google, Facebook, IBM, Intel really do insist on PhDs for entry level jobs.

My gosh, your negativity astounds me. Even if I were to get HR representatives from Google, Facebook, IBM, and Intel to post here saying they do not "insist on PhDs for entry level jobs", I believe you'd claim they were all lying. I'm guessing that you've had little success in software engineering, and that you've seen opportunities go to others instead of you. Rather than look within yourself to find the seeds of your failure, you combine racism and cynicism to conjure up external causes: H1B visas; time-to-market vs quality, whatever.

Let me tell you a story. I was laid off in 1999 from a job I'd held for five years. I returned to North Carolina and got hired by Cisco Systems, where I became one of two older white guys in a department of about 50 Indians. My first and second-level managers were Indian as well; they would travel to colleges and actively recruit more H1B Indians. After 3 months in North Carolina, and then 3 months in San Jose, I was fired because I was taking too long to fix software problems. I simply wasn't comfortable with making a patch to a major product unless I understood the root cause of the problem and all the possible side-effects that my patch could cause. It wasn't until my firing that I finally understood that wasn't what Cisco wanted. Rapid cycling of solutions, even if they might break, was paramount. But guess what; at age 50, I survived that, and went on to a great job in a beautiful location, working for a small manufacturer of engine control units (ECU). My ECU experience there has led to other good jobs in the same field.

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Wayne Farmer in Winona, Minnesota

28 months ago

Good article on an alleged IT talent shortage in Cincinnati here, with plenty of yea and nay comments that follow it: enterchange.cincinnati.com/2012/03/11/talent-main/

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Zaphod in Rochester, Minnesota

28 months ago

Hey guys,

I am a software engineer and I make around 100K a year in USA if you add bonuses and 401k matches. I also rely on my spouse's income which is not bad either and I do not trust any H1B folks;) . They are not from USA and will never fight our cause.

In order to be competitive, never tell any othe
programmer your secrets of efficiency. It is a cut throat business and yes, you can thrive being a coder
in USA.

The problem is that most people get lured into a
field when they hear how much professionals are getting paid and they do not have a nitch or passion for the profession.

Programming is not for the light hearted. It is tough and takes years of practice.

If you have good imagination , memory and can model the system in your head, then go for it. A degree is great help. Do not go for that stupid associate stuff. It is a joke and many schools prey on simple minded people.

Good luck and let the force to be with you.

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Wayne Farmer in Winona, Minnesota

28 months ago

Zaphod in Rochester, Minnesota said: Hey guys,

I am a software engineer and I make around 100K a year in USA if you add bonuses and 401k matches. I also rely on my spouse's income which is not bad either and I do not trust any H1B folks;) . They are not from USA and will never fight our cause.

In order to be competitive, never tell any othe
programmer your secrets of efficiency. It is a cut throat business and yes, you can thrive being a coder
in USA.

The problem is that most people get lured into a
field when they hear how much professionals are getting paid and they do not have a nitch or passion for the profession.

Programming is not for the light hearted. It is tough and takes years of practice.

If you have good imagination , memory and can model the system in your head, then go for it. A degree is great help. Do not go for that stupid associate stuff. It is a joke and many schools prey on simple minded people.

Good luck and let the force to be with you.

Zaphod, thanks for your good words on opportunities in the field. Minnesota is a great place to live, and the engineering opportunities are here, too.

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no name in New York, New York

27 months ago

I am almost 42. I still program and I learn a new system every few years. I have been a programmer since the age of 14 and I do not wish to do anything but program/code. All of you who say to not be a programmer because some H1-B will take my job is not going to stop me from being a programmer. If money is the only objective then I think there is always going to be profession that will make more money than yours. Like maybe you can sing or dance.

I would take less money to program over taking over some manager's role or something else I would not like. I would probably make more money but I think I would probably not enjoy it. In the long run I would probably make just as much money because I will not retire till I die since I enjoy my programming.

Don't listen to any of these guys telling you what you can do and cannot do. I also believe American Programmers are also the best in the world.. well if not best among the best ... I will not back away from H1-B programmers, 20 year old programmers, or martian programmers.

Take a stand and keep programming jobs in US by being the best.

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robimus in Alexandria, Virginia

27 months ago

finishing my degree now as a 25(turning 26) year old who has never went to a top 10 school(in fact a very mediocre) and literally I haven't actively searched for jobs and already got a job offered for 90K after getting over 10 calls within a week of posting my resume(among them 2 technical recruiters). Granted, I was in the military but had a completely different job so this was a lateral move. Go be self sufficient and start your projects or make an API and publish it on an app market or wherever the hell else the public can find it, document your designs and let your work speak for itself. The world is a fair place when you don't accept whatever is handed to you.

(PS: eat that hoapres! :P)

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FarRock- JD in New York, New York

27 months ago

Another old hand in Ellicott City, Maryland said: I am a 47 year old woman working in this field.... tough. All the "kids" coming out of school these days grew up with computers, while when I was in school, we were using punch cards. Which these "kids" have no clue what I am talking about!! So I do agree, it is one of those professions where us "old people" are feeling pretty old!! I can't retire yet (wish I could!) but changing professions would be out the question. So, it's hard all around..

To Another old hand - are you programming? If so how were you able to keep up with all of the new languages? I came from your same background, but I am having a hard time keeping up with the new languages...

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nicky in Charlotte, North Carolina

26 months ago

Ok I will try to give you people some real info. I am 32 and make about 135K a year as a software engineer in the high level finance sector. But to get this job they wont' even talk to you unless you are a complete java freak and know more than the interviewer (which I did). I can easily make 200K+ in about a year with the finance skills I'm learning coupled with my already advanced programming/architecture skills. I only bring this up to show that you can do as well as you want in this field, if YOU are willing to grow, and learn, and quit listening to people tell you what you can and can't do.

Ok if you are starting out.. Or better yet if you are still in college. The time is NOW to start programming. The paradigm of "Ok I just graduated so now I will look for a job.." DOES NOT WORK FOR COMPUTER PROGRAMMING! By the time you graduate with a BS in computer programming you should have already been creating REAL web sites, understanding how things work, using linux/unix computers instead of windows, even looking on craigslist for people that need a programming cheap! Do you think that someone on craigslist cares if you have a degree?? NO! They just want you to do a site for them. Which you need to do because you need experience!!! Listen, in life if you are asking someone to give you a chance, you are just one of the masses in a bread line. You won't get anywhere that way. If you have skills, YOU decide what YOU want to do.

As to offshoring, or the H1B visa Indians.. Please. The schools in India focus almost exclusively on math and programming. Very little liberal arts. To be a high level programmer, you have to be as philosophical as you are technical! That is where I beat the H1B's every time. Granted, I feel that I am a generational programmer, but what I do is not magic at all. Read the Spring books by Rod Johnson to understand what a truly great programmer thinks and why he does what he does. K I'm maxed out or I'd expound. Good luck.

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jeffreys913 in Des Moines, Iowa

26 months ago

I totally agree, as I've stated in the past. It's all about what you want to do and as I've said, if you love it and live it and strive to really be good and know you're stuff - a degree doesn't mean squat!!! It's all about what you can do. If you do come up to a job interview where someone is more interested in your academic background - RUN don't walk to the nearest exit. Academically inclined environments are almost always nauseating because academics rarely make good "doer's" - sad but true (in the IT world - not Physics). Also, regarding the H1B's, not an issue. They're merely herds of mediocrity and not difficult to stand above - if you choose to do so. Maybe Michia Kaku is correct about the H1B Phd candidates but when it comes to the run of the mill IT folks - totally different story. They are simply more motivated than the average American developer.

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sree in Palakkad, India

26 months ago

i am 29year old .Due to health problems ,still persuing my Bachelor of Computer Application (BCA) ,i am working as freelancer modem distributor for a telecome company (i just connecting&configuring broadband modems).
Now almost complting my BCA papers(6appers remaining) i am belive exams will over by this year(dec),so i am now little bit confustion i need your most valuble suggestions ,which track i should choose IT(software development,mobile application(Android)or Netwotking)i am confused
i do have knowledge in java program just beginner.also i tried CCNA ,but naver got a chance to work with cisco products,
so pls help me with valuble suggestions ..

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Nicky in Charlotte, North Carolina

26 months ago

@guest - 135 isn't that rare if you are really good and present yourself well. 200+ range is getting into the area that is best of the best, but that is what everyone should aspire to.

To others- this is a good example of what I meant by people telling you what you can and can't do. Geez, get on career builder and search for java and you can see some $100/hr jobs, so to say it doesn't exist is completely asinine.

I stand by my comment about H1B's. If you are just a joe blow wanting a job, yeah they will eat your lunch. If you have the ability to see in paradigms, know what will and won't work down the road, relate to management and the business unit, and learn more skills easily, you can make it. I have never, ever, ever, ever, in the least had my job threatened by an H1B.

A universal law is that there is always room for talent. Negativity is infectious so don't let it. Have fun living in the world of the cannots.

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Sean in Seongnam, Korea, Republic of

26 months ago

I'm 33 and thinking about getting a bcs at ubc next year. It's a two year program for students who already have a bachelors, totally fast-tracked, and with the option to participate in a co-op program after the first year (good for someone like me who doesn't have any tech experience). What are peoples' thoughts on a program like this? It obviously can't cover all the bases that a four year degree program would, but it splices real world work experience with the theory, and also promotes interdisciplinary study through 'bridging' courses wherein each student selects courses outside the cs dept that are tailored to their interests. I have a BA in English, with a minor in mathematics, so the math shouldn't be an issue to start and my communication skills are not in short supply either. However I'd be 37 at the time of graduation, but likely with a year of work under my belt. Anyone care to share their $0.02?

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jeffreys913 in Des Moines, Iowa

26 months ago

If it's what you want to do and you love it! You'll be fine - go for it! There's plenty of work out there.

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jeffreys913 in Des Moines, Iowa

26 months ago

Really, maybe for you that's true. My stepson who is in his second year of junior college, just landed his second contract gig. Took him 2 weeks to do so. If you want work and you're willing to put the effort into the search, you'll find it. There is plenty for those who want it. I'm sorry your situation is not so positive.

Regards,

Jeff

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jeffreys913@hotmail.com in Des Moines, Iowa

26 months ago

What planet do you live on?? I've been in this business a LONG time and I've never seen a software development position that paid "close to minimum wage". At the minimum, an entry level development position will pay more than most other careers such as medical technicians etc.

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Sean in Seongnam, Korea, Republic of

26 months ago

thanks for the vote of confidence from Iowa. And pardon my ignorance SF, but if there aren't any jobs that pay in this field then why at present is it widely ranked as the top job in the states? Just curious, and I know the horse has been thoroughly beaten here, cause if it isn't then I'd have to aver that the other fields are also in the gutter too, as in the whole job market has been tanking for some years now. Which is why I am where I am. So ya, you can't work for Google, Facebook, etc., unless you're from the select academic cream they fish from. But whatever. Look at writing. You want to be a writer–or better try being a poet–have fun trying to get your manuscript read by Random House, Simon & Schuster, et al., cause unless you have an mfa from Iowa, Texas, Wisconsin or the like you're not going to get any time from them. See any parallels yet? So what you do is self publish or start an online lit journal–the literary equivalent of open sourcing the work you guys do–that gives your name and craft cred and then when you submit to the elite they might, MIGHT, notice. Otherwise you're a copy writer for a digital agency which seems more like a fit for minimum wage than actually designing the software said person is typing copy with. I'd just like to know if what's projected is accurate, that is notwithstanding offshoring, and the fact I'll likely never work for one of the top shelf companies, that the field is and will continue to expand, and if sufficient intelligence is married with due effort then a guy can pull in some decent scratch after some years and be happy doing it.

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jeffreys913@hotmail.com in Des Moines, Iowa

26 months ago

I've worked in many locales: Chicago, Minneapolis, Nashville, Indianapolis, Detroit just to name a few. I'm sorry to say that you're the one with a very limited view and understanding of what's really going on - in the real world. You may think that where you're at (Silcon valley or similiar I imagine) is the center of the universe and the rest of us poor pleabes live in fly-over cities, but the truth is that the vast majority of the real work is out here - not there. Most of us normal people could care less about competing with a bunch of academic snobs that like to delude themselves into thinking that they're at the top of the heap. Keep it, it's all yours. The rest of us just want to work doing what we love to do.

I see entry level developers with real skills and an Assoc. degree from normal schools getting entry level jobs in the 40K - 50K frequently. I've seen many developers, seasoned professionals - without expensive degrees, making the same money I do ($60 - $70 an hour).

Yes, I have an BSEE/CE from a private engineering school that is ALWAYS in the top 10 - 15 engineering schools in the country - and a Masters from a top state school. I haven't listed or touted my degrees in years - in fact I never list my masters as I don't want to be fast tracked into a management quagmire. My BSEE, I bury it in my resume. If I had to do it over again, I wouldn't have wasted my time or money. I'm trying to talk my son into going to the local Junior College and getting a entry level job as soon as possible. He has his sights set on MIT. I'm trying to tell him that the money he'll owe coupled with the time spent will leave him behind in the final analysis. He's already a very sharp developer. Nearly have him convinced. In my opinion, expensive schools are a waste of time and money - there's absolutely nothing relevent to you're career in software development that you can't learn yourself IF you have the desire and determination and guidance.

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jeffreys913 in Des Moines, Iowa

26 months ago

Software engineering doesn't need to be leading/bleeding edge to be rewarding. As far as being 10 years behind, you must be smoking bath salts. Granted, the Midwest may not be the place where the next big idea comes from but for me, the real work is in making real companies work, not masterbating in some think tank. Are you seriously trying to tell me in this speed of light world that the developers for Google or Facebook are doing things so different than a developer working for for the head office of a supermarket chain. Granted I do most of my work remote, but I've been working alot with distrbuted systems like Hadoop, Pig, Hive etc. How's that any different. Also working with all the latest MS technologies as well as Groovy, Grails, GIT with SVN. How is that 10 years behind?

Wake up dude, you're just another elitest. It's a waste of time debating with you. You should seriously get out of your bubble sometime.

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jeffreys913 in Des Moines, Iowa

26 months ago

... and stop discouraging others by making them think that only the privelaged few elitest developers actually work for wage.

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jeffreys913 in Des Moines, Iowa

26 months ago

yes, like I said, software engineering/development doesn't need to be leading/bleeding edge to be rewarding. For those like you who choose to be on the leading edge, go for it -have fun, but for every one of you there are 10,000 or more blue collar developers out there making the world work. SVN may be old but is not going away anytime soon - if ever in our lifetime. Git is a really nice tool for those so inclined but not necessary. I've checked out DVCS and Mercurial - big whoop! Never heard of "Grooy" so I can't comment.

Development is a mindset, a way of thinking that is truly independent of any one technology or toolstack. In my career, I've worked with everything from assembler to the latest in both the open source and Microsoft worlds. My point here is that the one thing that is constant in sofware development is CHANGE. You are constantly learning and evolving. If you hang your hat or your shingle on any one technology, you're limiting and very likely killing your career. So, given that the pace if change is so rapid, why would anyone care if they are on the absolute leading edge? Yesteday's leading edge is today's old news, we all end up seeing and using the stuff that is good enough to stick around - but not 10 years later - more like 6 months or a year or 2 max!

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jeffreys913 in Des Moines, Iowa

26 months ago

guest in San Francisco, California said: The truth hurts.

If you are "run of the mill" software engineering then you have MAJOR problems as the field is heavily H1B infested and offshoring. If you are not a true intellect then you are likely to find a software engineering a pretty tedious and boring field.

Listen to what I am saying, I agree with this statement. You must LOVE IT, and live it and strive and drive to be above "run of the mill" you must be an intellect. BUT YOU DON'T NEED A DEGREE FROM A TOP 10 SCHOOL TO DO THAT!!!

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jeffreys913 in Des Moines, Iowa

26 months ago

Period, I'm out. I can't spend this kind of time on such a durge'sh debate.

For anyone out there wanting to throw their hat in the software development ring... If you like it enough to pull all nighters to learn the latest technology and constantly read and study to keep up and try new techniques. If you enjoy "inventing' cool and efficient ways of doing and implementing things.. THEN DON"T LET THIS SF DUDE DISCOURAGE YOU!!!

GO FOR IT!!!!

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jeffreys913 in Des Moines, Iowa

26 months ago

... and NEVER pay attention to a lurker who posts under "guest"

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jeffreys913 in Des Moines, Iowa

25 months ago

I have nothing against MIT per se. I have something against leaving school $75K to $100K in debt (or more)and most likely not gaining much (most likely loosing) for all the effort and money in the long run. It may affect his earning potential out of the gate, but most likely, that affect would diminish over time. Actual career earnings of a software developer with a 4 year degree as opposed to someone without the degree but talented is most likely negative due to the 4 years of non-earning school years and the MASSIVE debt incurred. The actual knowledge gained is for the most part useless in the real world.

What is valuable about attending college is this: College can teach "how to learn", efficiently, accurately and productively. You learn how to arrange a relevent task list to accomplish a goal and you learn to see it through - you learn how to execute - how to differentiate between what's important relevent to the task and what is not. If you can master those skills without college - you're way ahead of the game. The best schools teach you this by literally overwhelming you - continuously. There is value in those lessons.

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jeffreys913 in Des Moines, Iowa

25 months ago

Your not worth debating. In my opinion, you're fixated on status more than the actual art and science of software engineering/development. I'm not going to convince you of anything nor will you convince me. By the way, I don't know of anybody personally who'd want to become a micro cog for FB or Google. Thankfully we have folks like you to fill those rolls. The rest of us out here in the fly-over world just enjoy doing real work, writing real software, helping real companies to function.

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jeffreys913 in Des Moines, Iowa

25 months ago

I have a friend that hit the lotto - neither does he.

Only shareholders made any money. I wonder how many of the grunts at FB were shareholders?

I see the FB stock is really kicking butt - it's only down what.. 40% since the IPO?

Anyhow, we're ruining this thread with this banter. I have better things to do. You obviously don't because I see you post here frequently... I'm done. My life awaits.

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Nicky in Charlotte, North Carolina

25 months ago

I appreciate all the people on here saying "yeah, it is tough, but stick with it." This is the year 2012! NOthing is easy! The guy saying that MIT isn't worth it is right. I have seen MIT and Duke resumes come through, trying to get the same job I have! (I have a Comp Sci BS from a public university, but albeit a great school). IFFFFFF you want a degree at a place like that, get a job first at a fortune 500 company with a great tuition reimbursement, and get them to foot the bill for your Masters. Or go to MIT for your masters when it is paid for by the research you are doing, if you must. Learn to do some addition before you set out in the world of Software Engineering ;)

Starting out, you need some kind of experience, and a good gpa. Even that is negotiable if you have great experience and carry yourself well. There is no "formula" to success. You can't digitize everything. If it was that easy to formulate success then everyone would do it. You cannot prepackage creativity. Anyway, my 2 cents.

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Jeff in Aurora, Colorado

25 months ago

According to the IEEE, the current unemployment rate for the major IT fields (software developer, database analyst, systems analyst, web developer) is 7.9 percent, only marginally better than the general unemployment rate. This doesn't appear to support the proposition that anyone can find an IT job in a couple of weeks.

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jeffreys913 in Des Moines, Iowa

25 months ago

... and that's all that matters right? Whatever or "talk to the hand" as they say.

Now, to Nicky in Charlotte.. I agree whole heartedly.

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Nicky in Charlotte, North Carolina

25 months ago

guest in San Mateo, California said: Right.

Let's get real.

I have been involved in MANY hiring decisions and if all other things are equal then an MIT grad gets the job over a non top 10 school.

I never said all things were equal. In fact my whole tone would suggest otherwise. The hallmark of any great software engineer is to not read into things that aren't there, and not make false assumptions. Maybe look into some discrete math instead of berating everyone on here. I don't care where someone went to school, it is what they know and what they can do and how they interview.

But regardless you have convinced me. All my memories are not my own and I should go quit my job now since apparently it is hopeless and just a freak occurrence that I even have a job in the cryptically baffling field of Software Engineering, before the universe rights this egregious wrong. That about cover it? lol. I'm done with this.

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jeffreys913 in Des Moines, Iowa

25 months ago

To Jeff in Aurora, nobody is saying that it's easy or easier than any other field. I'm simply saying that if somebody really wants to do it they can... and they don't necessarily need a degree from a top ten school to get a job as a developer at Tire Rack or Red Box or any one of the other hundreds of thousands of companies out there that utilize software developers. I take issue with "guest"s premise that you have to have a top 10 degree to get a job anywhere as a developer - just NOT TRUE.

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Jeff in Aurora, Colorado

25 months ago

jeffreys913@hotmail.com in Des Moines, Iowa said: I see entry level developers with real skills and an Assoc. degree from normal schools getting entry level jobs in the 40K - 50K frequently. I've seen many developers, seasoned professionals - without expensive degrees, making the same money I do ($60 - $70 an hour).

Lots of contract programmers get on the high side of $50/hour. They also get no benefits and don't get paid anything between contracts. Some also get paid to temporarily relocate to a work site (so that they can maintain their permanent home while living in a different city. We all have access to salary surveys, so we all know what the real salary situation is.

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Jeff in Aurora, Colorado

25 months ago

jeffreys913 in Des Moines, Iowa said: To Jeff in Aurora, nobody is saying that it's easy or easier than any other field. I'm simply saying that if somebody really wants to do it they can... and they don't necessarily need a degree from a top ten school to get a job as a developer at Tire Rack or Red Box or any one of the other hundreds of thousands of companies out there that utilize software developers. I take issue with "guest"s premise that you have to have a top 10 degree to get a job anywhere as a developer - just NOT TRUE.

Your education only helps you land your first job. Going to a top school helps you land that first job. Beyond that, your career is determined by what you do at each successive job, regardless of what degree you have or where you got it from. If your employer is keeping up with the state-of-the-art, you will have an easy time finding a new job, regardless of your education. In the current environment, with high unemployment for software developers, it is extremely difficult to find a job if you haven't used the latest technologies, regardless of your education.

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Sean in Seongnam, Korea, Republic of

25 months ago

I agree the pedigree that comes from attending an elite school helps one's career, but Jeff's claim seems especially accurate, namely that an education from a prestigious school comes in especially handy in terms of getting your foot in the door via networking and so forth (the type of people you meet at say a Harvard or MIT likely come from higher rungs on the socioeconomic ladder than say your average votech school). But for the sake of argument let's grant the job market sucks in se and that most work is and will continue to be pooled out the offshore labor and/or H1B workers. What would people say are the areas in this field that are or will be least likely affected by this? Pardon my ignorance, but anything related to web development or software design for games seems to make sense. The first since the job description likely involves having good communication skills in order to relate with others on the development team, and the second since it requires knowledge of 3d programming and other advanced maths skills that aren't as easy to offshore. Am I wrong? I'm just trying to get clear bead on what specific type of se work to hone in on, so any advice is helpful.

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Sean in Seongnam, Korea, Republic of

25 months ago

work related to app dev for ios/android devices seems especially hot right now too.

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Gary in Saint Helier, Jersey

25 months ago

hmmm was having same question n my ans serching send me to this site. My story is not too different. After enjoying 4 yrs of bright sw eng career, on age of 29 got married and moved to UK, and soon got punishment of greed of pound earning, loosing in total 16 interviews, unemployed from last 5 yrs...now having 1 yr old kid, have to restart my career again, as done masters in computers, I just cudnt think abt any other job profile....hmmm frustrating, difficult but that is life. Wish me luck...please.

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David in Yorktown, Virginia

25 months ago

I think much of the data posted in this thread is inaccurate. I make $140k per year as a software engineer and a friend in Texas just got a job in Texas for over $160k. We both also get very good annual bonus and I participate in a lucrative employee stock program.

80k-120k is more typical but if you're making less than 80k as a senior software engineer, you are doing something seriously wrong. 50-60k is the typical offer range for a new graduate with a C.S. degree.

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Sean in Songnam, Korea, Republic of

25 months ago

This thread should be called the 'misappropriated ax grind'.

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Sean in Songnam, Korea, Republic of

25 months ago

This thread should be called "The misappropriated ax grind."

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red in Australia

24 months ago

I'm 36 and and in 1.5 years have worked my way from assisting a media dev team to study in the evenings in web design and now web development. I am now a media developer but learning programming in the evenings. Being one of 2 girls in the class and maybe considered old, is no issue, if you work hard you can do anything. My background is in digital Photography and retouching and i have always been creative, so it just goes to show it's extremely hard for me but anything is possible and i wished i has learnt this stuff like 10 years ago but at an all girls school it was considered too nerdy, so don't listen to anyone, do what you want to do. Tech is getting bigger and bigger and it aint going away!

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red in Australia

24 months ago

I think that is a bit b**s and egoist saying you have to be smart. Anyone can learn it if they work hard enough, loose the ego cause your not saving lives!!
Most jobs these days require you to be smart, i think there is a bit of an attitude in IT that you are all smarter than everyone else. I have doctors and anaethetists in my family that are saving lives and they have no ego at all, so to me they are the smart ones.

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RosalitaJumpALittleLighter in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

24 months ago

I, too, cringed at the too-old-at-31 mindset, bc I've come here to ask if I'm too old at 54. I want to pursue this bc I love it, but I'd need to really invest a lot of time and money. I just want to be realistic. I've been working as a legal assistant for most of my life, and I'm soooo bored with it. For one thing, I'm sick of the complete lack of ambition of my co-workers, who can't learn even the simplest of software to do their job better but, instead, play on Facebook all day. I know that it's a big leap to go from legal assistant to software engineer, but I love the combination of creativity, math and problem solving - always have. Can I do the work? Yes. I'm a young 54, I like to work, and I hope to work for a long time. The projected salaries are nice, but that's not really what's driving me. I want your opinion on how I will be received. I'd also like your opinion on the type of education to pursue. I don't see Phoenix University type degrees as being well received. Am I wrong?
I've read thru some of the posts above, but not all of them - yet - so forgive me if I'm being repetitive in any way.
TIA

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Ananamous in Flushing, New York

17 months ago

There is a big difference between being a doctor and a software engineer. A doctor only need to do online training for any new medicine out in the market. But they don't need to actually spend 2 years learning the new medicine. As for software engineer, anyone who started their career before JAVA was in the market, they all have to spend 2 years learning JAVA. And if you look at JAVA developer website, everyday there is always something new to learn. So, not unless you don't have kids and no wife, then you can continue this career indefinitely.

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Ananamous in Flushing, New York

17 months ago

wakurth in Minneapolis, Minnesota said: I had never used Moster before, so maybe some calls/emails where because I was a new name, but I did get a total of 10 calls/emails a week for the two weeks I left my resume up as public. I now get at least 2 calls and or emails a week even though I removed it from public view. I went from zero IT experience before my AAIT, making $37,200/year to making $55,0000/year.. In a timespan of one year. I finished my associates in 1 year flat at the University of Phoenix... A school I'm sure doesn't fall within your standards. Is this specific enough for you?

Why are you so bent on degrading me here? I'm not bashing people. I'm trying to tell people that, IF you want to do it, it is possible. *shakes head*

10 years ago, I put my resume on monster only for one day, I got 23 calls and 45 emails. I answered all those calls and emails. Got 2 phone interviews and 1 face to face interview. But at the end no job offer. Guess what???? 10 years later, those SOB recruiters are still calling me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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RubyDude in Kansas City, Missouri

12 months ago

Adam in Painesville, Ohio said: Eagle is way off, at least according to the bureau of labor statistics which lists software engineering as one of the fastest growing fields, with a 30 percent job growth over the next ten years. Software engineers are in high demand, according to the BLS, and salaries are in the 70-80 range.

Software Engineering is in high demand. Every time I put my resume out, I get bombarded with calls and e-mails. The trick is to get a foot in somewhere and just gain some experience in the industry, and contribute to the open source community. There is a lot of stuff you can do with Software Engineering, including training/teaching people how to do it once you get experienced. I know programmers in their 40's. To move up the ladder technically, in this field, you would want to start as an entry level software engineer, and then work your way up to Architect. To do this, I suggest picking a platform (Java, .NET, Rails, etc.) and then sticking with it till you are an expert - don't any job spread you too thin or you will know only a little about a lot of things and that will keep you entry level too long. If you can't get hired full time down the road (when you are 45 or something), then use E-Lance and similar places to find work. There is really no reason to be a software engineer and unemployed, no matter your age.

I read some of these comments, and I disagree on some points. Web development is in high demand, as is cloud computing and mobile development, and these are not being outsourced enough to take away your opportunities. These are buzz words, but the industry likes them. If you know how to program on the Desktop for .NET, then you know how to program for the Windows Phone. To convince an employer you know it, build a quick app for show and tell and mention in when trying to get the interview. Just go and learn ONE platform/framework, build something in it, and then start applying. You will get a job.

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