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Topic # 150359 20-Jul-2014 06:15
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A friend of mine's a bit tired of what they do for work, they're considering getting into development. They did some light python development as part of their job and really enjoyed it, despite the lack of an IDE, debugger, etc, which they know nothing about.

Short of a degree, which seems like overkill, what's the best way to get into development? Can you do diplomas? Would you get a job with one of those?

I have a computer engineering degree and worked as a developer for 10 years before moving on to solution architecture, I just don't know the best way to go about it these days. I could teach them to code, but there's a bunch of background stuff you need to know - databases, version control, etc.




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  Reply # 1092607 20-Jul-2014 19:04
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Most of the people I know have a degree (either technical institute or university).  Note sure why you see it as overkill, considering three years of learning the "background stuff" as you put it would be an a minimum entry point.





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  Reply # 1092667 20-Jul-2014 20:41
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Well I did the degree, but when you're in your thirties working full time a 3 year degree takes 6-8 years. I did a four year degree and there was a hell of a lot of rubbish in it, not targeted at all.

Is ComputerPower worth a look? Their courses at 15 months full time 45 months part time. The syllabus looks about right, covering what you'd need to know. Would a grad get hired with that qualification instead of a degree?




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  Reply # 1092724 20-Jul-2014 22:15
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The best programmers that I know took to it like ducks to water. I'm not such a natural and I found that out very quickly by simply doing a lot of programming and finding out my limitations.

 

     

  1. Do they have a natural aptitude for programming. I've seen self-assessed questionnaires that give a reasonable indication of likely fit.
  2. Have they shown a passion for programming? All the best I've known were doing it for themselves before they got any money.
  3. What does their personal circumstances allow them to commit too?
  4. What study have they done since leaving school? It helps to have done some serious study in recent years
  5. What support would they have for studying while working? It helps to have some even if it is only the ability to take have some flexible time for working e.g. glidetime.
  6. Is there any opportunity to transition into an IT role where they work? Then they could talk to their employer about if and how that could happen.

 

I'd was going to recommend a look at a 1 year part-time course at a 'polytech' like Weltec because it is more accessible than a degree at Victoria University and you can get a qualification each year: 1 certificate, 2 diploma, 3 degree. Then I saw that Computer Power is a joint venture between two 'polytechs'. It sounds good given the ability to work on it during the day or evening.

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  Reply # 1092726 20-Jul-2014 22:17
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Find a decent development company and ask them for a job.  I know of several that have given people wanting to change industries a shot.



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  Reply # 1092776 21-Jul-2014 06:50
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Hammerer: The best programmers that I know took to it like ducks to water. I'm not such a natural and I found that out very quickly by simply doing a lot of programming and finding out my limitations.

 

     

  1. Do they have a natural aptitude for programming. I've seen self-assessed questionnaires that give a reasonable indication of likely fit.
  2. Have they shown a passion for programming? All the best I've known were doing it for themselves before they got any money.
  3. What does their personal circumstances allow them to commit too?
  4. What study have they done since leaving school? It helps to have done some serious study in recent years
  5. What support would they have for studying while working? It helps to have some even if it is only the ability to take have some flexible time for working e.g. glidetime.
  6. Is there any opportunity to transition into an IT role where they work? Then they could talk to their employer about if and how that could happen.

 

I'd was going to recommend a look at a 1 year part-time course at a 'polytech' like Weltec because it is more accessible than a degree at Victoria University and you can get a qualification each year: 1 certificate, 2 diploma, 3 degree. Then I saw that Computer Power is a joint venture between two 'polytechs'. It sounds good given the ability to work on it during the day or evening.


1. Some, I think.
2. Nope. Enjoyed it, but it's not a passion. It's not for me either, and I did it for years.
3. Some study.
4. She has a law degree.
5. Works temp jobs mostly so pretty flexible.
6. Nope.

Thanks for the thoughts :) She wouldn't get a development job now, she knows very little, just enjoyed the Python scripting she did and needs a change.




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  Reply # 1092789 21-Jul-2014 07:34
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a role in QA might be worth looking into.  My work when trained some QA in programming for automated testing, one guy has moved into escalation works (some programming there).  



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  Reply # 1092791 21-Jul-2014 07:43
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That was my original idea, but they're pretty smart and testing is very repetitive. I think they'd get bored and give up pretty quick.




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  Reply # 1092798 21-Jul-2014 08:02
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timmmay: That was my original idea, but they're pretty smart and testing is very repetitive. I think they'd get bored and give up pretty quick.


She is temping so she has more of an opportunity to make study work particularly where it is self-paced. Except that, from your description, she appears unlikely to commit to programming given that most of it is relatively repetitive and mundane. Many programmers I know feel unfulfilled or bored but well paid. The good thing is that if she does study IT then it will be useful to her in many other roles and careers.




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  Reply # 1092801 21-Jul-2014 08:10
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Well she's not temping right now, but does fixed term contracts and temping, and has more flexibility than most. Programming is far less repetitive than testing IMHO. I moved on from programming myself, but I'd still do it if I couldn't get SA work for a while. I never did regular stuff, I always managed to fall into non-standard stuff and find interesting enough things to do. I did take the odd summer off to do other things though, it can get a bit tedious after a while, but does give you opportunities.




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  Reply # 1092809 21-Jul-2014 09:02
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timmmay: 
4. She has a law degree.


That may help her get a job as a junior BA.  From there there is a lot of ICT jobs that you can do.



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  Reply # 1092810 21-Jul-2014 09:04
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BA sounds like a good idea, but if you've never done it before how would you get into it? I guess some knowledge of ICT is required? What qualifications does a business analyst need?




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  Reply # 1093144 21-Jul-2014 16:02
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Business Analysts don't need any qualifications.  We have maybe close to 90.  They tend to have diverse backgrounds, from pure maths or astronomy degrees to retail :-)  The most useful skill in a BA is the ability to talk to the business and the ability to write accurate statements.  A law background should be perfect for this.

If someone wants to make a career of being a BA there is a bunch of stuff that you will find if you google BABOK.

I'd suggest that your friend contacts all the major ICT pimps and gets her CV lodged with them.



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  Reply # 1093148 21-Jul-2014 16:10
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Getting started could be pretty tough, given absolutely no IT experience, qualifications, etc. BABOK looks like it's something you can read, but certifications are for people with significant experience, so you can perhaps only do them once you've actually got some experience.

Can a lawyer really just say "hey I want to be a BA" and swap careers?




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  Reply # 1093168 21-Jul-2014 17:05
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timmmay: Short of a degree, which seems like overkill, what's the best way to get into development? Can you do diplomas? Would you get a job with one of those?


The thing about development (IT in general) is that it's basically an unregulated industry.

You don't _need_ a ticket, but, it obviously helps in the CV department. Not saying your friend shouldn't get one, just that I sometimes wonder if it'd just be better to knuckle down for a while and learn programming from any of the multitude of projects available online? (you don't have any outstanding loan at the end either)

Naturally, having the time and a master to guide them would help significantly.

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  Reply # 1093192 21-Jul-2014 18:07
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For those people who seem to think that development is an unregulated industry,  I might point out that it actually isn't.   There are quite a few formal industry wide certifications that take quite a bit of experience and effort to gain,  from The IBA, PMI, Prince2, PSP, ISO etc.  

Then there are the basic trade skills such as Application/Solution/Enterprise architecture, professional software engineering/solution development (looking at a minimum of 3 year apprentice + 5 years just to get to the intermediate), or a Software Process Engineer (upwards of 10 years relevant experience).

There is a big difference from someone that can write code in a few languages in a small team and someone who can manage a team of several hundred software engineers in an enterprise project.

I'd very much doubt that someone could just become a BA without some level of domain experience. On top of that the technical skills of requirements elicitation,  data analysis and project management.  However, like all of the sub-professions, there are entry level positions in each role.






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