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Old 04-12-2019, 03:54 AM   #1
TheGodson
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Diamond Learning Java without a degree a waste of time?

A little back story. I just bought a house about 2 months ago. I work at a factory and it sucks. I have no college education. I have an understanding of HTML, CSS, and javascript and have dabbled into other things like C++ as well, but don't have a deep understanding in them. I decided to apply online for some web developer jobs in my area using indeed.com. Turns out there really aren't any in my area.

I recently applied for a junior software developer job just because meh, why not. It pretty much was one of the only jobs that didn't require a CS bachelors degree. The only problem was that it wanted a candidate that understood OOP and I hardly do. I have a personal website that I am kind of embarrassed about. I put it on my resume anyway and sent it in.

To my surprise it turns out they were interested and sent me some link where I took an aptitude test. Apparently I passed that, because they sent me another link where I had to complete a task using OOP in the language of my choice. They told me to do this in a couple of hours or so and not spend too much time on it. I spent all night and the next night working on it before sending it in. I used Java and managed to get a working program, but it wasn't too pretty.

Turns out I failed this part of the test because they sent me a message saying they are considering other candidates for the job. This has left me discouraged, but also kind of inspired at the same time because I was even capable of being considered. Also, building the program taught me a lot.

Now I'm digging through this book called Sams Teach yourself Java in 21 Days which seems to be pretty awesome. I'm not sure I've ever learned so much from just one book. It is pretty incredible. I'm being a little obsessive about it. I even did two days in one day because I spent all night on it and the previous night as well. I'm now on day 7 so I'm a 3rd of the way through the book.

Although now looking at indeed jobs again I see that almost all software jobs require a bachelors degree in CS. Perhaps I just struck gold with a fluke of an opportunity and it has passed me by due to my lack of knowledge.

Am I wasting my time learning Java or can I actually do something productive with it. I really hate school. I feel I can learn things faster on my own, but I guess if it is the only way out of the factory/food-service I might have to do it.

If I do choose to go to school then perhaps I should stop reading this java book so I won't be as bored in class when I go there.

Honestly, I'd probably rather do anything else than what I'm doing right now. Something in code seems the most natural thing to go into considering the pay and also I have an interest.

Am I wasting my time pursuing a tech job without a degree?

Some of these job postings seem ridiculous. 5+ years experience in x, 10+ years experience in y, 10+ years experience in 35 other languages nobody has ever heard of. Is this stuff for real? Are there candidates that actually fit these requirements?
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Old 04-12-2019, 09:37 AM   #2
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Re: Learning Java without a degree a waste of time?

It would be quite incredible if they hired you without any education or experience and no understanding of OOP.

I'm not from the US so I don't know if it is possible there just based on self study but reading a book on Java is just scratching the service.

The fastest route would be a boot-camp or a training program from a staffing company.

Quote:
Am I wasting my time pursuing a tech job without a degree?
There pleny of people who land a tech job without CS bachelors degree. Without any bachelors degree it will be harder.

Quote:
Some of these job postings seem ridiculous. 5+ years experience in x, 10+ years experience in y, 10+ years experience in 35 other languages nobody has ever heard of. Is this stuff for real? Are there candidates that actually fit these requirements?
Those are not junior roles obviously but yes. If you consider that at least 40 years of your life you'll be working then 10 years experience is not so crazy.

Last edited by Kulk; 04-12-2019 at 09:48 AM.
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Old 04-16-2019, 03:51 PM   #3
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Re: Learning Java without a degree a waste of time?

Learning any language is generally the easy part.

Learning coding paradigms (oop, functional, procedural, etc) is a little harder.

The hardest part is learning how to take a problem, divide it up into manageable/computable chunks, deciding the design that you will use with those chunks, and then dealing with the excrutating minutia of putting together a working application.
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Old 04-17-2019, 05:03 PM   #4
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Re: Learning Java without a degree a waste of time?

java seems like a really bad language to learn without a degree since your direct competition for those jobs will be cs grads. why not learn javascript and compete with bootcamp grads?
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Old 04-18-2019, 11:31 PM   #5
Baltimore Jones
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Re: Learning Java without a degree a waste of time?

Or it could be the opposite, you won't have bootcamp/self-taught "stigma" as much for java jobs. (Or just equivalent)
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Old 04-19-2019, 01:28 AM   #6
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Re: Learning Java without a degree a waste of time?

Learning a programming language is never a waste of time imo.
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Old 04-19-2019, 01:30 AM   #7
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Re: Learning Java without a degree a waste of time?

" Am I wasting my time pursuing a tech job without a degree?"

No. But you need equivalent experience to be considered for most roles. No degree, means at least 3-4 years of coding experience. That doesn't have to be on the job. Side projects, or contributing to open source is good. But you need to learn to code first and have a history of shipping code. Some companies are more strict wrt degrees, but lots of companies will still hire if you pass their interview coding bar.
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Old 04-19-2019, 10:18 AM   #8
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Re: Learning Java without a degree a waste of time?

You can probably get a Java job without a degree.

Heres what I would do:

If you like Java and there seems to be a demand for it in your area, do the following:

1) get good at java
2) build things that the companies around you do. So if there is a bunch of mobile development happening, make some android apps or something. Contribute to open source
3) release/launch/showcase these projects somehow. Github, releasing them live, whatever.
4) go to meetups if available and talk to other people. This is really important because it can help you make connections that might help you in multiple ways.


Before I would commit to +4 years of getting a degree (I'm assuming this will take you longer since you work fulltime.) I would actually sit down for a while and "play" developer.

If all else fails, colleges will always be there and you will be able to complete it that much faster and have an easier time if you already have some programming experience. I'm entering my sophomore year of college for CS and some of the guys who have very little or no programming experience just get absolutely demolished.
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Old 04-20-2019, 03:46 AM   #9
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Re: Learning Java without a degree a waste of time?

I would suggest try writing a few small programs in Java and see how you get on. I fine that this is the fastest way to learn and you'll find that while it is similar to Javascript in a few ways the whole OOP thing can make it quite a bit different.

BEst of luck.
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Old 04-27-2019, 10:45 PM   #10
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Re: Learning Java without a degree a waste of time?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGodson View Post
A little back story. I just bought a house about 2 months ago. I work at a factory and it sucks. I have no college education. I have an understanding of HTML, CSS, and javascript and have dabbled into other things like C++ as well, but don't have a deep understanding in them. I decided to apply online for some web developer jobs in my area using indeed.com. Turns out there really aren't any in my area.

I recently applied for a junior software developer job just because meh, why not. It pretty much was one of the only jobs that didn't require a CS bachelors degree. The only problem was that it wanted a candidate that understood OOP and I hardly do. I have a personal website that I am kind of embarrassed about. I put it on my resume anyway and sent it in.

To my surprise it turns out they were interested and sent me some link where I took an aptitude test. Apparently I passed that, because they sent me another link where I had to complete a task using OOP in the language of my choice. They told me to do this in a couple of hours or so and not spend too much time on it. I spent all night and the next night working on it before sending it in. I used Java and managed to get a working program, but it wasn't too pretty.

Turns out I failed this part of the test because they sent me a message saying they are considering other candidates for the job. This has left me discouraged, but also kind of inspired at the same time because I was even capable of being considered. Also, building the program taught me a lot.

Now I'm digging through this book called Sams Teach yourself Java in 21 Days which seems to be pretty awesome. I'm not sure I've ever learned so much from just one book. It is pretty incredible. I'm being a little obsessive about it. I even did two days in one day because I spent all night on it and the previous night as well. I'm now on day 7 so I'm a 3rd of the way through the book.

Although now looking at indeed jobs again I see that almost all software jobs require a bachelors degree in CS. Perhaps I just struck gold with a fluke of an opportunity and it has passed me by due to my lack of knowledge.

Am I wasting my time learning Java or can I actually do something productive with it. I really hate school. I feel I can learn things faster on my own, but I guess if it is the only way out of the factory/food-service I might have to do it.

If I do choose to go to school then perhaps I should stop reading this java book so I won't be as bored in class when I go there.

Honestly, I'd probably rather do anything else than what I'm doing right now. Something in code seems the most natural thing to go into considering the pay and also I have an interest.

Am I wasting my time pursuing a tech job without a degree?

Some of these job postings seem ridiculous. 5+ years experience in x, 10+ years experience in y, 10+ years experience in 35 other languages nobody has ever heard of. Is this stuff for real? Are there candidates that actually fit these requirements?
If you had a college degree in physics, for instance (or something random that required a bit of math) + you self learned programming, you would be able to find a job paying > 50k a year doing programming but it would take a lot of work and you would have to work hard at learning a lot of stuff.

Since you dont have a college degree, you're only hope is to learn web dev like javascript, html, css, angular, etc and then get a job doing that. Those are what we call "script kiddies" and they can make a decent wage (30-60k staring salary, I'm guessing?) This is probably your best bet. If you want to do real programming (like using Java, C++, etc) but you hate web development then you will probably have to just get a degree in computer science / software development. Expect to make $60-80k starting salary your first year out of school assuming the economy stays good from now to then.

If I were you, I would go the html / javascript route and do web dev for now. Learn it well over the next 12 months and then you will get a job in it easy. You might have to try hard to get an interview but if you show up in person and shake the guys hand and tell him you would love an interview you will get one. Have a great resume and portfolio and know everything about webdev by that point and you will get a job if you want it bad enough. Then you can make decent money while seeing if the job is one you want over the next 2 years.

If it is, you can then learn java and if you have 2 years work experience doing web dev you can probably then get an interview for an entry level java developer job and they will hire you if you outshine the competition. If you dont have 2 years experience doing the web dev + no degree, then they probably wont interview you.

The company I work at now will interview a person with no degree no work experience no nothing if the person gets a recommendation from an employee currently working as a dev in the company. However I would not recommend any of my friends that have no degree and no work history to be interviewed unless I knew they spent the last 2 years of their life eating, sleeping, and drinking java, math, algorithms, OOP, etc with a Rudy-like work ethic. I would likely ask them a few questions from that one girls big green interview book and if they didn't impress me I wouldn't risk recommending them for the interview.

Last edited by Ryanb9; 04-27-2019 at 10:55 PM.
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Old 04-28-2019, 02:28 PM   #11
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Re: Learning Java without a degree a waste of time?

^^^^^^

this advice is spot on unfortunately

OP, I also am a coder looking to make a career change and all I can tell u is that it is a tough entry point.

You see, there are tons of coding jobs, but that talent pool is shallow and takes TONS of practice/work to get in. Keep in mind no one wants to be a doctor or lawyer these days cause well.. they are kinda crappy lifestyle jobs. So you have tons of high school students who are brilliant but the cool lucrative thing to be is a coder NOT a doctor/etc so they start studying in high school and by the time they are 26 they are a senior dev with 10+ yrs of exp. Some of these guys don't go to college because why would you? If you have the skills it doesn't matter. All that matters is skill. That's your competition and why it's so tough to get a job.

Take me for example. I finished a coding bootcamp last november in philly and am still not employed. Out of our class of 15, 4 dropped out, and only 3 of the 11 who finished have jobs making 40kish which is great because they somehow got their foot in the door. Once your foot is in the door you can expect a fulfilling lucrative career so 40k is great; i tell recruiters I'm worth 60-70k but only ask for 36k cause that's how hard i'm trying to get in.

I do recommend a coding bootcamp over degree since it's cheaper and just as useful. Remember that people with a CS degree often suck at programming and can not get jobs out of college either. Just remember that if you think you are gonna do a 700+ hr bootcamp and land a 6 figure job u are crazy since well everyone would just do bootcamps if it was that easy.

Coding is not for everyone either. That's what I hated about our bootcamp. It was easy to get in but they let in people who simply don't have an aptitude for coding and will never get a job which is sad but true. Not everyone can be a software eng, just like everyone is not fit to be a doctor or a pilot.

The bootcamp gave me structure and actually taught me to code which is weird to say because I had studied coding and did some online courses and thought I knew how to code but I didn't. Lot's of stuff is counterintuitive, for example, you should never take notes during class or try to memorize anything since coding is about practicing and doing NOT spitting out a bunch of googlable stuff.

But I really met some badass coders who really knew how to code and they are kinda my mentors these days.

The highest ranked student is still unemployed but works part time and falls asleep coding every single night to give u an idea of work ethic.

With all that being said, I am very close to landing an entry level job and am not gonna give up or leave this field. I have created an app which helps teach you to count cards/improve memory and an app that helped me lose 30lbs. All code I wrote from scratch that I showcase to employers. But the cool thing was that I wrote code that changed my life if only a little.

I do agree that you should not focus on Java first because it's such a beast of a language. You should start with JavaScript (not the same), HTML, CSS (the 3 go together) and Python it's hot and fun. Hell pm me and I'll tell u the online python bootcamp i'm doing and we can do it together/pair programming, etc. It's only $12 on udemy. And python is required for EVERYTHING COOL like deep learning, AI etc so the course is well worth your time.

Be passionate and find projects you like. You should want to code even if you never make any money. That's the attitude else you won't make it/give up.

In general 1000 hours of coding is NOT enough to land a job cause i prolly have 1500+ hrs. I would say to get an entry level job u need to get lucky (rare) or have 2000+ hrs coding experience from what I've seen. And your github better look nice with not much white space.

good luck and sorry if i overwhelmed you a little.
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Old 04-28-2019, 05:31 PM   #12
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Re: Learning Java without a degree a waste of time?

DevOps is probably much faster to learn than becoming a competent, hireable programmer in a short amount of time.
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Old 04-28-2019, 05:51 PM   #13
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Re: Learning Java without a degree a waste of time?

JavaScript script kiddies itt. Meanwhile some of most experienced and advanced devs in the other thread are mainly JavaScript.
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Old 04-28-2019, 05:57 PM   #14
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Re: Learning Java without a degree a waste of time?

Ok I read the rest of that post. Good God it's not that hard. Coding is pretty easy. You don't need to spend 2 yrs studying. Esp since it changes every 6 months.

But he's right. It's hard to get your foot in the door.
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Old 04-29-2019, 10:25 AM   #15
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Re: Learning Java without a degree a waste of time?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Baltimore Jones View Post
Or it could be the opposite, you won't have bootcamp/self-taught "stigma" as much for java jobs. (Or just equivalent)
from interviewing people at my job, the CS grads tend to have really nice looking resumes and have internships completed through school. feels like it is much harder to go up against them for a beginners java job than versus Sarah the bootcamp grad for a react job.
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Old 04-29-2019, 10:26 AM   #16
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Re: Learning Java without a degree a waste of time?

remember, getting the interview is often the hardest part.
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Old 04-29-2019, 09:29 PM   #17
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Re: Learning Java without a degree a waste of time?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OmgGlutten! View Post
from interviewing people at my job, the CS grads tend to have really nice looking resumes and have internships completed through school. feels like it is much harder to go up against them for a beginners java job than versus Sarah the bootcamp grad for a react job.
excellent point. the cs grads often have one or two summer interships which u must be enrolled in college to get. and 4 years of coding is just so much more than a 13 week bootcamp even if half ur classes are non cs
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Old 04-29-2019, 09:37 PM   #18
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Re: Learning Java without a degree a waste of time?

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Ok I read the rest of that post. Good God it's not that hard. Coding is pretty easy. You don't need to spend 2 yrs studying. Esp since it changes every 6 months.

But he's right. It's hard to get your foot in the door.
Hi, it is hard for me and everyone i know. They are not handing out these jobs to bootcamp grads and the OP is likely behind us so will be even tougher. I started coding 2 years ago and it's not easy else I would have a job by now.
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Old 04-30-2019, 03:02 AM   #19
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Re: Learning Java without a degree a waste of time?

I've been coding since the 5th grade, but was mostly self taught using Qbasic. My code was no where near what is standard. I used GOTOs and labels. Never used functions or classes. I learned website stuff 3 years ago, but that was for my failed affiliate marketing things that I did.

My dad took a look at my assignments I did for that first company I applied to and he noticed I did a weird infinite loop that showed my inexperience.

for(int i = 0; i < -1; i++)
{
...stuff here...
}

Apparently it should be:
for(;; )
{
}

or even better

while(true)
{
}

I tried doing while (1) at the time, but Java doesn't accept numbers as Booleans like C++. Lesson learned. There are probably quite a few things I've done wrong looking back. In my test thing I did not use any modifiers on my classes, methods, or variables.

I applied for a certain place and it was accidently a recruiter. I was on the phone and thought it was a phone interview, but quickly found out it wasn't. He gave me some advice on what places locally are looking for and also some pointers for my resume. He said learning a framework or two is a good idea. Apparently AngularJS is popular in my area. To be honest, I actually kind of don't like it, because it just seems like a lazy version of JavaScript where you don't really know what is going on. I've been learning it anyway though.

So far I have applied to 7 different places for web development or software engineering. Mostly junior positions. I've been on the lookout, but I don't know how to find good leads for jobs other than Indeed, Glassdoor, Monster, and LinkedIn. Most stuff is too advanced for me to apply for, but at least there are some. If I don't get anything by the time I reach 100 applications submitted, I may have to look less locally.

At work things are not going well at all. I need to get a new job and quick. I even applied for some car dealerships which isn't related to the field I'm trying to get into, but it would be a big step up from what I'm doing now.

As many of you pointed out, the web development will probably be easier to get into than Java, which is where my main focus will be going into the future. I should probably think of doing some project of some kind to showcase my skills on my webpage. The only projects I have now is a renter application, a bitcoin affiliate page, and a way to search locations for material at my work.
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Old 04-30-2019, 12:06 PM   #20
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Re: Learning Java without a degree a waste of time?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LETIGRA View Post
Hi, it is hard for me and everyone i know. They are not handing out these jobs to bootcamp grads and the OP is likely behind us so will be even tougher. I started coding 2 years ago and it's not easy else I would have a job by now.
but coding time is not what you need. the reason you are not getting a job is not bc of your lack of ability. it is bc you have not checked the marks the companies use to vet candidates. the idea that you need 4 years of college to be a great coder is incorrect but companies dont care.
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Old 05-01-2019, 01:34 AM   #21
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Re: Learning Java without a degree a waste of time?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Victor View Post
but coding time is not what you need. the reason you are not getting a job is not bc of your lack of ability. it is bc you have not checked the marks the companies use to vet candidates. the idea that you need 4 years of college to be a great coder is incorrect but companies dont care.
good advice thank you.

have been focusing on this exact angle more lately..
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Old 05-02-2019, 02:08 PM   #22
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Re: Learning Java without a degree a waste of time?

I didnt really give advice lol. maybe just not to waste 2 years of useless studying.

If I did give advice it would be to find a bootcamp that has a transparent placement rate. or go to meetups and try to find ppl to collaborate with and show off your super sweet apps. basically, if you arent gonna do college (I highly do not recommend 4 yrs and 100s of grand) nor a bootcamp (dunno if thats worthwhile either as it depends on cost and location) then you will need to build some stuff to show off to ppl and find some ppl to show off for.

my bootcamp was pretty up front that they werent only teaching and building programmers, but that they were essentially doing early vetting for companies.

if you studied on your own as hard as possible, as hard as ryanb commands, and then try to get into a company, then you will get the same response you are getting now.
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Old 05-02-2019, 03:25 PM   #23
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Re: Learning Java without a degree a waste of time?

Wow lol at this thread. I didn't know JS devs are skiddies (lol) who aren't REAL programmers (lol).

There are solid bootcamps that cost almost nothing out of pocket until you get a job -- Lambda School, AppAcademy, and Holberton immediately come to mind but I'm sure there are others. You may have to move to a high COL area to attend, but that's the way it goes. There are a number of apprenticeships available at various tech companies where they seek folks from non-traditional backgrounds. They pay you well, you learn a lot, and have a shot at getting a full-time role at the company.

I didn't go to college, did the bootcamp -> apprenticeship route and landed a job afterwards. You can do it! There are lots of ways to get a foot in the door somewhere, it just takes time and effort.
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Old 05-02-2019, 04:43 PM   #24
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Re: Learning Java without a degree a waste of time?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGodson View Post
I've been coding since the 5th grade, but was mostly self taught using Qbasic. My code was no where near what is standard. I used GOTOs and labels. Never used functions or classes. I learned website stuff 3 years ago, but that was for my failed affiliate marketing things that I did.

My dad took a look at my assignments I did for that first company I applied to and he noticed I did a weird infinite loop that showed my inexperience.

for(int i = 0; i < -1; i++)
{
...stuff here...
}

Apparently it should be:
for(;; )
{
}

or even better

while(true)
{
}

I tried doing while (1) at the time, but Java doesn't accept numbers as Booleans like C++. Lesson learned. There are probably quite a few things I've done wrong looking back. In my test thing I did not use any modifiers on my classes, methods, or variables.

I applied for a certain place and it was accidently a recruiter. I was on the phone and thought it was a phone interview, but quickly found out it wasn't. He gave me some advice on what places locally are looking for and also some pointers for my resume. He said learning a framework or two is a good idea. Apparently AngularJS is popular in my area. To be honest, I actually kind of don't like it, because it just seems like a lazy version of JavaScript where you don't really know what is going on. I've been learning it anyway though.

So far I have applied to 7 different places for web development or software engineering. Mostly junior positions. I've been on the lookout, but I don't know how to find good leads for jobs other than Indeed, Glassdoor, Monster, and LinkedIn. Most stuff is too advanced for me to apply for, but at least there are some. If I don't get anything by the time I reach 100 applications submitted, I may have to look less locally.

At work things are not going well at all. I need to get a new job and quick. I even applied for some car dealerships which isn't related to the field I'm trying to get into, but it would be a big step up from what I'm doing now.

As many of you pointed out, the web development will probably be easier to get into than Java, which is where my main focus will be going into the future. I should probably think of doing some project of some kind to showcase my skills on my webpage. The only projects I have now is a renter application, a bitcoin affiliate page, and a way to search locations for material at my work.
wouldnt recommend angularJs. Angular or React or more popular. I guess it doesnt matter. you should just try to learn something.

Anyway, you almost certainly arent gonna get a job thru the normal resume application process. find a bootcamp or go to college or bother everyone you can talk to at local meetups.
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Old 05-03-2019, 12:56 PM   #25
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Re: Learning Java without a degree a waste of time?

well I will take any advice I can get Victor. I'm not so sure you understand my background, but I also went to a bootcamp, just like you. This bootcamp went out of business because of

1) 33%+ drop out rate
2) 15k tuition on an income share agreement but statistically only 50% have a job 6 months after bootcamp

6 months was yesterday and 4 people out of the last 22 graduates have a job so they are running poor.

But the school closed down anyways so there is not much ongoing support and if you don't get a job u don't have to pay back the 15k so some people are like screw it.

So I didn't do a "good" bootcamp but I still did one. I do feel I am light years ahead of OP since his posts kinda remind me of me from 2 years ago when I first dived in.

I did not "waste" two years studying coding. It's fun. Just like I didn't waste 15 years playing poker. Try not to take it so serious. I did a bootcamp which was 13 weeks 60-70 hrs/wk and maybe another 500 hours of coding just cause of interest. I like it because of the apps i've built are pretty cool. I'll probably build more.

This week I applied to more "support" engineer types of roles which are lower down the trough. I'm sick of applying to junior Python developer and I know I can get the job and I know I can do it but then get rejected because I'm not good enough. Not unlucky. Just not good enough.

I guess the advice that really resonated with me is that I shouldn't need to write another line of code to get a job at this point.

Not sure if you actually wrote that but that's how it came off to me.

I challenge anyone who knows so much about coding to post a link to your GitHub. Can't take any advice seriously till I see ur GitHub.

I want to see the code of the people who are critical of me.

Thanks!
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