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Old 06-15-2008, 03:51 PM   #1
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Default Introduction and Questions

Hey all. Just registered on the forum, so I figured I'd introduce myself and ask a few questions. First off, I'm Marc. I hope soon to be beginning my education in computers, and I needed a forum to kind of act as home base for all the questions I'm sure will arise. I'm 23 years old, and after a few failed attempts at making a living in other fields, I'm going back to my original plan of a career in computers. Its been so long though, I kinda feel lost. Few questions....

-What specific areas of computer science are the highest paying right now? Computer Programmers? Web Design? Network Administrators etc? (Can't lie, I'm greedy, looking to make over 100K after a few years of experience)

-What are employers looking for in prospective candidates now as far as education? Just certifications? Technical School Training? A BS or MS? I hear the days of the self taught programmer are over.

-Assuming I decide to go the formal education route, can anyone recommend any good schools? I plan on relocating in the next 6 months to an undecided location, so, schools in any part of the country would be welcome recommendations.

-Can anyone recommend some good websites or books to help get me started in the right direction before I get myself into school? Anything from very basic computing to advanced, and reading material in other areas such as any mathematics that might be useful to a computer professional.

Thanks in advance everyone. I'll be around the forums, and look forward to receiving help from everyone, and hopefully contributing a bit myself.
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Old 06-15-2008, 04:07 PM   #2
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Default Re: Introduction and Questions

Hi marc, welcome to the forums. I'm sure any question you have can be answered here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MDS1005 View Post
-What specific areas of computer science are the highest paying right now? Computer Programmers? Web Design? Network Administrators etc? (Can't lie, I'm greedy, looking to make over 100K after a few years of experience)
Computer programming or engineering offers the highest paying jobs in that field. Sure there might be the odd person who is really good at what they do and just happen to be lucky and land a high paying job having skills in other areas but that seems, as I said, just a case of being lucky.

Quote:
-What are employers looking for in prospective candidates now as far as education? Just certifications? Technical School Training? A BS or MS? I hear the days of the self taught programmer are over.
You need a degree. If you plan to make the big bucks, employers are simply looking for people who have a degree. Then comes experience but you won't get that without the degree. A Bachelor of Science will suffice to get you started in the right direction.

Quote:
-Assuming I decide to go the formal education route, can anyone recommend any good schools? I plan on relocating in the next 6 months to an undecided location, so, schools in any part of the country would be welcome recommendations.
Which country are you from?

Quote:
-Can anyone recommend some good websites or books to help get me started in the right direction before I get myself into school? Anything from very basic computing to advanced, and reading material in other areas such as any mathematics that might be useful to a computer professional.
I can't think of any off hand but there is a vast amount of resources if you use a search engine.
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Old 06-15-2008, 04:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: Introduction and Questions

well i cant answer all your questions, but the highest paid job in it in the uk

im pretty sure is a network administrator.

and welcome dude enjoy the knoledge water fountain around here
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Old 06-15-2008, 04:19 PM   #4
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im pretty sure is a network administrator.
well ok, that is true too. But just take Computer Science (if you're not doing engineering) in school and you will learn that stuff too (programming/network administration...etc, etc). You learn everything outside of computer tech.
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Old 06-15-2008, 04:24 PM   #5
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Default Re: Introduction and Questions

D88. Thank you for the quick reply. Few more questions, and a bit of information....

So you say Programming is probably the highest paying field for a computer professional. Now, I understand that a minimum of a BS will probably be required when I decide to find the company I would like to work for as a career. In the meantime, what should I do as far as self education? I am an intelligent person, however, when I was younger, I never payed much attention in school. Specifically, will a high level of mathematics knowledge be required? If so, I need to get going on reteaching myself everything I ignored in school.

As far as basic computer knowledge goes... Yeah, I know my way around windows, but not in depth. I know the basics of whats inside a computer, but not exactly why and how everything works. I know internet basics, IP addresses, how my router works etc etc (just giving examples here) but again, nothing in depth. How would you recommend going about learning as much as possible about computers before I dive into something more complex like learning a programming language?

To your question as to what country I live in. United States..... again, recommendations as far as schools go would be appreciated. Along those same lines, I know many bigger corporations offer to pay for employees tuition, or tuition reimbursement. As my financial situation is not ideal, this may be a route I look into. Can anyone recommend any companies that may be good to look into as far as the school tuition aspect?
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Old 06-15-2008, 04:45 PM   #6
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Mathematics is an absolute valuable skill to have. You will use it often. Calculus helps, although I haven't taken it in school lol. I guess that means you can do without it but things like logarithms, graphs, and algebra are a must to get to know. I have personally used those the most.

Also, having a good knowledge of Windows helps but it doesn't go very far. You should start using any distribution of a Linux operating system like Red Hat Fedora, or even Ubuntu (which has a lot of Windows-like traits but is still good to get an understanding of the linux environment). Knowledge of networking (TCP/IP) is an asset if you plan to go into that field (like database administration). And, something that a lot of people do not realize, having excellent writing and verbal skills also go a long way in the computing industry.

You don't have to look into programming before you enter schooling but I would recommend it. Getting to know standard languages like C, C++, and Java would help a lot to get you through your classes with relative ease. I didn't have any prior background with programming when I entered post-secondary and although i am doing just fine picking up the skill, I have observed that it has been easier for other people who had even a minimal knowledge of programming before hand.

I don't have much advice to offer for where you live as far as which school to attend. You might get some help from some of the American members on the forum. All I can suggest is to do your research and search around for which schools offer the best programs. Also, chances are, unless you're some computer science prodigy who manages to get a company to offer you a position before hand, you won't get one to pay for your tuition initially. By that I mean, you will more than likely be on your own for getting your Bachelor of Science but afterwards there is a lot better chance that, after getting a job, an employer might offer to pay for further schooling so you can get your masters or even more than that. And who knows, if they like you enough, maybe they will in fact offer to reimburse the cost of what you payed to get your Bsc.
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Old 06-15-2008, 04:57 PM   #7
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I can help you look for a suitable university or college, but you're going to have to provide some information. Colleges on average charge well over 30,000 per year for schooling, which is a big financial burden if you'll be footing the bill on your own. In addition, schools will be looking for qualifications in terms of your high school transcript or whatever sort of formal education you received prior to applying. Also, since we're already well into the month of June, deadlines for college applications have long since passed so you'll probably have to wait 'till August/September of 2009 to begin taking classes if you plan on taking classes in a formal 4-year college. Chances are you know most of what I just said already, but doesn't hurt to put this information out there.
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Old 06-15-2008, 05:49 PM   #8
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Default Re: Introduction and Questions

As to the education aspect. Heres a little background. As I have mentioned earlier, I am an intelligent person who kinda messed up his whole school experience. I dropped out of highschool, got my GED. Attended technical school for automotive technology. But, I dont want to be a mechanic. So heres the deal. I need to do quite a bit of self re-education before even looking at more traditional schooling. Everything from some basics maths and sciences. Now, this will probably prevent me from initially enrolling in a 4 year university. Due to this, and financial restrictions, I will be attending a community college first that has a transfer program to a larger university. Now for the questions:

When in my self re-education phase of all this, what subjects will I find useful in the field of computer programming? I would assume math to some extent, but what level of mathematics will be useful for programming? Dont want to waste time studying superfluous things. I will be learning some basic sciences too in my own personal study, but I would imagine this has a lot less importance. More just to keep the education rounded out. Any other subjects anyone would recommend I brush up on before starting to attend college classes?
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Old 06-15-2008, 06:07 PM   #9
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Default Re: Introduction and Questions

Fair enough, the community college route is pretty good, I know for some schools if you maintain a 4.0 GPA in the community college, the state university will offer you admission for free, so that definitely works out, though it does take more time.

As for what level math you will need, I just took an advanced placement course in computer science which is accepted as computer science credits at most schools as it is a course/test designed by the CollegeBoard. My math requisite was an understanding of Pre-calculus level math concepts though admittedly, the level of math that was actually used in the class did not exceed the Algebra 2 level. So I would definitely get myself very comfortable with Algebra 2 concepts, and at least have a basic understanding of Pre-calculus - Calculus level concepts.
Since you have your sights set on computer programming, this should really be all you need (this is more or less an assumption, obviously there's more to programming than just math, but since I decided to get into engineering, I'm not sure on what else you'll need, maybe someone else can fill in the spots I missed), if you are going to educate yourself in sciences as well, an understanding of physics would definitely help if you intend to remain in the field of computers, nothing heavy, just a good grasp of concepts, that is unless you intend to get into Electrical Engineering or something related.
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Old 06-15-2008, 07:36 PM   #10
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Default Re: Introduction and Questions

Pre-calc huh? I got a lot of studying to do . Shouldn't be too hard though. The main road block at this point is I really stopped paying attention in school during algebra. Stupid young me thought it was all too easy to warrant my full attention. Kicking myself now for that. As for the science side, more specifically physics, that's right up my alley. Physics to me is the most interesting topic in the world. If i weren't so far behind in my academic studies at this point, I'd want to major in astrophysics. However, at this point, I cannot justify another 10-12 years in school to get a PhD in physics. So, computer programming it is. Thank you all for the help so far. I will keep updates on here as to how everything is going. Expect many questions daily from me in the forum to which the question pertains.

First step, off to start reteaching myself pre-algebra and to learn my computer basics a lot more in depth.
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