Advice needed: Switch from IT to Java

A

Andy2005

Hey guys,

I'm an IT professional. Working full-time the field and I've been
thinking of switching over to Java Software Development. I have a
computer science degree which I finished 5 years ago and I haven't
touched programming since.

My questions are as follows, would apperciate your input on the
matter:
1 - How long would it take to get certified in Java doing it part-time
(evenings, some weekends)
2 - Given that I have no programming work experience, how difficult
would it be to find a job based solely on the certificate
3 - What's it like to program for a living? does it require endless
focus
4 - The hours in IT can be bad - there's always something out of hours
to do and overtime is common. What's it like in the world of Java
programming?

Thank you for going through all this with me here, I look forward to
hearing what you guys have to say

Best wishes,
Andy
 
A

Ashoka!

I'll take your questions one at a time:

1 - How long would it take to get certified in Java doing it part-
time(evenings, some weekends)
You obviously studied some programing language in college? if
so (specially if it was c++) then it should take you a few weeks if
you don't lose hope starting a new language is difficult. If you can
get your hands on a book called "Java for dummies" or "The complete
idot's guide to java" it will help you get started. ps-> don't let the
names fool you these are good books for beginners

2 - Given that I have no programming work experience, how difficult
would it be to find a job based solely on the certificate?

Your certificate will not get you a job but any real world experience
is a great boost to programmers so if you apply to companies related
to your current IT work who require programmers then you will be even
more desirable for companies then more experienced programmers. (Any
when can write code but its the people who have domain knowledge that
get the big bucks)

3 & 4- What's it like to program for a living? does it require endless
focus

yes, :) if you are running from long hours then programing is not the
ting for you. if you ar fed up of your job maybe you may find
programming more intelectually stimulating. Although programming is
more deadline driven then hours driven if you meet deadline then
nobody cares if you leave early.
 
E

enrique

1 - How long would it take to get certified in Java doing it part-time
(evenings, some weekends)
2 - Given that I have no programming work experience, how difficult
would it be to find a job based solely on the certificate
3 - What's it like to program for a living? does it require endless
focus
4 - The hours in IT can be bad - there's always something out of hours
to do and overtime is common. What's it like in the world of Java
programming?

1 - I never completed my training, so I'll be looking forward to
hearing about your experience.
2 - Difficult, but if your current employer has opportunities for you
to transfer to a new job within the organization, that will be easier
for you.
3 - You need to be able to focus on a problem and be detail-oriented.
Probably not so different from your current job.
4 - The hours can be bad in programming. Software projects have a bad
reputation for being completed late and/or over-budget. When this
happens, it's often the programmer who pays the price.

Good luck.
 
H

Hunter Gratzner

I'm an IT professional. Working full-time the field and I've been
thinking of switching over to Java Software Development.

Why? As a software developer you are very low in the hierarchy, and
subject to a permanent outsourcing threat these days.
I have a
computer science degree which I finished 5 years ago and I haven't
touched programming since.

Good choice, why change it?
My questions are as follows, would apperciate your input on the
matter:
1 - How long would it take to get certified in Java doing it part-time
(evenings, some weekends)

Why get certified? Certification means everything to some employers,
and nothing to others. Particularly the kind of employers who warm up
to outsourcing believe in such certificates. These people believe in
interchangeability of "resources" based on formal qualification, not
on actual talent.

Even If you get some certification, don't start bragging with it in
your programming job. Chances are your coworkers will just laugh.
Particularly if you are just mono-lingual. For me a real programmer
knows a bunch of programming languages, instead of being knowledgeable
in just one (certified or not).
2 - Given that I have no programming work experience, how difficult
would it be to find a job based solely on the certificate

There are shops who believe in certification only. If you sell
yourself cheap you have a chance. But do you really want to work for
people constantly on the outlook to get cheap "resources"?
3 - What's it like to program for a living? does it require endless
focus

It is shit, if it is all you are doing. It doesn't require endless
focus. It requires an iron will to go out of the shop at 5pm and
forget about the all the shit happening there. Otherwise you will
start to get mad and burn out. Employers like young programmers
because they don't distinguish between work and life - yet. If you
can't stop focusing on the work at 5pm you won't get very old. Google
is currently the poster child of a shop that tries to get a hold on
your whole life. They aren't the only one, they are just very open
about it. You can do that for a few years, then it takes its toll.
4 - The hours in IT can be bad - there's always something out of hours
to do and overtime is common. What's it like in the world of Java
programming?

See above. There is always an artificial deadline forcing to do
overtime. Why do you think becoming a programmer is an update?
 
R

RVince

Andy2005 said:
Hey guys,
My questions are as follows, would apperciate your input on the
matter:
1 - How long would it take to get certified in Java doing it part-time
(evenings, some weekends)

That depends on the individual, but, given your past, I would say 40-80
hours of study and reading should definitely get you in the ballpark. Take
the practice tests -- any you can find. I used Brogden's book and it helped
a lot.
2 - Given that I have no programming work experience, how difficult
would it be to find a job based solely on the certificate

Next-to-nothing. Most employers these days want a very specific skill
set...'Struts,' or...'EJB < 3.0'....'Swing', so what they are looking for it
seems is experience in a narrow niche of the technology.
3 - What's it like to program for a living? does it require endless
focus

I love it. As perverse as it seems, when I awaken, it's what I WANT to do. I
dont want to read the paper, I want to be cobbling code. It is invigorating.
'Endless focus' is a term I think applies to my married friends.
4 - The hours in IT can be bad - there's always something out of hours
to do and overtime is common. What's it like in the world of Java
programming?

I don't give a rat's patoot about the hours, or other people's deadlines.
It's 2007, and you;d think people would FINALLY begin to see that deadlines
are for the business people, and are a classic case of 'cart-before-the
horse.' That is to say, to do a job, properly, is something which can be
estimated timewise, but its the kind of thing that gets done when it;s done.
If the deadline can;t be met, maybe those setting the deadline need to hire
more programmers and delegate better. It's THEIR problem, and after a number
of decades of doing this stuff, I don't even hear them when they speak of
deadlines anymore than I pay attention to a dog barking at me from across
the street! -R.Vince
 

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