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Any Programmers Around?

Discussion in 'Serious' started by Xenith, 24 Mar 2009.

  1. Xenith

    Xenith What's a Dremel?

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    Hey bit-tech community,

    I'm looking for the perspective of a programmer (with a degree, or have been in trade for long period of time). I'm thinking about studying computer science in college (I'm currently a freshman studying mechanical engineering) and I want to know whether programmers GENUINELY like what they do. Also, I'm curious as to what a yearly salary is (on average). I have googled it and got figures, but i want to know from actual people. I want to know what kind of work load you went through in college (mine is currently overbearing... though I could make it through, Im annoyed by some of my teachers and am looking for a wait out lol). I like spending time on my computer, so it seems like it'd be a good job, no?

    So, in simple terms, what is it like being a programmer/ do you enjoy it/ worth getting degree in.


    Thanks!:D
     
  2. Krikkit

    Krikkit All glory to the hypnotoad! Super Moderator

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    Is MechEng not to your tastes? I don't know about your specific course, but a lot of MechEng courses will involve a good deal of programming, so you might want to stick with that if you're not 100% on shifting to programming full-time.
     
  3. Bogomip

    Bogomip ... Yo Momma

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    There arent really many degrees of worth that are simply "programming". Most will be informatics/computer science which have a whole range of computer related things, it will be far from just programming.

    It is also my experience (as someone having done both uni informatics and engineering courses) that informatics courses are alot more work, though in general its a bit easier (for me, though I have never gotten less than an A in informatics or engineering... i reserve the low grades for my real subject :p).

    Pay grades for programmers vary wildly.

    Id stick with engineering. Engineers can easily learn to code at home, Informatics students would find it more diffiuclt to engineer at home - I would imagine engineering would leave you with a better skill set in general.
     
  4. sesterfield

    sesterfield What's a Dremel?

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    Well I don't know how Mechanical Engineering is taught in the States, but what I have found with my degree is that I've only started -really- enjoying it after some "real" experience (currently on my sandwich year in industry). Maybe it would be worth doing something similar (an internship perhaps?) to see if it's what you really want to do.

    It may seem a bit presumptuous, but an observation I've made at my university is that the most worthwhile courses are the most work :yawn:
     
  5. Xenith

    Xenith What's a Dremel?

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    thanks for the responses everyone!
    I guess i didn't really think about the possibility of doing programming within the MechEng field.
    Really I havn't even got a taste of what a MechEng job would be since my classes are pretty basic atm, so Ill probably stick with it for now at least.

    Any Other perspectives anyone?
     
  6. Fod

    Fod what is the cheesecake?

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    hi there, i did a MEng in Computer Science at UCL, got a job for a year, and then went back to start a PhD in immersive environments and 3D interactions with my old supervisor.

    do i genuinely like what i do?
    erm, well i guess. i find it more interesting when i'm thinking about it than when i'm actually working - a lot of programming is very repetitive and menial. but then i think of the research i'm actually doing and it's suddenly exciting again. i guess the thing i'm trying to say is that the code is a tool, you learn to use it to accomplish your aims - studying computer science is a lot more than just learning to program, and for me, that's what makes it interesting.
     
    Last edited: 26 Mar 2009
  7. Rum&Coke

    Rum&Coke What's a Dremel?

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    You could consider systems engineering/embedded systems? You'll do programming a lot but it'll almost always be in relation to actually controlling a physical system rather than just software.
     
  8. Prestidigitweeze

    Prestidigitweeze "Oblivion ha-ha" to you, too.

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    I live in the States, too, and have been a tech writer (among other things) in the past. Five years ago, I had a roommate who did nothing but program, especially in Java. When he wasn't getting paid, he was traveling all over the world, buying multiple laptops and creating apps for skits and Skittles (as it were). One of his best was an online database that allowed multiple users to edit simultaneously -- I have no idea how it worked. The point: He loved his job so much that he did it during off hours just for fun.

    His first job out of college was sysop for Sun Microsystems. From that point until he moved to New York, his entire life consisted of programming, catching waves and hanging out in bars in Silverlake.

    I still have an old friend who writes utilities, plugins and presentation apps for Director, a Macromedia program that was bought by Adobe and is no longer supported: Half his clients use him because they nurse an irrational hatred of Premiere.

    He only has to work five months out of the year. All of his training came from NYMUG (New York Mac Users Group); the rest he taught himself. Prior to that, he was a studio engineer, which is what he was doing when I met him.

    I saw the second fellow recently; he's still doing well and enjoying what he does despite the economy. He's a pithy and bookish Australian, and seems perfectly fitted to the work. Even in everyday conversation, he weeds out redundancies and troubleshoots no matter what we're discussing. He has a gift for asking radically simple questions that are so apt they stop conversations. He, too, likes to travel. A few years ago, he and a partner bought a used George Martin Neve (like the one pictured below), so his yearly income must be at or near six figures:

    [​IMG]

    So, yes, there are programmers who genuinely love what they do -- some live like studio musicians. However, I'm a bit older than you, which means most of my stories involve people who got in when the business was less glutted.
     
    Last edited: 1 Apr 2009
  9. Xenith

    Xenith What's a Dremel?

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    ^that is a sick studio >.>

    Seems like one can do really well in that field!

    For now im thinking Ill stay with MechEng.. but im going to take some programming classes to see how I like it and go from there. Thanks for all your input!

    Please let me know of any other programming stories you have
     
  10. eek

    eek CAMRA ***.

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    I program at work. I enjoy it, it's very easy to get lost in code meaning that time tends to fly by so work doesn't become one big clock watching exercise!

    In terms of salary, I can't really comment on the US market, but in the UK, techies in the City tend to get paid upwards of £30-40k from stating, with this obviously rising with experience. Outside of the City you're probably looking at £20-25k starting. All of this this clearly depends on the market the company works in and the number of/demand for jobs - e.g. finace sector firms are more likely to pay more than those involved in gaming. Simply due to the large number of people with degrees, they are almost certainly required for jobs in the larger companies - and it'll normally be these that pay the most.
     
  11. yakyb

    yakyb i hate the person above me

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    i actually am quite a unique position in that i hold a BEng in Mechanical engineering and now work as a programmer i left uni after graduating and got a temp job with an insurance comapny i know the MD of. they saw potential in me a put me on a few c#/sql courses

    i love my job and i'm on good money can be stressful at times but most of the time its great

    if i would have taken compsci or similar at uni i would probably be on an extra 5-10k a year now but hey.

    my advice though is to just find some night schools c#/VB/java/sql basics can all be picked up pretty easily. extra courses would be great, do you have an open university or equivalent in the US

    Btw the reason i didnt move onto MEch eng career after uni is because i really didnot enjoy it but i'm happy that i completed it
     

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