Hello all a bit of a navel gazing post but I could do with bouncing some opinion off of some people. Excuse the long post.

A quick bit of background.

I'm 32 and have been programming for about 10 years on and off. My degrees are all in applied mathematics hence the programming has primarily been numerical based. I started off in Matlab, then moved to FORTRAN when I was doing a PhD that I spent years doing and did complete due to several stupid reasons, but that's another story! During this time I also did a lot of Bash scripting to tie things together and a little python.

I now work for a company doing very simple but relatively interesting engineering models programed in Fortran and little C++. The C++ is mainly bug fixing, customization of hardware I/O routines, no real development, Fortran is where the main devel happens. I've been learning C++ on and off for about 2 years, done some small test programs, tried a bit of QT and Boost, read plenty of "best practice" e.t.c. but of course I haven't developed that much knowledge as I'm not doing it everyday, hence I'm pretty slow on c++ and spend a fair while looking up stuff when I have a task to complete. I like programming and when I am involved in a problem I definitely enjoy it and I enjoy learning new theoretical aspects of programming but I definitely don't LOVE it. After spending 8-10 hours at work programming motivation to do a big project in the evenings and w/e is not that high. I want to be outside a bit during time off! I tend to spend my evening and w/e learning orthogonal engineering areas, such as electronics or take a generator apart e.t.c rather than program. It really is minimal projects or tutorial I follow when I do program in the evening.

I'm in a dead end with my job but am unable to move on because of my limited experience, but its all I can do. Engineering programing jobs seem to require C++ gurus. I feel like I should just give up on programming as I'm never going to become a guru at my age but what to do for a living? I've worked hard and made sacrifices, have good and knowledge over a broad area but still seem unemployable. I'd ideally like to work for myself but need a defined service to sell. The thing I like least about programming is probably the sedentary nature of it, but that's modern life.

I guess I'm looking for idea for a way forward. Give up programming and try something else? If I give it up, try something else and decide to come back to it will that be impossible?

UK based if at all relevant.

Hi there,

I'd like to say firstly, don't stop. You obviously have a nack for it. I would suggest looking into getting some extra qualifications with C++, as your in the UK maybe try getting some MTAs?

Also working for yourself is all fine and dandy but you have to find customers and regular jobs. So for the most part I'd suggest stickout your boring job but push yourself more to learn.

Sorry that's all I can really offer for advice atm.

Are MTAs taken seroiksely, I've never seen them in job adds.

Re selfemployment not resulting a steady line of work, well, I've delt with that before and nevery really had a problem with it, it would be more trying to get any work by myself, its the identifying the marketable solution I can offer. If you're a plumber its easy, software is less well defined and hence harder to define your niche.

Member Avatar

If you're not motivated to learn the very thing that will open up doors for you, I don't know what you want us to suggest. Do you need to be a 'guru' to move on? Of all the employed C++ programmers out there, I wonder how many of them would be classed as gurus. That's no offence to C++ programmers, I imagine that it would be the same situation for all languages.

I'd love a job in back-end web development, but I'm not committed to giving up my reasonably well-paid job at the moment. If the time comes, then I'll spend all my spare time boning up on the skills required to secure a job. Investing in courses may benefit you if you lack the motivation to do it by your lonesome.

If you're not motivated to learn the very thing that will open up doors for you

Its a good point, I think my motivation is low it seems to be an impossible task, I've done the 15 hrs a day 7 days a weeks sitting at a computer working thing before and it got me nowhere but drove me crazy! Hence my inability to spend all my free time doing what I do during my work day. Looking for alternative ways to progress.

  1. I guess I'm after some ideas of alternative technical jobs or avenues to explore

  2. Peoples opinions and experiences of leaving programming and the coming back. Were you blanked out or did companies except a change in job for a while?