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Ancient Dragon. I seem to recall that you mentioned once that you came to the world of programming being fairly mature.
I am not as old, but old enough to think that schooling might not be a solution. Is there any hope for a hobbyist like me, to someday get a entry position at coding.
What's should be, if any, the realistic goal I should persue?. Any comment?.

When I started out in 1985 the computer programming field was wide open. There just were not that many of us so it was not difficult to find jobs. After I retired from US Air Force I bought a book, cheap computer and began practicing. A couple months later I landed an entry level programming job at local temp agency and things went on from there. Now, however the field is flooded with programmers and companies can hire them a dime a dozen.

Your goal should be to make yourself stand out above the crowd. To do that you need all the education you can get -- a bachelors degree is desireable, masters is better. Ph.D. not any good at all unless you want to do research for some university or company like Microsoft -- way over qualified for most programming jobs.

Most entry level jobs today require either a college degree or a lot of experience. If you are under 50 years old with little or no practical programming experience I would strongly suggest getting your rear end into college and get that degree. I don't know how true it is but I have heard many companies will not hire older people because they can get young recruits directly out of college for a lot less money then they might have to pay an older person with a spouse and family to support. In USA that might be more true on both coasts then in the midwest where I live.

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No not really..... I know lots of people who never study, myself included...

Well then you must be gifted.

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Most entry level jobs today require either a college degree or a lot of experience. If you are under 50 years old with little or no practical programming experience I would strongly suggest getting your rear end into college and get that degree. I don't know how true it is but I have heard many companies will not hire older people because they can get young recruits directly out of college for a lot less money then they might have to pay an older person with a spouse and family to support. In USA that might be more true on both coasts then in the midwest where I live.

I think they also favor the younger crowd a little hoping to get a longer time return on what training they put into their recruits. If you keep 'em happy, they'll stay longer, which can be cost-effective in an industry with a really high turnover. And at least on the west coast, they're not afraid to pay college recruits well either :icon_wink:

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Well then you must be gifted.

Different learning style. If I pay attention in lecture and use the material on homeworks or projects, I'll remember it for at least the whole term (some things fade away with time...). That, and my personal belief that finals are a way to measure what I've learned over the quarter rather than the 48 hours leading up to the test, makes finals week fun. I do whatever I want except for the two hours per test... and yes, I do pass my classes as well :P

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Comprehension is better than memorization
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>who would you hire?
The best one for the job. You see, at that point the certification is useless because they'll already have made it to the interview on their experience (otherwise your situation is nonsensical). Any decent interviewer won't care what certifications you have because he or she will be able to ask questions and provide problems that tell so much more about a candidate's suitability than a passing test score.

She is saying that both candidates are the exact same other than the candidate who does not posses the certification.. in that situation, even though I have never hired anyone myself, it is logical to assume that the person with the certification would get the job. However, it is highly unlikely that such a situation would exist.

No not really..... I know lots of people who never study, myself included...

haha.. I agree. Every vocabulary test I have ever taken, all I do is cram during passing period, and I get a 100%... this is probably why I did so crappy on the reading section of the SAT lol.. And again, mathematics is a perfect example.. can you really study for it? Well, I never have.. and I always did well (highest gpa in Calc 2: integration and differential calculus). So, certifications may not always prove someone's ability..

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Finally, someone understands.
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I tend to look at certifications as a very good foot in the door. Honestly, I can't see a company hiring a guy with 15 years experience and no certs over a CCIE or MCSE with 10 years. Experience is definitely a key factor in job placement, though certifications will most likely put anyone ahead of the game. I mean, if certifications are useless... what are there so many vendor specific certs?

If I'm a CIO and my network is run completely off Cisco equipment, then you better believe I'm going to hire the CCIE with 10 years experience most likely using Cisco equipment over the guy with 15 years experience doing who knows what.

If certifications didn't mean anything, college courses wouldn't be geared towards attaining them, major vendors wouldn't worry about getting people certified in their product, and the average salary of a MISM would be higher than a CCIE.

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I agree.
Well said.
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I agree.

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i'm going to do the cliche thing and give you rep for agreeing with me... for some reason this is frowned upon by certain people. :)
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I tend to look at certifications as a very good foot in the door. Honestly, I can't see a company hiring a guy with 15 years experience and no certs over a CCIE or MCSE with 10 years. Experience is definitely a key factor in job placement, though certifications will most likely put anyone ahead of the game. I mean, if certifications are useless... what are there so many vendor specific certs?

Ok, I know a guy who has about 15 years (possibly a couple less) at a large corporation. Never had a cert. Senior netword admin, could easily pass the CCIE if he wanted to. But why bother? You think he'd get passed over for a job because he doesn't have a piece of paper?

And a reason to have so many certs: the vendors make money off 'em. 'Nuff said.

If I'm a CIO and my network is run completely off Cisco equipment, then you better believe I'm going to hire the CCIE with 10 years experience most likely using Cisco equipment over the guy with 15 years experience doing who knows what.

"Who knows what" would be revealed during the interview process. If you have two sufficiently experienced people, you choose the better one. Maybe the guy without the certs has something else under his belt from those other 5 years. And having a wider experience is usually thought to be a good thing. Specifics can be learned rather quickly, really. One of the greatest things about my upcoming job: I'll be working with stuff I've never used before. And everyone's OK with that. :icon_wink:

If certifications didn't mean anything, college courses wouldn't be geared towards attaining them, major vendors wouldn't worry about getting people certified in their product, and the average salary of a MISM would be higher than a CCIE.

Colleges are meant to get you started on a career, not jump into the middle of one. Once you've got a few years experience, the certs just don't matter anymore; the material is all common knowledge among your peers. I'd also point out the difference between a technical college, which might strive towards a certification system, and a university, which should not push any certifications whatsoever. It's two very different methods of instruction: one teaches you facts, the other teaches you how to seek and apply knowledge. Yes, I'm biased on this.

[edit:] Good God! Who the hell gets/gives rep for a post "I agree"? Oh wait, I guess I could figure that out easy enough. Rep (previously demonstrated by experience) is worth less than the .gif icons used to display it...

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>She is saying that both candidates are the exact same other than the
>candidate who does not posses the certification..
Exactly identical in every humanly possible way except for a certification? If you break it down like that then the certification would act as a tie breaker. But unless you remove the human element (an extremely bad idea) that's an impossible situation.

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haha.. I agree. Every vocabulary test I have ever taken, all I do is cram during passing period, and I get a 100%... this is probably why I did so crappy on the reading section of the SAT lol.. And again, mathematics is a perfect example.. can you really study for it? Well, I never have.. and I always did well (highest gpa in Calc 2: integration and differential calculus). So, certifications may not always prove someone's ability..

I can understand why some one would study for history or something like that, but how can you study for math? Maybe I am weird but generally I never remember any history or anything like that but perfectly remember math equations.

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Exactly identical in every humanly possible way except for a certification? If you break it down like that then the certification would act as a tie breaker. But unless you remove the human element (an extremely bad idea) that's an impossible situation.

Which is why I said: "However, it is highly unlikely that such a situation would exist."

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i like certifications because it's a reassurance to myself as well.


I disagree that certifications are useless though. Yeah you might have a dud who just memorized questions, but so what... fire him. And actually, people complained to Cisco a couple years back saying hey you're certifying these people in your product, and when they get on the job they don't know anything. After hearing this, Cisco made the test much harder (comparitavely) because of the reputation of the certs they offer. So I doubt it's soley for the money they bring in. Now if we're talking money because of "hey i'm certified in cisco so lets buy cisco" then yes, deffinitely. And i agree, after 10 years experience, the certs you had are useless which is why you renew them with new technologies. If nothing else, certifications (the peice of paper) show that you're willing to research new technologies indepth and put them to practice, keeping the company you work for up to par with the competition.

I know first hand that certifications aren't useless. I work for probably the biggest water plant design engineering firm in the sate. I was given a very generous raise for the sole reason that I passed my cert exams. And that's not just a theory...

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Good for you.
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back to the topic:

Going on the assumption that the 3/4 of us posting aren't wrong, which certification would you like to attain? I'm looking very forward to taking my CCIE exams, though they're four years or so down the road.

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Well, I can say that there are a lot of people that don't study for exams at all, out of the CCNA/CCNP/Microsoft tests I've taken, I have not once 'studied' for the test. In fact, I've walked in during my lunch breaks for the Microsoft tests, and have passed. Personally, I would never take a position which utilized any of the skills they 'tested' in the certification, because I know I don't have the qualifications to make it work. This reason alone is why I'm very impressed with the Red Hat way of performance testing for certifications, and even though Narue seems to think that certifications do not matter at all, I will respectfully disagree. There are a lot of companies that pay for such training, and even though the certification itself may not mean anything, the training involved in getting the certification is usually where the benefit is, and if you took the training, why not just get the piece of paper that says you understood it?

Many companies would never hire someone with a certification over someone who has experience, but a certification should be looked at as a means to an end, not the end. It will get you the interview, your knowledge, skillset, and experience will get you the job.

On a side note, there arn't many certifications for programmers, and most of the ones I've seen arn't really recognized. Most of the certifications that will do anything at all are designed for system administrators and application specific handling.

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Well, it really depends on the mindset of the person, the RHCE and RHCT certifications "shouldn't" be hard for someone that uses Linux on a regular basis, but they do provide enough of a challenge that those who study the book, without hands on experience, won't be able to perform the tasks.

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Okay, and if you have no linux experience?

Well, it really depends on the mindset of the person, the RHCE and RHCT certifications "shouldn't" be hard for someone that uses Linux on a regular basis, but they do provide enough of a challenge that those who study the book, without hands on experience, won't be able to perform the tasks.

:icon_wink:

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get arch linux and pull your hair out? (if your a n00b that is)

Are you really interested in linux? Im sure everyone here would be happy to help you....

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Easiest way is to grab yourself a copy of Microsoft Virtual PC (free) and the Ubuntu Server edition ISO image.

This (you need 1gb ram!+) means you can run a linux server for playing about with, from within windows XP, at no risk to your computer

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I use VirtualPC 2007. I disagree. Right now im hosting my gaming clans server on a VM. Its currently coping just fine with 64 players.

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.. I need to download that then. I tried using apache to host a server, but damn.. that thing is a bitch to install. It was so difficult in 64-bit version of windows that I had to e-mail the support people, and they couldn't help me at all :(

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haha yea.. just found out that the JRE and flash browser plugins are not signed, and are incompatible with vista x64. I dunno why b/c xp pro x64 can install almost anything.

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Why install on vista?

Ive got a debian LAMP server running in virtual PC here - just allocate 256 ram for it. Took under 1 hour

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