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ok, lemme start off by saying I'm ill and tired. My face is sweating - rest of me is shivering.

But none the less it's time to apply for uni! I'm so confused, I want(ed) to do software developing as a career. I also want to move out. Everyone is yelling uni so I figure look into it. I did, every uni I looked at wanted A Level Maths (I'm doing BTEC National Dip in ICT and did AS psychology last year). So I think fark, another year at college if I start the maths this year, which I have.

But I had a brain wave, web development- doesn't need maths (working how much i do plus a BTEC + AS will kill me if this week is anything to go by), unfortunatly you need creativity to do that really, I'm not too high on that. I'm an A grade student, but always fall down at the designing part. Coding, problem solving all that? woho! With me still?

So I start looking up web developing, and end up back at software devloping and this time NONE of the uni's I look at want A Level maths (WTF? *confused*). See here:

http://courses.bournemouth.ac.uk/3details.asp?programmeCode=BSSE

http://www.hull.ac.uk/05/undergraduate/courses/computersci/index.html

http://www.uwic.ac.uk/courses/IT/Software_Development.asp

(I'm not being braindead am i? they don't want maths do they? other than GCSE and I have that).

So what do you think? Web developing but suck at the design (and it's a shorter course in general) or software and go to a uni that doesn't ask for maths? I was going to go to edingbugh http://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/undergraduate/finder/degree.html?id=0,9,G600 'cause it's cheaper - half price infact. I feel like I'm talking to brick walls at college. Help help help

[/sick, tired, ill rant is over]

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I hope you get well soon :P
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    A degree can certainly help (though it doesn't have to be a degree in computer related stuff, in fact the vast majority of people in the industry have degrees in other fields). But the danger of a degree (the higher the degree, the more real the danger) is that the … Read More

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>>I'm ill and tired. My face is sweating - rest of me is shivering
Hope you get over that cold soon -- I'm just now recovering from one. It'll probably be another month before I can get a flue shot. We're pretty big on flue shots over here.

Here in USA some schools require lots of math and others don't -- depends on whether the school offers IT programs as part of the math department or business department. Myself, I spent my whole career without using more than algebra and trig. But you will probably need a lot more math if you want to work for games designers and others that make heavy use of graphics. And you will want other courses as well depending on the fields you want to work in -- for example is you want to work in medical field programming for pharmists, chemists, or doctors then you need to know a lot of medical terms. If you want to work for economists and banks then you need a to know a lot about money and banking. Just knowing how to code in a computer language is not good enough -- you need to also know about the field you are working for. Programmers don't work in a vacuum. Choose your college minor very carefully, and possibly get duel majors.

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But I had a brain wave, web development- doesn't need maths

I was always under the impression that web developers were laughed at by "real" programmers. (oh and whats A level math? Calculus?)

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>I was always under the impression that web developers were laughed at by "real" programmers. (

and all the "cool" people laugh at me *shrugs*

I feel better for the record.

AD, the systems alittle differnt here, i think it goes foundation degree (2 years), bacholers(3 or 4 year) masters (4 or 5). The course I want to do will give me a BSc (Bacholors) in which ever field.

Today I officially dropped maths. Because I like the look of Manchets Met uni and Lincoln uni, neither of which ask for maths. It feels so good to have 2 days off a week, i spent it trying to skateboard with my mate in the rain. Brliiant. more fridays like this please. I chose sanity over education. Woot!

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I was always under the impression that web developers were laughed at by "real" programmers. (oh and whats A level math? Calculus?)

The typical "web developer" is a kid who knows a bit of Javascript and CSS, and goes around calling himself "programmer" and "developer". They're laughed at for they aren't.
Then there's the "web designer", typically a kid who took a 3 day course to use Frontpage and Photoshop.

There are good ones, but they generally don't care about titles (as do most professional programmers worth their salary).

I've major problems with everyone going to university to learn to become a "developer". Almost to a person they end up with heads full of theory that doesn't match real world practice one bit, and utterly unwilling to accept that fact.
They sit there in their ivory towers pumping out unworkable designs and not listening to people with a decade or more of experience in doing real work in the industry because those people don't have a degree in "computer science" or something.
They also expect to become instant project managers the moment they graduate, instead of having to earn a reputation and gain experience in the trenches like the rest of us.

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I agree with Jwenting, but when I say i'd rather do an apprentiship style job, they look at me as if i've got 2 heads. Experience is waht people look for but how do you get that to start with?

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You start by accepting an entry-level position, which will probably consist of boring work like maintaining existing programs. As jtwending said most college graduages with bachelors and even masters degrees don't really know programming. Yes, they may know the language(s) but that is not the same as programming. The difference between someone with a degree and someone without a degree is that the person with the degree will probably advance in his/her career faster and be offered more opportunities than the person without a degree. So the degree is not totally useless.

And whether your degree path requires lots of math or not depends on what type of programming you like to do. Graphics, scientists, medical, economists, and many other fields need programmers with quite a bit of math. General business type programs require only college algebra and maybe some trig.

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All the ones ive looked at (Kingston, Portsmouth) will take you for comp/sci if you have a B in computing instead of maths. If you did good in BTEC it should be ok.

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A degree can certainly help (though it doesn't have to be a degree in computer related stuff, in fact the vast majority of people in the industry have degrees in other fields).
But the danger of a degree (the higher the degree, the more real the danger) is that the person will have an attitude of superiority to those who have no (or lower) degrees, and an unwillingness to listen to them even if they have far more experience in the field (they think they know it all BECAUSE they have a degree).
And that attitude is actually taught at universities. I've experienced it myself (one reason though not the main one I switched to another institution and went for a BSc instead of PhD in physics). At university the attitude was clear and open: we do the thinking, the BSc guys turn that thinking into ideas for machines, and the guys without degrees make those things.
The same is true for IT related studies. Many university grads with their masters degrees think they know it all, that the bachelors and people without degrees are there solely to put their brilliant ideas into code to create a working application.

Those who don't have that attitude problem and are willing to work alongside those who have less prestigious acronyms after their names but years of experience often make fine developers.
Those with that attitude problem will find themselves hated and ignored, though in their ivory towers they probably hardly notice it as they usually choose to communicate with the rest of the company only through the documents they pass down, not to have direct contact with anyone outside their own circle of Greatness.

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Another wonderful distillation.
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I agree with Jwenting, but when I say i'd rather do an apprentiship style job, they look at me as if i've got 2 heads. Experience is waht people look for but how do you get that to start with?

How do you get experience in development?

What languages do you currently know/use? Find one you like (I suggest reading up, downloading and trying some out).

Once you've picked a starting point (I'd recommend Python for starters, but whatever floats your boat really) maybe try downloading an open source project and messin round; try to add a new feature, change the way something works etc.

Get your hands dirty; if you get good maybe you can submit a patch to a project. I know its not 'real' work (as in you don't get a cheque) but its something to talk about in a job interview.

There are fantastic tools freely available, lots of projects to get involved with and lots of documentation (even in the form of blogs/howtos/snippets as well as more formal stuff).

One other thing (and some people will probably flame me); If i were you I wouldn't get too used to an IDE. Get a text editor and start with the basics; if you use an IDE later on fair enough but learn how to do it from scratch first.

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And to get experience take on entry level jobs doing unglamorous programming jobs.
The language and environment hardly matter at all, what matters is that you're doing it for pay, in a corporate environment under the oversight of more experienced people who can and will teach you a lot if you show yourself willing to learn and work both, and not to be an arrogant kid who thinks he knows it all because he has a piece of paper saying he knows it all.
Some advise from the trenches for the fresh graduates: the moment you get that first job you start at the bottom rung of the ladder and that diploma/degree is just so much waste paper as far as your colleagues are concerned. Most will have degrees of their own in something, all have started at the bottom of the pile. Almost none of them care one bit about your degree, unless and until you have proven yourself where it really counts, working under pressure of a deadline or with customer support breathing down your neck because the company stands to loose a few millions an hour until you get that bugfix out (yes, I've been there).
Later, when you have earned your place, there will be talk about who did what during their stay at universities and other educational institutions. But that will be social talk, relating more to who met who as a student (and if you have some real oldtimers, who had who as a professor whom they'd met as fellow students).

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The language and environment hardly matter at all, what matters is that you're doing it for pay, in a corporate environment under the oversight of more experienced people who can and will teach you a lot if you show yourself willing to learn and work both, and not to be an arrogant kid who thinks he knows it all because he has a piece of paper saying he knows it all.

Well, one of my supervisors at work is training me to be a supervisor (against the rules, i'm too young but what the hell lol) because "if someone wants to learn then why not?" So I got the "want to learn" bit down pat.

I like pty's idea, over the summer I thought I'd look into java/c++ so I DL some ebooks on Java. Problem is can't really concentrate on a computer screen, and reading stuff like that from a book is hella confusing (me audio/visual learner it would seem).

Alot of people say go to uni for the experience of it. Seems bloody expensive for an experience in socialising.

That reminds me, my driving instructor said that big IT bosses are sending graduates on social skills courses because they lack them, not sure if he was winding me up...

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I like pty's idea, over the summer I thought I'd look into java/c++ so I DL some ebooks on Java. Problem is can't really concentrate on a computer screen, and reading stuff like that from a book is hella confusing (me audio/visual learner it would seem).

Honestly, if that is the case you probably need to drop any thoughts of working in development at all. The ability to learn new things constantly from the available resources (i.e. the internet, books, etc) is one of the few underpinnings all development jobs (perhaps even all IT jobs) rely on. You don't just learn a couple of things from a class and go on to a career using those few things covered - you learn all the time and the day you stop is the day you are done with that career.

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