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Hello Everyone,

I have a friend who is considering persuing the field of computer science. She is 28 years old and wants to develop software programs for gaming as well as educational instruction. Her mathematical aptitude is at the pre-algebra level but she is very ambitious and sincere. I know nothing of this field so I thought it be best to get some very serious and honest input from those who "work in the field"

1) What are the prospects for a female in this field and will her age be a hinderance, meaning to old to start?

2) What classes will she need to take/concentrate in and how important is math and where does she stand?

3) What is the demand for software engineers like and average starting salary?

4) Should she persue a degree in computer science or engineering and what will she need a bachelor's or master's?

5) Is the field highly stressful or laid back?

6) What has been your ecperience in the field been like and what kind of advice would you offer?

I promised her that I would get her input from good people like yourselves who can give an honest picture so that she can make an informed decision based on your insight, knowledge and expertise.

Thank you for your dedication......Justine :lol:

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Last Post by iamthwee
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prealgebra level?

In the UK you need Alevel maths qualification to do computer science at university, and to do that you need to have had a good grade at GCSE level

(I study computing at AS level myself and have looked into this in detail for when i go to uni)

Rather than doing computer science (quite a bit of mathematical theory) she may be better off doing one of the many applied programming courses (mainly practical work which is assesed).

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In my field of Software Engineering, even though math comes easy for me, I never really needed very high-level math. I can take an equation and develop the code to compute the answer. In a sense, the equation is the description of the problem, and that's generally easily converted into code. But in graphics, math is relatively important -- you're always dealing with geometry and algebra. But on a team, you generally get the part of the project you're good at. If that's not math, that part goes to someone else.

As for female and age, should not be a problem.

Stressful or laid back? Yes. It can be both. As with any industry, when you have deadlines, there can be long hours and stress. At the beginning of projects it can be laid back, hectic, fun. Lots of good mental work figuring out the best way to handle the project, then design it. Then the coding starts.

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>> 3) What is the demand for software engineers like and average starting salary?
depends on where she lives. and it might vary in the same city. The industry is pretty saturated -- many jobs in USA are being outsorced to places like India and Japan where labor is cheap.

>>4) Should she persue a degree in computer science or engineering and what will she need a bachelor's or master's?
bachelor's will do, but master's will provide better chance of landing a pretty good and well-paying job. Computer programmer's are a dime a dozen today, so the more education the better.

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Hi guys,

Thanks for all the replies so far. It's great to have some input from people who are knowledgable in IT. She has her heart set on computer engineering/software development but I explained to her that she will probably need to develop her math skills. People have told me that you need to be well versed in calculus, trigonometry and algebra as well as linear math to do software development, so I don't know how true that is.

Outsourcing IT jobs, really? I thought the job prospects/security was good in the US for this field.

It's interesting to hear the standards in the UK, what made you decide to persue this field? Personally, for myself, I just like to dabble with computers. I believe that you have to be really cut out for this field, but I'm not in any position to discourage anyone from their dreams.

One thing she is looking for is good job security and from your description doesn't sound to secure and very competitive.

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in the uk theres tough competition
my dad works in IT and he knows his company wont take anyone without a 1st class degree

The calculus and triginomertry are essential for games development but most other programming just needs an understanding of operator precedence and algebra

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>1) What are the prospects for a female in this field and will her age be a hinderance, meaning to old to start?
Age and gender are irrelevant. The big killer will be her lack of mathematics skills. While some programmers can get away with basic arithmetic, programming is inherently based on algebraic concepts and notations. At the very least, a programmer should be familiar with algebra. Game programmers will have better luck with a strong foundation in geometry, calculus, and trigonometry because that's one of the more demanding fields.

>3) What is the demand for software engineers like and average starting salary?
Good developers are always in demand. The starting salary varies on the region, but in Atlanta an entry level programmer can expect to start around $40K.

>4) Should she persue a degree in computer science or engineering and
>what will she need a bachelor's or master's?
At least a BS is computer science will help immensely in getting a job. Naturally, the more education and experience she has, the better off she'll be. But time is usually an issue as well, so she'll have to use her judgement on when to stop taking classes and start learning from actually doing the work.

>5) Is the field highly stressful or laid back?
It depends on the field and the employer. My employer lets us be laid back, but the work is extremely demanding. It's good stress because it keeps us at our best without giving us health problems.

>6) What has been your ecperience in the field been like and what kind of advice would you offer?
My advice is to get used to being in a constant state of confusion.

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>6) What has been your ecperience in the field been like and what kind of advice would you offer?
My advice is to get used to being in a constant state of confusion.

Absolutely right. I have been working for my employer for about 8 years now and we have completely re-written the program three times due to hardware changes (upgrades with new os versions). And we are about to do it again in a couple months.

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Absolutely right. I have been working for my employer for about 8 years now and we have completely re-written the program three times due to hardware changes (upgrades with new os versions). And we are about to do it again in a couple months.

Good thing programmers are extremely adept at plagerism. ;)

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40k to start? That's surprising, I thought the IT industry is one of the highest paying. Many fields start you of with a higher salary, on 40k it would be hard to exist given the high cost of living. And if you live in a big city you will struggle......Justine

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>40k to start? That's surprising, I thought the IT industry is one of the highest paying.
Experience dictates your salary. When you have years under your belt and knowledge to back it up, you can command higher pay. I don't see why you would expect an entry level position in an easy to enter field to earn more than that.

>Many fields start you of with a higher salary
Such as? I'm willing to bet that they have a huge cost of learning, a fairly solid guarantee of quality in new hires, or a lot of danger. Programming has none of those.

>on 40k it would be hard to exist given the high cost of living
If you're talking about Atlanta, then it's BS. Most Atlantans live well on quite a bit less than 40K.

>And if you live in a big city you will struggle
So tell your "friend" to get into another field if it sounds that bad.

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I'm not one to tell my"friend" as YOU put it to go in to another field, that will be entirely her decision. Atlanta? if you want to live there and I'm sure that doesn't apply to all people in Atlanta, merely your opinion. We all have our opinions/views, you are entitled to your and the rest of us can have ours. I just don't agree with you, can you handle that.....Justine

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So are you two going to fight in every thread in which you have both posted:eek:

And offcourse I'm just joking...

Niek

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>I'm not one to tell my"friend" as YOU put it to go in to another field, that will be entirely her decision.
Well, then maybe you should offer her your opinion directly instead of making incorrect statements here, where she probably isn't paying attention.

>Atlanta?
Yes, Atlanta. The city that I was using for my estimate.

>if you want to live there and I'm sure that doesn't apply to all people in Atlanta, merely your opinion.
You said that people making 40K or less would struggle. Since my estimate was assuming the city of Atlanta, and I'm well aware that it's not the case, you're wrong. Unless, of course, you can gather an unbiased focus group that makes less than 40K in Atlanta and will admit that they struggle to survive.

>We all have our opinions/views, you are entitled to your and the rest of us can have ours.
Finally, you say something that I can't dispute.

>I just don't agree with you, can you handle that
I can handle it just fine. But I'm not going to sit quietly when I know that your opinion is wildly incorrect.

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is that 40k in dollars?

£40k is very good wage here in the uk

$40,000 USD is only worth about £20,000 in England. £40K is about $80K here, which is pretty good wages in most (but not all) usa.

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@Justine

I hope you realise that the game development field of Software development is very demanding. I don't want to seem pessimistic, but I am yet to see a professional game developer who didn't start coding at the age of 14-16.

To put it in a mild way, the people who develop games are maniacs...so if she wants to start game development at the age of 28 then good luck from me. (here I am assuming about PC game development using C++ / DirectX).

If your friend really has the talent, she can perform better in the other fields of software development like Web development ( PHP + MySQL ) wherein you get a job easily and at the same time you cna do freelancing given the volume of projects involving Webdevelopment.

Hope it helped, bye.

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Jeez, it doesn't matter if you started when you're 14 or 28. It doesn't matter if you're in New York or Atlanta. If you want to go into game programming, do it!

Start writing a few games yourself, learn what you can. Find someone in the field and ask if they will mentor you. That's the best thing you can do.

Forget the money. At the beginning, "they" will dictate how much you make. As you get better, you can slowly start dictating -- you have something to dictate with.

And don't be confused by the money thing. In New York, rent can run 2000-3000 a month, therefore salary must be $50,000 or greater. Where I'm at, you can find places for under $1000 so $30,000 is very doable.

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Narue- I'm not looking to argue with you because it's not worth my time. If you accept or reject my view that is your choice, either way it doesn't make a bit of difference to me. I am keeping my friend informed and again it will be her decision on what she decides to do. Your "opinion" on "most people in Atlanta" is wrong. When you interview "most people in the city" please tell us all your findings. My research with the cost of living and individual lifestyles prove you otherwise. Remember that not everyone shares your way of living as "adequate"

Thanks to the rest of you for all your input. Yes in the UK 80K is much different than 40k in the U.S. Try living on 40k in most big cities and try to raise a family. See how far you get....and I'm not talking about eating Mc Donalds chesseburgers to survive.......Justine

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One more thing keep in mid that after taxes Federal, State, Medicare and retirement plans etc....you will be making 30k instead of 40. In most major cities that won't even get you to 1st base. That is unless, you live in the ghetto and survive on Ramen Noodles, and if that's the case going to school for 4+ years doesn't sound to appealing or convincing.

S.O.S- Thanks for the info...I will let her know.

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>80 k sounds much better, like you mentioned.....
Okay, let's just change the rules and start paying more because Justine thought the average isn't enough. I'll inform all of the companies that employ programmers straight away. You asked for average starting salary and I gave it to you for my area. There's nothing to disagree on.

By the way, when I say 40K starting salary, I mean starting salary. That's for a brilliant person such as yourself just starting out in the field with no worth at all to a company except a resume that claims an ability to write code. A good programmer commands a great deal more, and it just goes up from there, especially if you have niche skills.

Well, since I'm a moderator and my actions reflect on Daniweb, I'll refrain from speaking my mind this time. Good day.

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clearly you have a problem reading or comprehending as you have a tendency to turn everything I say to your favor. Perhaps that gives you some esteem and purpose. Nothing I ever mentioned relates to your post. Good luck trying to start conflict...I'm finished with your ignorance.....Justine

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Well, since I'm a moderator and my actions reflect on Daniweb, I'll refrain from speaking my mind this time. Good day.

I knew that promoting Julienne to mod would come in handy one day.:mrgreen:

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The female I like the most on this board is Miss Innana -- really cool, all answers picture perfect, being helpful to all the people and above all stays away from debates..:D

Damn after reading the recent threads from other female members, I sure miss her.

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Damn after reading the recent threads from other female members, I sure miss her.

Are you trying to see if Narue can be pushed even further? :eek:

Niek

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Are you trying to see if Narue can be pushed even further?
Niek

Naa...its not like that, I don't hold anything against the other female members.

But you have to admit her way of posting sure was unique, I sure miss her.

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Anyone else whom we haven't heard from care to offer input to the original post? Thank you..............Justine

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programming is a very fun and complex field ;to get into.

I happen to really enjoy and love programming and have been dabling around in it ohhh since i was about 14ish (6th grade, not sure how old i was).

My first language was C, then C++, then i backed off and moved to HTML, then PHP+SQL and then Java-Script, then back to C# and VC++. (touched some actionscripting but did not like it at all).

I have a fairly diverse background in many languages and have a decent understanding of the type of work that one must be willing to start out doing. My father has been programming for many years now (he started around the time when punchcard programming was just going out of style) and is still programming today, he has no degree and makes out very nicely (works in san fran).

They pay range is as varied as the state you live in, you need to look it up online and decide if the money is right. but seriously dont let the money decide your job, if your friend really enjoys writing software or maybe firmware then let them get good at it to the point where they can make good money doing it.

they should be happy to go to work because they enjoy the atmosphere and what they do, the paycheck is nice but if you can learn to live within ones means then you can also learn to have nice things and not bust the bank.

i am just now graduating from college and hoping to start my career in programming, I dont expect to make more than 50k a year starting out, but in the bay area (around where i live) salleries pay much better than most areas. (in california, i cannot speak to the rest of the fine USofA).

programming is a very very fun thing to do and if you have the patience and mindset for it then you can do many wonderful things with your code.

Personally i think your friend should try it out and see if it is really for them.

They may find that they prefer to write device drivers, or that they prefer to design hardware (which uses much of the same logic as writing software code).

Personally i feel that when you find something you like to do a lot you can relate it to your everyday life. Often times i find myself thinking about programming, how i could do x or y thing, or about some algorithm i am currently working on. If your friend feels that way about programming (basically pasisonate) then they should puruse it.

its about being happy, and thats all that should matter.

what makes them happy in what they do!

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