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General Chat Thread, Part-time computer programming courses? in General; I have recently been thinking more and more about going down the line of computer programming/software development. I lightly covered ...
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    Question Part-time computer programming courses?

    I have recently been thinking more and more about going down the line of computer programming/software development. I lightly covered the subject in my college days and it was one of my subjects in my first year of university. However, I never pursued the subject as an area to learn or work in but it was something that I particularly enjoyed when I did touch on it.

    I was wondering if anyone has any recommendations regarding places to study and what subject to cover as a lot of establishments name their course differently even though the bulk of the material appears to be the same. The course would have to be part-time or distance learning as I can not give up my current line of work to pursue this and if I had to travel to a campus from time to time it would have to be local (North east - Newcastle, Durham).

    I am also rather restricted when it comes to funding the course so the cheaper the better but that being said, I am a firm believer in 'you get what you pay for'.

    I know this is a lot to ask but I am not really expecting exact answer to what I should study and where, more just some friendly tips and pointers.

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    mac_shinobi (29th May 2012)

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    Steve21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by petay87 View Post
    I know this is a lot to ask but I am not really expecting exact answer to what I should study and where, more just some friendly tips and pointers.
    Honestly would say don't bother with a course, if you're only wanting to do it part-time/cheaply etc. You can easily pick up a lot of skills and learn it from doing it at home, and all those hours spent getting to the part-time courses etc could easily be spent doing additional learning.

    There's plently of sites that help with coding nowadays too, from the silly to the complex. Pretty much anything you want to find is online if you look for it nowadays.

    Best idea "imo" would be plan to learn something in terms of software (e.g. I want to make a multiplayer game), Work the basics, learning how to make it, and how to improve it.

    Then when you think it's good/usable, look to improve it. make it networkable/internetable, mmo, p2p etc etc. You'll learn a lot more trying to do something like that than sitting in a course that starts from scratch teaching you how to add two numbers etc

    Personal opinion, but meh

    Steve

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    Thanks Steve,

    I have looked at a lot of online tutorials and such in the past and would like to think that I have the basics of C++ down but it is something that I would eventually like to make a career out of and so would having a qualification in the subject not help with employability at the end of it all?

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    Quote Originally Posted by petay87 View Post
    Thanks Steve,

    I have looked at a lot of online tutorials and such in the past and would like to think that I have the basics of C++ down but it is something that I would eventually like to make a career out of and so would having a qualification in the subject not help with employability at the end of it all?
    It depends really, what qualification are you aiming for? I assumed you meant just a programming course, and seeing most courses that aren't uni based etc won't give any qualifications, and with software development they'd want to see your qualification related to it as such.

    Steve

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    Have a look Home - The National Skills Academy for IT there are a lot of courses in c# and java but only a few for php.

    But you also have access to other courses to build up your knowledge in other areas like project management, which be better than just a straight programmer
    it currently £95 for a annual subscription (offer runs out in about 10 days).

    Programming is about ability and understanding rather than just passing an exam.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve21 View Post
    It depends really, what qualification are you aiming for? I assumed you meant just a programming course, and seeing most courses that aren't uni based etc won't give any qualifications, and with software development they'd want to see your qualification related to it as such.

    Steve
    Good question, I suppose I should see what qualifications certain jobs are looking for first then make my decision based on that.

    So in effect decide what I want to become first then find out how to get there.

    Programming is about ability and understanding rather than just passing an exam.
    I think this is true for most areas of work as learning to adapt to your environment is better than partially learning every environment and not being truely comfortable is any.
    Last edited by petay87; 28th May 2012 at 05:27 PM.

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    I started an online course for free at Udacity - Free Classes. Awesome Instructors. Inspiring Community. and was really impressed,
    but had to drop out about half-way through due to family issues.

    https://www.coursera.org/ also worth looking at.

  9. 3 Thanks to tumbleweed:

    mac_shinobi (29th May 2012), petay87 (29th May 2012), reggiep (29th May 2012)

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    I started an online course for free at Udacity - Free Classes. Awesome Instructors. Inspiring Community.
    Wow that looks really good so far, thanks for the heads up, I'll take a look at it and probably try one of the course to see if its something worth pursuing as a career.

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    bondbill2k2's Avatar
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    For the basics it may be worth looking at Learn to code | Codecademy

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    petay87 (29th May 2012)

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    Quote Originally Posted by petay87 View Post
    it is something that I would eventually like to make a career out of and so would having a qualification in the subject not help with employability at the end of it all?
    A portfolio of succesfully completed real-world projects would probably help more. Pick a software development task that's interesting / worthwhile and get on and start writing software. You don't neccesarily have to aim for "employability" to make a living, either, you can simply write and sell your own software.

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    A portfolio of succesfully completed real-world projects would probably help more. Pick a software development task that's interesting / worthwhile and get on and start writing software. You don't neccesarily have to aim for "employability" to make a living, either, you can simply write and sell your own software.
    That makes sense seen as though work you have done is a far better attribute than work you might be able to do because your qualifications say so. However, this said, I wouldn't have a clue where to start selling my own software and would that not involve a lot of research in to the legality of the software or rather eliminating any comeback on yourself?

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    Quote Originally Posted by petay87 View Post
    I wouldn't have a clue where to start selling my own software and would that not involve a lot of research in to the legality of the software or rather eliminating any comeback on yourself?
    This is where ready-made software licenses such The GNU General Public License come in. You can develope an open source solution (and, of course, use all the available open source libraries you like) and charge instead for associated services - installation or custom feature development, maybe. Or you could develope Android or iOS apps, or of course simply develope your software with a web-based front end and charge for subscriptions or particular features on a website.

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    petay87 (29th May 2012)

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    Quote Originally Posted by petay87 View Post
    Thanks Steve,

    I have looked at a lot of online tutorials and such in the past and would like to think that I have the basics of C++ down but it is something that I would eventually like to make a career out of and so would having a qualification in the subject not help with employability at the end of it all?
    Yes and no (helpful 'eh!). For an entry level position a qualification might get you to interview but even there, experience will top it. It's quite easy to get involved in open source projects and build up some experience that way. I'd be more impressed by someone who had made decent contributions to such projects than someone with no experience but claiming a qualification. Perhaps I'm a bit biased though - every year we run a university placement post and every year when we interview I ask students who claim to have achieved high marks in a programming course ... "What is a variable?". I've only had one that gave a satisfactory answer!

    That said, I've heard good things about some of the Open University programming modules ... but then again I've also heard some bad things!

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