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76

I am going to go out on a limb here and say something that is not likely to be the answer you want to hear, but if you don't like management, your career path is going to be very limited. If what you like to do is code, and if you are really good at it, and you don't want to stop, then your career path is on a single trajectory: software engineer and then ...


59

You never have to stop programming, ever, as long as you are enjoying what you are doing. However, your organization might have a ceiling that you reach, and you simply can't go into a higher position or obtain a greater salary unless you leave the company or leave programming and move into a leadership role as a manager or technical lead.


48

It might be too late for this summer, but get yourself into an internship ASAP. I can't stress that enough. Most new grads are on approximately equal footing on the technical knowledge side, and frankly a little extra studying is unlikely to distinguish you. Where you can potentially stand out is on the process and tools side that they don't teach in ...


48

Job titles in the Information Technology field get so mangled. You've got code ninjas, code monkeys, wizards, gurus, software engineers (only in some states), architects, developers, programmers and almost every other way to describe a programmer. There are some that consider a programmer to just be someone who writes code. Just that. This perception is ...


43

You can look at this as either a as time in limbo; or you can turn it into an opportunity to grow. The core idea of being a maintenance developer is to put yourself out of a job. Each time you have to fix something; take the time to understand the problem well enough so that your solution (which could come a few weeks after you put out the fire) means you ...


32

I used to feel guilty about moving on and leaving people in the lurch before I watched people be laid off or fired by the company that were critical to ongoing projects for reasons that had nothing to do with their performance. The company doesn't care about you and it will be able to replace you if it chooses to. So you must look out for yourself. ...


29

Depends on the sort of company you work for. Many companies don't value talented, experienced developers as highly as managers, and will never reward them to the same level <- This is not the sort of company people like you should be working for. Other (usually more tech-focused) companies will value their developers more, and staying in technology ...


28

Speaking as a 50 year old who has had different career paths throughout life, I can tell you with confidence that what you want to do is entirely in your own hands. Don't listen to those who say that only the young can be good programmers, that is entirely untrue. Often times a person who has had other experiences to bring other than just coding will ...


28

I'm inclined (having made the switch in the opposite direction) is that your mileage may vary. Both languages are very similar, but arguably C# has more language features. You won't have access to LINQ, and you'll trade one set of partially consistent APIs for another (both have inconsistencies). Your complaints are mostly around the software development ...


28

What do others of you do when you are a critical to a project when it's time to move on? Move on. Whenever you think that you are indispensable, I recommend that you go get a glass, fill it with water and stick your finger in it. If you truely are indispensable, then when you pull your finger out you will leave a hole. I made the mistake when I was ...


26

Speaking as a former developer who is now a Development Manager: The first thing I'd say is that most developers don't understand how most managers spend their time. When I left my last role (Development Manager) one of my senior developers took the position and commented to me a couple of months after taking over that he really had no idea how much stuff ...


26

This is unfortunately a common problem. A lot of people see the "natural" progression of software developers to be from coder -> developer -> manager. This isn't always the best for either the person or the company. People who are good developers don't always make good managers and good managers aren't necessarily good developers (though having some ...


25

You can expect to meet a lot of annoying overconfident co-workers, clueless managers, and maybe if you're lucky enough, a smart fellow here and there. Oh, and yes, your studying efforts are very commendable.


25

Short version : working with C++ on Android is possible and easier with each Android SDK/NDK version, but it's harder than working with Java. Long version : For each version, Google adds more functionalities to Android Native Development Kit and makes it more and more independant on the Java code. Read http://developer.android.com/sdk/ndk/overview.html ...


18

At my company, the management and individual contributor tracks are separate and mostly parallel. Individual contributors can rise very high in the company (up to Technical Fellow) without being a people manager. It helps to partially avoid the Peter Principle, though never completely.


17

Although Architect seems to have negative connotations, I think that's the technical equivalent of moving to management.


17

Look at the case of Grace Hopper. She continued to work with programming until her death at 85. I remember seeing a 60 minutes special on her many years ago, she was a fascinating person. If you have a passion for doing something, then age is not a factor. For what it's worth, I'm over 50 and see no reason to stop doing what I enjoy. There is still ...


16

Get involved in an open-source project. That way you can point potential employers at patches you have contributed to actual, published software. Put together a website with a few examples of small apps you have built yourself, preferably where you can also show the source.


16

I was wondering if anyone else has gone down this same path... and if so, if you have any advice for me regarding this career change? Yes, I went down that path. My advice is to consider very carefully whether you want to move away from doing something where you can say, "I make great money and I love what i do," and into something you've never done ...


16

One thing to consider is how many will hire a 50 or 60 year old programmer? If all you do is code I don't think there are nearly as many jobs available for an older coder as compared to a early twenties to late thirties coder. One reason I know this exists (I have asked others in charge of hiring) is that a 40 year old manager is a bit weary of someone 15 ...


16

Start-ups typically need generalists. Jack of all trades. At least for early stage start-ups, a database specialist is too specific in my eyes, and ends up being a burden to the team. Other tasks end up stacking up, and if your queue is empty and the money is running out, it's a clear choice. In later stages, perhaps it's more important (scaling a ...


15

Your age shouldn't be a consideration here. I did't get my first programming job until I was 28. I graduated from college with an MBA, specializing in Finance. But for the last 20+ years, I've been writing software. When I hire developers, I generally am not impressed with people who have a CS type degree or any type of 'programming' degree or certificate. ...


15

3-6 months of coding experience without a background in the fundamentals of computing really isn't going to get you far. Here's what you could try, but you need to patience to sail through: Work on an open source project thats relevant to your line of work. Make sure that its an active project where you may solicit feedback for your changes from other ...


15

Title "Software engineer" and "application developer" are pretty much the same title. At this level, I would be very surprised if any future hiring organization even noticed the difference on your resume. The more important difference may be the role within the company - companies often have specific titles that reflect how people in the company do their ...


15

Being a maintenance developer != being left on the bench. Maintenance dev work can be some of the most frustrating, painful and annoying work in the world as you fix the weird issues the original developer missed. It can also be some of the most rewarding, both personally and professionally, and educational work you can do. If you can take out a bug that's ...


15

Is a career in software development doomed to being a second-rate support citizen? In many companies, yes. The fact of the matter is that software development is a second-rate citizen in many companies, since software "isn't what makes the company money". Car companies don't sell software, they sell cars. Restaurants don't sell software, they sell ...


14

There is not a whole lot of info to go off of, but I'd say in general, that a move to a smaller development shop is a good one, given the circumstances you describe. You will get a greater breadth of experience plus have potentially more oportunity to take on greater responsiblity if you want it. These experiences alone, no doubt, will give you a lot of ...


14

Depending on how closely languages X and Y are related, you might not be able to qualify as a senior developer using language Y immediately. Different languages/programming environments will almost certainly cause a drop in development efficiency, as you progress up the learning curve. Depending on the availability of experienced programmers in language Y, ...


13

Just because you can write English, doesn't mean you can write (good) poetry. If I was pedantic, I would say that programming is just process of expressing ideas and design into a code. It is the process of getting those ideas and figuring out the design which is the most important and problematic part. If you have the design done, writing it down in ...



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