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Does taking IT help immensely in a Programming Job in the future?

Does Informational Technology (Linux) help at all with Programming (Python)? I've enrolled in an IT 101 course, and I'm getting second thoughts on whether or not I've been tricked into an advertisement or I'm gaining purposeful knowledge.

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Chiranjib’s Answer

Hi Jack

Linux/Unix skills are very essential as far as software development is concerned. Sure, Python, as a programming language, has gained traction in recent years and it will stay that way, but Linux does not compete with Python. Linux is an operating system. Python is a programming language. It's like comparing apples and oranges. But you would need to have both in your basket to have a fulfilling IT career. You need to learn your OS very well before you learn a programming language that would run on top of it.

Thanks,
Chiranjib
Thank you comment icon Ahhh alright, thanks, that's very helpful. It cleared up some misunderstandings for me Jack
Thank you comment icon Happy to help. :) Chiranjib Mazumdar
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David’s Answer

If your interest is in software development, having operating system skills is a plus. Do you need to know the details of the Linux kernel to be able to program? If you are going to program microcode for a machine's CPU, yes. If you are going to build binary/assembler tools as part of the OS, yes. If you are building business applications such as accounting software, not as much.

However, if you were to show a complete lack of knowledge of OS and productivity software basics, that would be a negative.

Learn Windows and Linux/Unix (maybe throw in some MacOS to be most well-rounded). Understand the similarities and differences. Understand how to install and operate software on all those platforms. Productivity software knowledge like Microsoft Office or Google Suite are an absolute must.

AND, your basic mathematics skills, especially algebra and trigonometry, are essential. Hone them well.

In terms of programming, introductory computer programming courses are important, no matter what the language used for the course is.

Basic, Pascal, Fortran, Python, Java, Javascript, .NET, C#/C++ etc, assembler and machine language, even Cobol if you are more business-oriented, plus more. Some are easier to start with (Basic, Pascal, Javascript) and others are more technically challenging and require excellent knowledge of the OS on which the code using one of those languages is built.

David recommends the following next steps:

Review basic and intermediate math skills to be completely comfortable with them.
Study some flow-charting (old school but very effective) to learn logic flow/decision trees. Can you write a flow chart to bake a cake? Mow the yard? (Don't leave out any steps!)
Study the current Information Technology market. Highly competitive, many jobs and openings. Think about where you want to be in 5, 10, 20 years.
Thank you comment icon My god, jeez, I can't believe you put so much freaking helpful information. It must've taken a long time to write that, and I'm very thankful for that! I completely forgot about my trigonometry, I'll have to revisit my notes from my freshman year of high school. Thanks again! :) Jack
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robin’s Answer

If you have an old spare laptop or computer you can download and setup a Linux operating system like Ubuntu or Debian. It is a good way to learn about Linux operating systems and there are a lot of resources available to learn Python on the web.
Thank you comment icon Ohh, I used an operating system called, "putty" from the course that I'm taking right now. Jack
Thank you comment icon Just another clarification for you based on that comment - PuTTY is not actually an OS itself - it's a remote login system - you're presumably using PuTTY to log in to a server hosted by your school that provides a Linux environment for you to use. You could view the /etc/os-release file to see what OS distro you're logging into - "more /etc/os-release" Anyway, a remote login on a system like that is a great way to get started with Linux/Unix environments, but as Robin suggests, it's also a good thing to mess around with at home, either on an old spare computer or a cheap single-board computer like a Raspberry Pi. Having your own machine you can be admin and learn about more of what goes on "under the hood" than your school machine where you'll be locked out of using sudo. Joseph Neilson
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Joseph’s Answer

Hey Jack!

It looks like you have some quality answers but I wanted to give my two cents here as well.

First - Programming relies an understanding of a holistic system. IT classes will help you garner this kind of understanding. Things like security, for example, are important to consider when designing and developing an application.

Second - It's better to focus on things like the fundamentals of IT so that you're confident in the system, than to delve deep into the subject.

Right now it sounds like you're on a good track to have the fundamentals while not wasting time going too deep. Keep in mind that this career field is always changing so you will need to be on a constant learning path. Doing things in your free time as others have suggested is a good way to stay ahead or at the front edge of this learning curve.

Good luck out there!
Thank you comment icon Thanks for the help. Jack
Thank you comment icon Thank you Joseph for the effort that you put in, it means a lot to me :) Jack
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Monisha’s Answer

Hi Jack,

Yes, Informational Technology (Linux) help at all with Programming (Python) will help you in getting a Programming Job and would be an added advantage too.

Basics are important for any Programming language, so you need understand the Fundamentals and should be able to develop Problem solving, Analytical skills along with it.

Regards,
Monisha
Thank you comment icon Thanks Monisha, I had some second thoughts on whether or not to learn IT, your response clears it up :) Jack
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John’s Answer

No. IT doesn't help much with getting a programming job. Even though they both seem technical in nature, employers consider them to be very different fields.

There's so much competition for entry level programming jobs, certifications on IT will not do anything to help you stand out. Get an education in computer science instead.
Thank you comment icon Alright, thanks John, I'll keep that in mind, and yeah I also had that perspective. Jack
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Rebecca’s Answer

Thank you oh for you our question. I am glad to hear that you are interested in coding.
In fact, having knowledge on the OS is beneficial for your coding. However, the most important is how you can use the programming language to perform the logic effectively and use the computer resources efficiently.
Practise makes perfect! You can start using the the programming language on some small project first. This can help you to familiarise the language.
On the other hand, you can also learn how to write the code in an efficient way and check any bugs with your code.
Hope this helps! Good Luck!
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Olga’s Answer

Hi Jack,
Definitely you are on the right track. Knowledge of Linux and Python can be extremely helpful for getting a job programming, especially in website creating - Python has very neat frameworks (Django, Flask, etcs.,) to support website writing, and Linux knowledge is needed for your server and security management.
Also, Python can get you a path to data scientists as well. You don't have to get a degree on math for cleaning data and data visualization - as long as you have solid background on Python, and good communication skills (apparently, you have to understand the problem that people are solving first).
Though what I have to mention is that, just as other answers are saying, knowing how to code is actually not enough to become a "real" software engineer. Especially for Python, the language is just-in-time compilation by its nature, so you might miss some compiling related knowledge. Normally C- languages have that, for example, C, C++, C#, and, if that counts, Java. If you are very interested in software engineering/computer science, you may learn one of them by yourself. Personally, I recommend CS50 by Harvard. It's free.
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