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Why do some people who have zero or some experience in programming attempt to get programming jobs?

I understand software engineers get paid around $60,000(or around that cost) in annual salary. But why?

#technology #software-engineering #programming

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Dwayne’s Answer

Excellent question. I believe there are a few factors that lead an inexperienced person to believe that they can perform in a programming role.

Allow me to provide an example. In the course of my career, I've encountered multiple young people that are very into computer gaming. They spend countless hours playing certain games and have indeed become quite advanced in this area. However, they translate their ability to *play* computer games into a direct ability to *develop* computer games which is quite different. Here's another example. You may be very good a *driving* a car, but are you capable in *servicing* a car, such as changing spark plugs, oil, etc? Many are not.

I believe some people see the high potential salary that comes with an advanced degree such as computer programming and falsely believe they can include indirect, related skills such as playing games to meet that goal. An auto mechanic would never hire someone simply because they are a good driver.

You must possess the proper skills to become a computer programmer. These include the ability to think critically, solve problems, understand and apply highly technical languages to solve complex problems and more. You must be real with yourself whether or not you posses these types of skills. You should also serious consider what you are *naturally* drawn to. If you have a desire to play with programming at a young age, that is a good sign that you have a basic interest in the field. If you can't imagine ever writing a program, they you should steer clear.

Let's face it...we all hope for an easy path to success. Careers in computer programming can definitely provide a prosperous career, but there is no easy shortcut to get there. It requires a lot of work and commitment. But if this is an area that you are naturally drawn to, it can be very rewarding in many ways.

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Joanne’s Answer

Dwayne stated his answer really well.

Playing is different than performing.

Yes - computers are everywhere and having a computer-based skill set would probably assist you in obtaining a job.
Yes - the pay is good, but keep in mind, most programmers don't work a 9-5 job. Many work above and beyond their 40 hours, including nights, holidays, and weekends.
Yes - you can learn how to code. The degree provides theory behind the code, so if you learn good practices behind writing programs, you can take the theory and apply it to different languages.

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Joe’s Answer

Hello Nazib,

The pay for software engineers vary on location but in California it's 6 to 7 figures, the latter being reserved to the cream of the crop. However, I landed my current job as a Security Software Engineer despite having 0 work experience in coding and IT Security. I only have an AA degree in Behavioral Science and have zero certificates. Yet only a few months in the job, I'm on track for promotion. How is this possible? Well I love to code! It's a passion of mine. Just like cooking, baking, and gardening. Intuit's management saw that passion and exploited it, as every company should. I'm working on patenting an application I build for them for testing and increasing our internal security posture. Intuit will reap the rewards from patent royalties, not I.

But I digressed, I was only coding for fun and working as an IT Asset Manager when an Intuit recruiter noticed me and offered me the job. At first I said no because I had zero work experience in security and only been coding for fun, never capitalized on it. But they upped their salary offer twice and so I took it. All of my tech jobs were given to me through head hunters or recruiters and so I've come to the conclusion that these hawk-eyed people are able to conduct a 1 hour phone interview with you and instantly tell you if you're a good fit or not. If you're a good fit, they would almost stop at nothing to get you in. Whether that's because they want their finder's fee or because they are in dire need of filling the req, as site reliability & software engineers are always in high demand.

A few key notes that emphasize what others have noted:
1) We work 40+ hours. Personally, I love it. Yesterday (Saturday) I worked 9 hours on my security application. No one told me. I just like coding.
2) You need to have a drive and ambition for coding. You cannot do it just for the money. I believe this applies to any job.
3) Even though programming is very technical, as I mentioned it's a form of art. I've reviewed some code and thought to myself "Wow... this code is so beautiful" as if it was the Mona Lisa to me. We may have the same objective but everyone has their own way of getting there and it reflects in their code. So be sure to expand your creativity and be open-minded!

One key attribute many forget, and probably the hidden reason behind my success, is that you should be sociable, gregarious at best. I've interviewed people for several positions on my team and I always opted for the guy or gal with sub-par technical skills but good soft skills, because I can easily train their technical skills but not so much their soft skills. This is the reason why you see a lot of software engineering jobs have "Great Team Player Experience Required". You work with a small team of 4~7 programs doing SCRUM/Kanban weekly/bi-weekly sprints. The pace can be medium or fast but the results should be steady, consistent, and clean.

Best of luck~
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Nicole’s Answer

Hi Nazib K. I see that you posted this question a little while ago so I hope my answer to you (or others who may read this response) is still helpful.

In support of the awesome answers that have already been provided, I add a few more points. In this age of young people who are very interested in their own startups, many have recognized that their ability to program can be a transformative step in their own success.

Beyond building their own business, many many people engage in programming skills "for the good". They can support charitable organizations, environmental causes and other similar entities in very impactful ways with the use of programming skills. These rewards often stretch beyond a paycheck(though this doesn't hurt :)) and oftentimes last for quite some time (or at least provide building blocks to do things better and thus have an even greater long term effects).

Hope you find this answer helpful. Best of luck!
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