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There are so many different computer and tech related jobs, how do I know which one I would like and what the difference is?

I was looking for computer and tech related jobs but got lost in how many jobs there were and now i'm really confused on what the difference is in all of them, I want to be a computer software programmer but I cant find much online about it, it always takes me to another job that's similar so how do I know where to go and what to look for.

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Michael’s Answer

There are many different types of software programming careers. I think that it will be difficult to understand the differences until you have taken some computer science classes and tried different types of programming. If you have a good understanding of how computers and software work, you should be able to learn to do a wide range of jobs. Software technologies and languages are always changing, so software programmers need to be able to change and adapt to new things. Software programmers can develop new applications, they can work on the systems that run the applications or they can work on the tools that build and test applications. I mostly work on software tools that help to figure out what when wrong when an application does not work correctly.

Without some software classes and experience, I think that looking at jobs will be confusing. The job descriptions will not help you understand the possible careers and will certainly not help you understand the type of software work that you would like to do. It is like wanting to be a painter. You can go to art museums and look at all the different types of paintings. Some will interest you more than others but until you try to paint you will not understand what type of painting fits you. Do not get stuck on picking a language. They keep changing and you will find that once you have learned one or two languages, picking up new ones will not be hard. Moving from one type of application to another will also not be hard. Companies are always changing and a good programmer can move with them.

Michael recommends the following next steps:

I would take a class or even just try some programming on your own. There are many tutorials for beginners online that use free tools and there are probably programming groups in you area that could help.
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Alok’s Answer

The IT field is brimming with diverse roles, such as business analyst, software developer, web designer, IT technician, database administrator, information security analyst, data analyst, user experience (UX) designer, full-stack developer, and computer scientist. The first step is to identify which role sparks your curiosity and passion. Once you've pinpointed your area of interest, it's time to delve into the educational requirements. Remember, most companies value formal education, so having a degree can be a significant advantage. It's an exciting journey, and every step brings you closer to your dream IT career. So, start exploring and let your passion guide you!
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Mickael’s Answer

Hi Daniel,

Software development is pretty vast. As many other already replied, there is a very vast and growing amount of different jobs and not every companies have the same naming (just to add to the confusion).

Basically, you want to develop applications: what type? any idea?
If you do, try to search into these types of job offers. If you do not, no worries. Look for software development offers, find one that seems fine to you in a company you have some interest in (if you do).

After that, it is very common people to move from one job to another, within the same company or to another, because software development domains are so numerous and different that people tend to work in one, learn about a new, train in that new domain, move to that new domain and for some, repeat the cycle multiple times.

All they have in common is you need to know a programming language (like pyton, C++, java and many more), know some basic in data structures. After that, this is just as I said above. Most companies I am aware of in the United States of America are looking for Bachelor Degree for hiring.
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Stephen’s Answer

Sure, let's dive into the world of tech roles! Each has its unique charm and set of responsibilities. Remember, this isn't an all-inclusive list, and there are many specialized roles out there. But this should give you a good starting point:

1. Software Developer/Engineer: They're like the architects of the digital world. They build applications and software systems by writing code, turning abstract ideas into functional software. They usually work with one or more languages like Java, Python, and C#, GoLang, Scala, and frameworks like .NET, Spring, and Django.

2. Web Developer: They're the artists behind the websites you love. They construct websites and web applications, aiming to provide seamless and user-friendly online experiences. They typically use languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and frameworks like React, Angular, and Vue.js.

3. Mobile App Developer: They're the creators of your favorite smartphone and tablet apps. They take advantage of device features to develop applications. Swift is commonly used for iOS, Kotlin for Android, and popular frameworks include Flutter and React Native.

4. Game Developer: They're the magicians who bring video games to life. They design and code video games, creating immersive and interactive experiences. They often use languages like C++ and C#, and game engines like Unity and Unreal Engine.

5. Full Stack Developer: They're the all-rounders, handling both front-end (the user interface) and back-end (the server-side) development. They create comprehensive software solutions using languages like JavaScript for front-end, and Python, Ruby, or Java for back-end. They also use frameworks like Node.js, Ruby on Rails, and Spring Boot. Familiarity with cloud platforms like AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud can be a big plus for them.

6. Embedded Systems Developer: They're the tech wizards who program microcontrollers and IoT devices for practical applications. They typically use languages like C and C++, and tools like Arduino and Raspberry Pi.

7. Data Analyst/Scientist: They're the detectives of the digital world. They analyze and interpret data, extracting valuable insights that can guide decisions or research. They commonly use languages like Python and R, tools like Pandas, NumPy, and Jupyter, and cloud-based data storage and processing platforms like Google BigQuery or AWS Redshift.
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Hunan’s Answer

Jobs that involve programming vary widely and depend on things like current fashions, the companies you are looking at, the types of problems that need to be solved, and so on. Two hypothetical examples:

(Programmer 1) Someone who programs web apps could have a bunch of different job titles, for example: a frontend engineer, a web developer, a software engineer, a developer, a javascript ninja, and so on.

(Programmer 2) Someone who builds machine learning models could have a bunch of different titles as well: a data scientist, a software engineer, a data analyst, a machine learning engineer, a machine learning operations person, and so on.

It sounds like programming is the thing you want to do. So you should focus on becoming as good a programmer as you can be. I'll recommend what worked for me. Look at some project ideas that seem interesting or cool. They don't have to be cool for the world, just for you. Once you find a project idea, pick a popular programming language like python or javascript and start programming it in. In the process you'll learn things and become a better programmer. If you google programming projects for beginners, you'll find lots of ideas. For example: https://github.com/romeojeremiah/javascript-projects-for-beginners Even something as simple as word count app could be fun and informative to work on.
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Mark’s Answer

Jeff and Michael offered insightful responses. To truly discover your preferences, it's crucial to explore and experiment. It's important to remember that school isn't designed to train you for a specific job. Instead, it provides a range of educational experiences, each one unique. Upon graduation, you'll have the opportunity to explore various companies and their job descriptions. Your ability to ask thoughtful questions during interviews will greatly aid in securing your first job. As you progress through your courses, the jargon will gradually become more familiar.

To gain a broader perspective on current opportunities, consider utilizing LinkedIn's job filter. This will allow you to read through various job descriptions provided by companies.

Looking ahead, the job market is likely to evolve significantly within the next four years due to the rise of artificial intelligence. However, a solid education will equip you to adapt and find a career that truly resonates with you. It's essential to remember that learning is a lifelong journey.

Mark recommends the following next steps:

find a school of your choice
read their course catalog
look at jobs by searching LinkedIn
take courses and look for an internship doing something that sounds interesting
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Tony’s Answer

Daniel,
If you don't know which direction to choose, there are several books like "What Color is your parachute?" or take the Myers-Briggs Personality Test (such as this one here: https://mypersonality.net/). There are plenty of libraries in San Francisco. In fact, you can walk into almost any college library and read their college books for free!

Once you have an idea of what areas fit your personality, you can figure out a way to make it happen. Don't feel you have to pay for a traditional 4-year college. For example, you can get some degrees online, such as the University of the People ( https://www.uopeople.edu/ ) which offers degrees in Computer Science/IT.

Tony recommends the following next steps:

Read "What color is your parachute?"
Take Myers-Briggs personality test
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Nathan’s Answer

Hi Daniel, I think these answers are really great - but I do want to highlight something that wasn't mentioned much...

You can work in technology without directly doing the development. Software development is great (as the world knows), but there are other jobs within the world of technology that pay well and are highly rewarding. I've been doing software sales for 10 years, and I find the field to be incredibly rewarding. The hours are great, I don't have to be a software expert, and I get to do what I love -- which is helping people (customers) solve their biggest problems and win at work.

Take a look into it!

-Nate
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Jeff’s Answer

Hi Daniel,

Great question! And, it is very understandable that you might be a bit confused with all of the options out there.

Michael's answer was really spot on! At this point, don't focus on which job or type of programming. If you attend college, take as many computer classes as you can. If you decide to not attend college, take a couple of classes at your community college. At this point, it's important for you to get a taste of many aspects of computers. Over time, you will figure out what areas interest you. You will also learn the basics, which allows you to learn additional languages easier. When I graduated university, I had programmed in 20 different languages. I was hired as a PL/1, PL/s programmer at IBM even though I did not know either language. But it was very easy for me to pick up my 21st and 22nd language.

As Michael said, things are constantly changing in the world of computers so you will evolve over time. So, don't worry about specifics now. Learn the basics and decide what you like!

Best of luck!

Jeff recommends the following next steps:

Take computer classes to discover areas of interest.
Learn the basics.
Don't worry about specific areas.
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