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What is the best route to become a computer programmer?

  • Last Updated:
  • Jun 30th, 2016 12:14 pm
[OP]
Penalty Box
Mar 8, 2016
325 posts
48 upvotes

What is the best route to become a computer programmer?

My cousin wants to become a programmer.
So many ppl have told me that if you take computer science in university it's going to be 90% theory and you'll barely learn any actual "coding" at all.

So, I am left wondering, what do you guys (established programmers and coders) think the best route is for a newbie to learn how to code/program? For someone who wants to specialize in the web / android-ios mobile app categories

-is it college? if so which program?
-is it a "coding bootcamp"?
-is it self learn?

What do you guys suggest?
43 replies
Deal Expert
Oct 6, 2005
16599 posts
2314 upvotes
zerotwo wrote: So many ppl have told me that if you take computer science in university it's going to be 90% theory and you'll barely learn any actual "coding" at all.
Yes, computer science is very heavy in mathematics and theory, but all things that will allow you to apply for high-end positions that someone coming out of college or boot camp likely cannot do.

In order of preference: co-op computer science/software engineering program, college co-op program, boot camp, then self-learn.
Banned
Mar 11, 2016
2081 posts
866 upvotes
if they want the best opportunities for the highest $$$..University
[OP]
Penalty Box
Mar 8, 2016
325 posts
48 upvotes
Fjr2005 wrote: if they want the best opportunities for the highest $$$..University
but can you explain to me how that works?everyone keeps saying u dont really learn any coding in univ computer science, if you barely learn any programming or coding in university computer science, how are you going to come out and start coding stuff for clients?

this is like me taking a 4 year degree on the history and theory of basketball (with me wanting to become a basketball player in the nba), and during that 4 years in univ i learn how to shoot a free-throw and everything else is left out. yes i have come out with the theory of how the game works and the history but how is that going to help me actually play in the nba which was my goal?
Deal Expert
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Oct 26, 2003
35117 posts
4308 upvotes
Winnipeg
code monkey is a dime a dozen, you need to know the algorithms and optimization methods to create quality programs. here is a streamlined method, go do boot camps in your high school years and learn how to hack codes yourself, then do it properly with a cs degree so you can appreciate what you are actually doing.
Deal Expert
Oct 6, 2005
16599 posts
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zerotwo wrote: but can you explain to me how that works?everyone keeps saying u dont really learn any coding in univ computer science
Who told you that? Year 1 and 2, it's about 25% programming, but by Year 3 and 4, it's 50%+ hardcore (operating systems, graphics, etc.) programming courses.

Take a look at the typical computer science courses, especially Year 3 and 4: https://cs.uwaterloo.ca//current/course ... terCourses

On top of that, if you go to a school with co-op, you'll get industry experience as well.
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Oct 26, 2003
35117 posts
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Winnipeg
coolspot wrote: Who told you that? Year 1 and 2, it's about 25% programming, but by Year 3 and 4, it's 50%+ hardcore (operating systems, graphics, etc.) programming courses.
people who wants less competition obviously haha
Deal Addict
Mar 10, 2011
2306 posts
419 upvotes
Toronto
Best route is through Comp Sci at Uni if you have the time and $. But your cousin needs to understand that in this day and age, programmer is a low level position that is easily and cheaply outsourced to low dollar offshore countries. Yes learn how to program and do it for a few years, but then he/she needs to shoot for higher level IT positions such as Analyst, Architect or Software Engineer. Companies have variations in the naming of thes types of positions and they typically involve creating the specs for software programs and reviewing the work of the programmers/developers which are typically located offshre these days.
Member
Oct 2, 2014
212 posts
35 upvotes
New Westminster
zerotwo wrote: My cousin wants to become a programmer.
So many ppl have told me that if you take computer science in university it's going to be 90% theory and you'll barely learn any actual "coding" at all.

So, I am left wondering, what do you guys (established programmers and coders) think the best route is for a newbie to learn how to code/program? For someone who wants to specialize in the web / android-ios mobile app categories

-is it college? if so which program?
-is it a "coding bootcamp"?
-is it self learn?

What do you guys suggest?
If your cousin wants to a good programming job in a multinational or public sector, then he needs to go to the university for a computer science degree just like every one else.

If your cousin wants to join a small company, then he take the other routes mentioned by the so many other people you mentioned.
[OP]
Penalty Box
Mar 8, 2016
325 posts
48 upvotes
coolspot wrote: Who told you that? Year 1 and 2, it's about 25% programming, but by Year 3 and 4, it's 50%+ hardcore (operating systems, graphics, etc.) programming courses.

Take a look at the typical computer science courses, especially Year 3 and 4: https://cs.uwaterloo.ca//current/course ... terCourses

On top of that, if you go to a school with co-op, you'll get industry experience as well.
thnks for the response. but the issue is he is not really trying to become a super coder, he just wants to do the "silicon valley-ish" stuff like web and mobile apps, so is the "hardcore" coding still required for that?
Member
User avatar
Aug 31, 2008
205 posts
111 upvotes
Unionville
zerotwo wrote: My cousin wants to become a programmer.
So many ppl have told me that if you take computer science in university it's going to be 90% theory and you'll barely learn any actual "coding" at all.

So, I am left wondering, what do you guys (established programmers and coders) think the best route is for a newbie to learn how to code/program? For someone who wants to specialize in the web / android-ios mobile app categories

-is it college? if so which program?
-is it a "coding bootcamp"?
-is it self learn?

What do you guys suggest?
Actual CODE is like 15-20% of the work. The difference between a code-monkey and a real software developer is in the code they write. I can always tell if someone is self-taught from someone who understands code. Design patters, algos, you use em everyday. A "coder" can be outsourced to any shop in India, or you work inhouse in a non-technical company making 60-80k. A top tier developer commands stock options on top of a massive base salary. Tread carefully.
vgosu
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Aug 31, 2008
205 posts
111 upvotes
Unionville
zerotwo wrote: thnks for the response. but the issue is he is not really trying to become a super coder, he just wants to do the "silicon valley-ish" stuff like web and mobile apps, so is the "hardcore" coding still required for that?

Sorry to burst your bubble, but "silicon-valley" stuff is a dream that kids get lured into and bail out of SF in 5 years with worthless stock, and no money to show. I've noticed a steady stream of ***** developers only to have their dreams dashed by cold reality.
vgosu
Deal Expert
Oct 6, 2005
16599 posts
2314 upvotes
zerotwo wrote: he just wants to do the "silicon valley-ish" stuff like web and mobile apps, so is the "hardcore" coding still required for that?
Well, if he wants to move beyond being a code monkey then yes, highly recommended.

Saying that, being a code monkey you can still clear about 80K in Toronto after 5+ years.
[OP]
Penalty Box
Mar 8, 2016
325 posts
48 upvotes
thx for the good responses.

the issue is he is not trying to become a coder for the sake of working a salaried job as a coder.v he wants to do coding on the side and he wants to learn code so that he can develop his own ideas into apps or websites, and than be acquired. like, his goal is not to become a coder and make 50-100k/yearly for the next 5-10 years. he wants to learn the code so he can program his stuff on his own without having to hire a coder, and then raise funding, etc. with a end-goal in mind of being bought-out.
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2004
33721 posts
7359 upvotes
East Gwillimbury
I'm a coder and I'm self taught

If your cousin has an interest, he will do the research and learn on his own. It doesn't sound like he is an that interested except for the financial aspects

I code as a hobby, I did do it professionally early on in my career, but I have since moved on. The commercial aspects are not easy to manage and hoping for a buy out is a long shot without a viable and sustainable product
[OP]
Penalty Box
Mar 8, 2016
325 posts
48 upvotes
divx wrote: he is going for something that's above a lot of the rfder here, so this is a wrong place to ask for advice, tell him to do his own research
i'm not sure if you're being facetious or your serious about the post??

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