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Education Programming

Ask Slashdot: Best Options For Ongoing Education? 149

An anonymous reader writes "Lately, with the volatility of the economy, I have been thinking of expanding my education to reach into other areas related to my career. I have a computer science degree from Purdue and have been employed as a firmware engineer for 10+ years writing C and C++. I like what I do, but to me it seems that most job opportunities are available for people with skills in higher level languages such as ASP, .NET, C#, PHP, Scripting, Web applications and so on. Is it worth going back to school to get this training? I was thinking that a computer information technology degree would fit the bill, but I am concerned that going back to college would require a lot of time wasted doing electives and taking courses that don't get to the 'meat' of the learning. What would you do?"
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Ask Slashdot: Best Options For Ongoing Education?

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  • by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @02:04PM (#46247951)
    Just learn them. School will only teach you one specific set of solutions to a problem rather then teaching you to problem solve. If you want to learn another language, just do it. Sit down, think up a simple application and write it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 14, 2014 @02:08PM (#46247991)

    Just start learning the new languages. You'll be surprised at how easy they are to pick up when you already have programming background..

    IMO: You'd waste time & money going back to school.

  • I suppose, but (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRealMindChild ( 743925 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @02:09PM (#46247999) Homepage Journal
    If that's what you want to do, sure. But these PHP/C#/Web folks are a dime a dozen. You already have experience in something specialized. There may not be many jobs per se, but there aren't many people to fill those. Move into driver development or embedded system programming. You will be able to transfer current skills and you won't face saturation like in the higher level languages.
  • by Kimomaru ( 2579489 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @02:10PM (#46248021)
    This is probably one of the few professional areas where going to a formal educational institution is a waste of time and money. There is SO much by way of online resources that you can use to self-teach, communities to ask questions (like StackOverflow), and practical projects that you can do to learn programming. If your aim is to learn another language, consider yourself extremely fortunate. Decide which language you're interested in, get a good book, start an SO account and get started.
  • Industry Problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ltrand ( 933535 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @02:13PM (#46248061)
    Background: I am an adjunct instructor and an IT professional. As such, this is a common discussion topic.

    The education industry, meaning colleges and universities, need a way to "add on" additional skill emphasis to degrees without requiring whole new degrees. I think, instead of detracting from current products (associates, bachelors, masters degrees), this will add revenue abilities from lifetime learning requirements that tech people have.

    For Example: BSCS, Purdue University, 1990
    CS Advanced Programming Topics, Coursera, 2013.

    This would allow people to add the 2-3 courses that they need to refresh their skills, get students into the halls paying tuition (out of pocket, or company money), allow current students to brush up and work with more experienced folks IN CLASS, and show what HR is looking for, current accredited skills improvement.

    But we seem stuck in the past. So we have to suffer through $1,000 a day "boot camps" that still require you to do a lot of on-your-own learning. We NEED something better. Colleges, be they 4 year or community, need to have programs that carry through the whole career ladder for skills improvement. I think that will help all of us overcome the "no training dollars this year" dilemma we constantly find.
  • by oneiros27 ( 46144 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @02:16PM (#46248091) Homepage

    ... or if you don't want to just write a toy program that you're going to throw away, then find some open source project that you can contribute to.

    Or check Code For America [codeforamerica.org] (or whatever the equivalent is in your country) to help out on local projects ... then you're also networking in your area, if you're looking for a new job.

    Go to school for learning the fundamentals of programming ('this is a variable', 'this is a function'), or maybe to get a deeper understanding of different styles of programming (procedural / functional / OO / event-driven, etc.) ... but for learning languages you're often better off working on a project you care about and maybe finding a support community (local users group for that language, or the support community behind that project) or a mentor (eg, someone else from that project)

    If you're one of those people who learn better from structured education ... then maybe look into a MOOC [mooc-list.com] or community college. This is not one of those situations where shelling out university prices is appropriate.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 14, 2014 @02:19PM (#46248127)

    I thought school was supposed to teach a framework for solving problems, instead of the solutions to specific problems.

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