Originally Posted by turbostang
So how did all of you people get into the jobs you have? It seems that most programming jobs require a lot of experience. Or do you just work your way into something at the place you are at?
I started out working in a 24x7 call center answering the phone. Of course the call center had computers which seemed quite interesting to me so I started taking computer courses at northlake. My dad was a shift supervisor at this company, and the owner of the company happened to be chatting with him, knew I also worked for the company, and happened to ask about "me". Dad told him I was studying "computer stuff". The company happened to be about ready to fire the midnight shift computer operator for sleeping on the job, and the owner wanted to know if I was interested in the job.
For ya'll that don't know - being a midnight shift computer operator is just about as low as you can start in "the industry". I even took a sizeable pay cut to take the job, but I could see that the upside was greater than answering the damn phone.
So, I did my operator stuff and on the side began writing programs for fun and learning since I was taking programming courses and had the time late at night to play. These programs eventually made it into production during the daytime and of course problems happened (aka I sucked
). My boss promoted me to "programmer" and hired another person to replace me as operator.
They say that success = preparation meeting opportunity. In this case this is certainly true (taking programming courses), and in fact in every major advance i've made in my career that's also been true. It's hard to say what preparation will enable you to move forward in this industry; it's gotten quite brutal with the pace of change and the outsourcing that's been going on. Still, there is a demand for qualified programmers/technical people.
I see that being properly prepared to take advantage of future opportunities is your major obstacle. It would be nice if we all had a crystal ball and could see what we need to do to seize opportunities that come our way. This is your biggest challenge to getting into this industry, as well as is mine in remaining a valuable resource.