I just finished reading your book and enjoyed every single bit of it. I found a lot of very useful information that isn’t out there in any of the carreer advice books or websites I had consulted before. It’s really a great book.
My question, however, refers to those of us who are trying to get into this field a little late in life. I’m in my late 30’s, have a bachelors in mechanical engineering, but not really a lot of experience in that field either. I married shortly after graduation, and came to live here with my husband. While waiting for a work permit, we started a family and I have stayed home ever since.
Truth is I always wanted to explore computer programming, but went into mechanical engineering for a number of reasons. I knew some C++ from college, but had never really done much programming before. Last year, I signed up for a Java SE6 class at community college and I loved it. My final project was a video game. It was simple, similar to the 1 to 50 game for mobile phones, but I really threw myself into it. It was a desktop application, with a really nice GUI. Granted, it’s not perfect, I’m sure there’s a lot that can be improved, but I had never felt as happy doing something as I was when I was coding that little game. So, I signed up for the Java EE6 class the following semester and I enjoyed it as well. I’ve been told that if I take a couple more classes, I could obtain a certification of completion as a Java Developer, that I’m sure doesn’t mean much to anybody else, but it means something to me.
I really like programming, I learn quickly and I think I can be really good at it. I would like to do this for a living, but I wonder if I have a real chance of getting into this field so late in life and because I have no work experience in the field or much work experience in any field at all.
In the book I read about working in an open source project and writing your own code to have some good examples of your work to show off. Those are great ideas, but… should I try to get a job even if it’s not related to programming, just to build some kind of work experience even if unrelated? What do you recommend?