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If I was a programmer still in college, I would...

3. December 2008 15:32 by Scott in   //  Tags: , , , , , , , , ,   //   Comments (16)

I was mentoring some kids the other day about being in college as a programmer.  Heck they could even had been kids in high school.  The ideas stated here still apply.

  • still worry about grades - Grades get you the job, but they don't keep your job.  Learn new things and relax off the grades a little.  You don't have to always get that A in class.  Unless you're going for a masters or PHD right after your bachelors, relax and have a little more fun.
  • put down the video games - There is much more to life than video games and chatting with people online you have no idea about.  The biggest thing that got me to put down a controller were the questions that "If I disappear tomorrow in the gaming world, will I be missed?  If I disappear tomorrow in the real world, will I be missed?"  There is a big line in spending a bit more personal time with your real friends compared to just some people on the other side of the world.
  • go out a few more times - I am two years out of college and I sure do miss it sometimes.  The interaction with all the people.  The not having to worry about bills and not waking up to a 9-5 job would be amazing again.  On a side note: I do think I have grown out of the parties a bit.
  • have thought of a GREAT IDEA and gone with it - It was the perfect time to focus less on college studies and more time on a great business/web 2.0 idea.  I had plenty of time where I got bored, I should have focused it towards a great idea and making it happen.  Now a day, I get home at 6pm and only have about 3 hours to work on my ideas at home.  I don't have much time left in the day to actually get my business ideas up and running.
  • join a Fraternity - It is a known fact that more than 75% of CEO's have been in a college fraternity.  It is a known fact that you get resources and jobs just through your fraternal world.  You get connections beyond your belief and you get a better social life in college.  Instead of playing those video games by your self, you could be enjoying a great time with friends that you have a close bond with.  Sure you might think of it as paying for friends, but I thought of it as networking and a social life.  I did join a Fraternity and got much more than I expected out of what I put in.  For a college job making $7.50 and hour and only working 10 hours a week, I was able to pay for my fraternity and social life.  It was a great bargain!
  • have thought of a GREAT IDEA and gone with it! - I know it is a repeat, but I fear it was one of my biggest mistakes in college.
  • have learned a real programming language - Java and C++ are no longer really used these days outside of academia.  Some people will even argue that java has become too academic.  I know Ill get some flack for this, but I consider it to be true.  Did you know that Microsoft uses 98% C# in its work environment?  I wouldn't learn PHP now seeing that Microsoft gives out its IDE and workspace extremely cheap these days to students.  Java and C++ are a good free language.  Even if you don't pick up two languanges, at least pick up one.  Learn one programming language and build something with it!
  • not let my teacher hold me back - teachers can sometimes not care too much about students.  Don't let them hold you back.  There is a BIG saying at most big universities which is hard to get away from.  "Publish or die" Teachers are required to publish at universities.  Unless they really like teaching, they are required by the university to publish or leave. They don't care much about the students. Don't let the teachers hold you back.
  • try to find a mentor - You can never have too many mentors.  I wish I would have found one to guide me along the programmers trail.
  • have run with my great idea! - I know I said it once and twice, but this is the biggest thing I look back on and think I should have done that!
  • not own a credit card - Spring break is fun for a week, but bad credit last for 7 years or more.  Don't own a credit card and repeat mistakes of others.
  • Last but not least, Be controversial! - Don't be hated, but be controversial. Make sure you get your point of view heard.

This is only a short list and I imagine there are many other things in that period of time I wish I would have done, but this list will not die and will keep growing.

These thoughts are more of advice than a memory.  You can do what you wish with them. 

  • "Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth." - Baz Luhrmann
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Comments (16) -

Justin
Justin
12/4/2008 12:31:34 PM #

Java and C++ are no longer really used these days outside of academia.

I am very confused by this line, what are you trying to say, taken literally this line is blatantly incorrect.

bob
bob
12/4/2008 1:22:58 PM #

I'd have to agree with Justin. C++ is used heavily in the games industry,operating systems, and some embedded systems programming. Also,Java is still used by many companies for software development.  

Mark
Mark
12/4/2008 1:35:22 PM #

I'm with Justin here...is this a joke article?

Kris
Kris
12/4/2008 2:06:35 PM #

If not C++, and not Java... so what?

scott
scott
12/4/2008 2:16:22 PM #

I am sorry for the misunderstanding.  When I was writing, I was talking about the Idea.  Trying to express what I learned and what I should have done.  I was focusing too much on the idea.  My thought was C++ and Java in a Web 2.0 environment are slowing down...  Maybe I should have stepped back a little to see what I was writing.

Hope that helps the confusion.

Justin
Justin
12/4/2008 6:11:37 PM #

Scott,

Thanks for the clarification.  I think slowing down may be true but the effect is exaggerated by the massive amount of material-blogs-reddit posts we see for python/django and ruby/rails.

Within the corporate environment, say banking, the sheer magnitude of deployed java and C++ systems gives them a momentum all their own.  In said environments you are probably as likely to see ocaml and haskell as python and ruby.

Thanks

Justin


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