Part-time Software development study advice

MrElementary

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Aug 5, 2014
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19
Hi Gents,

I don't normally post much so excuse me if I miss any lingo or accepted practices here;

Obviously as per the title I'm interested in studying software development part-time. I work in what I'd consider(I'm a newbie so please forgive) a neighbouring field with networking and I'm starting N+ in a few weeks through my employer.

But I'd really like to do something along the lines of MSCD and maybe at some point MSCE. I'm 28 and bills are a thing so full-time study isn't an option for me.

I live in the PTA/JHB vicinity and I've taken a look at the most obvious one's I'd say; CTU, CTI, IT-academy and boston campus were the ones I knew of.

CTU so far the only one that came back to me quoting R55 000 for a year course that consists of 2 classes a week from 18:00 - 21:00 and 2 saturdays a month. I'm completely good with all that but I just thought I'd ask some opinions here to find out if R55 000 really is worth it for an NQF level 5 at the end of the day.

Also are there real work opportunities for this once I finish it? Is this valid if I happen to choose to leave SA eventually seeing as its only national even though it would provide me with knowledge of internationally accepted coding languages?(I have family in NZ and I have Netherlands citizenship as well on the table though not yet considering either at the moment for personal reasons).

Are there other options I'm missing here that you guys might know of? Should I really consider self-study? I don't really think I'd do self-study over a college given the choice but any advice would be appreciated. Feel free to ask me anything that might influence your opinion as well.

If you've read this far I do appreciate it and whatever feedback you might be able to give a potential coder-to-be.

Regards
 

Dark Agent

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This is a personal opinion.

Having Microsoft Certifications, Java Certification and other online certification has way more value than CTU. Its not that you will not learn something valuable but R55000 is not worth it.
UNISA is way better and offer part time.

Should I really consider self-study? Yes
Their are 100's of video tutorials free and paid. Pluralsight is a good investment.
 

MrElementary

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Aug 5, 2014
Messages
19
This is a personal opinion.

Having Microsoft Certifications, Java Certification and other online certification has way more value than CTU. Its not that you will not learn something valuable but R55000 is not worth it.
UNISA is way better and offer part time.

Should I really consider self-study? Yes
Their are 100's of video tutorials free and paid. Pluralsight is a good investment.

Solid. Thank you very much. I'll check it out, the website looks very promising I agree I took a quick look now. My only concern is the lack of structure when studying online. I'm kinda just learning what looks decent without proper guidance. I also don't quite know how self-study puts me in a position to confidently apply my knowledge to a Job application without any formal accreditation to what I'm claiming? If you don't mind me asking where did you start and how did it get you to where you are in the programming world today?


UNISA
Cost-effective, and you end up with a proper degree.

Thank you for the reply, I took a look at unisa but they're degrees with a minimum 3-4 years of study and while I'd love to say yea let's do that for a cost-effective option, I can't really stick with my current job outside of the programming world then start as an intern/"first-grader" at 33+ right? Do you have a link perhaps to the part time courses you mentioned at Unisa I can take a look at?

You'd be a legend man.
 

Kosmik

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Sep 21, 2007
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I disagree on the certification route. The original purpose of those certifications was to prove that someone already working in the industry is competent with a certain product/technology, not a proper field of study. Tertiary institutions are supposed to give you a foundation that is code or technology agnostic. Ask most devs, are you developing in the language you studied? Would be very surprised if more than 30% said yes ( and thats high in my opinion ) . That being said, not that impressed with the varsity level of coding either but thats another discussion about the difference between real world and learning, thats why I say its a foundation.

Learn how to code, not code.
 

KleinBoontjie

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I suggest this course to start you off on Java (Java to SQL): https://www.udemy.com/java-the-complete-java-developer-course/learn/v4/
Then just supplement with a course that concentrate on exam info and get the Oracle Associate certificate. Then you should be good with Java and SQL querying. Then get a course that goes into Java Algorithms, etc.
Don't know, what does the other people think of Udemy.
 
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MrElementary

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I disagree on the certification route. The original purpose of those certifications was to prove that someone already working in the industry is competent with a certain product/technology, not a proper field of study. Tertiary institutions are supposed to give you a foundation that is code or technology agnostic. Ask most devs, are you developing in the language you studied? Would be very surprised if more than 30% said yes ( and thats high in my opinion ) . That being said, not that impressed with the varsity level of coding either but thats another discussion about the difference between real world and learning, thats why I say its a foundation.

Learn how to code, not code.

Thank you, good to hear the other end of the spectrum as well. So you reckon it's more of boon to bite the bullet and get a tertiary start first and then as you quite eloquently put it "learn how to code, not code"?



I suggest this course to start you off on Java (Java to SQL): https://www.udemy.com/java-the-complete-java-developer-course/learn/v4/
Then just supplement with a course that concentrate on exam info and get the Oracle Associate certificate. Then you should be good with Java and SQL querying. Then get a course that goes into Java Algorithms, etc.
Don't know, what does the other people think of Udemy.

You're a legend good sir, I was reading up on this thread where some people also recommended Udemy as a good place to get into it. Seeing as these courses are on special for R100 I think I'll get a basic headstart there even if it is just an opening or a foot in the door.

Where would I look to get the "Oracle associate certifcate"? I haven't heard of that quite yet.
 

Kosmik

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Thank you, good to hear the other end of the spectrum as well. So you reckon it's more of boon to bite the bullet and get a tertiary start first and then as you quite eloquently put it "learn how to code, not code"?

When I say tertiary, I mean any type of institution be it Diploma or Degree. Even a certification but NOT a certification of a technology. You want something to give you a solid base, so you can adapt to the changes in the development landscape.

Unisa also offers short courses, especially in computer software if I recall.
 

vic777

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May 6, 2015
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Thank you for the reply, I took a look at unisa but they're degrees with a minimum 3-4 years of study and while I'd love to say yea let's do that for a cost-effective option, I can't really stick with my current job outside of the programming world then start as an intern/"first-grader" at 33+ right? Do you have a link perhaps to the part time courses you mentioned at Unisa I can take a look at?

You'd be a legend man.

Do a popular language short course, like Java. UNISA offers short courses too. Then, start coding - create your own projects, host on Github, and look for programming work. Then, enrol for the BSc at UNISA and do it part time.

You don't need a short course for Java, but some people like a structured introduction.

The big thing is to start coding. Doesn't matter which language, choose a popular language like C# or Java and you will be fine.
 

MrElementary

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Do a popular language short course, like Java. UNISA offers short courses too. Then, start coding - create your own projects, host on Github, and look for programming work. Then, enrol for the BSc at UNISA and do it part time.

You don't need a short course for Java, but some people like a structured introduction.

The big thing is to start coding. Doesn't matter which language, choose a popular language like C# or Java and you will be fine.

Thank you very much, I appreciate your input Vic.
 

Kosmik

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Thank you very much, I appreciate your input Vic.

c#/Java have very similar structure and both are very popular with enterprise companies. Most opensource code is python, php etc and whatever web framework , so the one would give you a good base to break into corporate whereas the other would allow more consulting, remoting work. But you certainly can't go wrong with a good course in those two languages, they cover the ethos of development quite broadly ( not sure if thats the right term, I mean they have all the aspects of most development languages from simplistic loops to OO and advanced language features ).
 

MrElementary

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Aug 5, 2014
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c#/Java have very similar structure and both are very popular with enterprise companies. Most opensource code is python, php etc and whatever web framework , so the one would give you a good base to break into corporate whereas the other would allow more consulting, remoting work. But you certainly can't go wrong with a good course in those two languages, they cover the ethos of development quite broadly ( not sure if thats the right term, I mean they have all the aspects of most development languages from simplistic loops to OO and advanced language features ).

I hear you, I think most of the advice here does point to taking Java as a starting point, I'll take a look at the udemy and pluralsight offerings as well and take it from there, thanks a lot man.
 

_kabal_

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I would dive straight into Java/Kotlin

What I would do is actually learn a framework (Spring Framework specifically), while learning Java/Kotlin. This is the best place to start -
http://start.spring.io/ - you will get a project that is already setup with Maven/Gradle, and will be able to open it in your IDE of choice (IntelliJ is the correct answer here) and run it.


For a total beginner, I would recommend Java over Kotlin, because it is going to be difficult for you to come to grasps quickly with the differences in how the type systems work from an interop point of view. Once you are comfortable with Java, ditch it forever in favor of Kotlin

Edit: spring framework is filled with best practices and conventions which will force you to write better code
 
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mr_norris

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Thought I'd club in, because I saw MS Certs mentioned - and my goal this year is to get my MCSD. Be careful of doing that without having experience, it's not really geared towards the beginner. Perhaps if you're bright you can go through the book, write the exam, and pass - I'm not :p

Things I've found on my travels (some might have been mentioned already). Be warned, it's a bit biased towards C# because that's my thing :D

* Udemy: I've done one and a half courses through them (one of them I'm still going through - not relevant to MCSD at all). Check out reviews, length, and content before buying. It's worth waiting for specials, considering they are always having specials - I imagine if a special wasn't running, one would come soon.

I have done this course with them. It starts off with the very basics (like installing Visual Studio, etc), and near the end things intensify. It's definitely aimed at those somewhere between beginner and intermediate - still not sure. All I know is that it's not enough to write the exam.

* Microsoft Virtual Academy is boss. Tons of courses there. I'm nearly done with this one. It's a lot more fast paced and in-depth than the Udemy course I did - but it has made me realise how much more work I need to put into getting exam ready.

* Visual Studio Dev Essentials lets you download VS, and some other stuff. The main reason for mentioning is the Professional Development section. 3 months of free Pluralsight = WIN.

* Reddit. I mainly used this to see what others suggest for getting exam ready. There are helpful links on the right side of the page though.

* The book. I've heard mixed things about this book. Some say it's not necessary, but most say it's essential to go through. So that's my next step. You can probably find it cheaper elsewhere.

What I find helpful with video tutorials, or learning any way, is jotting down notes, making notes of what I don't understand, reading up elsewhere to get better understandings, and probably most importantly - building mini-apps to familiarize myself with what I've learned.

Otherwise, having a degree has helped. But it also cost a freaking fortune in both time and money (I say money because when I started studying it, I was earning significantly less, and funding it myself - it was a huge sacrifice), and I probably lost a few years off of my life getting it. I finished two years ago and yeah - felt really burnt out since then. All the C# stuff I've been doing has really shown me how much I don't know - so it's more of personal growth for me than anything else. Which way you go is up to you - I think the degree is worth it.
 
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