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Tech Jobs For a Student?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the live-and-learn dept.

399

Nick Manley writes "I turned 17 back in August and have been fascinated with technology my entire life. I have a special interest in software and computer programming. I am really hoping to find a job, or at least an internship, where I can learn more about my field and expand my knowledge of software development. Does anyone have recommendations for someone like myself, without any college education, for ways to get a head start on my career? Preferably, one that doesn't include selling iPods to kids at Best Buy."

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399 comments

First (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16720907)

Hehe

Re:First (1)

Reikk (534266) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721035)

What, you're too good to sell ipods at circuit city? You're a 17 year old kid. You're not going to get shit until you get your degree. Find a flexible job at circuit city or target and fit it around your schedule. Study hard and don't expect everything to be handed to you without earning your dues.

Re:First (1)

diersing (679767) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721257)

selling iPods to kids at Best Buy. says the 17 year old kid.

Lets say we give him the benefit of the doubt and put aside the fact that every other 17 years guy is out there chasing 17 year old girls and somehow at 17 he's disillusioned enough with life to already have settled on a career in programming (when recent trends show this work is best dreamt about by 17 year old Indian youth).

My advice, since you're already reading and submitted to /., find an open source project and pour yourself into it. No company is going to have you writing code with no experience/education. Internships means running errands and cleaning so you'd be better off selling iPods to your mates.

Re:First (2, Informative)

crazygamer (952019) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721403)

No company is going to have you writing code with no experience/education
You shouldn't say that without any first-hand experience. I'm 17, got hired at 16 as a Javascript and PHP programmer and get a 1099 at the end of every year. Working for a company now, and had a contract with a different company before.

To the author: I suggest you browse craigslist for people needing you to write a small bit of code for a small price. Then just deliver the product and get your money, and they won't know your age. As long as you act professionally and know what you're doing, I think someone out there will be willing to hire you just like someone hired me. Let me know if you need me to elaborate on something. Good luck!

Get an education! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16720909)

The fastest way to get a head-start is to get an education.

Education in the USA costs money (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721081)

The fastest way to get a head-start is to get an education.

"Best Buy" is a brand used in a major country that doesn't pay for four years of postsecondary education for all high school graduates. It could be that "Nick Manley", the submitter of this story, is looking to build-up a down payment for this education.

Most specifically learn how to speak (1)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721173)

both dialects of Chinese and as many dialects of Hindi as possible.

Also consider working at Best Buy if for nothing else but to get money to move to a fashionable part of Bangalore, India.

Any job you are thinking of getting training for now, will be gone by the time you get out.

Re:Get an education! (1)

Jerim (872022) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721263)

The only way to get a head-start in any profession is to get an education. Some people get their education in the classroom, others get it by reading. If you are wanting to learn on the job, I would advise against it. Working your way up from a low level phone support job to what you really want to be doing is difficult and a long process, and most of the time you will be overlooked. So you need to ask yourself if you can be disciplined enough to read and learn on your own time. If so, then head down to the local book store or library, load up on some books and start spending every extra moment studying. In a few months you might be know enough to get an entry level position. You will have to be quick on your toes to learn very fast. You will be expected to know what the other employees, who may have years of experience or education, know. If you can learn quickly, you might be able to scratch your way into a permit position.

If you aren't that disciplined, then you should really look into a formal educational. Even a few semesters or courses at the local college will give you valuable information. Also, when studying on your own, your studies can be come scattered. A little of this and a little of that but never enough of anything to be really useful. A college curriculum can structure courses so that your studies are more cohesive in what you learn.

I know lots of young people who like computers, but they rarely understand the work involved. The knowledge you need obtain in order to get to a livable wage is quite daunting. Computers isn't some fun profession where you spend all day restarting computers for people. Quite often the issues are vast and complex. IT is just like any other industry, you must be willing to give it your all. No matter which option your choose, you must constantly be studying and learning new technologies.

Freelance? (1)

Captiivus (1021009) | more than 7 years ago | (#16720911)

You'd probably do best to start out working by yourself on projects that interest you, until you gain a thorough knowledge of whichever programming language(s) you will program in.

Once you have that, you can search for jobs with companies that do specialized software development for businesses and large corporations.

Re:Freelance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16720969)

I don't know any company who will even look at a kid without some formal training. And the guy should go to school anyway. Why would anyone want to skip what are for most people among the best years of their life!

Kid! Go to school.

Are you buying? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721115)

Why would anyone want to skip what are for most people among the best years of their life!

It takes a degree to get a job, but it takes a job to pay for a degree. It could be that the submitter or his family is too poor to pay for college but too rich to qualify for grants or for scholarships that consider financial need.

Re:Are you buying? (2, Insightful)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721241)

That's a load of crap. Unless the kid has made terrible financial decisions already (like taking out fraudulent credit cards), you can still get loans that are in a grace period until you are out of school. Sure, they are higher interest than subsidized loans, but most state schools are cheap for in-state residents. It's no Harvard or MIT, but it's better than nothing.

At 17, go get a job. Any job. Your primary focus should be school and extracurricular things. Enjoy high school while you still can -- senior year is your best year. Go to the football games. Help the cheerleaders in their volunteer car wash. Smear Vaseline all over the car doorhandles in the junior parking lot. Go get laid.

Unless you are some sort of technical genius, no one will care what jobs you had pre-college. At best it is something to joke with during an interview (college interview or a job interview). Everyone has their horrible first job stories to tell.

When you get into school, you can probably get a job supervising a campus computer lab. Maybe working on the school website or helping out the newspaper (there is a lot of technical behind-the-scenes to a paper). If your campus has mass media degrees, they likely have a radio/news channel, too, which is more technical experience. Second and third year you can probably tutor. The last year or two you can look for internships. They may or may not be directly related. I got a job working for a large insurance company doing technical writing at $23.50/hour -- not bad for a college kid.

Re:Are you buying? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16721561)

Pre-college jobs are actually quite important if you know how to work hard (not that "getting laid" and "going to football games" isn't fun for every single human on the planet...). I got a job my senior year at a physics lab which led to an $80/hour job my first month out of Grad School. ... But oh how I regretted missing those carwashes...

Re:Freelance? (1)

kasrak (989410) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721133)

I agree. Freelance can work for anyone who knows their stuff. Even I, as a 13-year-old, manage to get some jobs. This site [programmer...signer.com] might help you find some freelance projects if you do web programming/design (Disclaimer: it's my site)

Re:Freelance? (1)

UltraAyla (828879) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721249)

I agree about that. I am only two years older, and I obtained my job by having a portfolio of projects I had worked on. A few of them were comissioned by people I know, and a few by myself. Suggestions:
  • Create diverse long-term projects, such as designing some sort of system that is useful for you, or contributing to another team's project - this will help build a portfolio, and teach you practical skills
  • Be very skilled in at least one language, but be able to read documentation on others to start programming in them quickly
  • If you plan on college, student jobs websites are often provided by schools - not all of them have horrible pay. If you don't, get your name out there by doing work for those you know or by applying to companies that do work similar to what you have in your portfolio
  • Make sure you know how to have your programs use databases, whichever language you're working in. Learn how to write efficient SQL queries and efficient methods of data storage in the database. They are becoming more and more important, depending on what sort of jobs you are doing.
These are a few things that have really helped me personally, however computer science is not my field, so my jobs are not necessarily as high level in CS type stuff as ones you may be looking for.

Incorrect Title (2, Interesting)

Quobobo (709437) | more than 7 years ago | (#16720915)

...Shouldn't this be "Tech Jobs for a Non-student"?

Re:Incorrect Title (1)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721045)

I don't see where he said that he wasn't going to college. He probably wants to find a part-time job to go alongside it.

My advice is to look for a tech job on-campus. Most companies won't touch you unless you have the right piece of paper, but once you do, experience helps. Also, prepare to be frustrated as hell; I certainly was.

Re:Incorrect Title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16721473)

Most companies won't touch you unless you have the right piece of paper, but once you do, experience helps. Also, prepare to be frustrated as hell; I certainly was.

Really? I dropped out of college my senior year. I had completely exhausted the mathematics program at my school (now I take graduate level courses at another school). I found a job as a research mathematician within a year of dropping out.

Maybe you focused too much on academics in school, instead of networking.

Re:Incorrect Title (1)

Reverend528 (585549) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721431)

No, it should be "Tech Jobs for High School Student". I'd say he has a choice between Best Buy and his dad's software corporation (if that doesn't exist, he doesn't really have a choice).

Go to college (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16720917)

Get a computer science degree or a computer engineering degree.

A 4 year degree is sufficient if you want to have a career as a programmer.

Re:Go to college (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#16720967)

Be careful with "Computer Science" degrees. They often more akin to a mathematics degree than training to be a programmer. That doesn't necessarily make CS a bad degree, but people tend to mistake CS degrees for professional training, which they usually are not.

Re:Go to college (1)

zome (546331) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721077)

Be careful with "Computer Science" degrees. They often more akin to a mathematics degree than training to be a programmer. That doesn't necessarily make CS a bad degree, but people tend to mistake CS degrees for professional training, which they usually are not.

and that's a very good thing.

If CS degree != professional training then... (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721179)

people tend to mistake CS degrees for professional training, which they usually are not.
and that's a very good thing.

I too am looking for a job, and I have obligations to my family that prevent me from moving far from my home town. However, even with a B.Sc. in computer science, I can't even get an interview in my home town because I lack recent paid experience. In order to make my resume more appealing, where can I get this "professional training" you speak of? Or am I supposed to go the fast food/retail cashier (for cash handling experience) to bank teller (for banking industry experience) to bank IT route?

Re:If CS degree != professional training then... (1)

Assassin17 (60351) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721427)

When you succeed, get back to me, because I'm facing the same difficulties (no family to worry about, but I don't feel like relocating or getting yanked around the country for consulting).

Re:Go to college (1)

MrAnnoyanceToYou (654053) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721079)

They certainly help when getting your first job, though. Especially if you study hard. Or so I hear from a few people.

Re:Go to college (1)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721239)

The problem is that "CS" means different things to different schools and organizations. In my undergrad institution, it meant mostly programming, even though we had a separate Software Engineering program. In the grad. school I'm currently attending, it means theory.

Of course, there's no reason why you can't learn both while in college, even if it means doing some self-study.

take a look at open source projects (1)

uujjj (752925) | more than 7 years ago | (#16720921)

See if you can do some coding for an open source project.

Professional Slashdot Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16720925)

Just do like the other teenagers and troll Slashdot, pissing off the people who are older, wiser, and actually know what the hell they're talking about.

I hear the pay isn't too good, but you get tons of work experience!

Re:Professional Slashdot Troll (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721541)

> Just do like the other teenagers and troll Slashdot, pissing off the people who are older,
> wiser, and actually know what the hell they're talking about.

That's the kind of thing Hitler would say.

College research projects! (3, Informative)

Czyl (696277) | more than 7 years ago | (#16720929)

Have you considered contacting professors at your local university? Plenty of research groups can use someone with coding skills, and you'll have a great experience. It might not be paid, but you're likely to find someone who'll take you and you'll be able to pick up letters of recommendation for future work.

You might also get to learn something about actual computer science (rather than simply programming or IT), and better yet, you might get to contribute to the development of cutting-edge technology.

As a warning, you may have to knock on a lot of doors before you find someone who thinks a high school student knows enough to contribute usefully to a project (many academics might just ask you to read a stack of books and come back in a few years), but there are those of us willing to take on a high school intern -- you'll just have to be persistent.

Re:College research projects! (3, Insightful)

juushin (632556) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721025)

I am a professor at a large highly ranked national university and I hire students that can code (high school or whatever). I have tons of projects I would like to work on that require programming (typically in Matlab but also in other programs), I don't have time to do it all myself, and I am in a department in the life sciences where we don't necessarily get students who can program. I agree with Czyl. Contact a professor at a local college/university and I think that you will find an opportunity. Make sure you come across as being motivated, smart, and dependable.

Re:College research projects! (1)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721551)

I quite agree. Also, don't just ask in the Comp Sci department. Talk to the physicists, the biologists, the chemists, the engineers, even some you might not expect, like the linguists (especially if you're around Ohio State U; they have an extensive Computational Linguistics program). In fact, oftentimes, the most interesting and useful in the future projects will not come from the comp sci people.

If you find that there are a lot of people interested in you, don't be afraid to be picky. OTOH, if you don't find yourself a hot commodity, be willing to accept a project bughunting in the crusty physics prof's FORTRAN77 simulation that has been around since FORTRAN77 itself, accumulating cruft (as programs are wont to do). You can do anything for a few months.

Dress smartly, get appointments rather than just walking down the hall knocking on doors, maek shure you're English is good when u right emails (or anything else) to them, and don't insult anybody's programming abilities unless you know your listener agrees with you (I think I managed to annoy my (physics) department head once because I asserted that most physicists are really bad programmers. Which they are. Naturally, I am the exception :-p ). Also, for extra credit (which might make or break), find out what research the people you are going to talk to do, and learn something about it before you go. Not only will you seem more useful to the profs, but you'll learn quite a bit that way, and possibly even find some field that you are really quite interested in.

My advice? (4, Insightful)

drdanny_orig (585847) | more than 7 years ago | (#16720935)

Go to college, take neat classes, be well rounded. Learn to read, learn to think, learn to write (English first, then C++/Python/Java, what-have you). All of that, plus enjoying these next few years of life is way way more important than an internship or being some Google-head's code slave for a summer. Plenty of time for work after you've had some fun. And yes, I'm completely serious about this.

Re:My advice? (1)

rhinoX (7448) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721053)

I agree with this completely. I got into computers at 10, started working at 16, and was a paid PC tech by 17. I worked in various tech positions until I got into software at 20. I spent 6 years in school, working full-time doing development for four of them. I am now 27 years old, and have been employed in technology full-time for almost 9 years. I have been doing software exclusively for seven of those years, and now have my own software business.

I had fun in school, but I often look back and regret not having taken more time to just do young things. It was always about getting ready for tomorrow, the future, the career, whatever. Well I tell you what, if you're 17 and already trying to get ahead you'll have no problems being better than your peers at 25, enjoy your youth. You have plenty of years to build your skillset and work your ass off.

Internships (1)

Marnhinn (310256) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721253)

College is important. It will teach and educate you on many skills you will need in life.

However, internships and other summer jobs are the best networking opportunities that exist. They will help you get job when college is done. Please don't write them off. If you intern wisely (on your summers off), with the right people, you can walk right out of college into a nice job or have a resume that has an excellent combination of experience and education (and quite possibly earn a fair amount of money).

Re:My advice? (1)

.silG.00 (683700) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721299)

true...true...

Re:My advice? (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721507)

Go to college, take neat classes, be well rounded.

Start early. See if your high school offers programs for high-school students to take post-secondary courses (in Minnesota we call it PSEO - Post Secondary Enrollment Option). You get to take college credit for free. You should be able to get a couple classes in for the second semester.

When you actually go to college, visit your advisor and meet with professors, frequently. While the advisor could be worthless (mine were) there are some exceptions. There are faculty members that are *very* interested in the success of their students and they are willing to discuss your future with you and point you in directions you may not have thought to explore.

As the parent poster said, read and read a lot. The Internet is an excellent source to expand your horizons in addition to what professors, advisors, and others have turned you on to. Who knows, after a lot of reading and others pointing you in some direction, you might find completely knew and uncharted directions to learn.

When someone tells you to be "well rounded" they don't mean in the number of computer languages you know. They mean in coursework. Don't take the belief that "I don't need to know that -- I just want to code." I went to college thinking I wanted to be a code monkey. I realized that History was far more interesting for me. If I hadn't wasted two years working to be a code monkey I might have had a better time learning in college. And now, with skills in both computer science, writing, and research I have a far more interesting and rewarding job than I would have if I had just been codebanging for 80 hours a week on a salary.

In the end, YMMV but at least take the time to explore every avenue. You'll be glad you did.

Re:My advice? (1)

noz (253073) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721567)

Ok, so you've got advice going to both directions: work-work-work vs. play-play-play. A truth: if you're not working, and you're not playing, then you're wasting time.

From my experience in the great down under, web development work is probably the only (decent) computer work with public advertisments for part-time placements. Everything else is very formal, very full-time, very BSc/BE/equiv. exp.

Why Not Free Software? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16720937)

If you're looking to get a first taste of software development, you might want to do what many others without education and experience do: Try your hand and open source. You will learn a little bit about working as a team, a little about quality control and of course lots about programming and project management. Sure it's not making the big bucks creating professional quality software at Microsoft, but it's a good start and better than selling Ipods at best Buy.

try perl (1)

kras (807696) | more than 7 years ago | (#16720939)

because there is more than one way to do it.

just like becoming a writer (1)

jenkin sear (28765) | more than 7 years ago | (#16720945)

It's exactly like becoming an author:

Write Something.

Download Ruby, download eclipse, download visual studio express- they're all free. Play. Pick your favorite. Buy a few books. Spend some time each day doing it, pick the part that interests you, and do more of it.

When you've got some experience, volunteer for an open source project and keep learning- or find a job that offers training, and go to town. There's a million ways to do it...

but you have to start with step 1:

Write Something.

Student... or non-student? (1)

CodeMonkey22 (861014) | more than 7 years ago | (#16720951)

Go to school, you bum!

Internships are good (1)

oldosadmin (759103) | more than 7 years ago | (#16720965)

The place I work at is great at hiring interns and putting them to solving real problems instead of seeking out coffee. Seven months ago I started there as an intern, and now I'm managing the Systems Department. Get an internship at a good, fast moving company, and don't look back.

Well... (1)

FunWithKnives (775464) | more than 7 years ago | (#16720971)

When I turned eighteen, I managed to get a job doing tech support for a large broadband ISP. That may be something to look into, because generally, 1st tier positions like that are entry level, and only require a high-school diploma and good scores on computer-based "tech" tests. A word of warning, though, if you do choose this route: 1st tier tech support is fucking stressful, and can result in premature balding, possible aneurysm, and loss of will to live :P

Re:Well... (1)

spacebird (859789) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721479)

Agreed, I picked up my first tech support job at 18 and went from there. I learned a hell of a lot in that environment.

chicken and the egg (1)

chaos421 (531619) | more than 7 years ago | (#16720973)

it seems like it's pretty tough to get a job in tech without having some experience. it's also tough to get some experience without getting a job. my advice? really learn all you can about web development and put together a website with things you are working on. if you have a slick site with personal projects, companies will see your ambition and will be impressed. unfortunately it won't pay the bills... but best buy will ;)

getting a foot in the door (1)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16720977)

Can you get involved in a degree program somewhere? That's usually the most certain path. (You might also learn a few interesting and valuable things while you're there, too -- it's not a complete waste of time.)

Consider the situation from your potential employers perspective: how do they know whether you're any good? There are lots of people out there who think they are great programmers, but can't actually program their way out of a wet paper bag.

Networking/nepotism is the best way to overcome this. If you know someone who will stand up for you and say "even though this guy is a complete unknown, he's got a lot of potential and I think we should hire him."

If you can't get personal recommendations, institutional credentials are next best. The fact that you can get decent grades in some relevant classes at an accredited school is at least some evidence that you're not a complete poser.

No time for that? Try getting involved in an open source project. If you have the necessary asbestos underwear, you can make a reputation for yourself by contributing good stuff. This is hit or miss, however -- you might be the greatest programmer of all time, but if you're working on a project that nobody knows about, it's not as useful.

Internships -- around here, at least, internships are highly competitive and if you're not a student in a strong program, you might as well not even apply unless you already have a foot in the door.

A few things (1)

I_am_Rambi (536614) | more than 7 years ago | (#16720981)

If you want to learn how to program, start teaching yourself some C/C++ and Java. You might also want to look into .Net (I wouldn't but I know some of people that need to know that language). Go buy some book in one of those languages, work through it. If you know of someone that is in a job and can mentor, grab them, and learn from them. Since you don't have a formal education, it will be hard, get some basic course first though. Books and basic knowledge will help. You can also start reading some open source sources, some are good some aren't. If you can prove what you know, look at some of the local shops, if you can get a foot in the door even doing tech support via phone, many places have a career path to get into development.

Getting started at the right job is job in itself (1)

moosebreath (95085) | more than 7 years ago | (#16720985)

I know of a technique I've seen work. Do a survey. Get in touch with the people in charge of the types of projects you would like to be on (not the personell department or something), and go interview them to find out what they want. You'll be surprised. Interview at least 10 people so you get a good base. I guarantee you'll know a lot more coming out than you did going in. I saw one young man, just out of high school, with no experience, try this and he had to stop because of the job offers--he had to decide on one. He took one that paid tuition and books so he could get his degree while he worked. I have programmed computers for 25 years and I know there are jobs out there, but you've got to do research to find out where they are and what they are. Don't job hunt, go hunting for information. It won't be what you expect it to be.

I was just like you not long ago... (1)

bdigit (132070) | more than 7 years ago | (#16720989)

My advice, find a mentor and network like hell. Use your free time now to develop your skills and hone in on your interests. Try finding local tech companies around you and let them know that you have great interest in learning and are interested in seeing if they have any internships available. Once you get your foot in the door, meet people and stay in touch with them. It will come in handy once you graduate from college. I know it did with me.

Don't overcommit (2, Insightful)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#16720993)

You're seventeen? That's way too you to commit yourself to a career. ( Not meaning to imply that you're stupid or have poor judgement, just that you haven't had time to see a lot of the world and the different ways that it can be viewed ) If programming interests you, do it for fun.

Speaking as an employer, technical skills - beyond a bare minimum - are seldom the most important thing that you can bring to a job interview. Being articulate both verbal and written - helps a lot. Having a history of jobs ( even flipping burgers ) in which your former boss will give you a good recommendation - showed up on time, cooperated with fellow employees, didn't steal, didn't drink or toke on the job, etc - really may be the most important thing.

You're only seventeen and the world is your oyster. Don't commit too early. Try several jobs, try several majors, travel a bit; find out more about the world. Then choose.

Re:Don't overcommit (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721235)

travel a bit; find out more about the world.

Where can the submitter of this story find the cash that travel requires?

Build up your resume with your own projects (1)

KalvinB (205500) | more than 7 years ago | (#16720995)

Chances are you're going to be working retail or similar jobs until you're in your twenties. In the mean time you need to work on your own projects (and not stupid little hello world programs either) and make them resume quality. I've never gotten a programming job based on my formal education. I've been working as a programmer for most of the time I've been in college.

Once you have a resume worth looking at then you can go to software companies looking for a job.

It's hard to convince a company that "I like computers" is a good reason to hire you when you have nothing of even remote quality that would indicate you like computers.

I don't tell companies I like to code. I show them my personal projects. I demonstrate my knowledge of programming with examples. My latest job hired me based on the quantity of languages I know and what I have done with them even though I barely even heard of the language they wanted me to use. Since I've been there for a few months I've used PHP, Perl, Ruby and Javascript.

What have you done that would indicate that learning a language would not interfer significantly with the time it takes to complete a project? Companies can't wait months for you to learn a language before you start doing the work they want you to do.

Where are your demos to show companies what you know? If you have no education and no demos, you're going to get no job.

You need at least one or the other and the good programmers have both.

Patience (1)

theheff (894014) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721009)

If you look for a technical job at 17, you're likely to come up empty-handed. Just don't be so arrogant that you refuse to work below your technical skill level. Get some experience and some good references. 17 is young; focus on education and knowledge more than work now. You might be incredibly smart at 17, but you may not have the discipline and dependability of someone older. There's nothing wrong with selling iPods at Best Buy. I worked at a pizza place 2 years ago; now I'm an IT Coordinator at a university.

Give up your dreams kid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16721013)

It's al bullshit!

All programming will go to third world countries. Ya see, there's 6.5 Billion folks in this world and that means there's 650,000,000 folks who are smarter then all of us and they're cheap! (90th percentile of the human race - that's wher I got the 650,000,000 from)

GO into law or medicine kid, that'll keep you work'in until you're 40ish.

I went to a bunch of career councilors and they didn't do me any fucking good! Go for the money while you still can ge it! Trust me kid, money goes a long way in making you happy! The folks who say money can't buy you happiness are poor slobs! I use to make over 6 figures and I miss it!!! Money CAN buy happiness!

Just remember kid, the rich make the rules, and it's important to become one of them; otherwise, you're a memeber of the great unwashed and regardless of what you do you'll be miserable.

Money is everything -anyone who says different is a poor slob trying to suck you down into failure!!!

Phone-Support For the Win (1)

TechCody (722311) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721019)

I'm 25, network engineer. I started as a tech at some local shop when I was 16. I just walked in all the computer-repair places and asked for a job. BestBuy also offered to hire me. Techwork is pretty terrible in my opinion, but looking back on it I think it was an amazing foundation and something you'll use forever. From there you can go on to explore any other area. A basic understanding of components and repair is an amazing framework for a career in technology. Phone-support is something most of us have done and I think its probably one of the only jobs you'll be able to land with no experience. They will train you and from there you can move into computer-repair. Computer Repair is a great framework that I think most /.'ers would agree on.

Been there (1)

Tester (591) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721039)

First, continue school. Get a good engineering degree. Don't stop school to work before you get one. Otherwise you'll be screwed into sucky jobs for the rest of your life.

Second, get involved in Free Software (Open Source). I became a core developer of GnomeICU (the Gnome ICQ client) when I was 17 and ICQ was still synonymous with IM. It got me into the Gnome community, I'm still reaping the benefits.

Third, when I was 17, it was the peak of the .com craze, so I managed to find a summer job as a programmer through a friend in a sucky .com. I sucked really bad, the company sucked (they went bankrupt in months). I was payed badly (1$/h more than minimum wage), but I learned a lot. And starting early will really give you an edge over your peers when you graduate to get a real job, early experience looks good on a resume. That said, when you are 17, you have to find that kind of stuff through contacts, because no one sane will hire you because of your qualifications. Even a job as an junior sys-admin assistant can give you some useful experience.

Re:Been there (1)

bru_master (312436) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721195)

I agree, continue school! Dont quit until you have a 4 year degree at a minimum. I am 43 and have been in "IT" since 1986. I make a good salary but I would enjoy teaching more. My wife has gone from IT to teaching and the security and personal rewards are tremendous. I have made the money I need to get my kid to college, it is time to work at something that is fun. "IT" is not it. I wish I had a 4 year instead of the 2 year degree I have so I can qualify for a more stressfull, one third paying job as a teacher. Its not the money but it is the kids like you that want to learn.

Summer of Code (1)

atomic-penguin (100835) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721103)

This is the reason that Google's Summer of Code exists. It's basically a summer scholarship so that Computer Science students do not have to flip burgers through the summer. There's nothing wrong with menial jobs when going through college. I worked at the University and moonlighted at various restaurants throughout my college years.

You get a paycheck with the Summer of Code. Whether you get paid depends on if you make sufficient progress in accordance with deadlines and to the satisfaction of the sponsoring organization. It gives you a chance to learn by doing, and you get real experience which you may use on your resume. You will get your name out there on a real software project, and if you do well you may get your foot in the door of a sponsoring corporation.

Contact your local Microsoft partners (1)

Wiseleo (15092) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721105)

Contact your local Microsoft partners and offer your help.

We are all listed here: http://directory.microsoft.com/ [microsoft.com]

I can assure you that a lot of us have a ton of interesting projects that need a lot of research and we don't have the time to do it. You'll probably be interested in working with ISVs.

Well (1)

TheShadowzero (884085) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721117)

I read in the paper recently that Google hired a non-college graduate. If you think you are Googly enough, there is them. An internship, probably.

Re:Well (1)

alxkit (941262) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721269)

google? yeah right. applying at google is like hiting your head agaist the wall. shit... these fuckers won't notice even _IF_ there is blood on the walls. get a job at night assembling some crazy eWaste and write whatever you like during the day. "Googly enough" - fuck that! seriously.

Re:Well (1)

jnf (846084) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721377)

it sounds like you're just not talented at whatever it is you do; google notices if you're good at what you do, and nothing else matters, just like every other big IT firm out there.

I sure do (1)

valkabo (840034) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721119)

I sure do. Take college classes earlier

Already been answered (1)

dotgod (567913) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721129)

I came in to offer a few suggestions, but they've already been made. You can't really expect to get a programming job at your age/experience even if you know how to program. Your best bet is to do open source development, try to get on a research project if you live near a university (professors love free labor), or to get a job at a computer repair shop. If you haven't had a job yet, working a "normal" job for someone your age is actually a good social experience that I would recommend. I used to want a technical job, but only worked at restaurants until the end of college. Looking back now, I value the social experience I had that I know I wouldn't have received doing tech work. I would recommend you get a regular job for someone your age and spend some of your free time doing open source work and/or learning more about programming on your own.

Jobs in technology for a 17 year old (1)

99.99percentile (1022887) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721139)

I work for a government research lab and all government facilities can hire you as an employee as long as you are 16. It is usually called Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP) or some similar name. If you live near a facility, go to the personnel or human resources office to inquire about the program. You will get paid about $10 and hour and hopefully will get to do something pretty interesting. I have two college and one high school students who work for me in this type of program. Once you get hired you can work full time in the summers and on breaks, and part time during school. An additional benefit is that the time you work counts toward retirement if you stay with the federal government. One of my wife's cousins has been working for the NSA for 26 years and he's only 42. Also if you get hired into a full time position after you are 18, they will pay for your school if you go part time.

Re:Jobs in technology for a 17 year old (1)

Karthikkito (970850) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721517)

NASA does this (HIP and Space Club Scholars) as well...pay is around the $10 mark/hour as well. NSA pays significantly more, though ;).

How much do you want to make? (1)

Ghostalker474 (1022885) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721141)

Believe me kid, I'm in your same position in life. Unless you want to work retail or construction for crappy pay and little respect, stay in school. There are plenty of Home Depot's, Wal-Marts, K-Marts, Best Buys and gas stations out there willing to hire you for $6 an hour. I was looking this summer at my options without a diploma (well, I have a HS diploma, but thats nothing). The best job I could hope for in my field is working for Verizon's call center making 7.50 an hour. Not bad, but after paying for gas and parking (cause it's in a city), I'd be making substantially less. I said screw it and went on for my 4-yr.

Now, I'm being offered a job to install fiber-optic lines in the capital region of New York. $16 an hour over the summer, and when I'm done with school I'm sure I'll be qualified for a raise. Going to school is the smartest choice you can make. You're covered under your parents insurance while you're in school, the cops don't care what you do (as long as its not a felony), and you can make your own schedule. You'll have loans to pay back, but everyone does. Point is, once you start working you never stop, and you're chances of going back to school after that degrade rapidly over the months. Don't sell out your future just so you can start working 3-4 years early.

Good luck... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16721143)

Heh. I've been trying to get a worthwhile job since I was 17. I'm currently 18 and both Firedog and Geek Squad don't even take me seriously enough to even bother hiring me. I think it's my age and young look that gets me really. No matter how thoroughly I explain myself at the interviews and how detailed I answer the questions correctly... You'll probably never get such a job unless you're a bit older. Good luck to you though.

Nick Manley? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16721149)

Sorry, nerds have names like Melvin Punimeister. Perhaps you should consider the Chippendales or playing the young Bruce Willis in 'Die Hard: the Beginning'.

state departments (1)

enjahova (812395) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721163)

I started working pretty young, learning java and web programming. I've had a couple jobs at different departments of a state university, even while i was in highschool. There are a lot of state departments that want talented students they can pay a (relatively) small amount to learn on the job and take care of small tasks. Sometimes you can try starting out data entry and express interest in doing more interesting stuff.

It's happened for me and a friend of mine. It may not work the same everywhere, I'm in Tallahassee, FL.

Air Force Perhaps? (1)

Scarletdown (886459) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721199)

I may be comitting a major violation of the groupthink here, but if you are a U.S. citizen, the Air Force or even Air National Guard is a good way to get a jumpstart on an IT career, especially if you can get into a combat comm squadron. Our current comm suite is pretty modern, with Cisco routers and switches, Sidewinder firewalls, Red Data Modules, etc. You will also qualify for some decent educational benefits, such as the G.I. Bill, tuition assistance, and if you go Guard and depending on what state you are in, stuff like student loan repayment and scholarships.

If you want to consider this route, especially ANG, send a message my way, and I'll send you some more info.

Re:Air Force Perhaps? (1)

thephotoman (791574) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721415)

For technical stuff, I absolutely agree. The modern military is quite computerized, and they need someone who knows how to fix it when things break. Furthermore, if you're smart enough, they'll be much less likely to send you into combat. My sister has a friend who enlisted to go to Afghanistan (whee, terrorist hunting!), but they won't send her there because she scored too high on her ASVABs.

Also, most employers these days like military veterans, and will be loath to turn them down for employment if you don't go career. About the only drawback is that you'll have to survive basic training.

(This is from someone who is not military, but who has considered enlisting at various times.)

Kettering University (1)

zeroduck (691015) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721215)

If you haven't already decided on a college, you should check out Kettering University (formerly GMI Engineering and Management Institute, formerly General Moters Institute, no longer associated with GM). School is 6 months out of the year (split into 3 month semesters), and you're required to have a co-op job for the other 6 months. While the school's largest major is Mechanical Engineering and it's top rated major is Industrial Engineering, it has a great Computer Science department.

I am a Junior there now, working on my Computer Engineering degree and an Applied Mathematics minor. It's a pretty good school and has only been getting better with the new President. The school has excellent resources for finding a job, along with all the help you could need in making a proper resume and improving your interviewing skills. Kettering is definitely worth a look.

You can do it! (1)

nsanders (208050) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721219)

At 17 I received a job as a UNIX Systems Admin for a local ISP. I went in one day and asked cold if they were hiring at all. I had a resume with no actual work experience in computers, but it had all the various things I had been working with at home for the last 6 years. You can get a job, just be professional and confident.

Find a Small Local Shop (1)

voodoo_bluesman (255725) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721229)

...and go talk to them. I got my start when I was 16 at a small business that built systems and networks. I was able to gain a great foundation there, and would recommend it to anyone wanting to get a taste.

If you have to, volunteer to work for cheap. When I think back, I'm pretty sure I was making just above minimum wage at my first job. Of course, I was billing at over $125 / hour to the company's clients... but hey, you gotta start somewhere.

Anyway, just be enthusiastic, and show them that you do your homework. Get a feel for what the company does, and show them that you at least know the basics.

At 17, concentrate on college (2)

DrDitto (962751) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721245)

Concentrate on getting into college and earning money if needed. Absolutely continue to dabble in programming...teach yourself Java, Python, C++, or whatever floats your boat, but only in your free time. Until you are accepted into a college that satisfies your goals, don't put a lot of time into anything that doesn't help this effort.

Do not be tempted to bypass college. It would be a huge mistake.

Contrary to what many people believe, a college education is not meant to teach you practical job skills. It is meant to educate you about life. It is a way for employers to weed people out and to put yourself in a better pool. If you don't have a B.S., 9/10 places will throw away your resume.

Re:At 17, concentrate on college (1)

AdamKG (1004604) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721445)

I'm speaking as a 16-year old currently in community college and seriously considering not continuing on to a four-year.

I know it's insanely arrogant of me to think this way, but my opinion is, if 9 out of 10 places will throw my resume away because it doesn't have a line of text on it, I wouldn't want to work for those 9. I know that the luxury of choosing my employer is not something I can count on, but, again, if I spend the next 6 years learning to code - which I actually consider fun - instead of living in a place I'll hate taking classes I hate and leeching my parent's retirement fund, I think I could get to a point where I can stand on something other than a piece of paper- where I can stand on my body of work and skills.

Everyone says I'm young and foolish... and I figure that, by being idealistic this way, I am. But, in all honesty, the "mature" life of spending year after year getting re-certified in things I already know doesn't appeal to me in the slightest. So why should I work my ass off for the next 6-8 years to get somewhere I don't want to be in the first place?

Everyone I've discussed this with so far has echoed your statements: College is not about the paper, it's about learning about life. If life consists of continually getting pieces of paper that declare "I Know About Life" - I'm not so sure I want to learn about that aspect of life at all.

Re:At 17, concentrate on college (1)

Pulzar (81031) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721505)

Contrary to what many people believe, a college education is not meant to teach you practical job skills. It is meant to educate you about life.


I disagree. Looking for a job in technical field, coming out of college with no practical job skills is going to ensure that you do not get the best jobs out there. Most new-grad interviews in the technical field concentrate on questions that try to figure out how well the candidate understands the basic concepts. It doesn't matter how well you are educated about life, if you don't understand what you're being asked, you will not be able to demonstrate that you are indeed a smart person (extraordinary cases excepted, as always).

My own experiences (1)

GrueMaster (579195) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721273)

I started out by getting an associates in accounting, which took less than a year. I then used that knowledge to start a computer consulting business, specializing in small business accounting.

By catering to small businesses, you will gain a lot of word-of-mouth advertising for free (if you're good). Link up with a local computer store for hardware, or go through a big mail order place like Dell. Don't try to do both custom hardware and consulting sales, as you'll spread yourself thin very quickly.

Later, if you decide to further your career, you'll want to get a full degree. Lately, even a BS in Computer Science will barely get you in the door for large corporations.

Also, try to spread your knowledge around a bit. As a consultant, you'll need to know Windows systems, but also knowing Linux systems will give you an edge, as you can undercut competative bids by placing Linux in areas where it works best and costs the least, in the server rooms.

Good Luck!

I've got the perfect suggestion (1)

k31bang (672440) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721303)

How about selling iRivers to young adults @ Circuit City. ;-)

the best thing you could do.. (1)

jnf (846084) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721319)

is sit down and learn all the stuff they dont teach in (most) college(s), this means assembly, low level C, learn how traditional data structures work (i.e. linked lists/queues/et cetera without things like the STL), learn how dynamic memory allocation works, and study math study math study math. If you get good at all of the above, while college is still good and it makes you more rounded, it isn't necessary.

Same life.. 6 years later (1)

wyt3dr4g0n (995274) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721329)

Hey bud.. I remember how it was when I was 17... I used to ask the same questions.. and the w/o college part come to find out seriously gets you much of nowhere... While it is a sad fact in the world we live in, that piece of paper or at least the attempt to receive it is the easiest thing you can do to get a job in the tech world. At the age of 15 I LUCKILY got my first job at a small mom & pop (literally speaking) computer store, making and selling computers for the local public offices (only because my boss was also the local sheriffs deputy). That job was received only out of the sheer generosity of a good man. Since that job I have had nothing but crappy retail job experiences (IE. Target(electronics dept.), Staples, and Rex TV & Appliance to name just a few), a t-shirt company, and a crappy cologne and perfume job that landed me in jail for a night for selling w/o a business license. You seriously should look into going to college or at least a tech school as did myself for a really good tech job. At the moment I have the best job of my life working for EATON corporation as an IT Analyst. I as well as my co-workers would have never gotten this far without some sort of extra education. I know it sucks, and I know the thought of having the knowledge to work the field w/o the education seems like it should land you a great position somewhere is lingering in your head, but seriously.. it won't happen without that piece of paper (IE. at the least an AS in Computer Tech.). Look into your local tech college or vocational school, I promise its not as hard as you might think it is. If you truly have the intelligence to work the field then receiving the documentation will be a piece of cake. I went from making a crappy hourly wage before college to making a very nice 5 figure salary afterward working a job that I hope to whatever deity there might exist that I can keep till retirement. I love my job and I know if you make that slight effort you'll find a job doing the same as what you desire. College isn't as bad as you might think it is.. even though it was only less than a year ago, I miss the days of hacking into a cute nerdy female students computer in Linux class, editing her Apache hosted website to say "I PWNED YOU!" and ask her out on a date. If you have the pre-requisite knowledge it'll be a blast I assure you. I wish you the best my friend.. now I'm off to get drunk and remember the glory days while I can enjoy the weekend before getting back to the grinding board of the repetitive strain of adult job-hood... GOOD LUCK!

Sincerely,
Robb (aka. Wyt3dr4g0n)

Non profit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16721333)

Find a non profit organization that needs a tech guy. A lot of your work will involve boring user support (still good experience), but you should be able to find some database/web app development opportunities too.

Might not make you any money, but it's good for both resume filling and on a university application.

My first tech gig... (1)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721341)

I got my first gig "hacking" passswords and writing spam scripts for Pegasus mail at local college... the network admin caught me, was pissed at first and then hired me 6 weeks later. I worked there for about 2.5 years and got my next job through the work I did there.

Wait in line with the infosys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16721349)

Welcome, you're now competing with BS. MS and PhD from India, China, Russia and every where else.

how about an REU (1)

lazycam (1007621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721351)

A buddy told me a few years back a group of science school kids were invited to Clemson University to work on a visualization cluster. Most of the students had little to no programming experience at all, but after a few weeks, everyone was able to write a basic c/python program and touch on how to write parallel code. As a young student, you probably won't have the oppertunity to write linux kernel code, but if you scan the web for REU programs, you may find a few that allow even a prospective college student (I'd write that in a letter) to participate. With so many student defecting from the sciences (at least in the US. no I do not have a citation) I'm sure the interest of a young mind would motivate any program director to include you in a research experience. Would you guys agree?

Look around campus (1)

cvd6262 (180823) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721353)

If you're going to college, look around campus for a part-time coding job. Don't go to the CS department, but look at the schools of education, the humanities, etc. A lot of these schools do computer projects, but lack the skills to write their own apps or admin their own systems.

I know one CS major who will have grad school offering all sorts of assistantships because he's gotten into coding applications for foreign language systems.

You can also watch the local *nix Users Group lists for job offers to students. I see two a week.

One caveat: You will not make bank through these jobs. I didn't as an undergrad, and I haven't as a graduate student. What I did was build a a ton of marketable skills that have now started to pan out in major contracts with research groups all over the country.

Check out local ISPs (1)

cymen (8178) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721361)

See if there are any ISPs in your area that are looking for interns. You can get a lot of experience (some of it dealing with customers which can be a negative) and you can see a wide range of different roles you could step into one day. I had a lot of fun working at an ISP. The biggest bonus was working with a bunch of other geeks.

The college professor route would also work but you might end up learning some interesting skills that only apply in that context that are fairly useless otherwise. Like some specific programming language or poor methods of doing things. Even with those caveats it can still be a very good experience as there is a lot to be said for learning principles and observing how people do things.

If you go the ISP route my one bit of advice is that there are crazy people out there and you may get a call from one. If someone starts yelling hangup on them.

Cooperative Education (1)

1yongyorf (937425) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721365)

I believe co-operative education (coop) is an excellent way for young people to get a head start in their careers.

I'm enrolled in a coop program (Software Engineering at the University of Waterloo). Although I'm only in my third year of studies, I have accumulated 12 months of software-development work experience (working for General Electric Healthcare and Autodesk M&E).

Certainly students enrolled in non-coop programs can graduate with relevant work experience (e.g., summer internships). Schools with coop programs, however, tend to facilitate the job-finding and job-application processes.

In Canada, some schools with well-known coop programs are the University of Waterloo, École de Technologie Supérieure, and Université de Sherbrooke. I'm sure there are many such schools in the United States.

Get involved in an OSS project (1)

BaverBud (610218) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721375)

and get into it. Start off with the simple things, but get into the lower level engine behind the actual application. Or better yet, get involved with the kernel. But don't do mundane programming; get into the algorithms, and find out "why" certain things are done certain ways. Figure out how to optimize algorithms in C, and not in assembly (also figure out how to do it in assembly too). I was recently interviewed for an internship (which I got and am currently doing) and the sole reason that I was offered the job was due to experience with an OSS project; and not just doing website stuff or administration, or GUI work. It's about getting down into the technical stuff, and really understanding what is going on. If you can find a project that you can do that on, you're golden.

A road of woe and sorrow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16721395)

So you like technology do you? Had an interest in it all your life? Thats nice. All you have to do is this: Go to a tech school, study for two or more years. Then get a job in it no matter how demeaning, and how little pay (you may even have to pay them). Do that for several years. Then, go on to university. Study for four years (or more). Take the coop program, study hard, get good grades and graduate. Then, prepare yourself for the REAL WORLD. Its nice that you have an interest. Go back to square one. Get yourself a demeaning, entry level job (likely sub-minimum wage if there is such a thing where you live). You may have some piece of paper from a university, and several more from colleges (and some work experience), but that means absolutely nothing to the head hunters. Be prepared to spend several years working very long hours at poverty wages in order to be considered experienced enough to get an entry-entry level job (8-10 dollars per hour). Ten to fifteen years of this, and you might move up (although it would be better if you went to India or China). Its also better if you speak mandarin or hindi. I'm not saying that that a career in technology is impossible in North America, its just that people with masters degrees and higher are having a difficult time getting work. Mere interest won't even get you the horse laugh from employers. I don't mean to change your mind, but seriously, you really want to think about something that pays money before you turn 50 (you said you were 17 years old, didn't you?) Change your mind. I don't care what the employment people tell you. Getting a career in computers is as promising a future as getting a career operating elevators, or selling rolls of camera film.

Fp& taco (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16721407)

create, manufacture clothes or be a *BSD has steadil7 you are a screaming so that you don't indecision and There's no

Find a project that interests you (1)

Digicrat (973598) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721413)

The first thing you should do is talk to the college advisor at your school and start deciding on what schools your interested in, and when the applications are due. If your sure you want to study computer science, you should start looking at schools that will interest you and can provide you with courses/experience in fields you might be interested in. If your HS school offers it, taking a programming course or AP Computer Science Class is a good start.

Just as importantly, find something that your interested in.

Is there an open source program that you like using? Perhaps some feature that you'd like see added to one. If so, go to the site's forums or mailing list (sourceforge has a lot of these products) and introduce yourself. Ask for some advise on what you should try and learn, and what you can contribute.

Are you interested in any specific games? If so, particularly for FPS games, try working on or making your own modifications or maps for the game. It doesn't have to be actual programming, but it will give you experience.

Are there any other subjects your interested in? Does your school have a website? If so, try making your own site. Along the way, pick up a book and start learning HTML, Javascript, and/or PHP to make a more dynamic site.

The most important thing is to find something your interest in, and then learn how to write a program to match your interests.

Learning to use UNIX/Linux is also a good place to start. You will learn a lot installing, exploring (and toubleshooting) with a distribution such as Gentoo. It will also give you the development tools to use when you start coding. Alternatively, if you don't have a system that you can install Linux on, you can try a LiveCD distribution such as Knoppix that has many of the same features, but won't have any lasting affect on your computer.

Don't be afraid to ask questions, and always remember Google is your friend in finding solutions to most issues.

dont limit yourself (1)

dfgchgfxrjtdhgh.jjhv (951946) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721421)

go for any job related to computers you can get. there wont be many places that want to take you on as a developer, not even a junior one, at 17, unless you can easily prove you have the skills.

any tech job, even if you're just making the coffee part time at a computer retailer will help you. obviously, the closer you get to development, the better, but you're only 17, don't worry, plenty of time to find a better job.

continue development as a hobby, until you have the skills needed to get a development job, sharpen your skills on the net, contribute to open source projects, etc. In 2 years you could be a really good developer & have a head start on your peers that went to college, if you work for it.

Re:dont limit yourself (1)

dfgchgfxrjtdhgh.jjhv (951946) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721455)

and also, obviously, keep trying to find a job in development, if that's what you want to do. teach yourself using the net & find a way to prove your skills, then offer to work for next to nothing in your first development job. once you have that first development job, if you do well at it & get some experience, it shouldnt be too hard to find other jobs.

you've got a couple of years to find that first dev job though, until then, find any computer related job & concentrate on teaching yourself how to be a better programmer. if you arent going to go to college, the most important thing to do is learn how to educate yourself.

Run while you have the chance! (1)

blanchae (965013) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721429)

It may be too late - you are already reading slashdot! Go to school, work flipping burgers, be a bum, but don't get involved in the tech world! Look at all the answers posted here - on a Sat night! Is this what you want to end up as? Some friendless nerd with nothing to do on Saturday but read slashdot and give advice rather than be out partying?

REPEAT AFTER ME: "WOULD YOU LIKE FRIES WITH THAT?" (1)

GET THE FACTS! (850779) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721467)



   

Job for Cash, Code for Pleasure (1)

theonetruekeebler (60888) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721513)

At your education and experience level you may be hard-pressed to find a coding job that will offer you many experience points. You'll end up doing uninspiring, grinding crap with uninspiring, grinding tools for uninspiring, grinding purposes. My suggestion, therefore, is to find a job that pays something you can live with but that is mentally untaxing. Why? So that you'll have some mental energy left over between school and work to do something you enjoy and that will challenge your brain.

Find an interesting Open Source project to attach yourself to. Or think up some project you've always wanted to see done and do it yourself. Many great things have been accomplished by people with a little free time and an itch they just gotta scratch. You may be able to leverage off of, or extend, an existing tool, or find a tool that works like you want and pick it apart to see how it's done.

But I worry that the kinds of jobs you'll be offered at this point will be disgusting, to the point you'll be turned off from any further career. This happened to me with biotech lab work. In high-school I excelled in chemistry and biology, so I landed a job at a snappy little biotech firm that was developing a test for Legionnaire's disease. My job? Weighing toothpicks and putting exactly 20 in each little plastic envelope. And using a pump to put exactly 50ml of solution into little plastic bottles. It was tedious and taxing. The next summer I worked in a car wash, made good tip money and had enough brain left at the end of the day to get a little reading and writing done and enough money at the end of the summer to buy my first PC complete with Turbo Pascal and the Zork Trilogy.

Good Job (1)

Keaster (796594) | more than 7 years ago | (#16721515)

Nick,

Good job, motivation is a big one, you appear to be motivated. Thats 15% for a good start. A lot of the people I work with are not motivated to learn, don't get complacent. Everyone in the forum has already waxed poetic about school and what do do over the next 5 years.

Next week, go to the local community college or closest university and bang on doors and beg.

Good luck.

Post back telling us what you do.
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