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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Your Advice May Save My Pofessional Life

Hello BoS Members, This will be my first post here after a long while hanging here
And digesting your nice ideas and solutions as my Knowledge Base.

My Post may be too long for your Time or Interest but your feed back may change my life totally.

Here is My Situation:

I am not a US Resident and am not in Europe. Location doesn't matter in my case I guess.
I have graduated from MultiMedia University Located in Malaysia with Second Upper Distinction [3.64] in B.IT Software Engineering degree and been awarded a seat for Ms Degree in Management & Engineering of Information systems /Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm Sweden.[KTH]
I am 28 now, Had entered for Bachelor 2004 graduated 2008.
I am a serious and hard working guy, I learnt English by myself as a second language.
No work experience , a little research and implementation under supervision of  professors.
Designed, Implemented a minimal Information system as a project.
I have been trying to learn .NET Technology and C# language by Self Studying method for two years , bought some books from Amazon, Apress & Wrox Publishers.

I have canceled my MS seat because of some problems I couldn't solve, Non-Financial.
So now I am studying as well as practicing  for around 12 - 14 hours daily On .NET Platform.
I am living with  my parents right now , so some distraction are inevitable then.
I Just wanted to Know is there a Chance for me to catch up and do a good job in this profession?
My worries are my age and my resources, CUZ as long as I see Most people enter this industry in their teens or early 20s.
Here in my country all Entry-Level jobs are mostly for Under 25 year olds, this means that I am out of business by their rules right now.
That’s why I have no work experience yet.
I am thinking about funding and establishing my own small business but after I have done my
Home work nicely, after I mastered at least the platform I am Practicing day and night.
I am a loner in my world though. No friends no connections, too introverted.
I have put my soul in this branch of science.

I don know which are the steps, what should I read, The mindset should I have.
What Information should I have in this business, like software licensing and etc.
Where can I find some sample designs for different software systems such as payroll system, OAS,RGS,DTS,CRM,WFS & etsc
I even do not know how many kinds of systems we have in this business.
I have searched but vague information was my experience.
The orders of tasks.
Here in my place people in this industry do not give you good advice thinking you will threaten their business later in the long run or will become their nightmare in market.
 Most of them are small businesses converted to Giants in one night by Government Capital Injections. Mostly politics issues.

So after being around here for years and not posting cuz I was and still am a novice to most of you Especially  Bob Walsh & Andy Brice as well as Joel Spolsky [The Host], I Posted Here trusting my fate.

I am trying to Get my hands on good stuff and books. But my feeling is my time is running out too soon.
The more I increase waking hours the more I have lot of  worries that I am far behind the time.
The more I try the more I stressed.
Currently I am Learning C# on WinForms and ASP.NET reading Software Engineering Books Like Code Complete, Successful Software Engineering, Solid Code, Software Craftsmanship and the like.
I read business and management books too and that’s why I found this Nice Generous Forum.
I have joined some open source projects in CodePlex and try to code regulary and study other programmers code as well.

My feeling is I am Lost and My Future is indeterminate .

I just want to know what should I do next? That’s it.

You may feel the topic is  offTopic and boring and I may get not a good response.
At least I have tried.

By the way thanks to all the time and knowledge you are sharing here in this forum.
I am Iranian if you are curious , but hate politics and am a neutral thinker in this area .
Any ways I would be grateful receiving your generous feedbacks.

-Mehrdad
Active PHOENiX Send private email
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
 
 
I don't have all the answers but maybe a couple of things to consider:

- There are always new technologies coming out to learn.  For example, MVC for .NET.  I know a lot of people don't know this yet and that's a chance to learn something other people don't know and get ahead in that sense. 

- Go to your local MS or .NET user group meetings.  You will probably see a lot of people there are introverts too.  But this will be a good place to start building your network, with other people you have something in common with, like developing. 

- See if you can find business on elance, rentacoder, etc.  It's not a good long term solution but may be worth trying if you haven't.  (People's opinions are mixed about finding work this way).

- IMO, I don't think an employer should have a strong preference between someone who is 24 and 28.  It only seems like a big difference when your 28.  But if the person hiring you is 45 they should not see a big age difference.  It can't be proven but that's how it seems to me.  So, I would not give up.
Ryan Wilson Send private email
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
 
 
If you're 28, go get an entry level job.  Start your career finally instead of endlessly studying and thinking about it.  28 isn't too old, especially if you are healthy and look young for your age :)

Also, don't worry about keeping up with everything.  None of us can do that -- we all end up specializing a bit.

Finally, a job will start exposing you to a specific industry, and that's what you really need to start your own company some day -- insight into a specific problem domain (and passion about the domain).  Passion for programming in and of itself isn't enough to be successful starting a business (unless you're only going to consult I suppose).

Good luck.
Doug Send private email
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
 
 
Hi there.

I understand you.

I guess you actually need to decide and start some project. I am sure you know a lot about .NET by now, judging by the hours you spend, and the passion you seem to have with computers and programming.

Yes, it's a somewhat lonely life, where your passion and dedication slowly disconnects you from the "outside world".

With the Internet, anyone with a good idea and great determination can build a life on selling software online. Even from the country you come from (I guess it's Malaysia). It is at the same time not an easy task: Lots of competition, a lot of tasks to do (Bob Walsh means it with the "47 Hats" brand) and a lot of fine-tuning along the way.

Yes, it's tough. It's hard. You'll feel it. I can surely feel it myself now on my side. But it will be rewarding and an awesome journey!

Don't give up. Plan your short-term future. Define a project. Go for it and learn along the way. Release early, release often, so they say!

I can surely understand you... I am 38. I wish I was 28 like you...
Rui Curado Send private email
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
 
 
Join an open source project and start getting some real skills.  Build yourself a website that does something - anything - so you can learn.  If you get involved in a big open source project and start posting fixes and helping people out through the forums work will find you.  Why don't you look at DotNetNuke ; if you have .net skills there is plenty you can do to contribute, and it's a project with strong commercial interest that could easily lead to paid work.

28 is very young and no impediment if you are truly committed to learning no impediment at all.  About being home-bound, well, get outside and meet people.  You're not going to succeed if you sit inside and make excuses.
Bruce Chapman Send private email
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
 
 
Get a job ASAP. Software development is a massive subject, you will never learn it all, so don't even try. You are just going to go crazy sitting at home on your own.

You have probably got more than enough coding skills to get a reasonable job and 28 isn't too late. But you need social skills as well. Get away from the computer and meet some people, read Dale Carnegie's "How to make friends and influence people" (it is better than it sounds from the title).
Andy Brice Send private email
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
 
 
+Andy

That is actually excellent advice.  Computer people are becoming a dime-a-dozen.  Computer people that can communicate well (with upper management and customers -- ie 'soft skills') are more in demand.

And + to Dale Carnegie's book!
Doug Send private email
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
 
 
I was delighted  by the response, How fast and accessible the world  has  been made by internet technology:)
Thank you very much for the responses.

@Rain Wilson
Thank you Rian, I didn't thinking about giving up. Just wanted to know your opinions about my situation.
Here every day many companies are started-up with under 30 years old people which got the money but not the knowledge so these people will become my employers, expecting a mixed knowledge of technologies from you all at once and the nice point is with minimalistic payments for your service to their companies, around  300$ per month.
Really It is nothing In Iran economy to live with.

Thanks for advice about rentacoder and the like job listing sites I will give it a go.

Here for being employed we have a paradox. No one hire you with out job experience.
So you would not be hired and then no job experience you will have then .
Joel have written about this paradox I remember. But the situation is different.

For new technology matter , they are built on some previous technology at least a bit.
So I have to master the foundations then. You are right :)

@Doug

As I told before Entry-Level jobs mostly will practice age limit up to 25 not more.
This practice is exercised mostly by government sector. The private sector requirement is sometimes both Age Limit and at least 3 years of experience.

And yes I got the passion but I am getting  being upset far more than that. No Place to start …
No Space to have a try …

No Whining Though!

@Rui Curado

Thanx for your kind response.
I am Reading and Thinking a lot about the matters I study but I forget the material so frequently that sometimes I got frustrated.
My time runs out very fast. Its 9 Am and I am studying say, State management in ASP.NET, later clock says Its 5PM, forgot the lunch but has not finished the chapter yet.

I am Iranian not Malaysian, I just got my degree there.

Yeah, I will think and do more practical think on my future plan, thanx for this snippet of idea about defining my own project.

Here people will laugh at you for your pure efforts if it seems NOT That Professional to them, Negatively comment you, Not persuading culture you have here. I saw you with very very positive feedbacks to those who are just at the beginning, you know for sure but what's the point in suffocating  a new comer? For the sake of what?  So no positive feedback here.

About the age, It is Real Time here running too fast than there. You will loose every opportunity with the economic  inflation rate of more than 30% every year.

@ Bruce Chapman

Thanks for feedback.

Mainly I have no intention to make excuses. If so then I had no worries. Fall back and resign would be my strategy then.
 
As I mentioned I have done your advice , CodePlex and CodeProjects.

Your tone came to me a bit tense but I have put my effort to solve this situation I am in.
Excuses will not solve my issue and I am not waiting somebody else solve it for me.

Just begging some advice from you Pros … that's it simple ...
Active PHOENiX Send private email
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
 
 
@Andy Brice

Thank you for your Essential Input.
Yeah I will practice your nugget advice.
you mean Networking then ... my feeling is I do not know that much.
I unfortunately forget materials as soon as I start new subjects.
Here they need you to know Application development for Windows and Web. Sql server implementation and reporting services, Oracle, Analysis and Design with UML & RUP is a Hot Spot.
They need you to be familiar with various Financial Systems mostly Accounting and some more all in one.
I think here they contract off-shoring software form other countries.
The requirements for employment is nearly the same and all in one.
there are no in-house development. main software customer is the Government which will buy or give projects to their own favorite companies.

anyways I will Try more to find a Job.
My resumes did not get any response. I will push more with no doubt though.
Active PHOENiX Send private email
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
 
 
It's now 4 A.M Here and Again Thanks for the response,
I will Get the Book Andy, Thank you very much,

And I do Apologize for Misspelling Ryan Wilson Name in My prev. Post.
Active PHOENiX Send private email
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
 
 
Hi,

Starting your professional life at 28 is not too late. But it would be better to get a job with peers. There are many common practices, as in any profession, and you save time by understanding it from peers, instead of re-inventing the wheel.


In my opinion: Software is best learnt hands-on.  You read all the books, but most concepts you  cannot grasp by reading the book. However, when you have a requirements document in front of you, you know where in the book to find the best solutions, and which book.
Only then, by writing the code in real life, you understand what the books were trying to tell you.

And even "The Art of Debugging" cannot prepare you for a real time remote-angry-client-red-temperature-debugging session. These things are what comprise "Experience", IMHO.

Regards
BeMeCollective Send private email
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
 
 
it's only 28........don't sweat over small think too much...

just find a job, acquire a domain knowledge...then create a software.......

i started changing my interest from mechanical engineering to computer programming when i was 30.

Domain knowledge is the most important and programming is just a tool
Fherry Send private email
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
 
 
I have rather odd advice, but it might be useful to your situation. You describe these numerous technologies and lines of books you have read day and night practicing at home... I think you should stop reading books and playing with the programming. The more you read and practice the more confused you will get, it's an endless well. There are millions of people out there creating these books and API's just for the heck out of it - this is what they are trained to do, this is their business. You seem to be trapped into this. It's not literature or art. It will not fill you up. Those books and technologies (so called) are the references for creating other things. So - get into real project which solves real problems, and ONLY THEN grab a book from the shelf to see where it can help. One of the most important things we learn in universities is to how to deal with information, how to tell which is right or wrong quickly, how to use it efficiently. But stuffing yourself with information is a dead end. Age is not a problem.. You are at a good age for a serious career.
Dima Send private email
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
 
 
"But stuffing yourself with information is a dead end"

I don't know if things have got any better but a lot of Microsoft's training packages used to be filled with solutions to extremely contrived problems. Reading a lot of this stuff would drive anyone crazy.

Given current hiring methods for junior developers I suspect everyone is only as good as their last set of acronyms. I could easily see someone who has a few weeks experience of ASP.Net MVC being hired in preference to someone who has years of solid ASP.Net WebForms experience. Not that I agree with this kind of madness - but non technical hiring managers are apt to fall for this kind of thing.

Get up to speed on ASP.Net MVC, jQuery, jQuery UI and I'm sure your CV will probably stand out from the crowd. If you do what everyone else does then why hire you (everything thinks they are "smart and gets things done").

Note that the set of fashionable technologies changes every year or so - the real skill is picking the right ones to invest time in learning.
Arethuza Send private email
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
 
 
@BeMeCollective And Dimma
Thanks for your time and advice.

Yes you are right I agree.
The situation is when you do not know how to Implement a CRM system or Do Not know every nuts & bolts in .NET libraries while you are getting interviewed and being asked all types of technical questions and you Just forgot or did not grasp it yet then in a shot you will loose negotiation stand that you could have.
many times Just because I didn't know how to solve a complex SQL query on paper I have been rejected and not employed.

As my resources I have only my books and if I don read them I don Have the Knowledge to compete in this tight job market.

I am really thinking about your nice ideas and advices and planning to adjust my goals and the way I am getting things done.

Most of the time I think Here we have culture problem. there are many fast trackers who just expecting to Gain but not Giving anything away.
No good team working practices that's why I am a loner. they want to win all by themselves and keep advantages even smallest to them selves.
Maybe you think I am a Cynic but the point of view is REAL not Personal.

easy to say just get a job.yeah I am looking for it nearly for 2 years.
One company required me to Market, sell , Implement , Deploy and Localize Microsoft Sharepoint server 2007 for government enterprises and Teach them how to use the system after I have coded some customization that suites them. for only $250 PER MONTH in a full-time job.
they told me we will call you next week which I have never recieved
that call.

Another company expected to employ me with out a salary and just for the commissions that I may recieve after developing their information system and if the business were good enough using the system after a year.

But I do not want to have resistance ...
I will Think more about your advice.
my idea is may be I did not entered the job market the right time.
5 years ago situations were way too different than now.

If you say books are ok but not a help in real life and if till now I could not get a job then what will be my next homework to do?

for your information JOBS here got to training, they expect you to know everything before employment they Just expect you to deliver the system FAST, no time for learning curve!
Active PHOENiX Send private email
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
 
 
I think you've got intimidated by those companies you were going through with your interviews. When they start torturing you with complex mind boggling SQL queries - just walk away from places like this. They need slave labor. There is a bunch of control freak small manager-lieutenants who want a solder to execute their queries fast. Stay away from these, it will suck you dry. There are better places. And as to SQL, it's not a rocket science, it can be mastered when required to solve real problems. Someone already mentioned before that domain knowledge is the key to everything, and .Net wizardry is just a tool.. I was following MS technologies from it's early COM/DCOM magic.. Is there anything fundamentally different now? More complex - yes. Different - no. Moving POJO's from database to user interface and back is not that exciting, it's just a method. If you see one - you see them all. But you really have to see it, not read about it :)
Good luck.
Dima Send private email
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
 
 
Sorry for asking but, haven't you considered going to another country?

When one gets too bored of the culture and the way things are done one must consider migration seriously. You speak enough English to start in another place.
Javier Send private email
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
 
 
If your local job market sucks so badly, why don't you go global? You seem to have the largest obstacle - the language barrier - already removed...

Basically, you have the knowledge (or so you think), but don't have the experience. Go get the experience then. Contribute to an open-source project. Volunteer for a non-profit - they also have IT needs, you know. Release a piece of freeware. Join online professional communities and share your knowledge with newbies. Whatever option you choose, blog about your progress.

In other words, build a professional network and reputation, and paying jobs will start finding you.
Dmitry Leskov Send private email
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
 
 
There is already lots of good advice, but I'd like to add something about your age. You're 28. I'm 53. I didn't get my first job as a programmer until I was 40. Before that, I was a truck driver and computers were just a long-standing hobby. I took a couple of basic classes at a local community college, joined a couple of user groups, and volunteered to teach computer literacy for the local library.

In the user group, I let my name stand for the board of directors and contributed what I could of my time and experience. I also offered to coordinate presentations and demonstrations and eventually ran a few of my own.

Over a two year period I gained skill, confidence, and a network of contacts. Getting employment in the field was not the primary objective, but I did have my dreams and I shared those dreams with the new friends I was making. Somebody eventually offered me a job and I've never looked back.

At 28 with a real formal education you shouldn't have any trouble as long as you actually go do something about it.
Ron Porter Send private email
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
 
 
Hi Mehrdad,

Get engaged in your local IT entrepreneur community in your region. The hub people I know about are Mohan Belani @ E27 (http://www.e27.sg/) in Singapore, Gwen Tan@ http://sgentrepreneurs.com/ in Singapore and Daniel Cerventus @ http://www.entrepreneurs.my/ all nice people who know an awful lot of other people and keep people up to date through their websites.

These three sources will get you introduced to all the events that are going on, what people are doing and what opportunities there are.
Dan V Send private email
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
 
 
> You seem to have the largest obstacle - the language barrier - already removed...

The second is the export administration with its embargo.
zuchodrig Send private email
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
 
 
Get a job!

You should really get a job no matter what it pays and how good it is (in technology off course and matching your skills)... At this point your looking for some experience to put in your resume, that's it. Plus, no matter how long you study and how good you are at .NET or some other technology it isn't enough in the professional world, there is a lot more to it than just coding. You need to get some work experience and the sooner you do it the sooner you'll realize what is that you need to do next.

Hope this helps...

Dmitriy.
dmitriy ryajov Send private email
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
 
 
I was in similar situation for some N years ago. I was 28 years with no degree and experience and I have decided to change it the situation. I am not still where I wanted to be...but thanks to Allah/God.

I recommend you the read this book, it has helped me a lot

http://www.amazon.com/Magic-Thinking-Big-David-Schwartz/dp/0671646788/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_a/176-4207238-1915121

"Millions of people throughout the world have improved their lives using The Magic of Thinking Big"
Asad Send private email
Thursday, October 01, 2009
 
 
Welcome Mehrdad to the BoS forums. The guys said it already.

Get "something" done!

You can get a part-time job related to your passion, earn some money, and release your v0.1

The view is much different once you've climbed even one single step in the ladder. Hey you just did that by posting here :o)

Wish you a good journey.
MCoder Send private email
Friday, October 02, 2009
 
 
What do you want to do as far as your career?

Ask yourself that first in a serious way. If its computer programming, and this IS your passion, thats half the battle. If its really people, or making lots of money, or business, or charity work, etc, then follow that. Im not 100% sure programming is your passion. Its one thing to be good at something and kinda enjoy it. Its another to LOVE IT, and try and do that.

Next, ask yourself, if I like programming, what type? If its websites, build a website and put it online. Thats your first proof to yourself and your employer you know your stuff. If its some other aspect of Technology, build one thing and put it online, or talk about it. You need to do that first.

Next, ask yourself about how you can start making money doing what you love. If its say charity work with some technology, then start thinking of moving to a city in your country that has those institutions. If its software service companies, then do that. If you find your country will never have those opportunities, the the next step is to start working on the paperwork to travel abroad.

Also, ask yourself seriously, if you love programming for example, and live with your parents, so dont need a lot of money, then try guru or rentacoder websites and make a little money working from home. Who says you need to travel to work? The new Web we have means more and more talented programmers are actually connecting via virtual companies together and making money working from remote locations. Thats going to increase. So, you can start today by setting up a website with a portfolio of your work, and sell yourself online doing very small projects for cheap and improving that over time.

Last thing, I also started my IT career in my mid-30's. Was a starving artist before that. You do NOT have to have certs, degrees, or buy into Microsoft technologies to be good at technology. You just have to have a love for programming and a curiosity to learn and some decent people skills. I now do high dollar regression analysis and online work for the energy sector in the US and have no training hardly at all in either IT or energy. But I know my stuff and have many years of experience. I also run a business.

You can do whatever you want (with limitations put on your by your host country). Its just a matter of how much passion you have for your chosen career. If that passion and love is great, you will gladly do it for free for friends and family and in your spare time. That will lead you to the money. Trust me.
Stormy Send private email
Saturday, October 03, 2009
 
 

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