Never worked in the industry, do I have the skills?

Thus far, in my life, I have had nothing but non-programming related jobs. Currently I have been working over five years in a warehouse, but for longer I’ve wanted to program for a living. Specifically, I want to develop my own games in a small self-made business, which probably deeply contributes to my lack of success, but it’s difficult for me to want anything else as it’s been my dream since I was small.

I believe I have some technical competency, though I’ve never actually completed college courses on computer science or programming, nor do I have strong mathematical grades. I can actually understand the mathematics, and my test scores always demonstrated incredible competence in these skills, but I have a powerful psychological barrier, where when I’m at home, I cannot get myself to work. I never handed in homework, to the point where teachers didn’t even ask. Whether I succeeded in a class was dependent on how much weight that individual educator placed on homework. If it was a lot, I failed, and if it was less, I aced the course. Essentially regardless of the subject, if there was a strong emphasis on homework I got low grades, and if there was weak emphasis I achieved high grades. Due to this, and due to my lack of formal education in computers, I have never made an ideal candidate for technology employers.

However, it is not as though I cannot get this machine to behave the way I want it to. I can write nearly whatever you ask me. I can and have administered servers, created my own circuit boards, wrote computer games, and taken contracts for development. But I don’t feel like I really know this stuff though. I don’t know how to write hardware drivers, for example. The most I’ve done in microcontroller programming is playing with an Arduino. And I have literally never touched PHP despite it’s prevalence.

I have no college degree, no experience in the industry, and I will soon be 30 years old. Should I give up on a life in computers? Is there more I need to study? What good are any of my skills? Did I just waste my youth on a pipe dream, or do I just need to kick myself in my own ass and do something special or different?

Thank you for your valuable time!

I can’t tell you if you have the skills or not from this text, even if you included you CV of stuff you have done related to the industry it would still just be an indication of the things you can name :smile:

IT requires continuously learning new stuff, some of it can be done on the job, day trainings and conferences, but there’s always stuff to learn outside working hours. And if you’re completely new to the industry at the age of 30, you’re behind atleast 10 years compared to most of the newlings joining IT. Atleast in the case where you want to start working for an employer in IT.

Of course, starting a small self-made business in developing games, go for it! There is an amazingly large indie-game developers community out there and if you ask me they, they make the best games out there.
Working in a warehouse for 5 years, I suggest not to drop that job for a new start in IT. Especially not for a self-made business. Instead, find a way to get yourself working on the hobby projects you want next to your current job. If you really really want it, you can find a way. Start making games as a hobby, join indie-game communitie(s), publish games. As long as its a hobby, you still have your steady income from the warehouse job. And when it gets succesful, you always can switch to your hobby as a fulltime job. But don’t start there, as it is harder than you think. To give you an idea, check, a movie from some majorly succesful indie-devs and the struggles that they had.

But it all starts with a hobby next to a steady job, especially in the game dev industry.

About working for an employer in IT, there are some possibilities to get into the job, paid for by an employer. These are called:

  • Young Professional
  • Traineeship
  • Apprenticeship
    They basicly all mean the same, training-on-the-job with full pay! Often without any IT pre-requisite, just the will to learn. And aLOT of IT companies have programs like these, these days. Because there is a big shortage of software engineers, and with these programs the companies can educate newlings specificly for the job.
    The Young Professional program at my company is focussed on growing you from possibly non-IT’er to the knowledge level of a Medior Full-Stack Software Engineer. I can tell you, that’s WAY more than any IT study will bring you in knowledge and experience, AND those two years you are payed like a full-time junior software engineer.