I am thirty years old, never done college. I did just enough in high school to graduate. Ive always had an interest in programming. In high school I took both c++ classes they offered and enjoyed it, but even then I felt less intelligent than the other students.
After high school while working at a call center I picked up VBA to automate their reporting. I really enjoyed learning about it and figuring things out. I always have felt like a fake though. As others would praise my work id get embarrassed because all I could think of is the hundred languages and topics I didnt know.
Ive also struggled with major depression but am now on medication that is controlling it well (except for it hurting my motivation).
Im now at a point where I have the opportunity to go to school at my local cc. CS is the only thing that interests me but I am concerned im not smart enough. I am worried ill get through the curriculum only to wind up feeling like a fraud in my first position. Ive been reading hacker news the past year and 95 percent of the articles posted make me feel like I am an idiot. Can anyone relate? Should I study something easier? I feel like if I dont do this now ill be too old to get a job programming (if im not already). Thanks for any advice you can give.
I didn’t study CS but rather IT. Since I never actually finished high school it gave me sense of achievement that I badly needed as my self confidence was rock bottom. On the other hand, I now have a large debt I still need to pay off.
No one can say Yes or No, it’s up to you. It’s one of those things I think you should sleep on, so to speak. If you have some serious doubts about your ability, you could always find out what text books they use and have a read up on the material they cover. One of the reasons I chose IT over CS is that I frankly didn’t want to touch a lot of the math that is traditionally covered in CS and IT tends to be more “hands on” where CS is alot heavier on the theory side of things.
I did do the whole IT, ICT and a bit of CS study track. As @qux mentioned, IT/ICT is more handson than CS (that’s why I only did a bit of CS ). There were some good basics in the study track (2x 4 year studies I completed), but overall I find most of the content useless and the teachers were far behind on what the students already knew. I mostly used the study time to play with any OS, tool and language I could find.
If I had the complete list of books I had to read during the study, before I started with it, I could have done it all in much less years (the teachers were not amused when I mentioned that in my thesis…).
Last week I wrote the new vacancy description for a new member for my team, and we just got rid of any requirement of study and purely focussed on experience. Because we checked most of our platform teams, and ~60% was self-tought! Without any IT related study, we even had a history graduate which is now Senior/Architect grade Software Engineer doing java, groovy, scala, bash, infrastructure, etc.
Study says nothing; knowledge and experience does.
Of course, you have to decide for yourself if you think the study is worth it.
But know that there are good alternatives:
- Young Professional
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 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.
Thanks PV thats certainly something to think about.