Brainstorming ideas for a friend and his future

Posted on 2002-03-07
Last Modified: 2010-04-15
Family friend has a high school diploma, out of cash and want to improve his life and hope for the future.  Is over 30.  Is self educated in tons of computer-related fields, and skilled in Access, etc.  BUT wants to go to school at night to explore new opportunities and hopes in life.  No cash, little time.  He thought about learning Networking, thought about making money with what he loves (creating new digital music), thought about finding something he'd love to do AND make good money.  Tough...

C# is new and tons of possibilities, I thought.  Assuming programming would be a good direction to explore, looking for comments and ideas.  If networking is the general choice he makes, where to start in terms of online education?

Basic brainstorming thread here, and ideas, links and recommendations are appreciated, given all I've noted above.

If more than one gives great insights, will ask a moderator to split points.

Thanks a bunch for your guidance.  I'll check back when I can, swamped at work.

Question by:Asta Cu

Expert Comment

ID: 6847116
Companies all over the place would kill for skilled
Java developers. For starters, studying all 'trails'
offered at:

would be a nice place to start ... it's free, it's
complete, right from the source and the pages contain
lots of information about myriads of topics.

kind regards,


ps. I don't receive any money from anyone saying this ;-)
LVL 16

Accepted Solution

imladris earned 300 total points
ID: 6847601
My opinion is that it is a bit premature to jump onto the C#/.NET bandwagon; certainly as a "bet the farm" kind of proposition. Microsoft has proposed numerous ways of "saving the world": COM, DCOM, ASP and they have all, to one extent or another, been discarded. It may be that the C#/VBNet etc. family of languages will be different, but it seems far from certain right now. Getting a new programming language to be widely adopted is a rarity. A lot of us have forgotten that in the Java furore. But just think of all the languages that have been created/proposed over the last couple of decades: Modula-2, Ada, Oberon, Python, SmallTalk, Perl etc. etc. (I'm sure, as long as you've been around you could fill in some yourself). C++ has been quite successful, and Java and that's about it. Though Ada and Perl have carved out niches, I wouldn't want to bet a career on them. It may be that C# etc. will be the language that takes over the 21st century, but as of right now, it still seems far from even a good bet to me. On the other hand, once you've learned one language, the next one is just a bunch of details.

Your friend could probably make a decent living as a network administrator/manager. That is certainly a growing field. Personally I'm biased towards programming (just because I think it is more fun). Java may be a good place to start. It hides or avoids a lot of grotty details, and has, as jos has mentioned, lots of good tutorials on the net.

Expert Comment

ID: 6847628
Just IMHO, I consider C#/.NET a rude mutilation of the
Java/JVM concept sprinkled with too many promises and
hype marketing and above all, being so soft for your
hands etc. But all IMVHO of course.

kind regards,

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Expert Comment

ID: 6853716
For long term satisfaction and security I would recommend C/C++ to everyone wanting a firm foundation in programming.  Two years ago I left a 13 year engineering career for programming - to find something I'd love to do AND make a lot of money.  I came to the conclusion that if I learned C/C++, then I could pick up any other language.  It will be very hard for a johnny-come-lately language like C# to displace C/C++.  C/C++ has been around for decades, has published standards, and is NOT vendor proprietary (like Java, C#).  It's two years later and I've no regrets about my decision.  Thank goodness I didn't opt for that VB course ;)

Expert Comment

ID: 6853826
Just listening...

Expert Comment

ID: 6854209
I bounced into C back in '78 (I'm showing my age here ;-) and I've met C++ in '85, when it was hardly born and I studied both languages and their evolution ever since. IMHO starting studying C or C++ from scratch is doing  Broadway the hardway, although it can be done.

I've seen people drowning in all those nifty but nasty
features of C++, I've seen people commiting suicide using C, but I've seen people who finally 'got the hang of it' after struggling for months and months.

Java on the other hand is all about object oriented 'thinking'. C++ needs the same twist of mind, but it also needs knowledge of the gory details it inherited from C. C, by definition, is a high level programming langauge with the exceptional characteristic that the machine code of the bare metal is shining through.

I agree with boneTKE that a solid knowledge of C/C++ is very valuable for your career, but, as I said, starting from scratch is quite a tough job ...

kind regards,



Expert Comment

ID: 6856589
First ask your family friend what kind of a Programming career he wants. You gotta be firm on whatever you do and choose your domain carefully. Just because C# is hot amd you may make more money you should'nt learn it if you don't like it. Do whatever is pleasing/interesting.

Anyway, to make out a career in programming it is not only necessary that you learn a language but also be strong in the foundations of Computer Science. In India, Carnegie Mellon University conducts such courses thru third-parties. If one such is available, take it up.

Don't learn too many. Its good to be a Master of one than Jack of all trades. IMHO, C/C++ is essentially a very good starter as far as programming is concerned as you can try almost all of the Computer science concepts(like logic, compiler design, Operating Systems, Business programming etc) in those languages.

And finally... FYI, mainframes are still hot and learning COBOL, JCL, MVS, DB2, ADSO etc will surely help you. It is only that the training would set your wallet by a big amount.
LVL 27

Author Comment

by:Asta Cu
ID: 6866185
My friend and I thank you all very much for your insights and help; he felt that the information from lmladris was right on for him personally, thus this award.

Again, thanks you to everyone.


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