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Any IT specialists? Skills exchange

  Tags: Computer
 Language Learning Forum : Languages & Work Post Reply
Lindley
Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
Ukraine
Joined 4257 days ago

104 posts - 109 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, Ukrainian*, English
Studies: Spanish, Japanese

 
 Message 1 of 8
07 May 2015 at 5:51pm | IP Logged 
Hi guys. I have no technical background, only law school and languages, but I'm trying to switch to IT profession. At this point I have a general idea of various IT specializations, but haven't decided where to head - backend, frontend or mobile dev.

My question is - are there any IT specialists here willing to mentor me at the beginning in exchange for language practice? I speak fluent Russian, Spanish and Ukrainian, so I could help you out with these langs.
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rdearman
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United Kingdom
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Studies: Italian, French, Mandarin

 
 Message 2 of 8
07 May 2015 at 8:27pm | IP Logged 
I don't speak any of those languages, but I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have. Although, personally I'd stick with law if I were you. Your skills will not go out of date as rapidly!
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chaotic_thought
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United States
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 Message 3 of 8
07 May 2015 at 10:07pm | IP Logged 
What would your ideal IT mentoring session consist of? What do you want to learn to do and how do you think that would ideally happen with a mentoring session?

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kensor
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United States
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 Message 4 of 8
13 May 2015 at 10:47am | IP Logged 
Lindley wrote:
Hi guys. I have no technical background, only law school and languages, but I'm trying to switch to IT profession. At this point I have a general idea of various IT specializations, but haven't decided where to head - backend, frontend or mobile dev.


I have an undergraduate information systems baccalaureate which I consider to be an introduction to relevant terminology in a business setting, but incomplete because it needs to continue toward more technical software development and computer science to participate in the "meat-of-the-matter" engineering activities that really count.

Software development is first a craft, then a science, then an art, that can be learned interactively and iteratively in manners not dissimilar to learning languages. Programming is a craft with templates and patterns. Software development soon becomes a science based at first on discrete mathematics, then more esoterica. Not trivial.

A better introduction to computing is the book Code: The Hidden Language, by Charles Petzold; it will take you up to the front door of the formal computer education building. You'll then have an opportunity to open the door and go inside, where there are many programming languages to learn.
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mrwarper
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Spain
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Speaks: Spanish*, EnglishC2
Studies: German, Russian, Japanese

 
 Message 5 of 8
20 May 2015 at 3:38pm | IP Logged 
My Russian is almost nil, so this may be a bit lopsided at first, but we can try -- I'd really love to have a Russian speaker around with whom I have something interesting to discuss :)

Anyway, IT is a very broad field, so before going with any 'specialties', as somebody with no technical background, you should perhaps start learning the basics that are common to all systems and that will always be of use no matter what -- I myself tend to (whenever possible) avoid fad languages of the day and fancy tools that will be of little use in a few months' time.

I mean that just because you can use computers and smartphones, or operate some application programs, you don't necessarily know a great deal of what's actually going on, how and why, and you really want to -- smart people don't assume they know any carpentry just because they know how to sit on a chair and use a screwdriver, do they? :)

Edit: rephrased the above -- to summarize, if you master the basics, you can build on them, and any new stuff should be relatively easy to learn -- if you neglect the foundations, well, anything you learn will be of no use for the next one.

Feel free to drop me a line if you're still interested in this 'exchange'.

Edited by mrwarper on 21 May 2015 at 2:33am

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basica
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Australia
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 Message 6 of 8
21 May 2015 at 12:48am | IP Logged 
Over here mobile development is definitely the way to go if you want to play with all the new toys :) Downside is in my experience is these places all tend to be start ups, and well you either love that atmosphere or hate it. Front end/Back end - why not both? :) (though I have to admit I am biased to the latter).

Do you know how to program at all? If not I can provide you with some links to good sites to get you started. I'm not really sure how you'd go about using a mentor for something like this as you can quite easily teach yourself and get answered any sort of questions you have on forums and sites like stackoverflow.com

In any case, best of luck with your career switch!
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misskj
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United States
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 Message 7 of 8
21 May 2015 at 1:27am | IP Logged 
If you want to go into any type of development I recommend learning a programming language. Once
you learn one language and how to program in general it's easier to learn other languages and
specialize in some area.

I learned Java first then Python. You could try working on various projects and like basica said
googling any questions or problems you have.

I'm a Computer Science Major but honestly my professors didn't really teach me how to program.
More like they gave me assignments/projects and said "learn and figure it out on your own". I think
the biggest lesson I learned form programming was how to teach myself how to learn and answer my
own questions and solve my own problems.

I'll be happy to answer any questions or help however I can. :)
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mrwarper
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Spain
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 Message 8 of 8
21 May 2015 at 2:21am | IP Logged 
misskj wrote:
If you want to go into any type of development I recommend learning a programming language. Once you learn one language and how to program in general it's easier to learn other languages and specialize in some area.

Yes and no. You can't learn to 'program in general' without learning one language, true, but not all languages are equal, nor I think it's very useful to start programming stuff right away.

Programming is present in one way or another in all areas of IT, but it's not its be-all, end-all either. You also want to know at least the basics about databases, networking, communication protocols, execution environments, user and application privileges... :)

The reason why I recommend starting with learning the basics in some depth (OK, a very short, additional list: codification of information, operating systems and peripherals, data storage and file systems, text and binary files, character sets, user interface design, types of programming languages...) is because this way you get a foundation on the common tasks you'll need to handle from every other area of IT sooner or later.

Back to programming, I'll try to cover a concrete area with an example: if you 'learn a programming language' you'll struggle with file I/O if you don't know how to handle files, that that's where you want to read data from, or why data is stored like that, etc. It gets worse if you go from 'files' to 'devices' or 'data streams', doesn't it? If you start getting acquainted with all of that first, when the time comes to learn some programming, you'll just ask how to do exactly in this environment all of that data/file handling that you know how to do in principle. Same for everything else.

Also, programming languages may be wildly different in scope, purpose and usefulness or fitness for a particular need. I have programmed in 8085/8086 assembler, Pascal, C, REXX, Perl, PHP, JavaScript, PostScript, and dabbled in a few more. Just Google those and you'll see each of them is a completely different beast, and except for the general purpose ones, most are not fit for a start in the field.

I'd recommend to have a look at Don Knuth's classic The Art of Computer Programming, which is also available in many (human!) languages, or (and!) the Kernighan-Ritchie for C programming, to learn how programming works in principle and also to get acquainted with a general purpose programming language -- which can be extremely useful. Those are the books. Perusing databases with SQL, doing narcissistic exercises in OOP, designing overcolored GUI crap (or going Android!) can be done in no time after that.

But always remember: there are a number of non-programming areas you want to know about too :)

Edited by mrwarper on 21 May 2015 at 2:24am



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