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Second Year of College and Getting Slack

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I'm 19 years old, and attending Trident Technical College for the major of Computer Programming. It is only a two year school, but I figured this would be enough to get me started, then maybe I would further my education to Game Programming. My first year in school I was majoring in Associates of Science, and I did horrible my first semester, and barely skimmed by my second semester. So the next year I switched majors, and first semester I got 4 A's and 1 B. However, this semester I started OK, but I am now falling behind in all my classes. I have a dead-end minimum wage job which tires me out, and I am sorta new to the computer field.

I have limited knowledge in the field of computers, but I know that I have the capacity to learn what I need to know. So here are the things that have ran through my head.

A. Try my best to recover this semester, and then try my best to finish with school.
B. Get skinny then join the armed forces to learn some computer skills there.
C. Learn how to program on my own time out of school, and get a real job.

Quite frankly, I do not know if I can handle school much longer right now. Also, I'm not the armed forces type of person. So I'm leaning towards learning how to program without school (for now at least), and get a job in the field of computers. I posted this on here because I wanted input on a few things.

First off, what kind of job should I look to get right now with limited knowledge about computers? Where should I start looking? Is this enough to move out on my own and support myself?
Second off, what should I do about learning to program without proper schooling? I feel that the best way for me to learn is for someone to teach me, but is that something that someone is willing to do for free? I think the answer is Java, but what language should I learn for now? How much should I learn before getting a job using this language?

My dad is the type that thinks you should take care of your own problems, so I'm going to try to not bother him with anything. With most of you working in the computer industry, I thought this would be the best place for me to look for help. If any of you can help me in any way it would be greatly appreciated.

P.S. The classes that I am taking right now are more general computer classes rather then programming classes.

Edited by Granz00, 14 March 2007 - 10:00 PM.

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I'm going to be quite honest with you. It sounds like a lot of your problem right now is a lack of motivation. You were attending a 2 year school and almost flunked out. However, you feel you have the capacity to learn whatever you want - you need to buckle down and start working at it.

I don't think you can get a "real" job right now that's going to pay well and give you the satisfaction I think you need. Also, given that you've had trouble sticking with school and you think you'd learn better with someone teaching you, what do you think your chances are of learning to program on your own while also trying to hold down a job? And you're not going to find someone to teach you free of charge.

I'm sure there are other people who can make better suggestions for what would be a good programming language to learn. This is a competitive field, and I really think you need to focus on learning some skills and then getting a job. That means sticking out school and trying to do your best. If you can do that, and then get a job using those skills, there will be opportunities at that point for expanding your knowledge further; most companies will pay for training classes to improve the skills of their employees. However, with it being a competitive field, I don't think you'll easily find an entry-level job if you don't have much computer background and experience.

Sometimes you have to work through bad experiences to get to where you want to be in life. You already have a dead-end job that you don't like - that should be your motivation to stay in school and learn enough to get a better job. You may only be in general computer classes right now, but those are the building blocks - you can't learn to program effectively if you don't understand the basic workings of a computer. I'm sure many of us (myself included) have had boring unsatisfactory jobs and taken classes that we hated, but that's life. I had to work my way through a lot of my college years, and believe me, some of those jobs were pretty mind-numbing.
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I have to say i know how you feel but it could be worse you could be doing a full course and have another 2 or 3 years to go, i have to tell you my course is really rubbish, really if you want experience in the computer programming industry pick a field of what you want to do and work at it use it as a path to learning skills that you can use in general. Find something you like and do it and do it and do something you enjoy i mean really enjoy and will enjoy doing.

Sometimes you just have to suffer through it though if its what you really want to do though, i dont enjoy my degree at the moment, i know im going to enjoy the work afterwards but the degree is a right bugger, second year of any degree though ive always been told is the hardest its maybe why i hate mine so much at the moment, apparently it all gets better afterwards when you get stuck in.
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