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I am not sure what "gig work" means, "contracting" maybe. However if you want to know what to learn then the best starting point is to look at what jobs are being advertised in your area. For web development C#, ASP.NET, SQL are probably most common. For mobiles Java and Android, or Swift and iOS. For desktop computing maybe C++ and Windows.
There are a number of websites (freelancer.com is one) where that sort of work is advertised. But you may find that clients think they can get a complete website built in an afternoon for less than $10.00.
On demand work that I can do at my convenience when my day job allows.
I think you'll find out that these ideas don't go hand-in-hand with coding. If you want to be good enough at it for others to hand you work, you need to have plenty of dedication--not only learning, but keeping up to date...because this field moves a lot faster than construction.
I am mainly interested in setting myself up to be able to do gig work. Has anyone on here done any gig work?
I don't know for sure what you mean with "gig" work. But anyways..
Member 14550317 wrote:
I am considering going to school online to earn a degree in some type of computer science.
I would postpone that until you are sure what you want. Computer technologies and programming languages have too many options. First search in the net for free tutorials of a couple of languages, look if you like it and if you can understand it. Then choose the one you feel more comfortable with and then start learning in deep / paying for something.
The topic of those IT Camps that promise a lot and are quite expensive have been discussed a couple of times, there is not a big acceptance here in the lounge. But if it is what you want to do...
I would recommend you to get a copy of Visual Studio 2017 community (free for personal use), so you can start playing around. About the languages... C# is a good all-rounder to start with (there are a lot of resources and structured tutorials in the net (one I find OK is C# Tutorial[^])
If something has a solution... Why do we have to worry about?. If it has no solution... For what reason do we have to worry about?
Help me to understand what I'm saying, and I'll explain it better to you
Rating helpful answers is nice, but saying thanks can be even nicer.
I had a coworker who used to earn a bit on the side helping people configure/etc a well known CMS. IIRC most of the work he did was one off jobs that were only a few hours of work. Something like that seems like it might be a good entry point for what you want to do, being 3-4x off on your estimate is less catastrophic when you're only bidding a nominal 2-4 hours of work, and the small discrete nature of the tasks means it's something you can easily fit in around a second job.
Did you ever see history portrayed as an old man with a wise brow and pulseless heart, weighing all things in the balance of reason?
Is not rather the genius of history like an eternal, imploring maiden, full of fire, with a burning heart and flaming soul, humanly warm and humanly beautiful?
Training a telescope on one’s own belly button will only reveal lint. You like that? You go right on staring at it. I prefer looking at galaxies.
-- Sarah Hoyt
The best programmers I have ever trained have been from the following backgrounds Engineers, Mechanics or Builders. The people from these professions understand that the end results has to have structure to be built upon. And sometimes it takes more time to build infrastructure than to build the final item.
I have read thru alot of these comments and they all mean well. But, they are kind of discouraging in that they point you in a hundred directions and none at the same time. They best way to start is to start. Getting into a class for any type of programming will help. Anything. Seriously it is all pretty much related. The underlying theories are different for infrastructure. But an If statement is still an If statement. and a logic table is a logic table.
I love working on cars, I love building new things in my woodshop. The things I apply in my job as a programmer are directly related to building a furniture for my wife and daughter. The big difference is when the dresser is done. It is done. When the program is done. Well there are a ton of improvements that someone will think up. LOL.
Enjoy the mental stimulation.
To err is human to really mess up you need a computer
Thank you. I agree, construction is definitely not programming (interestingly enough, I am also a former mechanic), but I fell if I am determined to learn it, I will.
One of the main things that is peaking my intetrest in this field is the amount of contract work that seems to be available. Construction can be very unpredictable, so a 2nd job with a regular schedule just wouldn't really fit me.
Ideally I would like to start doing small contracted programming jobs, as was mentioned above while still working construction to supplement my income and learn about the programming world. Then, in the event of a layoff, I could transition to programming full time.
It's a little overwhelming trying to figure out where to start, but, as you pointed out, the best way is just to start.
You could try the golang tutorial for starters, it is very short and goes through the basics quickly. I would not suggest starting with a programming environment that is going to auto-complete and suggest everything you need to type.
I honestly can't see the "gig economy" working with programming/development except the freelancer.com web sites and there are quite a few of them around. I believe they would be very tough to break into for a beginner.
You are VERY unlikely to get a contract which will allow you to work when your primary job allows you the time, possibly pro bono work but you will need a goodly amount of experience.
As for setting yourself up for future options then get the latest community edition of Visual Studio, a couple of books on c#, SQL Server and web development and start working through them. Once you have the basics then build a couple of applications based on your interests, I did a dive diary for my son.
Never underestimate the power of human stupidity -
I'm old. I know stuff - JSOP
The software world is overcrowded with people who know all about their tools but nothing about the problems. Lots of these people believe that perfect mastering of some obscure programming trick is of any use (well, in their eyes: essential) to the non-programmer coming with a problem far outside the domain of coding. But your ability to juggle five hammers simultaneously does not prove, or even suggest, that you know how to make me a house covering my needs.
You thoroughly know one skill, one trade. You know work patterns, terminlogy, conventions, written and unwritten rules for how work should be done in your field. That is an enormous strenght - we need people like you in the coding world! Exploit it for whatever it is worth.
Don't plan to turn your back to your profession, sort of starting out with blank sheets, to learn "coding in general" - then you will be no better than all the others with no clue about the problem that they are set to solve.
When you pick up a tool that has been created by people in the trade, truly knowing and understanding the needs, problems and issues of that trade, it gives you a great feeling. I've got a few of those on my PC, such as Steinberg WaveLab for sound editing, or Photoshop. Or for that sake: MS Office for document production. There are reasons for such tools never been knocked out by free open-source alternatives: Those coders never analyzed and understood issues and requirements, they just tried to make something roughly similar to the successful solution. Copying a solution only vaguely teaches you what the problem was.
Coders are experts at solutions for coding problems. They know and understand compiler related issues, requirements for a VCS, how to automate system builds. So they make good tools and solutions for themselves. That does not guarantee that they will make good solutions for completely different problems.
So, hold onto your skills when you move into the software world. You can probably make most use of them in design and program architecture phase, rather than in the nitty-gritty coding phase. Which means that you should probably not aim to be a one-man company, an independent consultant solving any sort of problems you don't understand; you shold rahter train yourself to move into companies where you will be the problems and solutions expert in your trade.
I was teaching general programming for a number of years. Every know and then we had students who had been working for years as unskilled workers, on-work training only. But they knew how this knowledge was to be used, applied! They asked all the good questions, pointed out which alternatives were suitable in which contexts, they supplied (and sometimes corrected) the textbook on established terminology etc. etc. They were worth their weitght in gold!
That is the kind of designer/architect/coder you should aim to be. A domain expert. One who knows how the real world really is, in your part of the real world.
Can you be your own salesperson? That's going to be a big factor.
Also, unlike construction, if you're looking for remote gigs online you will be competing with people who live in countries with a very low cost of living.
A lot of IT people I know recommend young people go into the trades if they have any aptitude for it, rather than computer work. One guy I work with is studying to become a nurse. And the company I work for is hiring every skilled welder they can find- hundreds. The number of IT workers they've hired in the last 5 years can be counted on one hand with fingers to spare.
*Any* industry that says there's a big shortage of "x-workers" is really saying they want cheap labor, and need an oversupply to keep wages down. And the schools profit from painting a rosy picture.
A career in computer science could also be a good transition for me when my body will no longer tolerate the rigors of construction work.
Talk to older computer workers about how easy it is to find work. They've got a younger 'expiration date' than you do.
Find out if coding really suits you first- take some free non-trivial courses on Coursera or something similar. That will get you much further in your decision-making process.
I started with C in University. If I was teaching now, I'd start with C# move to C++ then to C. Then and only then would I move lower to .NET, IL and maybe a little on assembly to help them get a better idea of what is going on under the hood.
The idea is to move on to the "candy" languages after you fully understand pointers.
The idea is to master "pointers", get a feel for some of the most difficult concepts early.
When I went to school the professors were very strict when they taught statics and dynamics for the engineers; the idea was to separate the "wheat from the chaff", early in the program. For example, my younger brother said he got a "D" on his first 4 week exam, because he forgot the -> vector symbols on his equations, even though every answer was correct with all the work shown.
The idea is to let the student determine if the subject matter is right for them very early on, so they don't make too much of an investment and bail later than they could have.
Pointers are not something I would teach to a beginner, you can screw up your code so easily and make it so hard to debug that way.
These days, a lot of companies cannot get programmers. So the concept of weeding out the lousy students is old-fashioned and should be deprecated. Modern teaching methods can help weaker students become as good as the strong starters, by the end.
All programming languages have strengths and weaknesses, if you study computer science in a University, you will probably have used 7 or 8 languages by the end of it so it will be second nature at that point to pick up a language and start using it fairly quickly.
That's exactly my point. The idea is to help the student decide whether they have the aptitude for the profession really early before any real investment is made. When I was a student we learned assembly language. Writing code has lots to do with personality, it's all about solving puzzles, and sometimes you spend lots of time trying to figure things out. If you have "the personality" you will certainly enjoy this book, perhaps people should read this book before they decide to take a software class: The Bug by Ellen Ullman
Hi and welcome I will offer some advice about selecting a language from my perspective as a want to be professional programmer. I am a retired Hospital Pharmacist and started playing with computers way back when an Apple /// was my first computer. Your job in constructions requires you to solve problems that require computed task. Take a few of those task and write out a narrative of the information you use to solve a task. I may get push back here but once you learn one programming language other languages become easier to learn. I suggest BASIC or Java (Kotlin). The other BIG learning curve that will slow you up is the Integrated Development Environment for the language you select. Just Google this "IDE for kotlin" Next consideration is Web-Pages or the device you plan to run your program on Desktop Windows or Apple Mackbook My Bias is an Android Tablet or use the language JavaFX for Windows Desktop applications. NOT to overwhelm you but all programs tend to store data which leads you to explore the use of a Database. Cloud is nice IMO on device storage provides learning that is very advantageous as the lessons learned for using device storage transfers to Cloud Storage. What is roof rafter length ?
Hello, I guess to start out, I should point out that gig work can be hot and cold just as it is with construction work. However, if you gain a reputation then you can definitely make a fairly steady income. You can get some decent courses online, check out MIT's open courseware if you haven't already. I do think however, you should consider taking courses at a University when you can, they tend to teach better than many of the online resources do.
If you want to try programming out, download microsoft's community version of Visual Studio, it's free and pretty nicely featured. I recommend learning C# first, it's sufficiently powerful to be used to write apps, and it is much easier to use and debug than many of the other popular languages. Difficulty in debugging with unstructured languages like Java has stopped many new programmers in their tracks. A good starting book would be: Learning C# 2005, Second edition by Jesse Liberty and Brian MacDonald. Copyright 2006 O'Reilly Media, Inc, 0-596-10209-7. It's an oldy but a goodie.
Hi, member (hint: let us know your name, it will make this a much more personal experience for everyone!)
I've worked in IT over 40 years, now semi-retired. The first 15 I worked as an employee. You get training, holidays, pension, mentoring, but limited opportunity. (I'm talking about larger employers, i.e. those with an IT department). But it's not a job for life - redundancy can hit you whatever field you're in. You can also end up in a "dead-end" job, not learning new skills, and risk getting to a point where you're no longer useful to your employer nor anyone else. I was headed that direction so went "contract": working for 3 - 9 months on each contract, on-site with big companies. It gave me great exposure to many industries, development strategies, tools and environments. After 10 years of that I started picking up what you call "gig" work - working remotely, multiple clients, projects ranging from an hour to three years or more in length. Eventually - with a lot of hard work and even more luck - my income was far more than it could have been as an employee. I'm now semi-retired, expecting a call from a potential new customer in the next hour (recommended by a past client whose systems I still support).
The thing about gig work is that it is inherently unpredictable. You need to be psychic to work out what a buyer might be looking for. You need experience in literally hundreds of different technologies/tools to match the highly specific requirements of the buyer. You are competing not just against a couple of hundred local job-seekers, but against (literally) hundreds of THOUSANDS of other remote-working freelancers across the globe (for many of whom $10/week is a big deal, whereas you need $100/hour just to pay the rent). To break into that marketplace you MUST have either the ability to apply for 100s of gigs per week (and the ability to provide a perfect solution regardless of the tools / vagueness of request); OR you must have a proven track-record of outstanding results. For a while I was the top-ranked UK developer on Rent-a-Coder, and with 100+ 5* reviews I could bid on jobs I wanted and get a very high success rate. But once I'd not picked up any work for a while and dropped to #2, the success rate plummeted. I did a £100 job for a client who couldn't really describe what he needed, he gave me my first-ever 4* rating, and my success rate plummeted even faster. I switched to PeoplePerHour and built up a new reputation there (and picked up my biggest ever client, who then recommended me to others, and I no longer needed to respond to gigs posted on those sites).
If you've got a good education in general IT and development, AND a good portfolio of hobby projects / pro-bono work, AND you can devote 18 hours a day to it, I'd say go for it. But as a newbie, with no experience, no portfolio, a day job (and probably financial responsibility) this is not the way to go. Get a full-time, steady job as a junior developer, find out if you're any good and if you like it. Let someone else pay for your training and build up experience there.
Finally, bear in mind that IT is still generally seen as a young person's career; once you're past 30 you may be expected to take a more managerial role, and find more barriers in your way (though this is where remote working is great - no-one knows how old you are!). It's also an INDOOR job, sitting down - and as a gig worker, generally on your own. You need to be 100% self-reliant, though having said that, join good communities (e.g. CodeProject, and in the UK things like IPSE to look after your business interests. You need to be thoroughly familiar with contract law, employment law, tax law, accounting, marketing and more. You'll be learning new skills + technology continuously and spending a significant amount of your time studying and researching trends for the rest of your career.
Whatever you decide, kudos to you for not just leaping in, but asking the right people in the right places. Best of luck whatever you decide.
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