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If I were young again and just starting out... (OH! to be young again!)
You need to learn a language and learn it well - one you have one language under your belt, others are relatively easy to pick up.
But if I had my time again, right now this is what I would learn:
HTML5 / CSS Not just the basics, but learn it well. to the point where you can create a web page to someone's specification - and then change it easily when they change their minds.
Now you can develop an app that will run on pretty much every device out there - so far so good.
But you need to communicate with the back end sometime...
Learn sufficient SQL that you can create tables, store data in them and retrieve that data. Sequencing and filtering the data as required.
Learn how to write a web service that can use the SQL you write to get or Put data to your database
I know you'd probably like a "Use this language" for the back end stuff - but if it was me (oh! for a time machine) I'd look around and choose a product you want to build to showcase your skills - and choose an appropriate back end to suit - then learn the technology.
So you could use Ruby / rails or Python or (ugh!) PHP, Node.js or .Net - I would investigate them all and decide which makes more sense to you - and which looks more fun! (currently I'd probably go for Ruby but for no really good reason)
Similarly with the database - you could use SQL server, MySQL or Oracle, or even something completely different - but some flavour of SQL will help your job prospects.
Once you have most of these skills you are potentially employable- you might find some small company willing to sling some money your way to set up a small web app for them (or just do it out of the goodness of your heart for your local soccer team, cafe or whatever) It's always best to have a real project to hone your skills on.
I'm actually far less interested in suggestions for the exact languages, which so many other people tend to focus on, rather than just what area to work on. And, as I expected, it seems web development is where the money is right now.
I actually already know which language I prefer for the backend: Python. Not a popular choice, but it's nice, clean, and I have experience with it. I'd do .Net, but it limits any backends I work on to Windows servers, which isn't the best choice for tight budgets.
I have some basic web development skills, though nothing in-depth. I really suffer when it comes to anything visual, so CSS is my weakest suit. An example of something I've done as a test is this: http://proofofconceptiso.appspot.com Not too much there, but it has a working registration system with hashed and salted passwords, as well as a small pachinko game in Unity that allows you to get points and buy 'items' (really just another kind of point) which are stored to your account.
As you say visual design is your weakest suit, I would try to steer clear of anything graphical (like a game!)
But it is worth learning the CSS so that you know how to achieve what is required;
if a company wants a web site done, or an app designed, you can always ask that pretty girl down the road who's doing an arts degree to design something on paper - if you have the CSS and HTML skills then you should be able to replicate it.
Python isn't too bad at all, from what I've seen - and it is better to start with something you know and get good at it; once you have all-round skills, learning another language for a part of the stack is just a case of using Google to translate concepts from one to the other!
Try Intel. They've a reputation for hiring people without degrees but demonstrated experience. Try also calling up local tech employment search agencies and let them know you're looking for parttime work, $10 an hour. Try also the local gov't employment agency, believe it or not there are lots of programming jobs, especially hourly ones, listed there.
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.-John Q. Adams You must accept one of two basic premises: Either we are alone in the universe, or we are not alone in the universe. And either way, the implications are staggering.-Wernher von Braun Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.-Albert Einstein
C++ and C# will always be dominant in the market and give you the best chance of getting a job.
It doesn't matter if you have a degree though, do a programming course, and go for interviews, and SHOW KEENESS!
That's the MOST important thing, An intelligent guy, with a programming qualification, who is enthusiastic and looks like an easy guy to work with is going to get hired.
And take ANY salary for your first job, you are in your CV and experience building mode of your career, not in the big bucks earing mode, that will come later.
Build your experience up, work hard, and never give up on solving a problem. Switch jobs every 1.5 to 2 years, don't stay longer, and ramp up your salary.
When you get to about 6 to 10 years experience, you can go contracting, but you need to be really motivated, a real self starter, a real solution deliverer who takes the initiative when you contract. You don't wait for things to happen, you make them happen. That's how you deliver and get your contract picked up again.
And the cardinal rule. NEVER CHECK ON CODE AS COMPLETE WHEN YOU KNOW IT HAS BUGS. Take responsibility for your code.
Do that and you will have a good and rewarding career, its worked out freeing amazing for me!
"The whole idea that carbon dioxide is the main cause of the recent global warming is based on a guess that was proved false by empirical evidence during the 1990s." climate-models-go-cold
These titles reveal something profoundly British, and begs the question, why? Sure, a lot of people deserve recognition for their work, but I have the feeling that it is pointless, they don't really care, or should not.
I really don't think that this word could be defined properly. Lets take an example were A needs help and B is the only one in the position who can help.
1) He helps him because he thinks that he would be in the same position himself (done in self interest)
2) He helps him because he feels that it is his duty or he just want to help him (altruism)
3) He helps because he thinks God will see him (done in self interes. This is something like the reverse of Pascals wager)
In your brain I don't really think that you are aware of all you intentions, meaning that you cant see the intent of your actions in the moments in your primitive brain. Not all parts of the brain is self aware, and you cant really be sure what the causal relationship of event is.
Yes, of course to a certain extent everything reverse back to survival (1, 3) or peace-of-mind (2).
Absolute altruism can't exist, it always brings everything (conciously or not) to the one practicing it.
And defining it with 'the fact of doing something more for others than for him/herself' does not sound right (how do you quantify the 'more' part?).
But yet, some beings take more concern of the world surrounding them (from short to wide range) than others; despite they can't claim that their reasons are purely altruist, they can claim that they tried to do something where needed, either.
What if their motivations were far less important than the results they produce?
There are two kinds of people in the world: those who separate humankind in two distinct categories, and those who don't.
There isn't really any imperial power that thought otherwise And you should remember that the ideology of Holism was created because Britain was the greatest country, and brits were the greatest people in the world, so the natural way of things is that the British should rule people, because that was the only natural way of things...
Of course they care, that's why the get dressed up and go to the palace to receive their awards.
I'm curious, being from across the pond, but how does one 'use' a damehood? I thought they were only a title (which shows how little I probably know about the system). Wikipedia isn't much help either. I believe that in some circumstances knights received land, but that was before our times. Did 'dames' also back then?