I enjoy programming in my free time and spend a considerable amount of time hacking away at open source projects as well as implementing those projects for various clients. My recent interests have included messaging (RabbitMQ specifically), Node.js, NoSQL, and alternative JVM languages such as Scala. You can also occasionally find me at several conferences speaking on some of my passions as well. Of course, got to balance all of this out with my wonderful baby girl and beautiful wife. James is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 20 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Improving Your Programming Skills: All You Need Is Motivation

02.17.2012
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 In the past many people could come up with easy excuses for not learning a skill. College, after all, is quite expensive! Time consuming! I’ve even heard the lamest excuse of all where people who did go to college make the excuse that their skills are poor because their school didn’t have a good program in their field of study. Hogwash!

I think my school’s Computer Science program was actually pretty good. Now in the real world, I feel I’m a really good developer. But I also have come to recognize that algorithms are my weak spot. Thankfully in this day and age all you really need is the motivation to go look for the knowledge you need and take the time to absorb it. I’ve found MIT’s Open Courseware to be a really excellent resource in this regard. If you were like me an applied at MIT you know that the tuition costs were upwards of $30k… way beyond the means of someone who made “okay” grades from Hannibal, MO. What is awesome is that you can still benefit from the lectures, notes, and exams if only you have the motivation to do so.

So I’ve been working my way through Introduction to Algorithms, which come complete with captions for the hearing impaired (like me)!

Really awesome stuff. Which gets me back to my original point. We hear in the news everyday that there are so many job losses in the unskilled job market or even in certain skilled markets that were traditionally profitable. Meanwhile, EVERY SINGLE COMPANY I KNOW HAS BEEN DESPERATELY LOOKING FOR DEVELOPERS! And even more important, I’ll tell you from experience of being the interviewer for over 100 interviews (and also being the interviewee for several) that interviewers don’t give jack about whether you have a Bachelor, Masters, or even a PhD degree, just whether or not you have good problem solving skills, work well with others, and can write good clean code. So why don’t you help the economy out and start watching lectures and completing coursework for MIT Introduction to Computer Science today?

 

From http://blog.james-carr.org/2012/02/11/you-only-need-motivation/

Published at DZone with permission of James Carr, author and DZone MVB.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)

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James Elsey replied on Fri, 2012/02/17 - 6:06am

Well said, couldn't agree more. Also thanks for the MIT links, a great resource and definitely worth bookmarking :)

Christopher Gilbert replied on Wed, 2012/02/22 - 1:45pm

Thanks for the reminder about MIT Open Courseware.  I had heard about this a while ago and forgot that it is such a great resource. Definitely have to revisit it!

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