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Tech Jobs For a Student? 399

Nick Manley writes "I turned 17 back in August and have been fascinated with technology my entire life. I have a special interest in software and computer programming. I am really hoping to find a job, or at least an internship, where I can learn more about my field and expand my knowledge of software development. Does anyone have recommendations for someone like myself, without any college education, for ways to get a head start on my career? Preferably, one that doesn't include selling iPods to kids at Best Buy."
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Tech Jobs For a Student?

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  • by Czyl ( 696277 ) on Saturday November 04, 2006 @09:45PM (#16720929)
    Have you considered contacting professors at your local university? Plenty of research groups can use someone with coding skills, and you'll have a great experience. It might not be paid, but you're likely to find someone who'll take you and you'll be able to pick up letters of recommendation for future work.

    You might also get to learn something about actual computer science (rather than simply programming or IT), and better yet, you might get to contribute to the development of cutting-edge technology.

    As a warning, you may have to knock on a lot of doors before you find someone who thinks a high school student knows enough to contribute usefully to a project (many academics might just ask you to read a stack of books and come back in a few years), but there are those of us willing to take on a high school intern -- you'll just have to be persistent.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 04, 2006 @09:47PM (#16720937)
    If you're looking to get a first taste of software development, you might want to do what many others without education and experience do: Try your hand and open source. You will learn a little bit about working as a team, a little about quality control and of course lots about programming and project management. Sure it's not making the big bucks creating professional quality software at Microsoft, but it's a good start and better than selling Ipods at best Buy.
  • Re:First (Score:2, Informative)

    by crazygamer ( 952019 ) on Saturday November 04, 2006 @10:50PM (#16721403)
    No company is going to have you writing code with no experience/education
    You shouldn't say that without any first-hand experience. I'm 17, got hired at 16 as a Javascript and PHP programmer and get a 1099 at the end of every year. Working for a company now, and had a contract with a different company before.

    To the author: I suggest you browse craigslist for people needing you to write a small bit of code for a small price. Then just deliver the product and get your money, and they won't know your age. As long as you act professionally and know what you're doing, I think someone out there will be willing to hire you just like someone hired me. Let me know if you need me to elaborate on something. Good luck!
  • by ameoba ( 173803 ) on Sunday November 05, 2006 @03:20AM (#16722815)
    If you're in HS and taking classes at the CC, you'd probably speed through college in 3yr, if you don't get sidetracked. You'll enjoy yourself a lot more spending 4-5hr/day on courses and coursework and then doing what you want than you will working 8hr/day in some demoralizing, unrewarding, shitty job and then trying to gather the energy to learn on your own when you get home.

    One thing you're overlooking is that the just being a college student opens you up to a world of opportunities - there's tons of student jobs on campus for talented, motivated students that don't expect much (if any) experience. Being a student actually makes it possible to get internships. It gets you exposed to recruiters - many larger companies have employment programs exclusively for new grads. At the end of school, if you've done it right, you not only have your 'piece of paper', you've also got some actual, relevant, job experience. ...and you can't really make decisions about going off to a 4-yr school based on your opinions of community college. As Adam Carolla is fond of saying, community college is like "highschool with ashtrays". Move out of your parents' house, and go to school at least an hour or two's drive from home. It might help you lose that "fuck the man, I don't want to play his game and get certifications/degrees" attitude (which is going to hurt your chances at getting a career at least as much as actually lacking the degree.)
  • by chris_sawtell ( 10326 ) on Sunday November 05, 2006 @03:22AM (#16722823) Journal
    Go the college route only IF you can afford it, and IF the college has a well developed and staffed CS/IT department. If it hasn't then you are just throwing away your money, which would be much better spent on a decent library of text-books. Assuming you decide to teach yourself then you'll need to learn a language or three. I'd suggest you learn what the OO paradigm is all about. These languages are pretty good implementations of it:- Get your head around that lot, toss in a sprinkling of accountancy, and you will be a very valuable item, but don't forget to have a bit of fun on the side.

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.