Is programming still a valuable skill to learn?

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ertyu
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Re: Is programming still a valuable skill to learn?

Post by ertyu »

A bit off-topic: what would you recommend a person with econ/stats background learn? have been thinking about picking up "something IT" (as has everyone and their mom) but I have no idea what that would be. Thus if anyone does chime in to give advice, please assume a complete ignoramus.

ZAFCorrection
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Re: Is programming still a valuable skill to learn?

Post by ZAFCorrection »

A little OT, but in my experience being good at programming is of limited usefulness as an auxiliary skill in engineering. Since so many people don't know programming, the workflow everywhere seems to involve bits of gui software. If you know python and want to run data analysis that way, you're probably going to get a bunch of stink-eye from your boss and still need to export it for plotting to something like jmp or origin.

And all this random software has its own bespoke scripting language for you to drop in the trash the second you switch jobs/projects. It's maddening.

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Sclass
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Re: Is programming still a valuable skill to learn?

Post by Sclass »

I’m not sure why that would be an issue. With Matplotlib or Numpy one can do all that stuff with a one line call. Origin is expensive.

The replies in this thread did get me thinking about the necessity of learning how to write a few lines of code and set up say a sort, iterative calculation or a watch window. I guess it really depends what you want out of this game. Most people have nothing to do with it and live perfectly happy lives.

We can choose our battles such that custom computing solutions are unnecessary. But to me that seems limiting.

I see a world for the taking. Using an army of autonomous slaves who don’t eat, sleep or demand raises. All I need to do is pick up the sharp stick and think of ways to use it.

Logic is a good start but I really think some practical skills setting up a system, implementing an algorithm and managing I/o is also good. Setting up real tools to do real jobs is good.

I’ve known two entrepreneurs who started their businesses using Microsoft Access programming. They were not trained in any way. One solved a problem with monitoring student attendance and now he has a mom and pop business selling software to track dropouts from California schools trying to get high school diplomas from the state. Another guy runs a British motorcycle shop (old triumph, bsa and Norton’s) bankrolled by sales of his motorcycle shop inventory tracker written in Access. They both have created useful tools from a readily available and cheap (arguably crappy) machine and sold them to bigger entities who don’t want to bother with building a tool. I think these two people have created a nice living this way.

A number of years ago I figured out that I could monitor some well known websites for a particular deal I sought using a bunch of python scripts running on my pc so I could get in front of some other competitors who wanted the same thing. It took them awhile to figure out why I was so quick on the mouse. I stepped it up a notch and ran the data to my cell phone (no smartphones back then) so I didn’t have to be sitting at my desk. Finally the vendors caught on that I was always catching things as they posted them and they changed to a more fair system.

A few years later I ran some virtual vending machines. I’ve written about them here. Just automated downloads and email responses to PayPal payments. I’d pick up the money every week. Download was the same for ten years. I even coded the website to change itself everyday so Google would rank it high as a non stagnant site.

I did all this while working full time because the computer and a few lines of code allowed me to automate the process.

It’s all a game. Depends what you want out of it I guess.

ZAFCorrection
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Re: Is programming still a valuable skill to learn?

Post by ZAFCorrection »

The problem is the output file in people's preferred format then becomes The Data, and if you need to redo anything that you did at the beginning, it can become incredibly tedious integrating it with whatever was subsequently done in The Data.

AnalyticalEngine
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Re: Is programming still a valuable skill to learn?

Post by AnalyticalEngine »

@ertyu - if you want "something IT," project manager is honestly probably the best role for someone with a stats/econ background. Project managers need enough technical knowledge to write up work for the software engineers to do, but they also have to understand the business/econ background so they can make the best decisions for the business. A project manager basically translates what the customers want into engineer-speak, and then the engineers translate it into computer-speak.

borisborisboris
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Re: Is programming still a valuable skill to learn?

Post by borisborisboris »

ertyu wrote:
Fri Oct 09, 2020 1:38 pm
A bit off-topic: what would you recommend a person with econ/stats background learn? have been thinking about picking up "something IT" (as has everyone and their mom) but I have no idea what that would be. Thus if anyone does chime in to give advice, please assume a complete ignoramus.
I would actually reiterate my prior advice above, but emphasized especially for econ majors.(Source: My own major was 'finance' which is basically watered-down econ).

Basically, the fundamentals of SQL (and optionally, R) pair amazingly well with the fundamentals of microecon. Companies need to make lots of microecon type decisions like: what price do I charge, which sales channels do I invest in, does product engagement (or whatever) increase renewals. The information to answer these questions exists in data warehouses populated by CRM systems, billing systems, etc., so it's really valuable if you can be the person who knows how to manipulate that data AND how to answer the business questions. Most people can only do one thing or the other.

As a bonus, SQL is one of the easiest programming languages to learn, because it's not a general purpose language. There are a limited number of things it can do, and an even smaller number of things you'd need to do often. A week on YouTube goes a very long way here.

tonyedgecombe
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Re: Is programming still a valuable skill to learn?

Post by tonyedgecombe »

AnalyticalEngine wrote:
Sun Oct 11, 2020 11:12 am
@ertyu - if you want "something IT," project manager is honestly probably the best role for someone with a stats/econ background. Project managers need enough technical knowledge to write up work for the software engineers to do, but they also have to understand the business/econ background so they can make the best decisions for the business. A project manager basically translates what the customers want into engineer-speak, and then the engineers translate it into computer-speak.
I don't think I've seen many project managers handling requirements gathering in my career. Usually they have a fairly thin and high level understanding of what's going on.

Scott 2
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Re: Is programming still a valuable skill to learn?

Post by Scott 2 »

Project manager ownership of requirement gathering tends to vary by organization size. At a smaller company, it is common to have the project manger do business analysis. I've seen cases where they even do some of the systems analysis - entity relationship diagrams, in the rare case even database diagrams. Organizations vary whether that hybrid BA/PM role is called business analyst, project manager, product manger, product owner, etc.

alex123711
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Re: Is programming still a valuable skill to learn?

Post by alex123711 »

Also how viable is the 'self learning' or bootcamp route that seems to be all the rage at the moment?

Alphaville
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Re: Is programming still a valuable skill to learn?

Post by Alphaville »

alex123711 wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 9:44 am
Also how viable is the 'self learning' or bootcamp route that seems to be all the rage at the moment?
someone has to build the pyramids ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

tonyedgecombe
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Re: Is programming still a valuable skill to learn?

Post by tonyedgecombe »

alex123711 wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 9:44 am
Also how viable is the 'self learning' or bootcamp route that seems to be all the rage at the moment?
If you already have a track record you are fine but for junior positions there are plenty of candidates with a CS degree to choose from. Bootcamps aren't widely valued from what I've seen.

Blackjack
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Re: Is programming still a valuable skill to learn?

Post by Blackjack »

tonyedgecombe wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:08 am
If you already have a track record you are fine but for junior positions there are plenty of candidates with a CS degree to choose from. Bootcamps aren't widely valued from what I've seen.
Difference between US and UK probably. I know several hiring managers that grab kids out of bootcamps explicitly because they are cheap (read 70-80k/yr), whereas a young person with a CS degree is gonna cost high 80 to low 100s depending on where I'm hiring from. This is, of course, if you have the ability to actually take time and learn how all of these things work. But once you have a real job under your belt it is as Tony says, very easy to move around and find different jobs.

Salary potential in the field is also pretty absurd, especially if you find yourself willing to move around and put some kinda gruesome hours in for a few years (average near me is >100k and more like 150k, several friends in my city are >200k, and i know a couple people in the bay or NY working for big name companies on >400k salaries as well). Seems like you can work in this field for very few years and retire quick if you get your spending low enough.

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