A mentee came across my “mentoring coordinator” desk. Â The mentee was looking for a mentor who would help with programming skills and career paths. Â While I am in no way qualified to help with either of these questions, it has me thinking.
My next bought is that different places have different language specifications. Â Often because they do different things (duh…web, server, desktop applications). Â Since I really can’t talk about career planning, I can’t imagine how to find out what programming language your next job would desire. Â Based on my own experience, though, I would recommend picking an open source language because those have seemed more stable over my years of experience. Â The rest of my story is strictly a narrative, but maybe someone else will see the crazy path I took and find it useful.
Every once in a while I get frustrated because, let me tell you, for ArcObjects, Visual Studio Express doesn’t work so well! If you can’t tell, I learned that the hard way. Â I had a piece of code functioning in Visual Studio, switched it to express and nothing. Â I rewrote the whole thing, checked all the logic and then finally realized it was just that I was using Express. Â That put me off coding for a while. Â Especially because the help for Express couldn’t tell me why I was having such a hard time. Â Everything should have worked, but it sure didn’t. Â So, hiatus.
Speaking of hiatus, I think it is incredibly important in learning to program to set attainable goals. Â It should be logical to anyone who has had any programming experience that they need to make a change and then debug. Â Butâ€¦wellâ€¦every once in a while I forget this and bite of way more than I can chew. Â Thus, I’ll code like crazy for a spell and then nothing for a long while. Â Goals. Â Small ones. They’re good.
Back to the story. Â There’s the fun fact that I can only use Avenue on an XP machine since ArcView 3.x doesn’t like Windows 7. Â That’s pretty useless. Â And, just when I thought Esri had a great training solution to switch from ArcView 3.2 to the impressive ArcGIS Desktop, which I partially did, I am now running into ArcGIS’s threat to do away with VBA for years now. Â Great. Â Now I have two piece of useless code.
The moral of these stories is that finding a language you can write without any expensive IDE and software ‘s flakey support and keep small goals. Â You can always branch out later.
Shout out: This weekend (February 21-23, 2014) Code For America is doing “Code Across” with events many, many places. Â There are some GeoGeeks involved (I’m excited Lyzi Diamond is in Lexington, Kentucky) and it is just awesome. Â So check it out.
Side note: if you are interested in signing up for a mentoring, I recommend two options: URISA’s Mentoring program through the Vanguard Cabinet and ASPRS’s Mentoring program through the Young Professionals Council. Â Both are seeking mentors, mentees, and mentoring coordinators. Â I am actively involved in both so please feel free to complain directly to me if you don’t hear from us in a timely manner. Â So far, though, I have heard great stories and also had excellent experiences. Â It is always a tremendous amount of fun to have a conversation that doesn’t start with an explanation of what you do!