How do I start a new career as a computer programmer?

I am 28 and have been working in various different (uninteresting) entry-level jobs since I left school with my GCSEs, such as factory work, shop work, hotel work, basic office admin and call centre work etc... the list goes on and on! For the last couple of years or so I've been becoming increasingly interested in the idea of becoming a computer programmer as I know I'd enjoy it and I like the idea of having a more long-term career with quite good earning potential. I am confident that I have the aptitude for it as I'm a very logical thinker who's fanatical about the little details and the accuracy of everything. I love solving problems and working methodically, and I have a very black-and-white way of viewing things in general. Me and computers get on like a house on fire. Not long ago I asked my mum for advice as she's been a computer programmer all her life, but unfortunately nowadays I think things have changed a fair bit since the 80s, for example when she left school she got her first job as a basic office administrator, but then a few years later she was offered the opportunity to go into the IT department by the company itself, and then it just went from there. She worked up through the ranks of the company to eventually become a business analyst. Now, I've always been on the lookout for opportunities like this in every office I've worked in, but things just don't seem to work like that anymore. Employers don't want to pay for the training when they can just pick somebody who's already got the experience instead. My mum recommended that I try applying for jobs in 1st line support and helpdesk, as apparently she knows a few people who got into programming that way. A couple of years ago I went through applying for pretty much every single vacancy I could find, but got absolutely nowhere. The vast majority of the companies never got back to me, and the few who did just replied saying that I did not have the necessary experience. So, that old question again, how exactly does one gain any professional experience in IT when one needs to already have experience to get the job in the first place? I considered going to uni and doing a degree in computer science but soon abandoned that idea when I found out how much it would cost. I was wondering about these IT training companies like Computeach etc... are they any good? Is it worth the money? Which courses exactly should I be applying for in order to become a developer? Any advice from people in the know would be much appreciated. Thanks! Just been looking on some of the main IT training websites and was wondering if the MCTS or MCITP courses might be a good idea? No idea how much these cost though. However I would be willing to save up some money for the right course, just don't want to choose the wrong one!

Asked By: Laura - 11/10/2011
Best Answer - Chosen by Asker
Let me give you some background - I interview developers, and more often than not - junior developers. These will traditionally come out of university and have a 3 or 4 year degree in Software Engineering or Computer Science. That's not mandatory to me, but that's what people usually apply with. When I screen... More
Answered By: Fowler Fan - 11/11/2011
Additional Answers (1)
Forget the idea. Lots of IT working going overseas to places like India where they work for peanuts. Your biggest problem is all employers will want is experience. Haven't got any so no chance.
Answered By: David C - 11/11/2011
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