Can an absolute newbie get a solid job in a CS field within 6-12months?

Perhaps I was mistaken then – I happened to find several programmers who described the above as their work-life balance on another board.

Yeah, there can be, but that depends on the job and the company and the personality.

My theory is that the jobs with the worst work/life balance tend to be the ones that pay the most. You know who has probably the worst work/life balance? The CEO of a major company, the president, a movie start, etc… To a great extent, their job is their life. Who has great work/life balance? Paper boys, fry cooks, pan handlers… It’s just hard to live on those wages.

Developers struggle with work/life balance, probably more than most - because it pays well and most developers are passionate about their work. You have to fight for the balance. And hopefully the company has your back.

Offending anyone or implying that programming is easy work was not my intention. I

I wasn’t offended, just correcting a common mistake. There is a lot of nonsense floating around out there about this field.

Even 40 hours a week for decent compensation is an enormous upgrade from my current schedule, working 7 days a week and not taking vacations for years at a time.

Well, as a developer I definitely have a lot of 50 hour weeks, especially if you count outside reading and learning. But I also get vacation days and holidays.

You have to fight for your downtime. And you need the right culture - recently we (jokingly) berated a manager who responded to a Slack thread while on vacation - his job this week is to be unwinding on the beech, not checking Slack.

To add to Kevin’s post, there are definitely some tech companies that have relatively typical 40-hour (or near 40-hour) weeks. I mean, I work at a company like this myself, as just one example.

But I wouldn’t say 40-hour per week companies are a consistent norm in the industry, and it’s far more common to expect anywhere from 40 to 50 hours per week for a typical developer role at a typical company (plus more, for companies like startups).

But that said as well, I’d still say developers on the whole get better work/life balance compared to other types of jobs, like say doctors or lawyers. :wink: Having nights & weekends available as spare time is pretty typical, which you can’t say for every type of job that would pay $100K+.

I want to thank ALL of you for these reality checks and insight into what these jobs are actually like. My work-life balance is extremely important to me after not having any balance for the past decade and my family suffering for it…and as you know the internet of conjecture out there is not terribly reliable in trying to find one’s new path.

There are definitely jobs out there that will cater to that. But it is already really, really, really hard to get a first developer job as it is, and if you go into the interview with the attitude of “OK, but no more then 40.00 hours per week, right?” then it’s going to be even harder.

Granted, most jobs will understand that you need days off and time off. Any job that expects you to not take a weekend off should be avoided. A good company knows that this is creative, cerebral work and you do better work more quickly if you are well rested and “recharged”. That being said, on my first job, I often spent an extra hour each night reading through documentation to get a handle on things. I might spend a few hours on the weekend tightening some stuff up. But we’re talking a 45-50 hour week here, not 60-70.

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Thanks for both of your in-depth posts answering questions. After reading this thread’s responses, other threads, and researching things online, I am starting to lean more in an IT direction. I don’t have a particular passion for the more web or software development paths, and for dev roles it seems like the entry path is potentially longer and more saturated than IT.

I like the idea of being able to kickstart IT skills with certifications, do learning outside of that, and theoretically be able to potentially land something less than a year from starting. Continue getting more certs and building on that. I don’t think it’d be impossible for me to push myself to eventually be competing for jobs in development, but it’s more of a stretch given that I don’t have a passion for it, and I don’t think I have the time necessary before I need to be earning seriously again. I need a more sure deal.

I took notes from your previous post and am looking into those baseline entry certifications, and independently learning linux, bash, sql, python, etc. I figure once the time comes to start working in general IT I may have more context for what specific path I want to go down. I don’t really understand enough about networks and cybersecurity to know what makes sense for me.

For what it’s worth, I live in Washington DC so I imagine there will be higher starting salaries than many other places, but I will temper my expectations and not count on starting at 70k. That’s an enormous hit to me and my family, but if with dedication I can expect to get back up closer to six figures in a handful of years it’ll be worth it.

Do you have any advice on where to or where not to pursue those certifications? FCC is great and I will be going through the curriculum you mentioned, but do you have any other resources you recommend I check out? Anything more IT-focused?

There are a lot of different opinions on where to start general IT but if you are completely new to game start with the A+. Just buy a good book and start studying. You don’t need to “go anywhere” per say. Some areas might have boot camps or classes, but they tend to be expensive. You would have to do your own research; I can’t help with that. Unless you really need the structure, I would advise against it. Just study and when you feel ready to take the test go to a testing center and take it. If you fail don’t worry about. See what you missed and go back over that material.

There are several good A+ books. Just look on Amazon and pick out the one that looks best to you. You will want to get as much hands on experience as possible. Just start playing with your computer. There are also lots of good labs you can find online. I cannot enough stress the importance of hands on!!!. Wed Developers tell you learn the basics then start building projects. Same applies here. Learn about formatting hard drives, then actually format a hard drive. Learn about firewalls then actually configure one. Build scripts in the command line. You get the idea.

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Awesome. Thank you so much for your help, you’ve done a great deal for me in getting started. For what it’s worth, I found a guy online called Professor Messer and he has youtube videos covering the entire A+ test and relevant topics, and sells corresponding notes with visuals to follow along for a modest price. I’m going to start with that. I suppose once I back-up my main laptop I can begin messing with stuff on that and maybe buy an old, used machine cheap to begin playing around with the guts inside towers and physically adding/removing/optimizing hardware.

Do you have a favorite online community of IT folks?

Sorry I’m a little late to the party, but I just wanted to mention what might be obvious… you should try something until you have a rough idea of if you like it or don’t like it.

I tried IT first. I studied for a week, and I personally found it to be difficult and a bit dry in a way that didn’t work with my brain.

When I tried programming, I found that it was actually just as challenging as IT, but I didn’t mind the work. The same hours that I spent in programming went by faster because I enjoyed the process.

I think we’ll face challenges no matter what we do, so mind as well face fun challenges!

Thanks Hideaki. A fair point.

I did some beginner HTML and CSS learning to see the programming side…doing some CompTIA A+ study and Linux/BASH study now. We’ll see where I land!

I ve got my job after 7 months learning full-time without bootcamp, mostly youtube and udemy. But my first job was low pay.
Even if you do not have the passion currently, you will gain it when you will be able to build some shit & get the job.
But if you just follow some training courses without building a project by yourself, you may not get the passion nor the job