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What programming language is used for SB?

I recently went back to school to get a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science and just started learning C++. Very interesting stuff! Got me wondering what kind of language Steel Beasts uses.

I was also curious as to what you folks around here (especially programmers and developers, or anyone in this field) thought about this field as a career? I think I would enjoy programming and I hear the money and demand is decent. I hope this stays true in the coming years. Anyhow, any advise or suggestions is welcome. Thanks!

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Steel beasts is all programmed in C++.

modern game engines seems to prefer a C++/script approach, where the components that requires to be run at a high speed are done in C++, while a high-level language like Python/Javascript/Lua is used as "glue". this helps speed up development and makes code more maintainable, while at the same time maintain speeds close to pure C++ code.

money and demand is decent for programmers. if you are talented, you won't have problems finding a job.

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I have read that although the Computer Science field is in demand, computer programmers are increasingly being outsourced from the U.S. to other countries. What is the consensus about this around here?

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Well, according to this article from US News & World Report, "software developer" is ranked #2 in the list of best jobs for 2012 with an average income of $54,360-$113,110.

("Registered Nurse" was #1 with an average income of $44,190-$95,130. Worst job was "Lumberjack".)

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While jobs are still scarce in many industries, software developers are in "absolute explosive demand," says Bryan Cantrill, vice president of engineering at the San Francisco-based cloud computing company Joyent, and a member of the advisory board of ACM Queue, a computer magazine for software engineers published by the Association for Computing Machinery. "We're seeing a gap between the number of software engineers we need and the number the education system is generating ... this is a terrific area to invest oneself." For those already in the workforce who wish to pursue a career in software engineering, many community colleges offer courses on the basics of computer science, in addition to four-year universities.

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There seem to be some snags with programmers however that are pertinent to US legislation. It appears that for US companies hiring US programmers as independent contractors has a number of legal pitfalls involved. Hiring them as employees is no problem, acquiring additional programming capacity through consultancy companies is no problem - just as independent contractors it seems to be difficult.

If true, this is a particularly problematic regulation for small companies that do not want to hire employees but rather rely on contractors. I cannot say if this is an unsubstantiated rumor or reality. But that guy who flew his Cessna into the IRS building in Texas two or three years ago made that claim in his farewell letter, writing that this "lex Arthur Anderson" had made it impossible for him to find work in the US as a programmer (apparently he didn't want to be firmly employed by some larger corporation).

Then again, "Good-bye cruel world!" letters by people who commit suicide by crashing air planes into federal buildings to protest against US Congress legislation influenced by sinister lobbyist machinations may not be the most reliable and unbiased source.

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re: contract labor in the US - Ssnake is correct.

Used to be many large corporations hired lots and lots of workers on a contract basis. There was great flexibility available in managing workforce requirements in an environment where the employer might need 20 this week or month or quarter and only 10 that week or month or quarter.

In addition the administrative costs of keeping contract workers are much lower than that of full or part time employees since contract workers are responsible for paying their own social security taxes (saving an employer the required matching amount) and filing income taxes quarterly (which often didn't happen because the contract worker was unaware of the requirement). That in and of itself led not a few large employers to bring on contract workers and keep them in that status - sometimes - for years.

The IRS (tax collectors) took a really dim view of that practice and strict rules were implemented that made hiring contract workers in the US a less beneficial practice. Hiring workers on a contract basis is still done but the practice is nowhere near as common as it used to be.

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Well, according to this article from US News & World Report, "software developer" is ranked #2 in the list of best jobs for 2012 with an average income of $54,360-$113,110.

("Registered Nurse" was #1 with an average income of $44,190-$95,130. Worst job was "Lumberjack".)

My dream job.

Full time SB tester.Beer tester.Photo editor for playboy.presenter on top gear.

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I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK...

Obscure joke that will only be appreciated by Brits of a certain generation. :)

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Thank you all for the feedback!

I'd like to get a headstart in buildling my resume' and portfolio. Are internships in this field common? What skills should I focus on as a programmer? How do I make myself "talented" in this regard?

Thanks in advance...!

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I suppose you could try to compose a career-oriented portfolio. But the question is if that will bring you the biggest job satisfaction. I think you'll be spending too much time with programming to work on projects that you don't like (and if you purely concentrate on resume projects that might maximize your income but do not interest you the least, you might end up being hired for projects of a similar kind).

From what I heard, programming is a bit like an art. You get good in it only through practice, practice, and more practice - and you'll develop a sense for what you WANT to do while you do it and through doing it. There are so many areas where programs are being used - embedded software, database programming, web pages, computer games, numeric methods in scientific applications, cryptography and cryptanalysis, ... There is no "one size fits all" answer.

The good thing is, you do not necessarily need an internship. You can simply write a program of your own, and that program itself will then be your reference that you could put up on your personal web page. It could be an App for a smartphone, or a small browser game, or ... endless possibilities.

Often great solutions will come from restrictions however. Try to write a functioning piece of code with an arbitrary limit on code lines. Make a game that will accept only one mouse button or a hotkey as an input. Make a program with only sound output, no screen messages. Something like that. It does't really matter what kind of restriction you put on yourself. It's just that "endless possibilities" are often a major obstacle to one's own creativity.

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I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK...

I knew there was something funny about you.. :biggrin:

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I'd like to get a headstart in buildling my resume' and portfolio. Are internships in this field common? What skills should I focus on as a programmer? How do I make myself "talented" in this regard

Advice from Peter Norvig

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Thank you all for the feedback!

I'd like to get a headstart in buildling my resume' and portfolio. Are internships in this field common? What skills should I focus on as a programmer? How do I make myself "talented" in this regard?

Thanks in advance...!

In addition to the other good advice you've received, see if you can get on with an open-source project.

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Thank you, thank you, thank you all very much for all the wisdom you have provided me here! Feedback from experienced programmers and professors are particularly inspiring.

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Homer, that is one of my favorite articles and I share it with my own programming students every semester. A must read.

good.gif

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Thank you all for the feedback!

I'd like to get a headstart in buildling my resume' and portfolio. Are internships in this field common? What skills should I focus on as a programmer? How do I make myself "talented" in this regard?

Thanks in advance...!

I can toss in my thoughts. I design hardware and software for embedded systems, meaning the circuit boards and black boxes found on almost all consumer products these days. I used to be in construction equipment, now avionics. In this field, it is about making things do something through the fusion of hardware and software. I find it very fun.

For getting into the software field, I recommend several things:

1. Learn from pros. Find a company that is known for good software and try to join them. Take your lessons wherever you can.

2. Writing code is just a small part of the skill. Also learn about the methods and madness behind software management, like version control, build control, requirements control, code language and style standards, and some of the team developer techniques like agile. Your ability to write great code is all well and good, but useless if you can't plug into a larger effort.

3. Do code projects for fun, especially if you are trying to break into a new language. I wrote a series of encryption/decryption tools in order to learn Perl.

Generally, when I've interviewed developers, I can find people who I have no doubt can write very intelligent code. However, those who are useful in a team setting - that is more rare. So if the person shows they can work in a structured environment that includes version control, build control, and work in an agile setting, that gets my attention.

Also, don't listen to anybody who says all the jobs are going overseas. There will always be software jobs available where you are, and so long as you stay flexible and provide value to your employer, you'll have no worries.

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If you pay peanuts, you'll get apes as an employer.

Costs are one thing, productivity and reliability are another. Yeah, one may give certain programming jobs to India - others, not so much. When top performance is required without language barriers, awkward time zone difference, personal visits to the end-user to let him talk about his requirements - IOW custom software rather than a standardized product.

What some hardware-oriented companies still haven't grasped is HOW IMPORTANT (embedded) software is for them, and that it will become only more important in the future, not less. I think that a growth in appreciation is inevitable. Those companies who can't change their corporate culture to learn this lesson will eventually perish.

We haven't peaked in demand for programmers, by far not.

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