Thursday, July 30, 2009

This is the beginning!

I recently decided that I wanted to get back into the computer programming business. In April of 2004 I got laid off from my C++ programming job here in Las Vegas and was unable to find another job in the months that passed and I eventually gave up. I was actually able to make a living playing video poker. Since this didn't provide any health benefits I decided to try and become a poker dealer and went to poker dealing school. To this day I have been unable to find a full time dealing job but I have managed some work. I dealt the World Series of Poker the last four years. I also have dealt in tournaments at the Venetian and the Orleans. I remain on-call to deal at the various Harrah's properties here in Las Vegas if they need me for marketing events or for the poker rooms if they get busy. Still, this hasn't provided any benefits or steady income.

Now it's been five years since I programmed and I suspected that the technology has long passed me by. So I began investigating going back to school. I decided that I wanted to learn web development. I found one of those web sites where you fill out a form and you get a list of all the schools that match your criteria. Even though I specified that I wanted to be called in the evening I started getting bombarded with calls every day at eight in the morning.

The first school I looked at was the University of Phoenix. I visit their office here and even filled out the FAFSA forms to see about financial aid. Since my wife and I hit many large video poker jackpots the year before, FAFSA would not offer me any aid. Of course student loans are available. It would take about two years to finish a degree, assuming they would transfer my credits from Notre Dame from back in the seventies. The loan amount would be $30,000 and I wouldn't have to start paying it back until six month after graduating. After awhile I decided the curriculum wasn't quite right for me so I looked elsewhere.

I then looked into ITT Technical Institute which has a campus here in Henderson near where I live. After getting the grand tour and taking some stupid test and signing a bunch of forms I decided against them too. They wanted me to go for an associates degree in web design and take all the classes on campus and pay $45,000. I really want to be a web developer and study on-line. So time to do some more research.

While trying to find the right on-line school I started to think about what curriculum I wanted to study. After putting together a list of all the things I would need to learn to begin web developing I came across a lot of free on-line resources. Between Wikiversity, W3Schools and others, I figure that I can probably learn everything that I need to begin creating web pages. Whether or not I will learn enough to land a job as a web developer some day is another story.

I have been studying the HTML tutorials on W3Schools. I picked up the internet domain from Fatcow and I have begun creating a crude web site to practice on. Maybe someday this could turn into a business or give me the skills to do this sort of thing for other businesses.

I know this is probably all boring, but you can continue to follow my progress through this blog.

Thanks for reading,