Computer technology changes so often, and so fast, that learning it in school is only the first step to having a successful career.
"Computer professionals have to learn new stuff constantly," says Jason Wertz, assistant professor of computer science at Montgomery County Community College. "You need to really love what you’re doing, because you can’t just master one set of skills and then coast."
He demonstrates that love in his own career, teaching himself how to write iPhone applications for the fun of it. "It’s all programming," he says. "Kind of like speaking a foreign language — if you know Spanish, it’s not that hard to pick up French. Once you learn one programming language, it’s easier to learn others."
Wertz is now teaching others how to "speak" iPhone, in a class on programming the popular gadget.
Unlike other kinds of programming, "There’s a strong entrepreneurial element," Wertz explains. "If you build a good app, you can sell it to iStore; it it’s popular, you can make a lot of money."
Students are a mix of second-year computer majors and experienced programmers who are working in the industry but want to pick up a new skill. As part of their coursework, some students create apps for the use of the college, such as campus maps and streaming radio.
Date: Feb 15, 2011
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