Programming skills but no tech degree

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X_Soda
Posts: 92
Joined: Sat May 22, 2010 6:41 am

Programming skills but no tech degree

Postby X_Soda » Tue May 01, 2012 5:04 pm

Hey, if I have demonstrable web development skills (portfolio of websites using HTML5, CSS, PHP, Javascript, and Python) but my degree is liberal arts centric, are there certain types of firms/organizations to which I may be more marketable? I'd like to work at an organization where I can engage my technological skills in some kind of meaningful way, but it seems that most tech-centric law firms are looking for people with specific DEGREES in the hard sciences. I'm about top 5% at Fordham, probably down to top 10-20% after this semester.

CyLaw
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Re: Programming skills but no tech degree

Postby CyLaw » Tue May 01, 2012 5:11 pm

X_Soda wrote:Hey, if I have demonstrable web development skills (portfolio of websites using HTML5, CSS, PHP, Javascript, and Python) but my degree is liberal arts centric, are there certain types of firms/organizations to which I may be more marketable? I'd like to work at an organization where I can engage my technological skills in some kind of meaningful way, but it seems that most tech-centric law firms are looking for people with specific DEGREES in the hard sciences. I'm about top 5% at Fordham, probably down to top 10-20% after this semester.


Those firms require degrees because they make you patent bar eligible, whereas web development experience does not. If you want to continue in the tech world, then look at general practice firms that do patent lit or start up ventures. Also, don't expect to use your web development skills in either. First they are hiring lawyers not web developers. Second, in the case of patent lit, the cases are not likely to involve disputes between web developers, but disputes between the people that created the languages you learned (see the Oracle - Google suit currently going on). I'm sorry, but there is a huge difference between understanding how to use a language and how to create brand new algorithms and programming languages. Patent lawyers are more likely to deal with the latter, not the former.

But, if you want to stay connected to the tech world, then my suggestion is to look at start up corporate work at a firm in SV, SF, RTP, Austin, or DC. That way you can use your knowledge in networking with clients who are creating new websites, but again you will be a lawyer not a coder.

r6_philly
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Re: Programming skills but no tech degree

Postby r6_philly » Tue May 01, 2012 5:38 pm

^ well said.

I am have a CS degree and worked in software (desktop) development and web development. The tools and languages you use are only a small subset of programming and they are not very (if at all) "technical". As a web developer you are really just a super power user, you don't get to the heart of computer science/computing. Web languages are generally scripting languages, you don't get to deal with important issues like recursion, data structures, memory management, and computational efficiency, issues that make some software more valuable than others and thus valuable as patents. Unless you worked on middleware, the consumer/individual web server development experience are not that technical, hence many people without CS degrees can get into it.

This is an issue because the fundamental concepts of programming are usually not gained through web work experience, so lacking a CS degree you probably do not possess the skillset necessary to work on most software patents. Your experience shows that you know the industry, is not afraid of the technology, but does not prove that you can work on software patents and you are not eligible for PTO practice. As such, you are more marketable than a LA major without the WE, but less than someone with a BSCS.

So your experience would be valuable for corporate work in the web industry, which is expanding of course. If your experience include e-commerce companies/sites, then it probably will help you more since there are a lot of contracts and disputes.

Anonymous User
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Re: Programming skills but no tech degree

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 01, 2012 5:41 pm

Even if you don't go into a field that directly requires your skills for the legal practice you can still find uses for them.

I used to be an engineer and I was a big fan of using Perl for automation and increasing efficiency. When I worked as an SA, I created a software program to automate some parts of a gruntwork assignment, significantly reducing the expected hourly workload. People seemed really impressed by the initiative and thinking outside the box even though it was probably the most trivial software program I wrote in the last 5 years.

I think Python is similar to Perl, so you should be able to find lots of areas in any practice that can use some modern updating.

X_Soda
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Re: Programming skills but no tech degree

Postby X_Soda » Tue May 01, 2012 5:42 pm

I'm not expecting to do any coding (at least officially -- the automation stuff that the above poster is talking about is right up my alley), but I was hoping a demonstrable familiarity with technological trends and approaches would help me get a job that was strongly connected to the tech sector. I would love to do start-up corporate work or patent litigation, but I'm pretty much limited to NYC for personal reasons as well as the regional nature of Fordham. There don't seem to be very many firms that work with start-ups coming to OCI, given that most of the V100 firms work with larger, more established companies. Should I just be researching and cold-calling smaller firms for this type of thing?

Anonymous User
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Re: Programming skills but no tech degree

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 01, 2012 5:46 pm

r6_philly wrote:This is an issue because the fundamental concepts of programming are usually not gained through web work experience, so lacking a CS degree you probably do not possess the skillset necessary to work on most software patents. Your experience shows that you know the industry, is not afraid of the technology, but does not prove that you can work on software patents and you are not eligible for PTO practice. As such, you are more marketable than a LA major without the WE, but less than someone with a BSCS.


I think that almost anyone can work on most software patents. A retarded aardvark from the zoo can work on them. They're easily among the least technical of patent subject matter, hence why so many people with food science degrees or Category B credentials work on them with no problems.

Anonymous User
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Re: Programming skills but no tech degree

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 01, 2012 5:47 pm

What if you're patent eligible with a biological sciences degree and not a CS degree but have programming skills and took a few electives that taught you recursion and memory management and want to work in technology?

CyLaw
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Re: Programming skills but no tech degree

Postby CyLaw » Tue May 01, 2012 5:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Even if you don't go into a field that directly requires your skills for the legal practice you can still find uses for them.

I used to be an engineer and I was a big fan of using Perl for automation and increasing efficiency. When I worked as an SA, I created a software program to automate some parts of a gruntwork assignment, significantly reducing the expected hourly workload. People seemed really impressed by the initiative and thinking outside the box even though it was probably the most trivial software program I wrote in the last 5 years.

I think Python is similar to Perl, so you should be able to find lots of areas in any practice that can use some modern updating.


+1. True. Once you learn to automate task, it is hard not to want to automate everything.

X_Soda wrote:I'm not expecting to do any coding (at least officially -- the automation stuff that the above poster is talking about is right up my alley), but I was hoping a demonstrable familiarity with technological trends and approaches would help me get a job that was strongly connected to the tech sector. I would love to do start-up corporate work or patent litigation, but I'm pretty much limited to NYC for personal reasons as well as the regional nature of Fordham. There don't seem to be very many firms that work with start-ups coming to OCI, given that most of the V100 firms work with larger, more established companies. Should I just be researching and cold-calling smaller firms for this type of thing?


NYC should still have a goog number of firms that while not having startup focused practices, will teach you the corporate items needed to later work in the Venture Capital word. NYC is supposed to be expanding in the tech startup community, so it may be just a wait and see while maneuvering yourself to be in place for when the tech clients come in. I can't really speak to NYC though as I am DC focused, also for personal reasons.

CyLaw
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Re: Programming skills but no tech degree

Postby CyLaw » Tue May 01, 2012 5:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
r6_philly wrote:This is an issue because the fundamental concepts of programming are usually not gained through web work experience, so lacking a CS degree you probably do not possess the skillset necessary to work on most software patents. Your experience shows that you know the industry, is not afraid of the technology, but does not prove that you can work on software patents and you are not eligible for PTO practice. As such, you are more marketable than a LA major without the WE, but less than someone with a BSCS.


I think that almost anyone can work on most software patents. A retarded aardvark from the zoo can work on them. They're easily among the least technical of patent subject matter, hence why so many people with food science degrees or Category B credentials work on them with no problems.


And that's why software patents keep getting ruled invalid in court because a retarded aardvark doesn't know that the patent application describes an algorithm taught to second year data structure students.

CyLaw
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Re: Programming skills but no tech degree

Postby CyLaw » Tue May 01, 2012 5:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What if you're patent eligible with a biological sciences degree and not a CS degree but have programming skills and took a few electives that taught you recursion and memory management and want to work in technology?


Once you are patent bar eligible, then you can technically work on any patent matter even outside your field. But, the key is getting assigned those matters. If you can show the expertise and understanding necessary, then I don't see any issue with it.

Anonymous User
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Re: Programming skills but no tech degree

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 01, 2012 6:04 pm

CyLaw wrote:And that's why software patents keep getting ruled invalid in court because a retarded aardvark doesn't know that the patent application describes an algorithm taught to second year data structure students.


Interestingly then, the patent examiner, with a CS background, let it through. One would think the Examiner would at least do an official notice in an office action for "an algorithm taught to second year data structure students."

I find that most practitioners find the software stuff to be easy on the technical side! I think your scenario would be quite rare.

CyLaw
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Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2008 1:59 pm

Re: Programming skills but no tech degree

Postby CyLaw » Tue May 01, 2012 6:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
CyLaw wrote:And that's why software patents keep getting ruled invalid in court because a retarded aardvark doesn't know that the patent application describes an algorithm taught to second year data structure students.


Interestingly then, the patent examiner, with a CS background, let it through. One would think the Examiner would at least do an official notice in an office action for "an algorithm taught to second year data structure students."


Having been on the re-exam side I learned not to trust the PTO examiner to fight the applicant other than simply asking for clarification and accepting the amended statement that doesn't fix the problem.

Simply trying to say that good software patents are complicated and technical, bad ones are normally just math in disguise

CyLaw
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Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2008 1:59 pm

Re: Programming skills but no tech degree

Postby CyLaw » Tue May 01, 2012 6:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
CyLaw wrote:And that's why software patents keep getting ruled invalid in court because a retarded aardvark doesn't know that the patent application describes an algorithm taught to second year data structure students.


Interestingly then, the patent examiner, with a CS background, let it through. One would think the Examiner would at least do an official notice in an office action for "an algorithm taught to second year data structure students."

I find that most practitioners find the software stuff to be easy on the technical side! I think your scenario would be quite rare.


I will accept that software patents are likely not as technical as drug or electrical patents. I just don't accept that any food science person is a good choice for a good software patent.

Anonymous User
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Re: Programming skills but no tech degree

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 01, 2012 6:20 pm

X_Soda wrote:I'm not expecting to do any coding (at least officially -- the automation stuff that the above poster is talking about is right up my alley), but I was hoping a demonstrable familiarity with technological trends and approaches would help me get a job that was strongly connected to the tech sector. I would love to do start-up corporate work or patent litigation, but I'm pretty much limited to NYC for personal reasons as well as the regional nature of Fordham. There don't seem to be very many firms that work with start-ups coming to OCI, given that most of the V100 firms work with larger, more established companies. Should I just be researching and cold-calling smaller firms for this type of thing?


I think your background could be useful for technology-related contracts. You can really beef things up if you understand how things work even on a web development level.

CyLaw
Posts: 1557
Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2008 1:59 pm

Re: Programming skills but no tech degree

Postby CyLaw » Tue May 01, 2012 6:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
X_Soda wrote:I'm not expecting to do any coding (at least officially -- the automation stuff that the above poster is talking about is right up my alley), but I was hoping a demonstrable familiarity with technological trends and approaches would help me get a job that was strongly connected to the tech sector. I would love to do start-up corporate work or patent litigation, but I'm pretty much limited to NYC for personal reasons as well as the regional nature of Fordham. There don't seem to be very many firms that work with start-ups coming to OCI, given that most of the V100 firms work with larger, more established companies. Should I just be researching and cold-calling smaller firms for this type of thing?


I think your background could be useful for technology-related contracts. You can really beef things up if you understand how things work even on a web development level.


This is also a good suggestion. Additionally, EULAs and TOSs would be a good area.

X_Soda
Posts: 92
Joined: Sat May 22, 2010 6:41 am

Re: Programming skills but no tech degree

Postby X_Soda » Tue May 01, 2012 6:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Even if you don't go into a field that directly requires your skills for the legal practice you can still find uses for them.

I used to be an engineer and I was a big fan of using Perl for automation and increasing efficiency. When I worked as an SA, I created a software program to automate some parts of a gruntwork assignment, significantly reducing the expected hourly workload. People seemed really impressed by the initiative and thinking outside the box even though it was probably the most trivial software program I wrote in the last 5 years.

I think Python is similar to Perl, so you should be able to find lots of areas in any practice that can use some modern updating.


Just kinda curious, by the way. As someone with no experience in the daily routine of big firm work, I'd like to know what kind of stuff you were able to automate with Perl? I'm sure every firm's different, but I'd love some ideas for making myself a bit more productive than the average associate if I decide/am able to go the big firm route.

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Julio_El_Chavo
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Re: Programming skills but no tech degree

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Tue May 01, 2012 6:54 pm

lol

firms don't care about your awesome Dreamweaver skills, bro.

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ColtsFan88
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Re: Programming skills but no tech degree

Postby ColtsFan88 » Tue May 01, 2012 7:24 pm

Julio_El_Chavo wrote:lol

firms don't care about your awesome Dreamweaver skills, bro.


Lol

It's pretty obvious he isn't talking about dreamweaver. But mad funny poast.




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