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Thread: question for quad programmers

  1. #1
    Senior Member muskie's Avatar
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    question for quad programmers

    Hi my son is a c5 quad who wants to go back to school for computer science. Is there a discipline within this domain that would not be so coding heavy? He is concerned that since he can no longer type with great speed he would be a severe disadvantage in the job market.
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  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by muskie View Post
    Hi my son is a c5 quad who wants to go back to school for computer science. Is there a discipline within this domain that would not be so coding heavy? He is concerned that since he can no longer type with great speed he would be a severe disadvantage in the job market.
    I'm a c7 that has worked in a highly competitive math/finance oriented profession for 16 years. While employers/coworkers don't explicitly discriminate because of the sci they will slaughter you if you're too slow (no ones going to wait for little sci guy to catch up). You're wise to ask this question before he commits to a highly competitive profession like computer science. That said, I don't have a specific answer but think it is smart to find a good niche beforehand.

  3. #3
    I'm a C4/5 incomplete and have been in the software field since '81 when PCs were just starting up. I've been through several Silicon Valley start-ups and have been able to "keep up" just fine. Being a good problem solver is more important than how fast you type. I am able to type pretty well after so long, but I only use my second finger on my right hand and my thumb on my left. I can also use a mouse and I use a device from Griffin Technology to scroll long documents. If he's only been injured for a short time don't let him pigeon-hole himself. The typing speed will increase the more he does it and he'll come up with ways to get the job done. He needs to find a discipline that excites him. Working the next 40 years doing something that's no fun will just suck.

    Good luck.

  4. #4
    I am not a quad, but am a para and have been in various software startups/companies since the early 90s. To be a good programmer you don't need to be able to type fast, you need to be able to think. As far as domains I would steer clear of web design and traditional "IT" and focus on hard code computer science skills where you could get a job coding middleware down to firmware. For example writing a device driver is complex, valuable but not massive amounts of code. I am currently working in a startup that does algorithmic trading and only have a couple people that actually have CS degrees. Most have degrees in Physics or Math. The ones that have computer related degrees are post grad degrees in fields like machine learning or artificial intelligence. CS or a hard science degree with a CS minor is a good curriculum for people with SCI, as with everything it is harder for us but doable and a great path to a good career and independence.

  5. #5
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    Writing code isn’t what it used to be like with the 4th generation language compilers.

    You can literally talk to the computer, imagine he will be doing C or a derivate (c+, c++) on the job, and they will do most of the writing for you. After you define everything you only need to (sometimes) is change the logic.

    Try writing COBOL line by line.

    I have an extensive computer background and IMHO, if you’re good at math, study Oracle and Database management. As a DBA you may write scripts, but not much coding, except script logic, but there is a big demand and after a few years and your good, you will get close to 6 figures.

    Many may suggest Web design and it may work, though incredibly competitive, there are a lot out there now.

    My first job after college as System Administrator, then as a Systems Analyst and then went on as a Contract Administrator for the DOD for 10 years. Retired from the Dod and got bored so in the early 00’s I worked at the Help Desk for IT.

    Before I got there (there are 4 people) they were closing 30% of calls at the help desk. By the second month we closed 65% at first call, threw us a party and everything. Unfortunately I was way over qualified and bored shitless and quit after a year.

    Now 10 years later I stress out because I feel I should be working. Don’t need the money because don’t need much, but the damn Protestant work ethic stresses me out.

    When 50 hit me 30 years post C6 complete discovered getting old is not for woosies. See Thread in the Pain section.

    Good luck and you never know where your first job will lead you.

  6. #6
    I think, a computer-based profession is one of the absolute best things a geeky/computer interested quad can do for themselves. As an electrical engineer before my spinal cord injury, I thank my stars every day for my highly technical/computer-based training, and for all that allows me to do today as a C5 quadriplegic much like your son.

    Let me preface a few things. I did return to the University following my spinal cord injury to get my PhD in Electrical Engineering. This was short-lived, because it became quickly apparent within the first year that writing out complex mathematical equations using the computer was so challenging and slow that it put me at a significant disadvantage to my peers. Yeah, I could do everything they were doing, but due to the inefficiencies of writing math on the computer it took me many times longer to complete a task.

    This is not the case with most computer programming/development, and as I stepped away from pursuing my PhD I got heavily ingrained in refreshing my computer programming skills and learning web design/web development. I still have plenty to learn, but what I’ve found is, writing computer software is far more efficient with my voice recognition software and, overall, puts me an even level with my able-bodied peers. Yeah, sometimes it might take a little bit longer to peck away some complex coding with my keyboard, but then there are a vast number of other standard programming structures that I can build into macros which are easily replicated time and time again using my voice.

    Looking forward, for both your son and my own life, I see doing stuff on the computer as the ultimate job with the best flexibility that allows me to compete with everyone else and have a schedule/office that allows me to work from home when I want. Really the best of all worlds for a quadriplegic.`
    I am the Quad in Quadomated. Come read about Life and Technology through the Eyes of a Quad
    http://www.Quadomated.com/

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