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Should I pursue a career, or work for myself?

Discussion in 'Education and Employment' started by plaidInBlue, Jun 15, 2015.

  1. plaidInBlue

    plaidInBlue Well-Known Member

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    I am not in a hurry, but I still worry. I have no job and no income. I never had a salary, and I don't have a diploma. If I decide to get an education, it will be a long term commitment. But on the other hand, I acquired through autodidactiscism some marketable skills. I prefer to start my own business, but going back to school won't prevent me from having a sideline. But I am not confident that I can do both at the same time. It looks like a dilemma to me.

    If I work for myself, even if I fail, the experience gained may convince an employer that I am a serious candidate. On the other hand, a degree will also be considered. But not every employer will take me seriously if all I got is a failed endeavour and an anemic portfolio. The academic path would also be less stressful, I will have more time to assemble a portfolio.

    I think my choice is made. I want to make a website, some software, something, I don't know what yet. And I will study on the side. It's probably the best I can do, considering the peculiarities of my condition. But I still have doubts.

    Can you tell me if a career in computer programming is suitable for someone with autism who never before had a real job?
    Should I pursue an education in computer science, considering that I already know my algorithms/data structures? I don't think I should but still, I'm probably conflating my abiliy to code since I never contributed to an open-source project, and no one in my surrounding can understand my productions.
     
  2. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    Assuming you are on the spectrum, I would definitely say that it's best to work in your own environment, at home. However, it's a very competitive market and it may take a while, and a bit of luck, to find your niche in the market. If you are going to work for someone else in an office, it might be a good idea to check out the facilities and working conditions first, though if you disclose your diagnosis, a reasonable employer should grant you accommodations.

    One thing you might want to look into is the growing number of companies who have realised the potential of hiring people on the spectrum, and specifically target this group. There are many such companies in the field of computer programming.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. plaidInBlue

    plaidInBlue Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for your input.
    Yes I am somewhere on the spectrum. I am not sure if I am suited for freelance work. I was thinking about creating a software product for, for example, dentist cabinets, or another one for massage studios. BUt how to sell such product is NP-hard problem. I'm probably dreaming in tetrachromacy, but if I become an employee, I hope I could work from home most of the time.
    Specialisterne is an option. I know Microsoft is looking for persons with the condition, but I don't know if they hire in Montreal.
    Another option I have, but it seems harder than managing the taxes as a self-employee, is to make a cooperative.
     
  4. paloftoon

    paloftoon Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Employers will take you more seriously only if your self-entrepreneurship is a successful one. They would also want to know why you want to work for them instead of continuing to work for yourself. An easier way to try to get in on a job without as much effort to do so much on your own is to volunteer for said company. People usually love free help. That way, you can see if you like the environment or not if they accept your free help. If they like you enough, they may just hire you too!
     
  5. plaidInBlue

    plaidInBlue Well-Known Member

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    I've read somewhere that, in many jurisdictions, unpaid interns are not allowed to do tasks that are directly relevant toward a monetary gain for the company. I don't know if it's the case in Quebec. I may search for a non-profit organisation, doing/improving their website, or Excel macros.
    It's a good point you share with regard to, why would they hire me, if I have a business. Do I want to steal them their clients, rob them some I.P. ? They won't be convinced that I am a neutral agent, if I am self-reliant.
    A successful business may preclude me from seeking an employer though, if it is profitable enough.

    Edit: I just thought about what you said about being taken seriously by an employer. If I make a website and it has some success, even if I can't live from it, yes it could prove that I am serious as a candidate. I considered self-employement as an all or nothing proposition. As if I have a website, I wouldn't need to find work, and if I search work, then I wouldn't have succeeded with a business. I agree, that, not having persevered with an education, my only card is to prove to a possible employer that I can do the job.
    But I hope that I may work from home, self-employed or not. I find it inefficient to commute everyday, if the bulk of the job would be to write code. I know that there's possibly a lot of cummunication that need to be done in a senior position. But I am far from that.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2015
  6. jayster

    jayster Arty Eejit

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    I was always attracted to self-employment, long before I knew I have ASD.
    I have failed in several businesses, all for the same reason - marketing. I'm telling you because you need to consider it before you set up your own business. Even online, where you don't have to deal with the face to face, it's tough.
    If you don't have a budget to advertise, you are left with social media marketing, some people find that difficult; I know I do.
     
  7. wanderer03

    wanderer03 Well-Known Member

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    If you have strong executive functioning skills, go for it. Mine are abysmal and I discovered what a poor decision I had made by losing a substantial amount of savings.
     
  8. Beverly

    Beverly Euthanasia Redux V.I.P Member

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    I agree, marketing is critical. Obviously you will have to start with free and inexpensive options like social media. that requires a good deal more PR skill than you might think. You have to know how to talk to people, to brag and, make them whatever it is you are selling. You can't be 100% bluntly honest, you have to ignore or downplay any negatives and, over empathize positives. you have to reply to people and, make it seem as if you care about them individually when you don't even know them.

    For those of us on the spectrum, that is difficult to learn to do and do well. I never would have learned had it not been for my time in the music industry and, being behind a couple of really good spin doctors. Now, I could sell an ice maker to an Eskimo living in a igloo without electricity to run the ice maker but, it took me years to learn how it's done.

    If you start a business it may be worth hiring someone to do social network marketing, or at least finding someone that is good at who will advise you before you post.

    I do freelance, and there is a lot of PR and promotion is what I do, but not all freelance jobs are like that. I would stay out of the gaming and entertainment industries if you find PR a struggle to master. I learned the hard way and, it cost me to learn but, now I'm glad I did. Those skill help me cover everyday, prevent my contacts form thinking am somehow handicapped, less intelligent or that I may not be a desirable person to work with. Someone on the spectrum can easily bee seen as any or all of those things if their learned skills fail them, so if you choose to freelance in such a field, try to do so via people you know first before tackling the wide open world, learn your skills, see what works and what fails with different sorts of people.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  9. plaidInBlue

    plaidInBlue Well-Known Member

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    I like this quote from the movie Field of Dreams: "If you build it, he will come". I identified something that I find significant with the new/internet based economy: The user is not necessarily the client. I'm longing toward making a CMS that is also a bulletin board. A kind of Wordpress with a dash of Facebook. And everything will be interconnected (like Facebook), but the content originator will be acknowledged. I am aware that it may look at first a tad like a pipe dream.

    I know I will need to do some SEO. And word of mouth will be crucial, not only at first, but for the entire duration of this endeavour.
    Even if I abandon this project, I will have something to put into a github account at least. That will prove that I can program.