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Your VB Career


November 21, 2002

Hello there, Geeks of the World!

Every year, you hear about the college dropout rate increasing. Maybe you're considering joining that statistic — or would you be more comfortable receiving a full education?

Well, if you're trying to make that decision, then this is the article for you. Here, I'll be taking you through all the mess to help you decide the best path for you. Essentially, this bumper article is divided into three separate parts:

  1. Choosing your App.Path in Life - Leaving School or Full-time Education
  2. Securing a Top-Notch Job
  3. Running your Own Business

Before we go any further, I'd like you to know that I myself am a dropout from my last year of high school. I haven't regretted it, but if this choice is not right for you - you just might.

You know, before anyone jumps out of a plane, they take a parachute (Ed: Gee, really?). And I'd like you to take a parachute also: consult a career counselor AND a 'dropout' VB Programmer doing real good in the real world. Compare both their reviews - and think a lot before doing anything rash.

Let's get started... 5...4...3...2...1...<Bzzzt>

In the years of my professional 'era', I've met about 200+ people who are really good programmers but don't know survival in the real world. A very big myth has been implanted in the minds of both the parents and the children "You need a good degree to get a nice job" or rather "You need a good degree to succeed in life".

Heck no!

Okay, so you may need a nice degree to land that executive board level position - but to succeed in life, you can have just a handful of rice and be the next Bill Gates! Of course, I'm not saying your parents are wrong but when they were taught those things, there were no programmers and it wasn't the 21st century.

I don't know if you have noticed it or not, but the industry has changed a LOT in just a year or two. There's not a single thing that is formal anymore, barring business contracts. Business letters tend to start with 'Hi!' rather than a prim-and-proper 'Dear Sir'. CEOs and Chairmen no longer look for BA's, MA's, PhD's they're on the prowl for talent.

That's the keyword here, 'Talent'. Please don't take offence if you do have a nice degree - but in my personal experience, people with degrees - at least in programming - are good at only text book tasks. When faced with a real world problem - well, they just hide under the table and hope for the best. You may not believe it, but for my business needs, I found the BEST of the best right here in the VB-World Forums.

NOTE: When I refer to programming degrees, I am not talking about MCP/MCSD, I'm talking about the MBA, BA, MA, etc. that you may get from a University or college.

NOTE, again: This article is not designed to merely concluded whether dropping out is better than staying in school, but it is meant to help you decide which is perfect for you.

So are you suited to this dropping out lark? Or do you need the degree? Let's weigh up the pros and cons of each

Pros for Dropping Out

You no longer need to study off-target subjects like languages (that we speak, not VB or VC) and can spend more and more time on polishing your VB skills. You of course, break your regular schedule but your 'studies' can be more focused. You can also pursue qualification programs from Microsoft such as MCP or MCSD with more ease; they do help!

Cons for Dropping Out

You may miss out on some education. There always lies a number of risks - if you're running a business, there's always the risk it might fall and you may need to get a job, and for that, you may need educational qualifications.

Conclusive Comment

I'd say - dropout only if you have talent, guts and some financial backing from either your parents, or the bank. If you're planning on dropping out before finishing high school, you can use your college tuition savings in your business. Plan out everything for the next 10 years before dropping out and see if you can fulfill your goals, even if unexpected happenings occur.

Pros for Staying On

If you get a well-respected computing science degree and have a good personality to match - you're well on your way to snatching a cushy job with plenty of security and a hefty pay packet. And you don't miss out on your education.

Cons for Staying On

You lose your freedom for the few years you put into college or further. When you're finished with your education (in programming or such) it will probably be outdated in practical usage. It isn't cheap neither and more and more graduates are now finding it difficult to get positions. Another point - you're an employee, not the boss. Its not your own business, you can't put full leverage on your skills and ideas. Dreams coming true get bound by chains of limitations.

Conclusive Comment

This way, it's almost risk free; get a nice degree, land a cool job, earn good, live well. But then again, you lose the freedom of doing whatever you desire. For example, you dreamed of creating a fascinating business application that could replace the need for 20 employees, but then when you're in a job, you don't get to live out your dream software projects. It's not much if you look at it in realistic terms, but it is safer a lot safer.

Overall Conclusive Comment

Confused? So was I. I spent about 3 months planning whether I should drop out or not. And you should too. Still confused? Wanna hear what a real dude of the world has to say? What follows is a transcript of a speech by Lawrence Ellison, CEO of Oracle and the 2nd richest person on the planet. He gave this speech to the graduating class of Yale University.

What follows is a transcript of the speech delivered by LARRY ELLISON, CEO of ORACLE (2nd Richest Man on the Planet) at the Yale University:

"Graduates of Yale University, I apologize if you have endured this type of prologue before, but I want you to do something for me. Please, take a good look around you. Look at the classmate on your left. Look at the classmate on your right. Now, consider this:

Five years from now, 10 years from now, even 30 thirty years from now, odds are the person on your left is going to be a loser. The person on your right, meanwhile, will also be a loser. And you, in the middle? What can you expect? Loser. Loser hood.  Loser Cum Laude.

"In fact, as I look out before me today, I don't see a thousand hopes for a bright tomorrow. I don't see a thousand future leaders in a thousand industries. I see a thousand losers. You're upset. That's understandable. After all, how can I, Lawrence 'Larry' Ellison, college dropout, have the audacity to spout such heresy to the graduating class of one of the nation's  most prestigious institutions? I'll tell you why. Because I, Lawrence "Larry" Ellison, second richest man on the planet, am a college dropout, and you are not.

"Because Bill Gates, richest man on the planet - for now, anyway - is a college dropout, and you are not. Because Paul Allen, the third richest man on the planet, dropped out of college, and you did not. And for good measure, because Michael Dell, No. 9 on the list and moving up fast, is a college dropout, and you, yet again, are not.

"Hmm. you're very upset. That's understandable. So let me stroke your egos for a moment by pointing out, quite sincerely, that your diplomas were not attained in vain. Most of you, I imagine, have spent four to five years here, and in many ways what you've learned and endured will serve you well in the years ahead. You've established good work habits. You've established a network of people that will help you down the road. And you've established what will be lifelong relationships with the word 'therapy.' All that of is good. For in truth, you will need that network. You will need those strong work habits. You will need that therapy. You will need them because you didn't drop out, and so you will never be among the richest people in the world. Oh sure, you may, perhaps, work your way up to No. 10 or No. 11, like Steve Ballmer. But then, I don't have to tell you who he really works for, do I? And for the record, he dropped out of grad school. Bit of a late bloomer.

"Finally, I realize that many of you, and hopefully by now most of you, are wondering is there anything I can do? Is there any hope for me at all?' Actually, no. It's too late. You've absorbed too much, think you know too much. You're not 19 anymore. You have a built-in cap, and I'm not referring to the mortar boards on your heads."

"Hmm... you're really very upset. That's understandable. So perhaps this would be a good time to bring up the silver lining. Not for you, Class of '00. You are a write-off, so I'll let you slink off to your pathetic $200,000-a-year jobs, where your checks will be signed by former classmates who dropped out two years ago.

"Instead, I want to give hope to any underclassmen here today. I say to you, and I can't stress this enough: leave. Pack your things and your ideas and don't come back. Drop out. Start up. For I can tell you that a cap and gown will keep you down just as surely as these security guards dragging me off this stage are keeping me dow..."

So you wanna start out on your career as an employee of a big corporation? That's great.

The whole process starts early in your high school years. Let's figure out what you should do:

Practice

Practice, practice, practice! A programmer programs! Whether you're in school or studying on your own, you should spend as many hours possible, in programming something. Never settle for less - work till you die (Ed: Not recommended) - but make what you make the best you can. Keep raising the goal post, keep yourself challenged. Don't throw away your older projects, keep 'em organized and dated. They are a record of your life long work that just might get you a job.

A creative coordinator at a major corporation in LA (name suppressed) told me he was dismayed at the small quantity of work graduate programmers showed in their interview portfolios. So make 'em well and store 'em good!

Résumé & Cover Letter

When sending off your resume (CV) for a job, remember to include a cover letter. Keep it all business-like - neat, and professional. If you submit anything containing typos, it doesn't speak well for your attention to detail. Run a spell check, that's what it's there for.

Creative layouts of résumés are A-OK, but make sure both the résumé and the cover letter are easily readable. Tahoma, Arial, Verdana and Times New Roman are the best fonts. Tiny or confusing typography is counterproductive.

Stress your schooling and/or industry experience. The better places to work have gotten past the sweatshop mentality. They're looking for people with balanced lives. The burnout rate on workaholics is too high to support in the long run.

In your cover letter, stress the position you are applying for and why you want it. Show that you understand what the job entails, and why you want to work for that particular company.

Interviews

You got the call for the interview! That's great! Now, calm down. That's the first rule of surviving an interview. Yes, its stressful, but no one's ever been executed for a poor interview! You'll live through, buddy!

Right now, the demand for competent and talented programmers is high, so considering you're one of 'em, you're in a great position. Just relax and be yourself the interviewer is looking for reasons to hire you, not turn you away.

Most companies are very casual places but at the interview, you need to make the best impression possible. So show up in smart business attire, clean shaven.

In addition to checking out your techie talents, they'll also wanna know whether you'll fit into the crowd. If you mix with the present team, it's gonna be bad. I've heard of talented people working with talented people, but were fired because they just didn't 'fit in'.

Also, remember - the interview is the perfect time to ask questions. Ask about the environment, ask about the people working there, ask about the benefits of the job. There is usually a tour of the facilities and environment along with the interview. If not, politely ask, "Could I have a brief tour of the work area?".

Also, if you're looking for a more relaxed working environment, check out the company walls for funky posters or cartoons. In my company, all the cubicles contain posters - Doom, Quake II, Simpsons, Robotech, etc. Try to gauge how strict they are and whether that suits you.

Houston, The Eagle Has Landed

You got the call you got the job! Congratulations! Now, the first thing to do is NOT to say yes right away. Tell them you'll get back to them. If they get all cranky, you're probably better off without the job anyway.

You might also want to ask them to mail or fax you a copy of the terms of the position and all the other official whatnots. Get everything in writing (or e-mailed, if accompanied by a digital ID). If not, you won't have a legal leg to stand on if things get sticky.

Are they offering enough compensation, both in pay and benefits? Will you be able to cover your living expenses, plus taxes, and other financial needs? There's nothing wrong with making a counteroffer, if their offer is too low. Benefits like vacation time, overtime, and comp time are negotiable, too. Unless the company is very large and has ironclad labor contracts, everything is on the table. If your annual two week trip to Yellowstone is more important than an extra $3,000 in salary, negotiate for the extra time off. It is wise to stay aware of the going compensation for equivalent positions in other companies.

Before you sign an employment contract, read it carefully, and possibly run it past a good lawyer. It could save a lot of trouble down the line.

Houston, The Eagle Has Crashed

No phone call yet? No "when can you start" messages? Don't just sit there! Send out further résumés. Stay in contact with previous potential-hirers and it may turn out you're the gold mine for that position opening up in a few months!

If you get a definitive turn down, don't take it personally - and don't give up. Take this opportunity to ask the interviewer (politely, of course) for a critique of your work and/or the interview. If the decision was based on the quality of your work, ask them what you should improve on.

Press on nothing can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Perseverance and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

Up till the last page we were up to our necks in employment, life decisions, and all that jazz. But, if you really love doing the best work you can, making your own creative decisions, setting your own rules, and planning your own schedule - you may just want to work with yourself.

So what are you waiting for?

Next in this article, we'll be discussing only one type of business a professional one, registered and all. Not an outfit you can open and close whenever you like but a real-world company.

It's not hard and you can make yourself some serious dough so be on the lookout for a nice bakery.

This article will also answer all those Frequently Asked Questions you might have if you've definitely decided that college is out and this is the route for you.

Now, they say 'time is money' - so lets not waste any more and get back on the track

Light Side or the Dark Side

Working for yourself is potentially the most rewarding job for a programmer. You get to set your own rules, you work on your own software and you get to choose what to do and what not to do.

However, just being a great programmer doesn't necessarily mean you automatically qualify for running a business. It takes certain skills, talent and attitude which can be quite different from the creative side of programming. If you don't have it, you're better off working for some company.

So, let's think about what your company could actually do:

  1. Create your own retail software (like Microsoft)
  2. Create on-demand software (custom software)
  3. Be a consultancy firm

TOP TIP: You can run a combination business with either type 1 or 2, combined with 3. However, never run types 1 and 2 together you'll be digging your own grave!

The next sections are relevant to each of these business types. There are a lot of specifics too so read carefully.

Do you know that half of all newbie businesses fail within the first three years? It's up to you to ensure you're not one of them. One of the greatest strategies for this is detailed in a book which I recommend to anyone who wants to start-up on their own - Paul Hawken's Growing A Business. You can find more information in the bibliography. As for me, I swear by this book damn! ;)

Goals

Without a goal, you might as well get eaten by an Aussie crocodile. No we don't want something that corpos make up, like "To boldly go where no developer has gone before". We're talking about something that's personally important to you. "Create the best software for management ever"; "Make enough money to retire by 35"; or "Prove to mom and dad, I'm not a waste of carbon and energy" - are all perfectly sensible and good goals. But try to keep 'em off your company letterhead ;)

Take a piece of paper. Write your first goal in bold letters (yes, yes, you can even do it in Word). Under the goal, write down the list of tasks you need to complete in order to achieve that goal.

They should be something like, "study and learn from good programmers" or "practice till I become better". Proceed with other goals and Do Loop. Keep that goal sheet handy, perhaps on a mirror or next to your PC.

Whenever you need to make a big decision, refer to your Task List! Make it your core DLL, your shell, your Kernel.

Personnel

You're it. Until you get some money rolling in from your software, you're it.

Once you have some surplus you can think of hiring freelancers. But keep the legalities in perspective. The government (of all countries) are clamping down on irresponsible and sometimes illegal operators.

You must prove to be a good leader if you have some personnel. You gotta treat 'em as independent (which means, you can't be a Hitler). You need to be trusting and should be able to comfortably delegate authority. Can't? Well, you're better off flying solo.

Financial times (of your life)

In this capitalist society, you need to be competent and conversant in financial matters or you're gonna go down the drain, pal!

First off, calculate the bare necessities. No, that doesn't include a new car, office, furniture, etc. This probably means a space to work (your current computer desk CAN do), a nice enough computer to do the work properly and which won't crash (yeah, right!) and at least the OS and VB (both legal, of course). That's it. Everything else is extra. Keep 'em on the list for later.

You shouldn't waste, but don't skimp either. Your PC should run well, with enough memory and mass storage as needed. You're NOT to waste programming time trying to coax an overtaxed machine. If there's something that can actually help you, try to find a way to reasonably finance it.

Pricing

If you're going to create On-Demand Software, you need to set a common pricing ground. First, investigate through 3rd parties and mutual contacts, what other such businesses are charging. Compare their expertise in programming with yours and set your prices as such. Maybe you'll decide to charge $150 an hour it all depends.

Business is business, if you don't know (much) about invoices, taxes, and accounting practices, I highly recommend Bernard B. Kamoroff's Small Time Operator - once again, details in the bibliography. This book will complete your basic business library if you've already got Hawken's.

Insurance

This is something I highly recommend. Insure as many things as possible. Since you're working with the devil (yourself), this is something you will definitely need. Take a careful look at your assets - and insure yourself, your family, your computer, your software, books, videos, CDs, etc. If something happens, heaven forbid, you'll need to get back on your feet soon, so insurance is high priority stuff. Please note that sometimes homeowners or renters insurance won't pay enough, so talk with your insurance agent and discuss what you ought to do.

Protection

No, no, no! Put down that gun! Sheeesh! You programmers! Okay, though they're few and far apart, there are a few bad clients. And they can potentially exploit you in bad ways. The best way is to keep a bit of background check on all clients. Use mutual contacts, colleagues or such for anonymous background checks. It's up to you to protect yourself from such unpremeditated rip-offs.

Disclaimer: I'm NOT an attorney, nor do I profess to be all-knowledge in all things law. Nothing in this article represents legal advice. This information is based solely on personal experience.

Dealing With Clients

Clients help you survive! So don't neglect any! ;)

Your relationship with them is simple. They have money, you need money. You make software, they need software. Keep this in mind, always!

If you want to make your software purchasable via the Net I'd highly recommend using ShareIT at www.shareit.com. They provide online commerce solutions for shareware authors in exchange for a very reasonable commission. Other such sites include www.kagi.com which is also very popular. Such companies also enable you to take payment in the local currency of your customers. Even if you don't register with them, both sites are worth a visit.

A good contract should be all or nothing: if you aren't willing to put everything in writing, you shouldn't have a contract at all. Now, this is where it all gets messy. I'd like show a sample contract, but my attorney says I might get sued, so let's not get into that... ;))

A contract is merely an agreement between two parties. Like, you agree to give the CD containing the software and they agree to give you a certain amount of money. Simple.

I've signed contracts with people who would have gladly seen me arrested and rot in jail. However we were able to put our expectations into a contract, regardless of personal differences and we both delivered exactly what we promised. No threats, no lawsuits and I'm still a free man. So contracts are a good thing!

I'd recommend reading the Bernard B. Kamoroff book Small Time Operator which will explain more.

TOP TIP: If you're doing ANY business with family or friends, spell out all details in the contract ahead of time, and save yourself major headaches, loss of friendship, and even broken families. If either party disagrees, it is better to call off the deal rather than endure ten-year lawsuits and losing your business.

A good contract has these things:

  • Who are the parties
  • What the contract is for
  • What are the grounds of this contract
  • Escape clause: this is an explicit description of how each party can cancel the contract without getting sued
  • Description of the work you'll do, usually described in the terms of deliverables (CDs, Floppies, etc)
  • Compensation (the stuff we all like)
  • Schedule of approval (they do need to see software in progress from time-to-time)

Never start work before they give you 25% of the total. If there are expenses, you will need to get 'em up-front. It's common to get 50% up front, the rest 25% at half-way and the rest upon delivery.

TOP TIP: NEVER hand over the final deliverable until you have the entire payment in hand.

If they wanna see the final product before paying you, make one with a splash screen saying 'IN PROGRESS' and 6 minute timer that will automatically shuts down the software <devilish grin>

Intellectual Property

EEEAAAAAARRRRRRGGGHHHH!! How much do I need to tell you. OkayI'm okayjust temporary insanity! You can check out my Code In the Courtroom article to clear up any questions on this issue.

I asked around my colleagues and in my *business* friends circle and came up with the coolest answers for the following Frequently Asked Questions:

I had a big idea, I created and sold the software - now I don't have a new idea, what do I do?
This is really a bummer, but we have a solution. Look around the Net, try asking your friends and colleagues what kind of software they would like. Then see what kind of software is not available on the market. That's your ticket to fame and fortune.

All my apps demos are cracked, how can I prevent this 100%?
There only way to stop people from cracking it is not to code it. Create a demo that does not have the code for the disabled items. If the Save code is disabled for the demo, don't code that part. It can be cracked only if its coded. The cracker can't go on writing new code! If the demo is time limited, then the odds may be against you, but still with a little ingenuity you can still make it. The best way to create a demo is to make it 'feature-disabled' rather than time limited.

Another way is to never put a Key Generator or Registration solution in your app. No matter who designed it and how powerful it is, it can be cracked. Even the famous ActiveLock has been cracked. The other commercial solutions out there are even crackable. The best way is to make a feature disabled version and when the user registers online or otherwise, you can send a CD or floppy containing the full version.

What is the best way to package a product that will go for retail sale?
Normally, a product box of nice quality thin cardboard, with a tougher card board packing within that holds the CD. The whole box is skin-wrapped with a very thin transparent polythene wrapper. This is how most companies package their software.

However, if your budget is low, package the CD Jewel Case in a Jewel Case size cardboard packing box. It needn't be printed. The Jewel Case's inlay card should be printed nicely. A local screen printer can provide with cheap and good quality solutions.

As for the CD, if its quality you're going for, a silver media (like professional CDs, not gold colored) is required. It should have printed name and some graphics on it. If your budget is low, you can go for 2 color or even 1 color printing. It is a lot cheaper and even Microsoft does that, as with the Visual Studio package. Consult a professional screen printer for more information on how to make nice graphics in single or 2 color print jobs.

How should I put a price tag on my software?
Just paste with glue! Kidding aside, if there is software in competition with yours, try to aim at a lower price than them. But don't overdo it too; keep it as low as possible, but make sure you'll get a profit from it. If you can find someone expert enough, like software publishers, authors, even article-authors of VB-World (*of course* excluding me... you wanna sell your software!!) and if you ask them nicely enough, they just might help review your stuff for you!

Should I get a Security Certificate for my Web sites registration or order page(s)?
Of course, it is a must. It makes your customers feel safe. Something in the range of 48bit Security will do finely. Also, if you can afford it, digital signing for your downloads is also a big plus!

I know I'm ready to start a full pro business, but I'm short on finances, what do I do?
This is something a lot of us are going to have to deal with. A great (and proven) solution is to find a friend or someone with a good financial base and make him your partner in business. He finances the initial capital, then as soon as the dough starts rolling in, you can use the company's money afterwards. If you don't want to make someone a partner, you can also find sponsors and investors, which makes up for a partner, but for only a limited time period.

Optionally, you could find a job somewhere, when you get enough money to stat your own biz, you can quit the job and be on your way.

Where do I advertise my product?
The best place is going for banner ads on some popular sites. Sure, they're expensive, but buying ad slots on less popular sites is just wasting your money. Another way is to 'sponsor' stuff like newsletters, such the ads in our own VB-World Newsletter (Ed: Plug, plug).

For banner ads, www.doubleclick.com is top-notch, likewise so is www.flycast.com. If you have one particular site you'd like to target, contact them for their own ad costs.

I have a very big contract with a company and I'm getting shorthanded!!! Help!
Simple! Subcontract the work out to another software developer. Or hire a few people if you can afford it. Subcontracting is better, where you give part of the job to another firm to do it for you.

TOP TIP: If you're making a software using a Microsoft Visual Studio tool, please make sure you understand their EULA, it has some restrictions on who and where you sell your software. For instance, you can't distribute your software to a US Embargoed country. Remember, always, to read the fine print everywhere! More info in the Code In The Courtroom article.

Even though the ratio of female programmers is lower than male programmers, the former is currently on the rise. There are a number of organizations providing excellent resources for women in programming and scientific fields.

Below is a small list of relevant female career sites and related quotes:

BridgesOnline - Premier Professional Job Network for Women Online!

Advancing Women - "Looking for a new or better job, or advancing your career is always a challenge but it's even more so for women and diversity candidates. Traditionally work networks .... Where professionals make the best contacts, do business, forge alliances, learn about career opportunities, and get job offers..."

Women In Technology International - "In order to meet the high demand for qualified professionals in the technology industry and support the advancement of women in technology, WITI is proud to bring you WITI 4 Hire. Whether you're looking for the just right candidate to fill a position or to discover your next career move, WITI 4 Hire is a innovative, fast and convenient way to make the right connection..."

National Association for Female Executives - The National Association for Female Executives (NAFE), the largest women's professional association and the largest women business owners' organization in the country, provides resources and services through education, networking, and public advocacy to empower its members to achieve career success and financial security. FACE="Verdana" SIZE=2> A professional association dedicated to the advancement of women in the workplace through education, networking and public advocacy, our site contains information about NAFE as well as up-to-date networking and events information and details on how to join.

You can also find several other such sites by using a career search engine.

If you want to remodel yourself as a VB Pro, here are a number of recommended publications:

Programming Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 - ISBN 0-7356-0558-0 - from Microsoft Press - This book is great for OOP and all the advanced stuff.

Developing User Interfaces for Microsoft Windows - ISBN 0-7356-0586-6 - from Microsoft Press -This book provides an excellent overview on creating sensible UIs for Windows.

Advanced VB 6 - ISBN 1-57231-893-7 - from Microsoft Press - This book is great for learning the advanced features packed in VB 6.

Analyzing Requirements and Defining Solution Architectures: MCSD Training Kit for Exam 70-100 - ISBN 0-7356-0854-7 - from Microsoft Press (Ed: are you on commission here, Dax?) - If you wanna be an MCSD, this one is tops

Desktop Applications with Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 MCSD Training Kit - ISBN 0-7356-0620-X - from Microsoft Press - again, a great MCSD book

Distributed Applications for Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 MCSD Training Kit - ISBN 0-7356-0833-4 - from Microsoft Press If you're ready for some heavy duty VB, you'll feel at home with this publication!

Programming Distributed Applications with COM and MS Visual Basic 6.0 - ISBN 1-57231-961-5 - from Microsoft Press (Ed: Dax too many Microsoft Press plugs. You're fired) - The title of this book should be "advanced death" it's a toughie topic, not for beginners or intermediate dweebs! But great if you're gonna go into COM

VB World Articles - ISBN: <D'OH!> - The best place for everything VB! ;)

And here is a list of recommended business tools and titles:

Microsoft Small Business Tools (provided in MS Office 2000 Premium)

Bernard B. Kamoroff's "Small Time Operator: How to Start Your Own Small Business, Keep Your Books, Pay Your Taxes, and Stay Out of Trouble!" 22nd Ed. Bell Springs Publishing, 1997 - ISBN 0-91751-014-3 - The ultimate in learning the ropes of small business.

Paul Hawken's "Growing A Business". Fireside, 1988 - ISBN 0-67167-164-2 - The very best in business philosophy. Highly recommended.

The E-Commerce Tool Shed - A free downloadable e-book for e-commerce. Nice to read and learn.

Damn! It's over, folks. It's finally over - just when we thought we were onto something. But, never fear, in spite of popular demand, I've chosen to stay on Earth and make it my home!

<Half the readers run away, the rest break into tears. The suicide rate all over the world increases erratically>

(Ed: You're definitely fired)

In this article, I provided you with an overview of the major career options open to you as a programmer. So will it be hello to job land or watch out Bill Gates? Either way, I hope some of this advice will save you the painful lessons other have learned the (real) hard way. Why, I can even remember the neck bruises...

Just don't forget - the world is in great need of competent software developers. And that's you.

No matter what App.Path you choose, being a software professional for hire or a business executive, I'd like to wish you the best of luck go on, make me proud!

With this, we finally end the saga of 'Your VB Career'. Still have incomplete knowledge of something and can't work it out? Never fear, go down to that feedback link and post your message or mail me directly at (Ed: address changed). If you don't get an answer within 48 hours, you can eat your hat!

Till next time, this is the Puke Skyhonker saying

Huh? Wait, Mr. Editor, lemme talk... wait!... hey!... C'mon... don't abort! Wait... see ya folks... <bzzzt>

End of Transmission.

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