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I work for a small consultant firm , where I am the only developer(C#, VBA, SQL, etc) along with couple folks who have knowledge of programming.

Is there any chance that I can visit some software companies and see how they approach programming at large scale and get answers to some of my questions one/one or a small group setting?

If yes, how do I approach i.e. reach out to their departments? other options I thought of is to attend conferences, workshops etc.Suggestions here will be great too.

I understand that companies might be not willing to entertain the idea but anything along those lines will help me get better at software development.

Edit:

TL;DR:

  • Do software companies offer educational programs/workshops/QA sessions for outsiders?
  • What are some effective approaches to self taught software development?

Update:

I am looking into attending Meetups, Developer Conferences and contributing to open source on GitHub.Also planning on reading books on Software development.

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I would advise to look for Meet-ups of similar developers in your area. Next to that, visit conferences that are related to your development work, read books about project management, agile development and continuous delivery. I personally have organised a developer meet-up with a social component using the facilities of my employer. I don't know about the opportunities for this in your area.

Approaching a company might seems weird, but there are companies out there that facilitate and organise these kind of meetings, as their own developers also benefit from it. Or you could try your hand at creating a meetup yourself?

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  • 1
    "I don't about" should probably be "I don't know about", but that's too small an edit for me to suggest. – user May 31 '17 at 13:13
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You don't mention where you are located but certainly in the UK (where I am) this would be pretty much unheard of. A company allowing a random person who doesn't work there, isn't interviewing to work there, and is neither a supplier nor a customer to come in and use up the time of their staff when they have literally nothing to gain from doing so is rather unlikely to say the least!

And that's before you even starting thinking about the security/intellectual properties issues that sort of thing could open up if the company worked on anything even remotely sensitive.

In a previous job at a web development shop I was tasked to provide some 1-1 coding tuition to an outside individual but they were paying for the time (in fact they were paying double our usual hourly rate!) and so they counted as a client.

Honestly I think your goals are admirable but your idea is IMO a non-starter. You would likely be much better off looking into workshops, training courses, conferences and meet ups/hackathons.

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  • It would be incredibly odd in the USA as well. – NotMe May 31 '17 at 14:41
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As R-D says meet-ups are an amazing way to become a better developer. Open source is another way you can follow in order to become a better programmer.

Start your own project or try to contribute to open repos. It's hard at the beginning but you can get a lot of experience doing that.

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  • Another good suggestion (open source contribution), Thanks – evenprime May 31 '17 at 13:30
  • Feel free to upvote my answer ;-) – Ema.jar May 31 '17 at 13:36
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In order to improve my technical ability and get better at "thinking" code I like to invest time on game-ified coding sites like CodeFights.

They have some really cool options for flexing your brain, like company bots you can compete against and an arcade mode that casually walks you through themed programming challenges.

To keep this from being a shameless plug for CodeFights (not affiliated, I promise) CoderByte and HackerRank appear to offer similar functionality but I'm not as familiar with those.

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  • HackerRank is good but some of the instructions can occasionally be a bit misleading. It's got some really great stuff for more advanced coders and is good if you want a significant challenge. – Just In Time Berlake May 31 '17 at 15:44
  • I have spent a lot of time with hackerrank, its pretty good site. But i need the implementation/ hands on software development experience , how people use repositories, libraries, scaling,extensibility of projects vs solving a single algorithm. – evenprime May 31 '17 at 15:53
  • My bad there. Open source is a good place to start, or if you have an idea just start hacking away in your personal time. I learned how to use/implement the things you listed when I had a need for them in my projects. Which usually wasn't until things were going downhill (see: "oh sh*t we weren't using version control?"). We learn best from our mistakes – you saved my life May 31 '17 at 16:12

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