C programming career advices

This is a discussion on C programming career advices within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; Thank you all for reply. I find novacain & bithub's comments really really good. I am very grateful for your ...

  1. #16
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    Thank you all for reply. I find novacain & bithub's comments really really good. I am very grateful for your shared knowledge. What you said clarified a lot of things for us young undergraduates.

    um, mr. esbo, if you make fun of me, that's fine. but please don't make fun of my friends here.

    No offence, but you haven't said anything useful, and have already managed to offend at least 2 people so far including me. I think the problem is YOU and your twisted sense of humor.

    In fact I suggest you quit accounting, because it might not be the greatest career for you. Being so poor with other people, you might want to consider a career in programming; programming jobs will suit you perfectly since programming is less likely to be dealing with people. if you do, let us know and we will give you a few hints about how to become a good programmer.

    --TING

  2. #17
    Code Goddess Prelude's Avatar
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    >As a recent graduate, you are worth something if you show potential to be able to succeed.
    Employers are looking for a return on investment. Those with experience can show that the investment is worth it. If you have no experience, hiring you is a decision that involves high risk because the return on investment is a toss-up. If you show potential, it does little more than mitigate the risk by a small amount, but potential or not, employers won't know you're worth the investment until after they've made it.

    So from a financial standpoint, recent graduates are worth less than nothing because hiring them involves a high risk for loss of money. You can talk about potential all you want, but employers are thinking about the bottom line when they hire new talent. Pretending that's not the case actually makes it harder to find a job because you're probably not selling yourself in a way that makes sense to the employer.

    >I've already tried as hard as I can yet never seem to be enough for the real world.
    Keep in mind that employers tend to throw out as many acronyms and buzzwords in their "desired skills" list as possible. You'll run into one of two cases:
    1. The employer doesn't really expect the super guru they're asking for to appear. It's just a way to throw off the really bad candidates and give good candidates an idea of the direction in which their skills should lean.
    2. The employer is dumb enough to use the desired skills as a "hire/no hire" checklist. These tend to be bad companies to work for anyway, so just move on to the next one.

    >1) Do i stand a chance if I want to apply for a c/c++ job that offers $36,000CAD?
    >2) $40,000 CAD?
    >3) $45,000 CAD?
    Yes. All of those count as a reasonable starting salary for a C/C++ programmer.

    >4) What websites/resources would you recommend?
    For what?
    My best code is written with the delete key.

  3. #18
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    I started my programming career with an interesting portfolio already. I'm deeply convinced it was this that allowed me to start as a professional programmer very early in my life. It was right on my 2nd job. The first was for Alcatel and my life was doing nightly backups of their ES9000 mainframe.

    It was probably a little bit of luck too, but a portfolio can do wonders for your early steps because the interviewer has something to hold on to than just faith in your persona.

    What can your portfolio be made of ?
    Mine was back in the days. I didn't know C++ and was mostly interested in Clipper, DBase and the new thing, Visual Basic, which still had a smiley as the icon on Windows 3.1. So, I'm not entirely sure what to advise you here. But I'll wager:


    On the CD:
    • Your personal library of odds & ends
    • Small snippets of code addressing issues that interest you. For example, if AI interests you, build some consequential snippets of code exploring AI
    • 1, 2 or more full projects of which you dedicated your time and effort to conclude.
    • 1 or 2 top projects you never concluded but feel they are worth staying in your portfolio for their worth as a showplace of your skills


    On a small file:
    • Clips of magazine articles, web printouts, papers, whatever, of subjects that interest you as a programmer.
    • Information on books you own, you don't own but have read, and books you would like to own
    • Notes on varied programming related subjects you have collected over the time


    Things aren't today as they used to be. The market opened. In my days you would have to give your left arm to find a programmer looking for work. Today programmers have to give theirs. However, some things never change, and while a portfolio has become pas&#233;e and even a little quaint, it is still worth a thousand interviews. Just make sure you force the interviewer to take it on your first interview. I'm pretty sure he'll snoop around.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  4. #19
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    Thank you prelude. I know exactly you mean. This is a generic problem existed among all undergraduates: lack of experience and uncertainty in return. I was a bit afraid of thinking about that because i have limited control over these criteria. Maybe i need to think clearly about how to make a strong argument from a economic standpoint.

    4) What website/resources would you recommend? --> I meant websites (besides the generic ones like monster.ca) that could really help me in resume writing, interviewing, and mental preparation for applying job in the programming sect. If you were starting out again from a fresh graduate with no real work experience, where & how would you look for your first c/c++ job.

    --TING

  5. #20
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    Thank you Mario, great great idea. I am going to do exactly that.

    --TING

  6. #21
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    >> 1) Schooling worths little or nothing; project and real work are the 1st thing employers look for
    I disagree with this. I can't speak for other employers, but at our company, it is not the case. Schooling is very important. Projects and real work are also important. However, it's often hard to determine how much work and how much quality is done on a given "real world" project because those are often done in teams or with guidance. Testing knowledge that should have been learned in school is easier because you either understand it or you don't.

    >> 2) Understanding of STL and data structures are crucial for interviews
    STL is just an example. If you have learned it, then it is crucial for interviews. If you have not learned it, then it is not important. The underlying data structures are important. Being able to understand data structures, pros and cons, and being able to identify when to use which shows deeper understanding than many other topics might.


    Prelude,
    I agree with the idea of what you are saying, but in my experience I think you are taking it too far. Many employers are willing to take that risk. Recent college graduates with little to no experience are cheaper than others with lower risk. If you are able to do well in choosing your employees, then the potential is worth more than the risk.

    >> Pretending that's not the case actually makes it harder to find a job because you're probably not selling yourself in a way that makes sense to the employer.

    Nobody's saying "don't try to get experience". Of course students should work to gain real-world programming experience before they look for permanent employment. However, that doesn't mean it is ok to tell someone without such experience that they have little to no shot of being hired. Of course they can still get hired. Of course they should still try to get hired. It happens all the time. If you can show your potential and show that you learned from your schooling then you can get hired despite a lack of real-project experience. If you can obtain real-project experience before looking for your job, all the better.

  7. #22
    Code Goddess Prelude's Avatar
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    >that doesn't mean it is ok to tell someone without such
    >experience that they have little to no shot of being hired
    That's what happens when you read between the lines. I never said anything of the sort. I'm simply offering a realistic perspective as opposed to the usual lies I hear about how it's just soooo easy to get a high paying job writing code.
    My best code is written with the delete key.

  8. #23
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    "you're worth nothing unless you can boast real experience"

    If you aren't trying to say that there's little to no chance of getting hired without real experience, that's fine. Then I'm just clarifying what you're saying. By "worth nothing" you mean, "still potentially able to get a job but it will be more difficult", right?
    Last edited by Daved; 03-06-2008 at 11:38 AM. Reason: added "potentially"

  9. #24
    Code Goddess Prelude's Avatar
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    >By "worth nothing" you mean, "still potentially able to get a job but it will be more difficult", right?
    By "worth nothing" I mean that employers will see you as dead weight without an initial investment in training. This is as opposed to an experienced candidate who is perceived as being able to hit the ground running.

    For example, I have no problem hiring graduates if time constraints allow, but when I do I'll always factor in about two months of lost time for the new guy and approximately a week of lost time per existing member of the team for training. On the other hand, an experienced programmer I would expect to pick up the necessary info to become useful in two weeks or less, which is a significant win over the graduate in terms of my return on investment.

    Your worth to an employer at hire time is typically going to be "how much work can I get out of this guy and how soon can I get it?" versus "how much is he asking for?". At this point I would expect all of the suitability issues to be resolved. If you're willing to decide between an experienced guy and a newbie, you've already determined that both have the necessary skills and appear to mesh well with your team.
    My best code is written with the delete key.

  10. #25
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    But there's typically going to be a salary difference between the recent graduate that takes two months and the person with experience that is ready to work in two weeks.

    Obviously you are free to hire who you want, and I completely understand the desire in some workplaces to go for the person with the actual experience.

    My point is that that is true only for some workplaces. There are many others who are fine with recent graduates with or without experience and are willing to go through the training process if they feel that person has the potential to help them going forward.

  11. #26
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    And there is even more...

    There's a potential job out there for everyone in the business; be them experienced, unexperienced, good or bad. And this is so because companies are themselves experienced, unexperienced, good or bad.

    Companies hire according to many factors. A company can hire in search of good and experienced professionals, while the company next door may be on the lookout for fresh blood they can tailor to their needs. Companies there are too that did the mistake or hiring a bad HR manager.

    A real career boost can come from many directions. From the company who did the mistake of hiring us, but we proved our worth, to the company that doesn't even know what they are doing, but by hiring us they gave us the opportunity to carve our first notch on the experience cleaver.

    What should be important is not if we can get hired by this or that company, but the location of the closest mailbox so that we can mail in the application.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  12. #27
    Cat without Hat CornedBee's Avatar
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    Internships are also important. Internships are where the companies filter out the really bright kids and hire them before anyone else can get to them.
    All the buzzt!
    CornedBee

    "There is not now, nor has there ever been, nor will there ever be, any programming language in which it is the least bit difficult to write bad code."
    - Flon's Law

  13. #28
    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    Ask the question 'Why would I choose to work with your team?' It might be hard to choke out when you are new, but it shows that you have confidence in your own abilities, and that you are team oriented.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

  14. #29
    Code Goddess Prelude's Avatar
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    >it shows that you have confidence in your own abilities, and that you are team oriented.
    Or it shows that you're arrogant and probably have poor teamwork skills.
    My best code is written with the delete key.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by ting View Post
    Thank you all for reply. I find novacain & bithub's comments really really good. I am very grateful for your shared knowledge. What you said clarified a lot of things for us young undergraduates.

    um, mr. esbo, if you make fun of me, that's fine. but please don't make fun of my friends here.

    No offence, but you haven't said anything useful, and have already managed to offend at least 2 people so far including me. I think the problem is YOU and your twisted sense of humor.

    In fact I suggest you quit accounting, because it might not be the greatest career for you. Being so poor with other people, you might want to consider a career in programming; programming jobs will suit you perfectly since programming is less likely to be dealing with people. if you do, let us know and we will give you a few hints about how to become a good programmer.

    --TING
    Well first off I am not making fun of anyone, it's your opinion that I have not said anything
    useful.
    Anyway you may have misunderstood my comment, but basically I am just saying that
    computing may not be a very good career. And that's not just my opinion quite few people
    share that view point.
    If you want a 'career' in programming is is pretty unlikely you will be doing much programming.
    Essentially programming is the art of making yourself redundant, unless you are happy to spend
    your life writing rubbish, however some people seem to excel at that so maybe you will make a career out of it.
    Incidently I have probably got more programming jobs than most of your 'friends' here.
    Last edited by esbo; 03-06-2008 at 04:29 PM.

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