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If you've begun work RECENTLY, how did you find your way in?

This is a discussion on If you've begun work RECENTLY, how did you find your way in? within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; "because the GPA, more than any other one number, reflects the sum of what dozens of professors over a long ...

  1. #16
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    "because the GPA, more than any other one number, reflects the sum of what dozens of professors over a long period of time in many different situations think about your work"
    Yeah, sounds like the bull they gave in high school for getting us to try on our classes. The GPA doesn't show what professor think of your work at all. Most professors I know and the ones in my college gave you good grades for the work you turned in. Only way you got poor grades is if you failed to turn it in (which is the reason I have a 3.25), if I had turned in every assignment I would have easily had a 4.0. I had a professor that gave me an A for the final grade and flat out told me he didn't care for how I did my work or presented myself. GPAs are misleading, you want evidence of their work ethics and such then see if they continued working on their trade after college, if they didn't then chances are they aren't dedicated to the job whereas someone who finished college and kept plugging away to improve it the best they could on their own obviously has a great work ethic and is very determined. How well you do in school doesn't hint at all for how well you do at work, in school you are just doing it to get out of there, work you are doing it to get paid and sustain your living so you would work harder at a job than you did in school. Too many people go into college now thinking they are guaranteed a job when they finish and when it falls through they give up.
    Last edited by BHXSpecter; 02-29-2012 at 08:41 PM.

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by BHXSpecter
    The GPA doesn't show what professor think of your work at all. Most professors I know and the ones in my college gave you good grades for the work you turned in.
    Most professors (and TAs, including myself when I was one) I know (primarily from the National University of Singapore) only give students good grades if their work meets a certain standard. As long as they turn something in that remotely makes sense, they pass, but they don't necessarily do well.

    Quote Originally Posted by BHXSpecter
    Only way you got poor grades is if you failed to turn it in (which is the reason I have a 3.25), if I had turned in every assignment I would have easily had a 4.0.
    Why didn't you turn in every assignment? If I hire you, would you simply not complete some tasks that we need to complete to get the job done? It sounds like the 3.25 GPA you have is a good indicator of your work ethic after all

    Quote Originally Posted by BHXSpecter
    How well you do in school doesn't hint at all for how well you do at work, in school you are just doing it to get out of there, work you are doing it to get paid and sustain your living so you would work harder at a job than you did in school.
    If you're just "doing it to get out of there" in school, why should I believe that you are really going to have a better attitude at work, rather than just scraping through to keep your job without actually being a good team player who contributes to the team?

    The thing is, being a good worker and team player in school does not mean that you will be a good worker and team player at work, but not being a good worker and team player in school does not make you any better, and in fact sounds like it may set a pattern for you to be the same at work. If I were filtering applications before inviting applicants for an interview, that would be something to think about.
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  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by BHXSpecter View Post
    Yeah, sounds like the bull they gave in high school for getting us to try on our classes. The GPA doesn't show what professor think of your work at all. Most professors I know and the ones in my college gave you good grades for the work you turned in.
    That's not normal. However, I have heard there are some educational systems which work that way -- eg, in China it is mandatory that all students pass. But it certainly wasn't like that where I went to school. If you made a 4.0 or higher in any semester, that put you on the "honour roll", which then got you invited to a big ceremony. These were never more than 500 students, out of 35,000+. There were thousands of people in my particular program, but the honour roll postings outside the program main office was only a few pages long. So no one was handing out A's.

    How well you do in school doesn't hint at all for how well you do at work, in school you are just doing it to get out of there, work you are doing it to get paid and sustain your living so you would work harder at a job than you did in school.
    I would bet that in most fields, the majority of university graduates never have to do work at the level they did in school again, and certainly not in their first job. The only place I could have done things as "advanced" as what I was doing in my last year or so would be if I went on to get a Phd and did research. Likewise, my father made a great living as an engineer, but the kinds of things he did in general on a day to day basis were not as complex as the things he had to do to get an engineering degree. Another example would be doctors who become GP's (or anything other than surgeons or researchers, ie, the vast majority) -- the kind of work they do day to day is much easier than what they had to do to get a medical degree.

    I'm sure there are exceptions to this, and it may be less true in CS; my point is just that people who did well in school probably do not "work harder" when they get out because there is no such possibility. You may put as much energy in, and take it just as seriously, but in most cases the material you are dealing with will be simpler and there will be less chance of failure.
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  4. #19
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    Why didn't you turn in every assignment? If I hire you, would you simply not complete some tasks that we need to complete to get the job done? It sounds like the 3.25 GPA you have is a good indicator of your work ethic after all
    My wife and son came first and if I didn't find time to do the work, I didn't do it. Simple as that.

    [REVISION]
    Just realized I don't think I've ever explained my situation. My wife and son both have FSH Muscular Dystrophy. They are both in wheel chairs (The last time my son was able to walk during his Make A Wish trip, him getting his power chair). My wife is first generation FSH so the effect of it on here isn't bad, but my son is second generation so it is worse in him and on top of that it FSH is harder on men (even first gen men). My son just turned 7 in January and was only able to walk for a few years before being stuck in a wheelchair. The FSH, makes them naturally small, but in children it makes them easier to catch viruses. Until this year we spent most the years in the Indianapolis St. Vincent's Hospital due to health issues (most time we spent up there was a whole week, all of which was during my time in college. This effected my grades because a lot of colleges have a no late work policy and even though my reasons were legit reasons as to why I didn't get the work done, the professors wouldn't accept it because of it being late. So by the end of the first semester I just had the attitude of if I didn't have time to do it I wasn't going to bother doing it because they won't accept it late.
    Last edited by BHXSpecter; 03-02-2012 at 06:52 AM.

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by BHXSpecter
    This effected my grades because a lot of colleges have a no late work policy and even though my reasons were legit reasons as to why I didn't get the work done, the professors wouldn't accept it because of it being late.
    Hmm... combined with the overall policy for awarding of grades and the "didn't care for how I did my work or presented myself" thing, it sounds as if you are "unlucky" in that the professors you had to deal with are brain damaged and/or lack compassion (or are restricted by such an administration).

    Quote Originally Posted by BHXSpecter
    My wife and son came first and if I didn't find time to do the work, I didn't do it. Simple as that.
    Aye, and the reality of life is that family should come first, which also contributes to MK27's observation that 'people who did well in school probably do not "work harder" when they get out' (with the exception of certain professions like accountants, bankers and lawyers that notoriously don't allow for much family time). Unfortunately, if your grades in school are affected by that, then you may simply get filtered out before you have a chance to provide the full picture of your abilities. On the bright side, once you are past your first job or two, work experience would come into play more than your GPA to get you to the interview.
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  6. #21
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    Hmm... combined with the overall policy for awarding of grades and the "didn't care for how I did my work or presented myself" thing, it sounds as if you are "unlucky" in that the professors you had to deal with are brain damaged and/or lack compassion (or are restricted by such an administration).
    It was that way at IVY Tech, was told by the CS advisers that it was the same at Indiana University, and it is that way at DeVry University (so I was forced to settle with what I had available to me at the time). Now I have no way of going for a CS degree over what I went for, and feel like I'm just constantly rehashing everything I learned in basics. The last straw for me is that I have pulled out my C++ Primer book and reading and doing EVERYTHING in it as I feel DeVry let me down in the way they did their degree. I've been ridiculed for falling for DeVry's Game and Simulation Programming degree lies they gave so I'm back to learning on my own and not sure where to go from there. Which brings up another thing that I have been told companies base things off of (the college itself you went to that gave you the degree). Companies hold some colleges higher than others (like if you have a list and some came from say 3 IU, 4 DeVry, 2 UCLA, and 1 MIT I'm betting MIT grad will get more nods and consideration than the others).

  7. #22
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    So, I've got some interviews lined up for the next couple weeks, so it goes without saying that my initial freakout was unwarranted. I was surprised to see that the company whose rep gave me a hard time invited me in.

    Do you guys have any personal tips for doing well in an interview (that can be applied in a few days/weeks)? How do you calm your nerves, or conversely make sure you are alert and your mind is snappy before you begin? My first interview will take place in a 45 minute slot, but I got emailed for another one that's bringing me in for 3 hours. Also, I had to dress up for the internship fair, else look like a bum because the standards were set pretty high. In the actual interview setting, I assume nice pants and shirt--possibly a tie--would be alright, rather than a full-on suit?

    Thanks again for the conversation/feedback. It makes me feel a lot better to be able to drop my guard and talk about this stuff.
    MK27 likes this.
    I made a pair of "Braille Gloves" which have 6 vibration motors in six finger tips and vibrate in the relevant patterns. I have used this to read stuff while out walking. Given there is a fairly well defined programmer-oriented Braille encoding I should imagine it would work in this situation. Diagrams could be a pain still.

    Note: I am not blind but have learnt Braille fairly easily so for me it works quite well

    Disclaimer: I haven't tried this while driving yet...

  8. #23
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    For some reason I'm never nervous in interviews. I'm usually nervous before it begins, but once it begins, it's just an informal chat. Assuming you are getting technical interviews, they are really no different from solving problems in classes, except easier (usually).

    As for how formal to dress, just look at what people wear to work at the company, and maybe up a notch if you want. I go to most interviews in just nice pants and shirt (no tie). I did 2 interviews at game companies in t-shirt and jeans (and got hired at 1, so that appears to be fine). You'll be surprised how little people care about how you dress, if you are a nice person, and knows what you are talking about technically.

  9. #24
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    I dressed pretty nice for my interviews. My major was Mechanical Engineering and I usually wore shirt and tie. There was one interview (the one where I actually got my job) that they told all of the interviewees to wear suits.

    As for tips on interviewing, I don't really have any. Like cyberfish, I never usually get too nervous. I was a little nervous going into the technical interview for my current job, but it turned out to be very simple questions basically focusing on your approach rather than your solution. One thing I always try to do no matter what is make an extra effort for eye contact. I think it shows a great amount of confidence if you are looking directly at them when you are talking to them. Many engineers I know are very smart, but can lack even the most basic social skills which causes them to have a tougher time getting a job. I'm more the type where I get along great with everyone, but I'm definitely not the ace in the room. Everyone has their place, you just need to find yours.

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildcard_seven View Post
    I was surprised to see that the company whose rep gave me a hard time invited me in.
    Not surprising - those who aren't interested in you aren't going to take the time to push you to see how you react.

    Do you guys have any personal tips for doing well in an interview (that can be applied in a few days/weeks)?
    As mentioned earlier:

    How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie

    For general tips - emphasize how you can help their business, your ability to work on teams, and your leadership potential. The last two aren't paradoxical. A great leader is also a great team player.
    wildcard_seven likes this.
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    Well, I just got done with my first interview. I admire you guys who say you don't get nervous before interviews, because that is certainly not the case with me...lol.

    Anyhow, it was the usual chit-chat to begin with. A bit on my background, telling them about what sort of things I've done, etc. I think a struck a good middle ground between presenting myself/strengths in a favorable light, but not being arrogant or snobbish. After that, we did some coding on paper. The first problem was essentially fizzBuzz, I think, or similar to it. I'm pretty sure that went fine, although I definitely double-checked to make sure I didn't shoot myself in the foot. After that, they asked me to implement a custom modulus operator to fulfill the same purpose. I blanked out for a minute (felt like ten, god I hope it wasn't that long), but I used a useful technique to get myself back in the game...basically talking out loud and telling them my intentions, so they knew I wasn't totally devoid of ideas, and verbalizing the thought seemed to kick something in gear and I came up with a solution that (I think) they were pleased with. Then, we did some abstract problem solving where they asked me to measure the room with nothing more than what was present--in an essentially empty room. That went okay, I felt.

    On the whole, I felt it was a positive experience. I'm glad I've lined up several of these, because I think the only way I'm going to get comfortable is just to throw myself into the fire as often as possible, so I don't find the experience so daunting. It's a little embarrassing to put myself out here, be it success or failure, but this could turn into an informative thread yet...letting some other apprehensive people in on the experience.
    I made a pair of "Braille Gloves" which have 6 vibration motors in six finger tips and vibrate in the relevant patterns. I have used this to read stuff while out walking. Given there is a fairly well defined programmer-oriented Braille encoding I should imagine it would work in this situation. Diagrams could be a pain still.

    Note: I am not blind but have learnt Braille fairly easily so for me it works quite well

    Disclaimer: I haven't tried this while driving yet...

  12. #27
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    And yes, I have to say that although I think the technical portion is the gateway you have to pass through, and I hope I succeeded and do succeed in other interviews...a whole hell of a lot of this is easing the tension in the room, making the interviewers feel good in your presence. I could very easily see how some misanthrope person could cut through the technical portion like a buzzsaw, and yet make people want to get away from them as soon as possible nonetheless.
    I made a pair of "Braille Gloves" which have 6 vibration motors in six finger tips and vibrate in the relevant patterns. I have used this to read stuff while out walking. Given there is a fairly well defined programmer-oriented Braille encoding I should imagine it would work in this situation. Diagrams could be a pain still.

    Note: I am not blind but have learnt Braille fairly easily so for me it works quite well

    Disclaimer: I haven't tried this while driving yet...

  13. #28
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    Sounds like things went pretty well, so congrats!

    When I've been in the job market, I will talk to as many companies as I can and try to get as many interviews as possible, even if they're not something I initially think I really want. The experience alone is worth it, and sometimes you stumble upon a hidden gem of a place to work. As for the nerves, I don't remember my first few interviews that well (they were over a decade ago), but I do seem to recall being a bit nervous. Now, after the umpteen interviews I've been through, it's no big deal. I'm sure each one will be less stressful for you as well. You definitely hit on some key concepts: being confident but not cocky; showing that you are thinking and have a thought process, even if you don't have an instant solution; being generally personable.

    Also remember, you're interviewing them as much as they're interviewing you. You need to decide if that company and it's employees create an environment you can work and learn in (I assume you want to keep learning throughout your life). When they ask you if you have questions, your answer should be "yes". Why do they like working there? What are the perks? Any drawbacks? Ask what your growth potential is and where they see you in 5 years or whatever? Are they looking for an intern they can drop as soon as the budget gets a little tight, or a life-long code monkey or somebody who can step up and lead a team, manage some projects, etc? Ask if they're a "get it done fast" or "get it done right" shop. You probably shouldn't use my exact language for all this, but you need a good feel for the culture and philosophy, and it should match yours pretty well. If it doesn't, you wont be happy. If you're not happy, it will be hard to put any effort it, to keep learning and growing, and to excel in your job. That hinders chances of career advancement if and when you switch companies.
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  14. #29
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    ^^^^
    That's a super point about the "ask them" portion. I have to admit that I didn't get as much mileage out of that as I should have. Very good suggestions.
    I made a pair of "Braille Gloves" which have 6 vibration motors in six finger tips and vibrate in the relevant patterns. I have used this to read stuff while out walking. Given there is a fairly well defined programmer-oriented Braille encoding I should imagine it would work in this situation. Diagrams could be a pain still.

    Note: I am not blind but have learnt Braille fairly easily so for me it works quite well

    Disclaimer: I haven't tried this while driving yet...

  15. #30
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    When you get to the final stages of hiring process and it looks like you could actually get hired:
    (1) Ask for a tour of their offices; ask them to show where you'll be working and try to take in the overall conditions and atmosphere of the place. Does it feel like a place you'd want to spend over 8 hours every day for the next couple of years? Refusal would be a big red flag for me.
    (2) Try to get an interview around lunch time and try to get in on it with a group of your future colleagues. You can find out a lot about a company in a more informal atmosphere.
    (3) There are sites around the web where employees can review their employers -- look up the place and see what people are saying. Look for constructive feedback, but keep in mind that they're anonymous and it's the Internet.

    Don't just try to get hired anywhere that'll have you, no matter the future costs to your social, physical and financial well-being. Of course beggar can't be choosers, etc, etc.
    Disclaimer: This post shows my ignorance at the time of its making. I claim ownership of but not responsibility for all errors in it. Reference at your own peril.

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