Like Tree5Likes

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; Not to be a hater, but I'm not too interested in hearing from those who made a pre-2000 debut, or ...

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    86

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

    Not to be a hater, but I'm not too interested in hearing from those who made a pre-2000 debut, or shortly thereafter. Leading up to and shortly after the .com boom, anything with a pulse and a bit of skill was in high demand, although it doesn't mean good people didn't get hired.

    ....sorry about the harsh preface...

    Name:  haterade1.jpg
Views: 267
Size:  79.1 KB


    So let's get down to business. How did you find your first work? The reason I ask, is because I just attended my university's internship fair, and it was brutal out there--a massacre, with my fellow CS peers being gunned down left and right.

    I have a 4.0 gpa, a semester from graduating, did well in a contest, took some in-demand skills for electives, and I had a nice damn suit. That said, I STILL got the stank eye from the occasional employer. One woman, representing her no-name 10-man company, was scoffing at my "credentials". "You received extra credit for top project? Oh, that wasn't for some international competition or firm? psshhh..." and so on.

    That said, I had several employers reacting very positively to me. I even had one guy set up a remote interview with me that night. Been a couple days, and I haven't heard any more from the 8 or so employers I applied with (I'm not being stingy, I just want to get working).

    The reason I'm raising this fuss, is that I know, from working alongside my classmates, that about 90% of them are far worse off than me. Too often if they're smart, then they're lazy, and they are just scraping through classes...or, they act like someone is forcing them to be here and do this coursework. I do my best to live and breathe this stuff, and I've met a handful of others who are as dedicated.

    So...how do you break through this wall? It seems like no one wants to groom a promising employee. The day of the junior developer/intern is gone. I could be jumping the gun here, since I've already had SOME hint that I could have an opportunity, but I just feel massive resistance out there.

    I feel like the only thing I could add to make myself more attractive, is some significant software project done in my own free time. Only problem is, between school, work, and family, I have no damn time for that, unless I'm to go without sleep or any form of relaxation.

    ...I'm sorry cboard. I'm sorry about all this. I really hope that I'm just being antsy and impatient, and that good things will come my way. I just wish there was something else I could do to make sure I get my chance.
    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...

  2. #2
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    9,598
    Let's see. I want to be nice here but....

    This.....
    Not to be a hater, but I'm not too interested in hearing from those who made a pre-2000 debut, or shortly thereafter. Leading up to and shortly after the .com boom, anything with a pulse and a bit of skill was in high demand, although it doesn't mean good people didn't get hired.

    ....sorry about the harsh preface...
    With some of this:
    The reason I'm raising this fuss, is that I know, from working alongside my classmates, that about 90% of them are far worse off than me. Too often if they're smart, then they're lazy, and they are just scraping through classes...or, they act like someone is forcing them to be here and do this coursework. I do my best to live and breathe this stuff, and I've met a handful of others who are as dedicated.
    Coupled with this:
    I have a 4.0 gpa, a semester from graduating, did well in a contest, took some in-demand skills for electives, and I had a nice damn suit. That said, I STILL got the stank eye from the occasional employer. One woman, representing her no-name 10-man company, was scoffing at my "credentials". "You received extra credit for top project? Oh, that wasn't for some international competition or firm? psshhh..." and so on.
    ...and my answer is no as well without even knowing anything about you, your education, or your past experience. Granted you might not say that in an interview but if that is how you truly feel then that is what you are conveying and perhaps people are picking up on it. I can sum up all of what that says to me:

    • I am arrogant
    • I think I am better than my classmates
    • I am entitled to this job b/c of my grades and performance at school
    • I am not a team player
    • I will demoralize any team I am a part of


    Now none of that is probably true but if you wrote all that then you feel it which is going to come out in an interview. That is what they are for...to find out not just what you know but who you are as a person and if you are a fit for the company. So do not sell yourself short and do not oversell your projects at school. You are talking to people who are working on code bases that dwarf your project. Your project is great experience but don't expect professional developers to go bonkers over your 20K line project when they daily maintain and work on code bases that are over a million lines (and a million isn't huge).

    In the end many interviews come down to the simple question:
    • Would I want this person on my team? Why or why not?'.


    Usually college grads are not expected to have all the tech down perfect so it comes down to pure attitude and team mentality. One of the hardest calls to make is when a person has tons of experience and is clearly qualified but has a terrible attitude or has shown a past history of not being able to work well within a team. If you do 3 interviews with 2 interviewers in each and 50% of them would not want you on their team then it probably is not going to happen but even then you could get the job. If all of them would be ok with you on their team but all agree you may lack some technical skills but could learn them along the way you will most likely land the job.

    Just my two cents from my limited years of interviewing experience.
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 02-24-2012 at 08:32 PM.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    3,183
    When it comes to job search, you will get rejected a lot, that's normal, especially for your first job. Companies don't like to take risks, and hiring someone for their first job is always risky, because you don't have references from previous employers.

    I'm one of the top students in my department (electrical/computer engineering at a reasonably good engineering school in Canada), and I only get about 1-2 interviews every 5 applications. Most people get about 1 in 10-20. You'll just have to get used to that. Be confident, but humble. Don't go in feeling like everyone is an idiot for not hiring you (which is what your post sounds like). They can sense the hostility, and will prove you wrong by not talking to you. Your school is probably not the only place those employers are hiring from, and they always have a nice selection of good people from other schools to choose from.

    I did my first internship at Capcom (software development job) almost 2 years ago, some research at my university, then another intern job at NVIDIA right now, after not taking 2 other offers, so the days of interns certainly aren't over just because employers aren't all over you.

  4. #4
    Cat
    Cat is offline
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    1,571
    I tend to agree with VirtualAce, your post did throw up a few flags. Maybe some of that is the internet and its difficulty to communicate tone, but while you come across as a good individual programmer, you don't come across as a good team member. Personal dedication is good, but dedication to your team is better.

    I got hired a few years ago - still in the middle of the recent economic collapse - and I now do interviews from time to time. For the most part when I interview I don't really care about your technical skills. I probably have a fairly good idea of that aspect from paper, and from a programming assessment you'd take. I mostly am evaluating your attitude and your ability to be a functioning member of a team.

    I will tell you this - don't be the genius programmer who cannot work well with others. That is absolutely the last programmer I'd hire and the first I'd fire. One person, no matter how much of a programming genius, is not worth destroying the morale of the entire rest of the team. It's sad to see their talents go to waste, but they simply won't work out. If you want the single best programming book you'll ever read, try How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Social skills can be harder to come by than technical.

    That said, getting hired is really a numbers game. You keep trying until you land a job. Jobs are out there, you just need to keep at it.
    You ever try a pink golf ball, Wally? Why, the wind shear on a pink ball alone can take the head clean off a 90 pound midget at 300 yards.

  5. #5
    train spotter
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    near a computer
    Posts
    3,859
    IME there are only 3 job interview questions;

    Can you do the job?
    Because you are a graduate I already know you will not be able to produce much useable code for at least 6 months.

    Will you fit into my team?
    This is the most important question.
    I am looking for someone who loves coding. Someone who plays with new technologies and APIs to see how they work.
    Someone who will is fearless with a computer and will experiment in code, exhausting all options they can think of, before asking for help (or becoming discouraged).
    Someone who is strong enough to bounce back once they understand how little they actually know about coding, and how much more they still have to learn.

    In short, can my team work with you, will you listen when I tell you how to do something (or does it have to be done YOUR way?) and can I motivate you? If I have any doubts on either point, then you will not get hired.

    Can we afford you?
    You are a graduate so you get very little input into wages (as you lack commercial experience that increases your hourly rate in comparison with other coders).
    If I ask about how much you want it is to get a feel for how satisfied you will be with the salary I can offer (as I already know how much I can pay).

    Expect to get rejected ALOT.
    I started before 2000 and I still get rejected for jobs (I now get told I am too experienced and expensive).
    Last edited by novacain; 02-25-2012 at 12:00 AM.
    "Man alone suffers so excruciatingly in the world that he was compelled to invent laughter."
    Friedrich Nietzsche

    "I spent a lot of my money on booze, birds and fast cars......the rest I squandered."
    George Best

    "If you are going through hell....keep going."
    Winston Churchill

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    86
    Thanks for the feedback. I understand what you guys are saying about attitude. Believe me, I'm highly aware that the above was a pure ego meltdown. I guess I do need to learn to take things in stride better. Sometimes I do feel entitled. Not because I'm particularly awesome, but rather because the hours put in, frustration endured, etc feels like it ought to be worth something. In reality, it may not be, and I guess it's not going to get me anywhere flatly insisting that it is. I'll try to take things less personal from here on out. Just keep plugging away and try to keep my head up.
    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...

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    6,667
    Quote Originally Posted by wildcard_seven View Post
    Not because I'm particularly awesome, but rather because the hours put in, frustration endured, etc feels like it ought to be worth something. In reality, it may not be, and I guess it's not going to get me anywhere flatly insisting that it is.
    It is not a case that your experiences are worth nothing.

    The thing to remember is that every applicant for a position has their own story of hours put in, frustration endured, etc. And so does everyone who will consider your application, interview you, etc. All of those individual experiences are also worth something.

    Also, think about how you would behave if you were an interviewer faced with a large number of applicants for a small number of jobs. I assume you would want to find the best people for the job (or jobs) on offer. Would you be more interested in what a person has done, or what value they will offer in the future?
    Right 98% of the time, and don't care about the other 3%.

    If I seem grumpy or unhelpful in reply to you, or tell you you need to demonstrate more effort before you can expect help, it is likely you deserve it. Suck it up, Sunshine, and read this, this, and this before posting again.

  8. #8
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    segmentation fault
    Posts
    8,300
    "You received extra credit for top project? Oh, that wasn't for some international competition or firm? psshhh..."
    Maybe what this person meant is, it is lame that your school awards extra credit for high grades. It implies that if you do really well at X, you won't have to do Y. I'm sure that is a good incentive, but perhaps not the best idea education wise.

    Been a couple days, and I haven't heard any more
    Christmas does not come early, it is on the 25th of December. Did you have any reason to believe they should have contacted you by now?

    I totally relate to your frustration, vis. having put a lot of work in, feeling qualified, and then being ask to grovel, but that is the nature of the economy for almost everybody -- it is an employer's market. The grovelling is generally a requirement.* Having good qualifications will probably not get that waived.

    I got a BA in English/Humanities in 1998, with a 3.5 GPA from one of the best schools in my country. One of the first jobs I applied for was at the public library, and when I didn't even get an interview, I said screw this and became a bike courier instead. Being a bike courier is a gruelling, low paid job with a high turnover, hence the market (at that time, pre high speed internet) needed urban bike couriers constantly. Working at a library is a cushy, relatively well paid job that many people would line up for. For all I know, they just put all the qualified resumes in a hat and pull out a fixed number at random for interviews. If all those people really are qualified, they might as well.

    Where do you think programming fits into that? It may be true that circa 2000 "anything with a pulse" got hired, but part of that was not just the high demand, but the low supply. When I was in university (in the nineties) the internet, movies with CGI, and 3D FPS games were brand new. People my age who were interested in a career in programming at that time were uncommon. I'd bet most CS departments have more than doubled in size since then.

    At this point, I don't really have to work, but I'd like to (and probably will have to, eventually), which is why I decided to devote myself full-time to programming about 5 years ago. Since then, the only paid work I've had has been subcontracted web-dev/admin from people that I've known personally. I've also done an (unpaid) internship with the FSF, which required some programming skills, for what that's worth, and various other volunteer things.

    I'm totally dreading the near future point where I am going to have to start trying to sell myself for a more serious programmer job. I do consider myself qualified, but assuming that's true, it does not mean anyone has to hire me when there are certainly many safer (and younger) bets available. My point is, if you are looking at the job market and thinking that it is not fair, that's because it is not fair. Like life. I think when you are young, just how unfair may not have sunk in yet and right now this is starting to dawn on you.

    Maybe if you approach it that way -- "I know I can do this, now I just have to find someone nice enough to let me" such that the job is not something you deserve but something you would be lucky to have, it will make more sense.

    Put another way -- if you've ever read Kafka, Kafka had the real world down. But Kafka's characters are unhappy not because the world is arbitrary, capricious and uncaring (as opposed to "fair and reasonable") but because they could not accept that the world is arbitrary, capricious and uncaring.

    You'll get a job eventually. But it might be a good idea to start thinking about what you are going to do in the meantime. Assuming and planning for a "worst case" (or at least, pretty negative) scenario at the same time as you pursue your dreams is much better for your mental health. It might also help you to empathize with people who are not as smart, lucky, or driven as you are.

    * to see this in a more positive light, replace "grovelling" with "humility".
    Last edited by MK27; 02-25-2012 at 10:17 AM.
    C programming resources:
    GNU C Function and Macro Index -- glibc reference manual
    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
    3 (different) GNU debugger tutorials: #1 -- #2 -- #3
    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

  9. #9
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    9,598
    Best of luck in your job search. At this point in your career, if your attitude shows you can fit into a team and are a team player then you will most likely land the job. There are plenty of companies out there right now looking for college grads.

    Remember that you will not be a fit for every company but that there are plenty of companies that you will fit into. Honestly some of the places that turn you down might be doing you a favor. Nothing is worse than attempting to fit into a company that you do not fit into. Some companies are casual, some are middle of the road, and some are pure business and have pretty strict dress code policies. Some have tons of process to follow for coding and some have little or no process. In the end it comes down to what works best. Right now from your perspective you think you can fit into any job out there because you have the skills. Skills are only a part of the larger picture and after you land your first job and get some experience skills become less of a topic. As you gain experience you will learn that people skills and leadership skills are the most important skills for any software engineer to have. You will be working alongside many many people with many many different backgrounds, opinons, etc. You definitely will not be working in a vaccum.
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 02-25-2012 at 04:53 PM.
    MK27 likes this.

  10. #10
    Cat
    Cat is offline
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    1,571
    Quote Originally Posted by wildcard_seven View Post
    Thanks for the feedback. I understand what you guys are saying about attitude. Believe me, I'm highly aware that the above was a pure ego meltdown. I guess I do need to learn to take things in stride better. Sometimes I do feel entitled. Not because I'm particularly awesome, but rather because the hours put in, frustration endured, etc feels like it ought to be worth something. In reality, it may not be, and I guess it's not going to get me anywhere flatly insisting that it is. I'll try to take things less personal from here on out. Just keep plugging away and try to keep my head up.
    Also, keep in mind that you may well not hear back for a while. At my company, if we're interested in you, you'll probably hear back in about two weeks - or one, if we really want you.

    Part of that, too, is that we get a lot of resumes and we're looking both at your merits alone as well as your merits in comparison with other applicants. So we collect try to collect a pool of applicants and then figure who in that pool gets an offer, and for what positions, then we repeat the process. Sometimes people who are obviously at the top of the pool get called sooner, but even they need to wait for a while.
    You ever try a pink golf ball, Wally? Why, the wind shear on a pink ball alone can take the head clean off a 90 pound midget at 300 yards.

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Bloomington, Indiana, United States
    Posts
    40
    Something an HR guy told me at a local company when I was applying for a job and got turned down.

    "Your degree and GPA means nothing. To me all that says about the applicant is exactly two things. One you met that institutions requirements for the degree and two that you understood the material. Neither of which says anything about your ability to do the job. You want this job or any other job then you absolutely have to have numerous examples of your work to show your abilities."

    One thing he told me after he said I wasn't up to par for the position was that in this day of connectivity anything I didn't know could be found and learned online so there is no reason why I can't learn and re-apply in a few months to try again.

  12. #12
    Cat
    Cat is offline
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    1,571
    Quote Originally Posted by BHXSpecter View Post
    Something an HR guy told me at a local company when I was applying for a job and got turned down.

    "Your degree and GPA means nothing. To me all that says about the applicant is exactly two things. One you met that institutions requirements for the degree and two that you understood the material. Neither of which says anything about your ability to do the job. You want this job or any other job then you absolutely have to have numerous examples of your work to show your abilities."

    One thing he told me after he said I wasn't up to par for the position was that in this day of connectivity anything I didn't know could be found and learned online so there is no reason why I can't learn and re-apply in a few months to try again.
    That's kind of interesting - it's the dead opposite of my company's hiring approach. We actually do emphasize GPA pretty heavily. We do a pretty intense three to six months of training for all of our new hires, and it's not that dissimilar to college.

    We also emphasize much less on the knowledge you come in with versus the talents you bring. Some factors about a person are easily changed, others are much harder. Knowledge tends to be one of the easier pieces to change. On the other end of the spectrum, things like judgment are far more difficult to change.
    You ever try a pink golf ball, Wally? Why, the wind shear on a pink ball alone can take the head clean off a 90 pound midget at 300 yards.

  13. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Bloomington, Indiana, United States
    Posts
    40
    That's kind of interesting - it's the dead opposite of my company's hiring approach. We actually do emphasize GPA pretty heavily. We do a pretty intense three to six months of training for all of our new hires, and it's not that dissimilar to college.

    We also emphasize much less on the knowledge you come in with versus the talents you bring. Some factors about a person are easily changed, others are much harder. Knowledge tends to be one of the easier pieces to change. On the other end of the spectrum, things like judgment are far more difficult to change.
    I use to think GPA meant a lot too, til I teamed up with a friend who had a 4.0 GPA and didn't know jack about programming after getting his degree. Last I talked to him he was working at Walmart. If stressing GPA is working for your company then good, but I feel that the HR guy was being fair, and honest. A lot of guys I talk to on other forums and IRC also seem to agree that degree and GPA says nothing about a person's abilities and is in fact just showing you met the college requirements for the degree and did good in the assignments they gave you in the courses.

  14. #14
    Cat
    Cat is offline
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    1,571
    Quote Originally Posted by BHXSpecter View Post
    I use to think GPA meant a lot too, til I teamed up with a friend who had a 4.0 GPA and didn't know jack about programming after getting his degree. Last I talked to him he was working at Walmart. If stressing GPA is working for your company then good, but I feel that the HR guy was being fair, and honest. A lot of guys I talk to on other forums and IRC also seem to agree that degree and GPA says nothing about a person's abilities and is in fact just showing you met the college requirements for the degree and did good in the assignments they gave you in the courses.
    It's hardly the only factor we look at, but it's certainly a factor. We don't use it to estimate what you know, but how quickly you're capable of learning new material.

    My company spends around 70-100 million dollars a year training our new staff, once you add everything up. There's a significant investment into each individual in terms of time and money that we want to recoup, and if we don't think you're capable of learning the material it's not worth the risk.
    You ever try a pink golf ball, Wally? Why, the wind shear on a pink ball alone can take the head clean off a 90 pound midget at 300 yards.

  15. #15
    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    22,304
    Quote Originally Posted by BHXSpecter
    A lot of guys I talk to on other forums and IRC also seem to agree that degree and GPA says nothing about a person's abilities and is in fact just showing you met the college requirements for the degree and did good in the assignments they gave you in the courses.
    In Joel Spolsky's Advice for Computer Science College Students, he recommends that students "don't blow off non-CS classes just because they're boring" "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". Also:
    Quote Originally Posted by Joel Spolsky
    And then I'm going to look for consistently high grades, not just high grades in computer science.

    Why should I, as an employer looking for software developers, care about what grade you got in European History? After all, history is boring. Oh, so, you're saying I should hire you because you don't work very hard when the work is boring? Well, there's boring stuff in programming, too. Every job has its boring moments. And I don't want to hire people that only want to do the fun stuff.
    This makes sense to me: how well you do in school cannot be used to predict how well you do at work, but it can give a hint on your attitude and ability to learn, and this can have an effect on how well you do at work.
    C + C++ Compiler: MinGW port of GCC
    Version Control System: Bazaar

    Look up a C++ Reference and learn How To Ask Questions The Smart Way

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Popular pages Recent additions subscribe to a feed

Similar Threads

  1. Recently Extinct Species Database
    By Branden Holmes in forum General Discussions
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 01-24-2012, 10:44 AM
  2. help can't find a way to make this work
    By Pe6r0 in forum C Programming
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 12-04-2006, 06:08 PM
  3. The countdown has begun (StarWars)
    By Magos in forum A Brief History of Cprogramming.com
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 05-12-2005, 10:08 AM
  4. Anyone recently bought "OpengGL Game Programming" by the guys at nehe?
    By incognito in forum A Brief History of Cprogramming.com
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 03-08-2003, 10:49 AM
  5. my function doesn't work! it should work
    By Unregistered in forum C Programming
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 05-02-2002, 03:53 PM

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21