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...
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.