Computer Science Student In Need Of Job Advice

This is a discussion on Computer Science Student In Need Of Job Advice within the Tech Board forums, part of the Community Boards category; Hello all! I am looking for some advice from either recent graduates or experts in Computer Science. I recently got ...

  1. #1
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    Computer Science Student In Need Of Job Advice

    Hello all! I am looking for some advice from either recent graduates or experts in Computer Science.

    I recently got a job opportunity that said they were looking for a "Computer Geek" and "A student capable of programming"

    Sounded like something I could do. So I called. The turns out the guy needs someone to modify a program another programmer made for him in a mystery language (He had no idea what it was programmed in). He kinda made it sound like it was an open source program that he wanted to tweek enough to make his own. Whatever that means.

    It sounded like the people running the place weren't very well versed in computers. So I'd probably be alone in this task.

    Basically my question is is this a task a student should be capable of without any prior programming experience (other than 3 years of being Computer Science major). I know C, C#, C++ and a little bit of JAVA, and I am confident I can learn more languages should I need to. But I've never modified another person's code before. And the idea of doing it without any help to a program that sounds like it was personally written for this business (so no community to help either) sounds a bit intimidating.

    Should this be a task a student should be expected to be capable of tackling? Or would you expect more experience to be needed.

    I'm just a bit nervous about starting a job I'm not sure I can finish.

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    Personally, I would be very suspicious of this situation...

    It sounds like it could be a copyright invasion and you would be the perfect fall guy...

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    Quote Originally Posted by CommonTater View Post
    Personally, I would be very suspicious of this situation...

    It sounds like it could be a copyright invasion and you would be the perfect fall guy...
    Yeah the thought had occurred to me...he kinda made it seem like he wanted to get around some licensing issues over the phone without actually saying those words. I didn't want to jump to conclusion though. You are right that I would be the perfect fall guy though. I don't know what is and isn't acceptable as far as that goes. This whole thing makes be a bit nervous...but I could use some actual experience and not a lot of programming jobs hiring right now...

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    I hear ya... But at the same time, a bad first job could kill your career before you even get started.

    In terms of experience, nothing beats a good "proof of ability" piece... That is, some reasonably impressive bit of programming legerdemain that you can show off from a pen drive or have on a website... "See I did this!"... the right POA is a bigger door opener than some diplomas. So, one way to get some solid experience is working on your POA piece...

    Just before my retirement, I had a programmer in for an interview and he pulls out a CD (yes, I'm dating myself) with a complete network management package on it... the next one handed me 6 diplomas... wanna guess which one we hired?

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    that's a really good advice, tater. I just got into programming lately, and absolutely love it. Before, I was just doing numerical stuff with matlab. It got monotonous after awhile.
    "All that we see or seem
    Is but a dream within a dream." - Poe

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    Quote Originally Posted by nimitzhunter View Post
    that's a really good advice, tater. I just got into programming lately, and absolutely love it. Before, I was just doing numerical stuff with matlab. It got monotonous after awhile.
    By way of analogy... who's more likely to get the job... the mechanic who shows up on with just his certificates or the one who drives up to the service bay in his own custom hot-rod?

    So, what you need now is a decent project in the software area of your choice...
    Last edited by CommonTater; 02-12-2011 at 08:17 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CommonTater View Post
    I hear ya... But at the same time, a bad first job could kill your career before you even get started.

    In terms of experience, nothing beats a good "proof of ability" piece... That is, some reasonably impressive bit of programming legerdemain that you can show off from a pen drive or have on a website... "See I did this!"... the right POA is a bigger door opener than some diplomas. So, one way to get some solid experience is working on your POA piece...

    Just before my retirement, I had a programmer in for an interview and he pulls out a CD (yes, I'm dating myself) with a complete network management package on it... the next one handed me 6 diplomas... wanna guess which one we hired?
    That's pretty good advice. And sounds like a lot of fun to produce. Is there something in particular that would be a good project to attempt? I've been doing Project Euler in my spare time. I might include that in a POA/Portfolio... but that might not be a good practical ability. More of a fun puzzle hobby. I'm sure I'm not the first to want to build a portfolio of ability proving exercises. is there a list of ideas somewhere?

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    Things like Project Euler are impressive as all git... to another programmer. Unfortunately they won't mean much to some HR dude who keeps bothering the IT guys to fix panfully simple problems.

    Shoot for something practical... something people will actually use... It should be "commercial quality" in terms of appearance, etc. The more like a "real program" the better.

    Some ideas... Hmmm... DVD verifier, file manager, playlist editor, network displays (of all kinds), file finder, mini web browser....

    Maybe some of the more experienced types here about would like to add to the list...

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