View Full Version : Your first programming job

02-18-2002, 02:01 AM
Basically, my parents aren't going to let me do nothing this summer (asdfasdfasdf :( ), and are forcing me to get a job. I am hoping that I'll get to do something actually useful (IE, programming internship), rather than some crap work at macdonald's or similiar crap job that pays nothing (actually, I really don't care if I don't make any money with the internship), requires no skill or intelligence, and is extremely boring.

How capable of a programmer were you when you got your first programming job/internship? What was the largest program you had written before then? Had you ever worked as a team before? How much education did you have? How long had you been programming before you got the job?

02-18-2002, 02:32 AM
Yes i hav to do work experience too, and i want to know how hard it is to get your first programming job, since you hav no previous experience. And also, what tasks will u be given?

02-18-2002, 03:51 AM
As a first job they gave me a kind of test (more endurace than programming).

I had written some of the stuff you see asked for here, contact list, Gregoian calendars, basic programs. Mostly single file console apps. Knew nothing, thought I knew everything.

The test was to convert from DOS to WIN32 API UI, a Employee timesheet / Project management program. Inherited code that was 1Mb zipped (about 25,000 lines). No comments, no function descriptions and me with no hope.

Record was leaving after 3.5 hrs but I refused to quit so they gave me a job even after I got nowhere fast. (I easily could rewrite it in a week now)

Get out/in there, be enthusiastic, polite, presentable and determined. That means more in a begining programmer than coding knowledge, it seems to me.

Be prepared for lots of rejection, start now by finding the most attractive, attached person you can and repeatedly asking them out. (if you get lucky even better)

02-18-2002, 05:24 AM
>programming internship

Well, I would suggest taking some kind of project work. This doesn't pay anything, but no one expects you to be really good. You can ask a lot of questions and learn a lot of things... how a corporation works, how to work in a team, how to do your own project. Programming at home is very different from programming at work.
If you get paid money, people will expect something in return.
And on your first project, you have enough to do with getting along and learning how the world works. That isn't neccessarily bad, if you accept it as it is.

My first project was after 3 semesters of schooling. Our school had a 2 month project as part of the diploma, so it was normal.
It was a 2 man team and a little blownup fileIO program with a User interface in VB and a C-DLL for processing. It had a small scripting language. We had to learn it all on the fly, writing DLLs, scripting languages etc.

Expect to be thrown into a project that is everyday work for those who give it to you, but is way over your head at the time you first see it.

If you are looking for a good paid job, look into something else. If you want a good working experience that will teach you more than a full year of home programming or school ever could... go for it !

( Largest program written when I started the project were unfinished games at home and programming assignments. I had never worked in a team before. )

02-18-2002, 05:58 AM
Don't get too involved in finding the perfect programming job until you finish your education. The money is important because you can invest it in paying for school, and, paying for computer(s) and software. There are so many areas of knowledge that a CS student needs to concentrate on, and although apprenticing for a computer firm is better than flipping hamburgers, the best solution might be to find work where you can go there an for the most part not work too hard and just study your ass off. Don't get psyched out. You will find that your employers will look to you for answers more than you think. I personally know that you are a good programmer. As a side note, during your course selections, you should take a few business courses, for example, accounting.

02-18-2002, 10:25 AM
While your still in school, just find anything relating to programming you can. I started an Internship at a local software development company back in October. I knew next to nothing about Java (although I thought I did) when I first started, just keep studying and asking questions everyday for the past 5 months. Now I'm an intermediate Java developer. I'm pretty good at most all of the common stuff in Java, it's the J2EE ideals that get me confused.

Being an Intern, they won't expect much from you. You'll most likely sit in with the developers and watch. I doubt they will give you any actually code to work on. You'll just sit with them and learn as you watch. Sounds stupid, but it's very educational. Good luck!

02-18-2002, 10:54 AM
in the book "The Macintosh Way" one of the founders of Macintosh suggests get in any way you can, sweep floors, empty trash cans if you are motivated and the least bit intelligent you will be recognized(sp).

my first "real" program was PLC stuff - a machnine crashed and i had to fix it. i knew nothing about computer controls. i spent 2 days reading a manual on ladder logic and basically faked my way through.


02-18-2002, 06:33 PM
I got a programming internship last summer at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. I largely was able to do it because of personal contacts, though.

Anyway, the background is: in high school, I did a lot of programming for science fair, which (during my senior year) involved the creation of a galaxy collision simulator. I had a few programming-related questions during the course of the project, and since my father works at the N.R.A.O. he managed to connect me with one of the high-level professional programmers there so I could ask him questions.

The science fair project was a big success and I got quite a few awards from it. So the next spring (freshman year), when I was looking for summer internships, the N.R.A.O. programmer mentioned to my father that he'd probably be able to get me a position doing C++ programming for the astronomy software package they're producing. And, indeed he was able to... so I got a full-time programming job for the summer (and I'll be heading back again this summer).

This obviously is a rather unique situation; with the family connections and so on. But I think that it makes it clear that it's an enormous advantage to be able to have direct contact and prior experience with your potential employer so that you're not just another face on paper, no matter how well-qualified.

02-18-2002, 07:50 PM
largely was able to do it because of personal contacts, though.

i second that...