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RoD
01-15-2003, 10:40 AM
Very, very interesting article. Worth the read, and i would love to hear opinions on the comment that:

"Three people added that they would consider C++ experience as a negative, given the common practice of using C++ as a non-OO language. "

Because i disagree, yes many don't use oop, hell i don't even really get that yet, but i still feel c++ is highly superior to a few of the languages they hire for.

http://educators.mainfunction.com/Resources/Display.asp?page=employerswant

Shiro
01-15-2003, 12:00 PM
From the article:



Finally, I intend to tell students that different firms have radically different corporate cultures and needs, and that it is good to interview with several firms, if possible, before selecting a first job.


This is a good tip. A lot of companies state in their job-advertisings for starter-functions that a candidate requires to have a few years of working experience and requires knowledge and experience with a lot of languages and technology. In fact it often turns out that even when you have no working experience, because you just left university, and know a few of the most used languages, they accept that.

Those three people who consider C++ experience as a negative do probably have bad experiences with it. Probably because they have met C programmers who started C++, a lot of C programmers keep using their C-style of programming.

I see this at a company with which we are working together. They have a lot of C programmers who changed to C++. They still use C standard library functions and use the class mechanism in a poor way. This is mainly because it seems to be very hard to change your way of thinking when you have programmed for years with a certain paradigma.

If C++ is superior to the other languages is a different question, but a fact is that C++, because of its hybrid character, has the possibility to use it in a non-OO way. Languages like Java or Smalltalk don't offer that possibility and force a programmer to use OO only.

Davros
01-15-2003, 12:00 PM
Found this interesting also.

"Coding skills were, at best, an incidental concern for most of those interviewed: e.g., "The least important skill [for those who join my firm] is knowing how to produce a piece of code."

Sounds like what many companies actually want are maketing people who can program.


Also:

"One observed that this emphasis on formal methods is far more common in Europe than America."

I think this is true, although none of the companies I've worked for actually implement any formal methods. They just say that they do, so it gives them 'a thin vaneer' of quality. Most of the firms I have worked for followed the JFDI (just friggin* do it) principal.

* subsitute a more appropriate word here

RoD
01-15-2003, 03:29 PM
Yea thats why i believe in being generalized more so then specialized, i mean its ok to be a c++ god, but u gotta know more then that.

OneStiffRod
01-15-2003, 04:12 PM
I feel that this Article is way outta date, 1998 was like a different era.

Today, I know most ppl from my college who have gotten their BSCS are still working in intern positions if at all, others are system admins or the like. Companies are not hiring the ppl they are training as interns - I think coding skills are being much more desired today than when the article was written. The positions that they are filling are all Senior positions, requiring extensive experience - I've heard of a backlash against College graduates who are not being able to perform up to the requirements, such as a lack of skills or experience.

I'll be graduating soon, so I gotta get some PROJECTS under my belt since that is the only thing that seems to count - today it seems that the BS degree aint worth S***.

dP munky
01-15-2003, 04:54 PM
i love how employers are like yeah were looking for someone w/5-8 years of experience, so the people comming out of school get left out to dry because they dont have and "real world" experience. how is someone w/no experience supposed to get experience just to get a job....i dont want to have to come out of school and do volunteer bs stuff until someone thinks highly enough of me. does anyone else see what im saying?

:( GRRRRRRR

MrWizard
01-15-2003, 05:06 PM
Originally posted by dP munky
i love how employers are like yeah were looking for someone w/5-8 years of experience, so the people comming out of school get left out to dry because they dont have and "real world" experience. how is someone w/no experience supposed to get experience just to get a job....i dont want to have to come out of school and do volunteer bs stuff until someone thinks highly enough of me. does anyone else see what im saying?

:( GRRRRRRR

One word, internship. Look around and you can find one that is paid. You can do this through YOUR school and get course credit for it. Talk to administration. Also if they like what you are doing for them they will probably just hire you after you graduate.

minesweeper
01-15-2003, 05:12 PM
To be honest I never really look too much into 'candidate requirements'. I always think of it as selling a motor. When you advertise it, you whack on an extra few hundred quid cos you know that the other guy will try and knock some money off regardless of the stated price. I think companies do the same, they say 'candidate must be able to program Win32 to the standard of Charles Petzold' but they know they will end up with a list of guys fresh out of uni.

Another thing, I am in my final year of uni now and last year I went on a work placement with a consultancy. There were 2 jobs and 6 of us going, me and my housemate Pete were 2 of them. The HR muppet in the interview starts banging on with the usual 'we are a top league organisation who only accept best in class....yadda yadda'. Anyway, me and Pete are average 2:1 category students, work hard and play hard and all that. 2 of the other guys were from our course and are like 1st class - work your butt off all night - kind of students. Me and Pete got the jobs, so all Mr Human Resources' waffle was nothing but rubbish.

OneStiffRod
01-15-2003, 05:25 PM
I agree that the most important thing, is to get your foot in the door - after that the requirements seem to be lax.

But it seems that only the small companies are offering positions to interns or college graduates, so I guess my strategy will be to find someplace and GROW with it.

-KEN-
01-15-2003, 05:53 PM
>> Probably because they have met C programmers who started C++, a lot of C programmers keep using their C-style of programming.
I see this at a company with which we are working together. They have a lot of C programmers who changed to C++. They still use C standard library functions and use the class mechanism in a poor way. This is mainly because it seems to be very hard to change your way of thinking when you have programmed for years with a certain paradigma.<<

Guilty as charged :(

It's annoying to think of the state of the CS/IT industry. There are so many businesses and firms and whatnot, all wanting to fill positions, and all seemingly expecting unrealistic requirements. I'm worried because I love to program, and I think I'd like to make a job out of it, but I don't want to be stuck without a place to start. Sure, there are tons of openings - but to someone out of college, 99% are just out of reach.

RoD
01-16-2003, 05:14 AM
I guess i should be glad that i never programmed in c huh?

itld
01-16-2003, 07:58 PM
howdy,
as an employer dealing with mostly engineering types and tradesmen

"real" experience—experience beyond what college ordinarily provides

this is right on.
i find engineering student straight out of school are way way to idealistic, it takes about a year to get them to understand the difference between uni concepts and real world application.

M.R.

face_master
01-16-2003, 08:02 PM
Itld, wouldn't that apply to most jobs?

itld
01-16-2003, 08:07 PM
howdy,
well imo people coming out of "Trade Schools" like welders, machinists, pipefitters and the like seem to be a bit better prepared to function in thier respective fields than those folks coming out of universities.
i imagine that is due in part to the absolute nature of trades vs the more free thinking world of engineering.

M.R.

Terrance11
01-17-2003, 09:47 AM
Hello, I'd like to say that I'm taking a corporate c++ training course designed to help people make it out in the real world as programmers, plus I have two+ years experience in the business industry, so I have a good idea about what employers want.

"Coding skills were, at best, an incidental concern for most of those interviewed: e.g., "The least important skill [for those who join my firm] is knowing how to produce a piece of code."

You're right, they want marketers who can program in other words.

Companies look for the most confident, most secure people at any position, whether it's as a programmer, or as a CEO.

Companies are willing to teach intelligent individuals by paying for them to take training courses, or having them supervised by senior level programmers.

Did you know that technical interviews at Microsoft (for programming positions) don't consist of any technical questions at all? Instead, they ask you solve small little puzzles, that have nothing to do with programming.

They do this, because they want to know how well you think on the run, which is one of the most important aspects of being a successful programmer.

Also this article claims that most cs students coming out of college are too confident in their skills.

This is true again. My teacher has stressed time and time again that most cs students coming out of college simply don't have the experience to be good coders. A lot of cs students know how to write small algorithms that they were taught. But when it comes to full scale production in Windows programming (which is the most desired skill set in the programming industry), a lot of students have very minimal skills in that area, forcing them to learn on the job.

Also, one of the most important aspects of being a successful programmer in a business enviroment is based on how well you can code within a team.

All large projects you write in the real world will be within a team enviroment. If you're not good in working within a team structure, or you're too anti-social, you won't make it.

The real world is far different from college.

RoD
01-17-2003, 03:57 PM
thnx Terrance! We use programming teams in CS2, its a really good practice i think, getting used to dealing with it.

nvoigt
01-18-2003, 03:46 AM
I will add some things we use as a first filter in applications or job interviews.

Strong Communication skills:

I need to tell you what problem to solve. If I sense that there might be mistakes in this communication, because of lacking skills in this area, it does not matter how good you are at your task. If I cannot tell you what to do, you are out. Typos in a written application are a big no-no. One might be a slip, several are either a problem because of lazyness or lacking skills.
In Germany we get a lot of eastern european applicants. I am sad to let them go, because they are really good coders, but I simply cannot trust their ability to grasp my explanation of their next project. If I can't be sure I'm understood, I cannot work with someone.

Personal Interest

Having learned programming is fine. A degree is fine and probably is needed to get an interview. But then, I will not take anyone who has no personal interest in programming. I have met several people, who did not own a computer and who thought of programming as their 9-5 job. In my oppinion, it's not. If you drop your keyboard at the sound of a whistle and go home, it's not what we need. I have not yet met someone with the skills we want and no interest in them, and I have not yet met someone with interest and no skills. Even if an interested person lacks the skills, it's just a matter of time until this person picks them up. If for example someone learned Java at home for fun while learning C++ at college ( or the other way round ) I feel confident s/he will learn C# very fast. On the other hand, if someone had an A in C++ in college and did nothing at home, this probably means he can do what he was taught perfectly. But as we don't have time to give him/her a three year college-like education in C#, it's not what we need. A broad education and interest in the programming field will grant you better chances than any A you can get from college or university.

Self respect, personality, knowing your limits

This goes for all interviews, regardless of job I guess. An interview is always a bit frightening, new people, new environment, questions ahead. Nevertheless, be confident. You know your skills. Don't lie, but don't be shy either. If you don't have a skill asked for, don't be defensive. If you think you can learn it, tell them. If questions pop up that you can't answer, tell them where you would look for an answer. If you show talent for finding answers, it's as good or even better than already knowing them. Looking for answers is an essential part of the job and demonstrating skill in looking for solutions is just what an interviewer wants.

If all these points apply, you have a very good chance to get the job out of 100 other people. I guess point 2 is already valid if you are reading this post ;)

bluefear
01-18-2003, 07:59 AM
I'm working as a programmer/analyst for a year before I return to uni to finish my degree, and I've found the first thing I've had to do is forget most of the theory about software engineering I learnt at uni, cos in the real world it don't happen that way!

At uni, I've seen people who are useless at programming get very good grades cos they spent ages on documentation and commenting code....a programmer who tryed to spend a lot of time on design and quality stuff lasted less than 6 months, the fact is that most the time, when there is a rush to get a product released, all that stuff becomes less important than a program that works, may be right or wrong, but that's how it works with the company I work for.

And the OO thing is great in theory, but takes a lot of time to design, we use Delphi which is based on Object Pascal, but the products we write only use OO techniques where it's easy to implement!

Shiro
01-18-2003, 08:29 AM
I think this depends very much on the company you are working for. Design and quality take time, but I see a lot of companies taking that time into their budgets. Especially since a lot of companies have learnt that most of the development time is in testing. When the quality of the design and code are higher, it has shown that testing time is less. Also testing time for up-following projects making use of the software is less.

OO is not only great in theory, it has proven to be also great in practice. Also this depends on the company where you are working for. If you have recently decided to turn from non-object oriented to object oriented development, it takes double time. Because first you have to learn it and gain experience with it and second you have to adapt current code and designs to make it applicable in object oriented development.

It is correct when the deadline comes closer, things like carefull design and quality things seem to become less important. But that is a matter of management.

RoD
01-18-2003, 09:28 AM
thnx for the awsome post, nvoigt, i actually learned some things from it : )

KingoftheWorld
01-18-2003, 09:37 AM
Originally posted by Terrance11
Hello, I'd like to say that I'm taking a corporate c++ training course designed to help people make it out in the real world as programmers, plus I have two+ years experience in the business industry, so I have a good idea about what employers want.

"Coding skills were, at best, an incidental concern for most of those interviewed: e.g., "The least important skill [for those who join my firm] is knowing how to produce a piece of code."

You're right, they want marketers who can program in other words.

Companies look for the most confident, most secure people at any position, whether it's as a programmer, or as a CEO.

Companies are willing to teach intelligent individuals by paying for them to take training courses, or having them supervised by senior level programmers.

Did you know that technical interviews at Microsoft (for programming positions) don't consist of any technical questions at all? Instead, they ask you solve small little puzzles, that have nothing to do with programming.

They do this, because they want to know how well you think on the run, which is one of the most important aspects of being a successful programmer.

Also this article claims that most cs students coming out of college are too confident in their skills.

This is true again. My teacher has stressed time and time again that most cs students coming out of college simply don't have the experience to be good coders. A lot of cs students know how to write small algorithms that they were taught. But when it comes to full scale production in Windows programming (which is the most desired skill set in the programming industry), a lot of students have very minimal skills in that area, forcing them to learn on the job.

Also, one of the most important aspects of being a successful programmer in a business enviroment is based on how well you can code within a team.

All large projects you write in the real world will be within a team enviroment. If you're not good in working within a team structure, or you're too anti-social, you won't make it.

The real world is far different from college.
I definitely argree with your comments. That's true!

KingoftheWorld