how to get programming job without experience? :(

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by HardTech, Dec 5, 2006.

  1. HardTech

    HardTech hungry

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    I love to program. I love to spend hours on a problem, racking my brain while trying to figure it out, and I love the feeling I get when I solve the problem. I had an internship the summer of 2005 programming in Java/J2EE with XML at a large insurance company. I did well enough to get a full-time job after I graduate.

    I was very excited about starting my job, but it turns out, they end up placing me as more of a financial analyst in the Vendor Management Office. The reason they placed me there was because the VP of Development took charge of the VMO, and so the VMO is staffed with IS majors. I've done some programming at work, but they were all small, personal projects and simply because I wanted to learn a new technology (i.e. C#). I've been in this role for 6 months now.

    I'm teaching myself PHP along with some web design best practices.

    I have a Masters in Information Systems and had to take a few graduate-level programming classes. I kicked ass in all of them.

    I want to move to San Jose-area and get a job as a software developer, but I'm finding that it's pretty hard. Everybody wants to hire a programmer with 10+ years of experience, and all the entry level positions look for Masters of CS-level programming concepts and all these obscure programming languages and frameworks and platforms.

    I've been looking hard, but nobody wants to hire me :(

    Any ideas on how to make myself more competitive/marketable?
     
  2. samm

    samm Next in Line

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    participate in an open source project to broaden your skills in a particular programming language.
     
  3. HardTech

    HardTech hungry

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    any information on how to join one?
     
  4. Coottie

    Coottie BOOMER......SOONER OT Supporter

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    Have you thought about certifications??

    If I were in your shoes, I'd actually look for any programming position...even if you have to take a cut in pay. Then at least you start to gather the xp that so many companies want.
     
  5. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Find the guy in charge of the company's IT department and offer your services. It's always easier to change jobs inside a company than between companies.
     
  6. HardTech

    HardTech hungry

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    yeah, but I have other reasons to want to move to california
     
  7. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Yeah, it's pretty appealing to pay through the nose AND the ass at the same time for everything and to not be able to get ahead despite your huge paycheck because everything costs so much...

    The weather's nice out on the Wrong Coast, but the people are nuts. Save yourself the pain.
     
  8. HardTech

    HardTech hungry

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    Again, there are reasons for wanting to move to California that I'm not really willing to talk about here.

    It's just that finding an entry-level software development position is hard :(
     
  9. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Just busting your balls a little bit.

    If you want to start from scratch with a new company and no experience, you're pretty much going to have to take whatever job they're willing to give you, and then do extra work on your own time for the people in that company who can give you the job you want to have.
     
  10. HardTech

    HardTech hungry

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    I have a few years of Java experience, and I'm actively learning things on my own. Those few years are from school work (which arguably requires more knowledge than enterprise software development) and from an internship. My experience might not count as "real" experience at some companies, though

    And like you mentioned before, it wouldn't really be feasible for me to move to a new company while taking a major pay cut, losing a lot of responsibility, and barely being able to afford the rent while just POSSIBLY being able to work on programming projects if somebody will let me.

    Due to the differences in the cost of living, just accepting a position of equal pay will be a huge difference in standard of living for me. An entry-level Java position in Chicago will probably get around $60,000, but the same position will be lucky to get $45,000 in San Francisco. Factor in the cost of living and it's probably about a 50% reduction in pay.

    :wtc:
     
  11. HardTech

    HardTech hungry

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    No I have not. I can't believe I looked over something so obvious. Would somebody hire me with a certification and no experience, though?

    Getting certifications will certainly help me learn more about programming in general. Thanks.
     
  12. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    How do you figure that school work requires more knowledge than enterprise software development does? If nothing else, school work takes place in a controlled environment with customers who actually know what they want -- which never happens in the real world. Whatever...just make sure as hell you don't insinuate that in any interviews.

    The pay issue, moving from anywhere to California, is going to be a pain in the ass no matter what job you get. The upside, though, is that software-development is so underappreciated that any IT manager will be glad for your help so long as you're working for their company already and so long as you help them meet their deadlines, so getting experience on the low-down woudn't really be an issue. Non-technical types seem to think software gets developed by magical fairies or something.
     
  13. HardTech

    HardTech hungry

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    Because instead of focusing on one very minor part of a very large system, students typically have to program a much smaller system from start to finish. During my 3 month internship, I programmed using Java and XML. At the end of the internship, I couldn't program it again without using reference materials. In class, I'd use the same technologies to develop an entire program, and I could easily reprogram that small sample if I needed to.

    I programmed two web-based applications in graduate school that took quite a bit of thinking and coding to complete, and I've learned in 3 months what would probably take me a good 1.5 years in the corporate world to learn, assuming I was working on similar projects. But then again, I'd learn more stuff in that 1.5 years than I would in the 3 months in school.

    Having an IS background, I'm pretty confident in the ability to "talk to the customer" and get the big-picture of things and how each role plays a part in the IT department. I was always one of the more technical students in my classes, and looked forward to the big programming assignments.
     
  14. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    You may have to remember more when you develop an application by yourself, but you have to have a wider range of skills to work on a large system -- namely, discipline, communication, and teamwork, as well as coding.

    Be careful with this one. You may be able to tell the customer very accurately what it is they need you to do for them, but can you tell which details they don't need to be bothered with, and can you convince them to trust your judgement instead of having to validate everything you say needs to be done? Moreover, do you know how to ask questions that lead the customer in the direction of thinking about (and deciding) what their shiny new system needs to be able to do? These skills are far more important than the ability to speak technically.
     
  15. Coottie

    Coottie BOOMER......SOONER OT Supporter

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    I'm not sure that getting certified is a guarantee of a job...similar to a degree in that regard. However, IMO it can lend credibility to your programming skills which certainly can't hurt.
     
  16. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    As a self-taught engineer... I never figured out how to get a good programming job. I had some middling QA automation jobs, but never really found anything very good engineering software systems themselves.

    So I started my own company. Now I get to code in between being CEO and salesman. Got a good idea? Maybe run with it.
     
  17. Tk

    Tk Well-Known Member

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    and whats your average income? how long have you been into this venture?? what kind of products do you produce??

    im looking at doing the same thing through my twenties. ive got the experience, as well as the ambition, plus plenty of ideas... and thats all it takes. ...plus a bit of time.................
     
  18. Coottie

    Coottie BOOMER......SOONER OT Supporter

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    that's all it takes?? don't think so.

    Add hard work, luck and a blessing from the gods. :)

    The real trick is finding an idea that has a market. Many ppl have ideas but not many of them will sell. Unfortunately many ppl also fall in love with their ideas and that blinds them to the reality of the business world....profits matter.
     
  19. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    It also takes dogged persistence and a good business loan from a lenient bank.
     
  20. HardTech

    HardTech hungry

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    :werd:
     
  21. HY

    HY New Member

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    HY, just look at their roadmap and see if there is any part of it you want to contribute to. get up to date with cvs or what ever their using and let them know you are working on it. if they dont have a road map send them an email. if you see something that needs to be done or something that needs to be fixed code it and send them a patch and almost always they will add it, unless it directly blocks the direction they are heading.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2006
  22. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    I make as little as I can get by on. But I have controlling interest in a promising startup.
     

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