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Where can you get a job programming?

Posted on 2000-02-26
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Sorry this question is off topic, yet this is still a problem.

I have come out of technical school, but it seems there are no jobs for entry-level with no or little experience. Any suggestions...
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Question by:sajmicro
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bhamilto earned 600 total points
ID: 2561595
sajmicro

This isn't a joke.  I've seen it work for some people.

You are caught in the classic "Catch 22" position.  90+ percent of employers want 1-2 years experience but how do you get experience without a job?

One way is to work for free or at a low salary initially.  Ideally you should only do this if the employer agrees to take you at full salary after a period (6 months is probably reasonable) subject to a satisfactory review of your work.  

This can be an attractive deal to startup companies who are on a tight budget.  If you are good at what you do and can make yourself "indispensible" its almost guarateed to work.  

Obviously this is subject to abuse by the employer, but with this approach you get to choose the employer and have a bit of bargaining power over the specific job (specially if you do it for free).  You can also continue to look for full time work during the trial period.  It beats sitting around watching TV and the salary is as good or better!

Besides, if things don't work out you will have 6 months experience to put on your resume.

If you find you do this for 2 or 3 different employers and still haven't got a job you should probably ask yourself if you are in the right career.

Good luck - Bob Hamilton
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by:johnny6
ID: 2561614
Catch 22...we can' hire you without experience but we can't give you the experience.
One of the advantages of programming is that you can practice as much as you want at home with your PC. You can get as much experience as you want. Many people out there are more interested in what you know, rather than where you've been working.
If you want to grow in the software development industry, my advice would be train yourself at home or take courses...write, write, write...look for volunteer places that are looking for programs....write stuff, even if it exists, just for the learning.
Drop the tutorials...you more or less just copy....get a project and get going and have another in mind before you finish the first. In short, never stop learning new programming technologies.  After you have completed a complete project by yourself, you will have something tangible that you can show off to a prospective employer who can then have a better idea how to assess your true programming skills.  Hope these ideas help.

John

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by:bhamilto
ID: 2561623
sajmicro

This isn't a joke.  I've seen it work for some people.

You are caught in the classic "Catch 22" position.  90+ percent of employers want 1-2 years experience but how do you get experience without a job?

One way is to work for free or at a low salary initially.  Ideally you should only do this if the employer agrees to take you at full salary after a period (6 months is probably reasonable) subject to a satisfactory review of your work.  

This can be an attractive deal to startup companies who are on a tight budget.  If you are good at what you do and can make yourself "indispensible" its almost guarateed to work.  

Obviously this is subject to abuse by the employer, but with this approach you get to choose the employer and have a bit of bargaining power over the specific job (specially if you do it for free).  You can also continue to look for full time work during the trial period.  It beats sitting around watching TV and the salary is as good or better!

Besides, if things don't work out you will have 6 months experience to put on your resume.

If you find you do this for 2 or 3 different employers and still haven't got a job you should probably ask yourself if you are in the right career.

Good luck - Bob Hamilton
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by:bhamilto
ID: 2561631
Sorry about the double posting.  Don't quite know how I did it.
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by:johnny6
ID: 2561639
bhamilto:
      We definitely have the same philosophy about the first programming job. ;)

John
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by:sajmicro
ID: 2561708
Everyone, here is my suggestion. If I would start a web site where we could upload samples and target toward companies looking for developers. How would that sound. Good idea/Bad idea? If good idea give some suggestions. Maybe we could get something going for all the programmers out there having employment problems, with this catch 22 problem.
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by:bhamilto
ID: 2561923
sajmicro

Not exactly sure how this would work.  Would companies request work and you or others would do it for free?  Would the companies be limited only to knowledgable software developers or could any company ask for your services?

My main concern here would be co-ordination:
1) Any complex job requires a fair bit of formal specification.
2) Developing/clarifying specs requires a lot of interaction between programmer and client.  This will be far more onerous if non-technical clients are permitted.
3) The co-ordination will continue throughout the lifetime of the project.
4) The possibility for misunderstandings is far greater if communication is limited to email, etc. (Nothing beats face-to-face - at least occasionally)

I suspect that for all but the simplest job the client would have to be "assigned" a programmer.  Otherwise he could be deluged with queries from several programmers who are interested in doing the work (possibly to the point that he loses interest in the whole exercise).  Ideally the programmer would be geographically close to the company so some interaction is face-to-face.  Working closely with one or two companies would also be far more likely to lead to a permanent job.

Whether or not you service non-technical clients needs some thought:
1) I suspect they would be easier to attract - there are lot's of people looking for freebies.
2) They would be more likely to have an unhappy ending - many simply wouldn't know what they are getting into (both client and programmer!).
3) I suspect it would provide more diverse experience - but not the quality of experience you would get by working with knowledgable clients.

What you are suggesting would be a lot of work to organize but would benefit a lot more new programmers.  There is also a major marketing issue here.  How do you sell a client on this kind of concept from the internet.  What I was suggesting (but perhaps wasn't clear) was more traditional "bush-beating": one-on-one meetings with prospective clients.

I'm not trying to rain on your parade here.  It's an interesting idea but I think it needs a lot of thought and planning.  I have a job BTW, but I'd be happy to help a bit.  I've often wondered what could be accomplished in the way of software development by "remote control"  (johnny6 - what am I getting into!).  

Out of curiousity what is the educational background of yourself and others you have in mind?  If you want to take this part off-line I can be reached at bhamilto@mda.ca.  If you are interested in my background my profile is posted here at EE, but is a bit sparse.  Check out "www.mda.ca"  I worked for them for 18 years (8 of them as VP and GM of a 650 person division).  I'm now an independent consultant (Business and Marketing) but they are my major client.

Regards - Bob Hamilton

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