Finding a Job

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26 Replies - 5158 Views - Last Post: 19 May 2010 - 04:01 AM

#1 MentalFloss  Icon User is offline

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Finding a Job

Posted 10 May 2010 - 11:45 AM

OK. How do you guys do it?

I've searched online via the standard job sites like hotjobs and monster. I've checked craigslist. I've tried to find technical companies in my area and gone to their websites to see their job postings.

How do you pull it off?

I currently work as quality assurance and only have a high school diploma so I understand the education hurdle.

I can't do freelance work because it's way cut-throat and there seems to be an endless supply of coders from India willing to undercut jobs by insane amounts.

Also, to those of you familiar with my posting in the C# forum, would you consider hiring me or do I just bring bad code to the table without fully realizing it (hypothetical question)?

Also, should I even be programming or should I try to find a different line of work? Some people have it and some people don't - maybe I've just been kidding myself this whole damn time.

Please offer your suggestions and ideas behind finding work. I cannot do this current job much longer. I'm going to explode.

Thanks for the input.

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Replies To: Finding a Job

#2 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Finding a Job

Posted 10 May 2010 - 12:00 PM

Once you find a potential employer, send your resume and samples of your work, preferably as executables they can run, or links to web work. Make it as easy on them as possible. Make sure you sound excited about working at the company (even say so), ask for the job.

Include on your resume all relevant and flattering experience, as well as education and technologies. Since you don't have a college degree, hit hard on technologies. Make sure to talk about your work on DIC, especially your Expertization, as it looks really good. That really helped me get hired for my internship this summer.

Also, you might consider going back to school at a community college at night or something for an associates (to start out with). The college CS classes (at least at the intro level) really focus on Java and C++. Since you are a C# Expert, I don't think you'll have a problem picking up Java to test out of the intro classes.
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#3 Choscura  Icon User is offline

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Re: Finding a Job

Posted 10 May 2010 - 12:19 PM

you look for people who need problems solved that involve programming and you show them how good a solution it can be to their problems.
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#4 keakTheGEEK  Icon User is offline

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Re: Finding a Job

Posted 10 May 2010 - 02:38 PM

@macosxnerd101 has some really good advice, particularly the stuff about what to put on your resume. As far as examples of your work, you need to be cautious about how you do this. Attaching additional files may result in your resume never reaching the employer due to email filtering. Hosting your work on the web and providing a link to it in your email and on your resume would definitely be the safest approach, unless the opening specifically says to send them examples.

Also, if you do not have any previous work experience as a programmer (i.e. to show on your resume), then going back to school may not be such a bad idea. Going to a traditional University would be great if you can do it, although, this can be quite a financial burden if you are already living on your own and supporting yourself. There are other alternatives also. If you have your heart set on becoming a C# developer, then consider getting a Microsoft Certification. Personally, I think that a Microsoft Certification, particularly the MCPD, or any of the higher certs. will hold a lot more weight to a potential employer over an Associates Degree from a Community College. If you can do both though, that would be even better. Another thing to consider are the specialized institutions such as University of Phoenix, ITT Tech, Devry, etc. These institutions typically have degree programs during hours suitable for the working class individual and also provide job placement...

As for the job hunt in general, that's pretty much what I did also. I used Monster, HotJobs, Craigslist, went to companies websites, etc. I would subscribe to these sites, create my profile and have openings sent to me on a regular basis. I would set a few hours aside each day and hunt for jobs, sending out resumes and cover letter/emails. One thing to be aware of is, for the most part (and even more so in a bad economy), when an employer posts an opening they're going to have a lot of applicants resumes to go through. So if you come across an opening that looks like the "perfect" job for you and send off your resume, don't stop your search just to wait and see if they get back to you. They may never get back to you and it's not because you weren't qualified, but because they just never got to your resume in their sea of applicants.
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#5 alias120  Icon User is offline

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Re: Finding a Job

Posted 11 May 2010 - 12:55 AM

View PostMentalFloss, on 10 May 2010 - 10:45 AM, said:

Also, should I even be programming or should I try to find a different line of work? Some people have it and some people don't - maybe I've just been kidding myself this whole damn time.


I can't offer much in the realm of job hunting, as I have a few years before I can really begin my search. I would re-word a statement you made above though,

"Some people have it and some people don't."

to

"It comes easier to some people than it does to others.".

From your contributions to this site, it is apparent that you have a passion for coding. If you want to be a programmer then go for it. Settling for anything less will only make you regret the decision you made. I doubted myself initially. I have never been inclined towards mathematics, and when I saw how much math was involved in my CS degree I began to question whether this was going to be the right career choice. It is what I want to do though, I love solving problems and love coding. So I accepted it is going to be tough and went for it. I believe anybody could be a programmer, but most people will not dedicate themselves and their time to it. As many of you have said, they will not make it past their first class or the first chapter of that programming book they bought. If someone is willing to make it past that point, as you have, then there is no reason to look back. Good luck.

-alias
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#6 Elcric  Icon User is offline

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Re: Finding a Job

Posted 11 May 2010 - 02:32 AM

Hello MentalFloss,

Join the military.

Each branch of the service needs computer programmers. Talk to your recruiting officer and make sure you get a computer programmer Military Occupation Specialty (MOS) guarantee before you enlist. Also, request that after basic training you attend a computer programming school. Each branch of the military has excellent computer programming training. The military has huge computer programming opportunities.

After you complete your initial tour of duty consider staying in the military and retiring from the military. Military pay is good pay, and the benefits are excellent. You can retire after twenty years with full benefits, try and find that in a civilian job!

After you retire you can easily find a job as a programmer with a military contractor. Oracle does a lot of military contracting and so does most of the big corporations.

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#7 alias120  Icon User is offline

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Re: Finding a Job

Posted 11 May 2010 - 03:04 AM

View PostElcric, on 11 May 2010 - 01:32 AM, said:

Hello MentalFloss,

Join the military.

Each branch of the service needs computer programmers. Talk to your recruiting officer and make sure you get a computer programmer Military Occupation Specialty (MOS) guarantee before you enlist. Also, request that after basic training you attend a computer programming school. Each branch of the military has excellent computer programming training. The military has huge computer programming opportunities.

After you complete your initial tour of duty consider staying in the military and retiring from the military. Military pay is good pay, and the benefits are excellent. You can retire after twenty years with full benefits, try and find that in a civilian job!

After you retire you can easily find a job as a programmer with a military contractor. Oracle does a lot of military contracting and so does most of the big corporations.


The military can offer some great opportunities, but be careful.

First, the wait for a programming related field can be a long one.

Second, you will be making a commitment that you will be tied to for at least a couple years (Depending on which branch and your agreed term of service). So if you happen to not like the military for whatever reason, your mostly out of luck.

Third, though the military does offer great opportunities for attaining a higher education your job will always come first. If your a programmer that might not be so bad, but know that you won't have nearly as much time to dedicate to your studies as that of someone attending school full time.

Fourth, your pay is based off of your rank. It does not matter how many hours you work that week, you will always make the same. So if you get stuck working 14-16 hour days, you will still make whatever your base pay is. If you think that you are not getting paid enough for the work you do, refer to Second comment.

I am in no way bashing the military with these statements, the military can be great for some people. I wouldn't recommend it for everybody though. If you know what you want to do, and you are on your way to doing it, stick with that. If you aren't sure where you want to go in life, or you simply are patriotic and want to contribute to your country in some way, the military could be for you. If you are interested, talk to your local recruiters.
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#8 MentalFloss  Icon User is offline

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Re: Finding a Job

Posted 11 May 2010 - 10:52 AM

You guys have offered some excellent information - especially you Alias120. Thanks.
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#9 alias120  Icon User is offline

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Re: Finding a Job

Posted 11 May 2010 - 06:13 PM

Not a problem, hope everything works out for you.

-alias
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#10 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Finding a Job

Post icon  Posted 11 May 2010 - 06:18 PM

This is turning into some good discussion. I think this would make a good featured topic.

This post has been edited by macosxnerd101: 11 May 2010 - 06:22 PM

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#11 SpeedisaVirus  Icon User is offline

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Re: Finding a Job

Posted 13 May 2010 - 07:44 PM

I would not pursue the military option. You MAY get a programming position but it's more than just getting the position. There is an endless stream of non programming BS to accompany it not to mention the basic training which is far less than pleasant. Tied to a 4-6 year commitment to a lifestyle you may not enjoy, that's right...it's not just a job. It's a lifestyle. Your entire life can be consumed by it. Without a degree you will barely clear 20k a year if that depending on whether you come in as E0 or E3. If you are single you may be forced to live in a dormitory. Don't even get me started on the work hours, combat exercises, deployments, and abuse of power middle management.

I like macos and alias120's advice the best.

What are you doing now? If you can't get a dedicated coding position out of the door maybe aim for something easier to get into like sys admin or help desk in a company that has a software department? I have a friend that managed to make that transition without a degree or formal education though I don't know how common that is. Probably not very.
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#12 MentalFloss  Icon User is offline

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Re: Finding a Job

Posted 14 May 2010 - 09:34 AM

View PostSpeedisaVirus, on 13 May 2010 - 06:44 PM, said:

What are you doing now?


I work in quality assurance. Well, that's the title anyway.
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#13 xTorvos  Icon User is offline

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Re: Finding a Job

Posted 14 May 2010 - 10:10 AM

One thing that you could do is send a letter with your intentions to places that you think you would like to work for. Be honest and don't try to sugar-coat anything. Include a résumé and have them give you a call to see what they think. Maybe they don't need the help enough to post a job, but if someone comes to them offering services, they may be willing to give you a shot.

Another thing to do is network. Talk to your co-workers, family members, or anyone that you can. Ask them about positions that may open up or if they have friends in the field that you want to work in. This world is almost more-so about whom you know rather than what you know. You will be surprised to find out who might be the link between you and your dream job.

It's easier for college students. I have friends who have gotten many well-paying jobs just because they subscribe to the university employment outreach program emails. I'm not sure what you make right now, but the jobs that usually start out as internships through this program pay $10-$25/hour and usually graduate to full-time employment paying 50k/year.

Some things you may want to ask yourself are what exactly are you looking for in your job search? What would you want to do day-by-day? What kind of pay are you willing to take? Are you fine with a pay cut? You must consider these because you don't have the education, meaning, you will probably start out making less than expected while you gain some experience.

Cheers and good luck!

This post has been edited by xTorvos: 14 May 2010 - 10:12 AM

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#14 eclipsed4utoo  Icon User is online

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Re: Finding a Job

Posted 14 May 2010 - 10:44 AM

I would suggest doing personal projects, like doing websites, or doing mobile applications. It costs $25 to publish an Android app. Takes a little more for Windows Mobile or WP7.

The reason for doing these is to get past the catch-22. You can't get a "portfolio" unless you get hired, but you have a hard time getting hired without a "portfolio". Doing personal projects gives you something to show to a potential employee.
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#15 alias120  Icon User is offline

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Re: Finding a Job

Posted 14 May 2010 - 05:30 PM

View PostSpeedisaVirus, on 13 May 2010 - 06:44 PM, said:

I would not pursue the military option. You MAY get a programming position but it's more than just getting the position. There is an endless stream of non programming BS to accompany it not to mention the basic training which is far less than pleasant. Tied to a 4-6 year commitment to a lifestyle you may not enjoy, that's right...it's not just a job. It's a lifestyle. Your entire life can be consumed by it. Without a degree you will barely clear 20k a year if that depending on whether you come in as E0 or E3. If you are single you may be forced to live in a dormitory. Don't even get me started on the work hours, combat exercises, deployments, and abuse of power middle management.


Sounds like someone who was prior enlisted, some great points made here. I know some people that love the lifestyle, but there are many people who don't and don't want to get out because they are afraid of not having that steady paycheck anymore. It's sad but true.
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