Career choice

recent grad, more learning, or reduce debt

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10 Replies - 1224 Views - Last Post: 06 July 2010 - 03:41 PM

#1 godmoktail  Icon User is offline

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Career choice

Posted 04 July 2010 - 09:50 AM

I recently graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science (NYU-Poly, formerly Polytechnic University) and am having some trouble getting entry-level positions as a programmer or test engineer. I pass technical interviews without any bumps, but I feel my (lack of) references and previous work experience are what prevent employers from choosing me.

Last week I was awarded a full scholarship for the SetFocus Master's .NET program (after technical phone interviews, tests and programming assignments, and face-to-face interviews with top level people). Link->.NET Training. Next week I have an interview with a Wall Street firm, working in C++ within a UNIX environment.

Although, I'm excited about the full scholarship, I'd rather focus on paying off my loans used for college (don't want to be a debt-slave).

Currently, this is my plan:
If I'm not hired, then I will work on learning more with SetFocus, while getting a part time job, and hoping that they are successful in marketing me to companies a year from now.
If I get the job, then I don't know. Should I risk going to work with the company on Wall Street, facing further depression and most likely unemployment in the future, paying off as much of my loans as possible, and letting the scholarship go to waste
OR
think happy thoughts and assume that SetFocus can help me get employed in the future, instead of gaining professional experience earlier?

Also, I was curious. Have you guys heard of SetFocus, know anything about them, any input on them? I've done some research, but still convinced they are legit, and can be very beneficial for my career.

Thanks in advance. I'm looking forward to seeing other perspectives at my situation.

Peace

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Replies To: Career choice

#2 PsychoCoder  Icon User is offline

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Re: Career choice

Posted 04 July 2010 - 10:36 AM

I would do more research on SetFocus before accepting any offer from them. First they charge $19k for their 13 week course, you can get what they offer at a local community college for much less. They say they have excellent job placement but from what I've read today that's pretty much a lie. One "graduate" said that of the 18 people in this class 3 got a job, and most got their jobs on their own.

It looks like an overpriced vo-tech "school" and a serious bait-and-switch. Read through thiscompletely before deciding to accept their offer. Also read through this and threads on Dice.Com regarding SetFocus.

Just trying to save you $19,000 :)
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#3 godmoktail  Icon User is offline

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Re: Career choice

Posted 04 July 2010 - 11:07 AM

By the way, I got a full scholarship. I would never pay for something like that.
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#4 moopet  Icon User is offline

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Re: Career choice

Posted 04 July 2010 - 11:07 AM

I think what you've found is the norm: companies, unfortunately, don't care much about graduates and their qualifications. You get firms like Microsoft doing the milk run once a year and offering low-paying jobs in call centres where you end up wasting a couple of years, and that's about it.

I'd say go for the job. Even if you hate it, if you can stick it out for a year then that's a year's experience in a Wall Street firm, which will look great on your CV and put you head and shoulders above any of next year's graduates. If you take the course, you'll be asking the same question as soon as it's over...

Oh, and you have to find something to feed you while you're on the course. I suspect the scholarship won't do that!

Well done on getting the scholarship, anyway.

This post has been edited by moopet: 04 July 2010 - 11:10 AM

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#5 nooblet  Icon User is offline

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Re: Career choice

Posted 04 July 2010 - 12:01 PM

I posted this awhile ago on another thread about finding a job. Hope it sheds some light.
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#6 godmoktail  Icon User is offline

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Re: Career choice

Posted 04 July 2010 - 01:31 PM

I appreciate all the responses. If I'm not mistaken, I have up to a year to claim the scholarship. If so, then, if I get the job, then I will work there as long as possible before the scholarship claim period expires, and see later on if I can do the job and the SetFocus program at the same time.

I'm still open to more info and advice.
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#7 godmoktail  Icon User is offline

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Re: Career choice

Posted 05 July 2010 - 09:40 AM

Thanks for the links PsychoCoder. Lots of info from people who have been in the SetFocus program, and others who haven't. It seems that SetFocus is worth the time (although not too sure about the money). Luckily for me I don't have to pay tuition, but leaves me wondering if there are other fees or expenses necessary. Since they have 13 week (accelerated) and a ~39 week options, best bet would be to do the 39 week option if I land the job with the financial firm.

Either way, it seems that one has to do a lot of work, independently and in the classroom, and also, one should NEVER assume someone will get you a job. And finally, I think moopet's advice is worthy of consideration: experience over 19K leap of faith.
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#8 rgfirefly24  Icon User is offline

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Re: Career choice

Posted 05 July 2010 - 05:25 PM

What they probably haven't told you yet about your scholarship is its really not. All setfocus is, is a vocational type school that teaches a very specific skill and 99% of there scholarship students are required to do up to 5 years at one of there affiliated companies for a severe pay cut. I know this because it is exactly what they offered me. Also there entrance exams are a joke. The guy who did my phone interview didn't care if i knew something he still gave me full marks plus if you do the at home there are fees that the scholarship doesn't pay. So be careful with them

This post has been edited by rgfirefly24: 05 July 2010 - 05:49 PM

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#9 godmoktail  Icon User is offline

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Re: Career choice

Posted 05 July 2010 - 10:37 PM

Thanks. Will keep that in mind. I'm gonna call the rep that first got in contact with me and try to get some straight answers. Gonna mention stuff I heard and if I can see some type of written agreement (terms) before I agree to anything.
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#10 Craig328  Icon User is offline

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Re: Career choice

Posted 06 July 2010 - 09:25 AM

View Postgodmoktail, on 04 July 2010 - 08:50 AM, said:

Last week I was awarded a full scholarship for the SetFocus Master's .NET program (after technical phone interviews, tests and programming assignments, and face-to-face interviews with top level people). Link->.NET Training. Next week I have an interview with a Wall Street firm, working in C++ within a UNIX environment.

Although, I'm excited about the full scholarship, I'd rather focus on paying off my loans used for college (don't want to be a debt-slave).

Currently, this is my plan:
If I'm not hired, then I will work on learning more with SetFocus, while getting a part time job, and hoping that they are successful in marketing me to companies a year from now.
If I get the job, then I don't know. Should I risk going to work with the company on Wall Street, facing further depression and most likely unemployment in the future, paying off as much of my loans as possible, and letting the scholarship go to waste
OR
think happy thoughts and assume that SetFocus can help me get employed in the future, instead of gaining professional experience earlier?


Although I know DIC about SetFocus, I wanted to drop an opinion about the Wall Street gig vs. this offer:

  • Although it may not be the language you'd PREFER to use, the gig IS a dev job that WILL be experience you can honestly claim on your resume. Plus, you're paying off student loans now and building a credit rating which will be worth it's weight in gold in a few years if you tend to it carefully.
  • Darwin has done an exceedingly effective job of culling the herd on Wall Street these past 2-3 years. Who's there now will likely be there a few years from now. I wouldn't worry about "depression" or "unemployment" from a strictly market survival aspect.
  • How did you get awarded this scholarship? Did you enter a competition? If it came from nowhere, be very skeptical.
  • You CAN get anything you like in writing. However, if they turn out to be huge liars contrary to what they put in writing the only way for you to enforce what's in writing is via a lawsuit resulting in a judge's order and then you have to figure a way of enforcing that order. In other words, you'd need to spend even more money to make it stick. Being as you're young, not affluent and such, they may decide to promise you the sun, moon and stars knowing you can do much about it when/if you discover they lied.

Hope it all works out for you. However, the old saw of "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is" are words you should take to heart.

Good luck!

This post has been edited by Craig328: 06 July 2010 - 09:26 AM

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#11 godmoktail  Icon User is offline

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Re: Career choice

Posted 06 July 2010 - 03:41 PM

Actually, I have most of my experience programming in C++, and would prefer it due to the drilling my professors accomplished while in college.

I called the SetFocus rep who made initial contact with me today and managed to get more information on the curriculum and program length. I have the option of doing a 14 week or 42 week program (full time vs part time).

I'd much rather get the experience right off the bat. However, the interview has been pushed back to the 20th of July. This is the second time the interview has been rescheduled.
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