3 Replies - 1813 Views - Last Post: 16 February 2011 - 10:15 AM

#1 xor-logic  Icon User is offline

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How to look good on paper with no professional experience

Posted 16 February 2011 - 03:55 AM

Ok, here's the deal. I'm pretty much a "hobbyist" programmer (mostly Java), which means I work a shitty job during the day then come home and program (I never got a degree).

Recently I've been looking up computer related "Alternances" here in France, which is where you go to school and simultaneously work a paid internship, and come out of the thing with a Bachelors or Masters. Problem is, it's up to the student to find a company that's willing to hire them for the job half of the course - I'm told this is pretty damned difficult since the student is, as yet, an unproven quantity.

So, my questions are these:
What kind of certs or qualifications could I try for beforehand to make myself seem like less of a risk and more of an investment and make finding a willing company easier?
If you work in an HR department, what would you need to see to take on a student with no professional experience?
If you've been in a similar situation, how'd you do it?

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Replies To: How to look good on paper with no professional experience

#2 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: How to look good on paper with no professional experience

Posted 16 February 2011 - 07:45 AM

Examples of your work, complex problems you have solved, detailed explanation with your running app that shows your thought process and methodology for tackling a problem, indicators you are up on current trends, and the like. Basically an online portfolio of sorts would help.

Have you been able to use your skills at your current job? Any VBA programming in Excel or Access work done? Try not to limit yourself to java but scour deep and wide for something that might be construed as programming and that you have proof of being done. Again how you tackled the problem is important too.
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#3 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is online

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Re: How to look good on paper with no professional experience

Posted 16 February 2011 - 10:01 AM

Every time this question comes up I make the same suggestion:
If you feel you are ready to get paid for your work then sign up on a coder-for-hire site.
This will let you see the types of real-world jobs that employers are paying for.
You can then gauge your skills by looking at the requirements and the pay.
For a while it might be worth taking a 10 hour job for $50 just to get the experience and push your coding skills/speed up.
This will also let you build a portfolio of example work that you've been paid for.
If you are never able to build up a skill level/speed that lets you eat, you still know where you stand.
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#4 Craig328  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to look good on paper with no professional experience

Posted 16 February 2011 - 10:15 AM

I'm sure the school has an ombudsman or perhaps some sort of post grad placement service. Ask them if they know of local employers who might be willing to entertain a paid intern. See if they can point you at employers whom previous students interned with and then approach them and see if they have any interest.

Also, does it need to be a paid internship?
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