When is enough, enough?

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38 Replies - 4346 Views - Last Post: 28 December 2011 - 04:37 PM

#1 webwired  Icon User is offline

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When is enough, enough?

Post icon  Posted 27 December 2011 - 04:45 PM

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So, like I had mentioned in a previous post a couple of days ago, I occasionally hit the mainstream popular job boards to see what is in demand, as far .Net positions go... I really don't know why I do it to myself, it's just torturous really...

I don't know if any of you can relate or not, but surely I'm not the only one that does it. Seeing all of the expectations that are put on potential candidates... It's not enough to know a programming language or two, oh no, the typical job posting requires something like this:

Bachelor's degree
5 - 10 years experience
C# .NET 2.0 - 4.0
ASP .NET
MSSQL
SQL Server Reports
Crystal Reports
MVC Framework
WCF Web Services
WPF
UML
XML
SOAP
Silverlight
LINQ
SCRUM
Lambda
HTML5
CSS3
Javascript
Ajax

I mean really, when is enough, enough? It's no wonder we're a world of over worked, over stressed, prescription and non-prescription drug using, heart attack, hypertension, and ulcer victims waiting to happen...

Wow, well, I feel better...

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Replies To: When is enough, enough?

#2 wordswords  Icon User is offline

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Re: When is enough, enough?

Posted 27 December 2011 - 06:08 PM

Job postings usually describe the ideal hire. Just because you may be lacking in a few of those skills, doesn't mean you can't get the job. The vast majority of people applying for said job will not have those skills either, but will have confidence that they can pick up any that they miss.
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#3 anonymouscodder  Icon User is offline

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Re: When is enough, enough?

Posted 27 December 2011 - 06:13 PM

Well, maybe they did wrong when publishing this opportunity in not separating what is mandatory from what is desirable.

For what you posted I assume that C#, ASP.NET and MSSQL would be mandatory for the application server side, and HTML5, CSS3, Javascript, Ajax for the client side, the rest would be a plus (they would give space for learning).

Otherwise they just want someone really experienced that would require minimum training.
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#4 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: When is enough, enough?

Posted 27 December 2011 - 06:43 PM

So often stuff like this job posting is done by a secretary or HR person via copy/paste from the last job posting, with no actual understanding of the job or maybe no understanding of the department. Like all of us they just want to make their job easier and faster because they are as overworked as we are. So when a new requirement hits their desk, they just add it to the "Programmer job" template - not recognizing that there are a dozen different programmer jobs in their organization, each with a different scope of work and therefore set of requirements.
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#5 webwired  Icon User is offline

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Re: When is enough, enough?

Posted 27 December 2011 - 07:56 PM

View Postwordswords, on 27 December 2011 - 07:08 PM, said:

Job postings usually describe the ideal hire. Just because you may be lacking in a few of those skills, doesn't mean you can't get the job. The vast majority of people applying for said job will not have those skills either, but will have confidence that they can pick up any that they miss.


Yeah, I hope you're right, I mean otherwise it would take a lifetime to even become mid-level with everything that they advertise that they're looking for... I guess I'm just wondering, does the typical programmer know all of that? I mean, I consider myself an above average person in the intelligence department, but it freaks me out to think that I won't be able to get a job when the time comes because I must be a master of all ...
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#6 webwired  Icon User is offline

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Re: When is enough, enough?

Posted 27 December 2011 - 08:08 PM

View Postanonymouscodder, on 27 December 2011 - 07:13 PM, said:

Well, maybe they did wrong when publishing this opportunity in not separating what is mandatory from what is desirable.

For what you posted I assume that C#, ASP.NET and MSSQL would be mandatory for the application server side, and HTML5, CSS3, Javascript, Ajax for the client side, the rest would be a plus (they would give space for learning).

Otherwise they just want someone really experienced that would require minimum training.


I wondered the same thing, if they just don't bother distinguishing the must-haves from the would-likes...

My primary experience over the last 11 years has been PHP, MySQL for the back end, with HTML4 standards, and Javascript for the front-end... Once I decided to become a programmer, I've been working with VB, C#, ASP .NET, MSSQL, HTML4, and Javascript... I was kind of hoping that, that would be enough to land me a decent enough job... Well, that and a BSC in applications software engineering... What's really got me freaked out is all of this mention of LINQ, MVC, WCF, and WPF ... It's like, should I become at least intermediate in C# & ASP .NET before attempting those or should I try to learn them all together?

View PosttlhIn`toq, on 27 December 2011 - 07:43 PM, said:

So often stuff like this job posting is done by a secretary or HR person via copy/paste from the last job posting, with no actual understanding of the job or maybe no understanding of the department. Like all of us they just want to make their job easier and faster because they are as overworked as we are. So when a new requirement hits their desk, they just add it to the "Programmer job" template - not recognizing that there are a dozen different programmer jobs in their organization, each with a different scope of work and therefore set of requirements.


That thought had crossed my mind once, but I dismissed it as wishful thinking... It was even what I told my wife, since she's putting me through school, to ease her mind, that there will be work out there... Even if it didn't ease mine.

I do think that, that has to be the case for at least a portion of the postings, at least the ones from these recruiter/contract companies...
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#7 stackoverflow  Icon User is offline

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Re: When is enough, enough?

Posted 27 December 2011 - 08:17 PM

I have hardly seen postings like that.

The typical ones I have seen are something like:

Languages: C, C++ and Java a plus!

Or

Languages: Java, C#! C or C++ a plus!

You can't go wrong with any of those. In opinion, learn all three and expand to scripting languages and some functional languages.

Scripting: Python, Perl, Lua, Ruby...
Functional: Haskell, Scheme...

As for frameworks and APIs, you can use those while messing with new languages or old ones.

edit:

OOPs, I actually meant to reply to the 'languages to learn' topic. I guess it kind of applies here too. Haha~

This post has been edited by stackoverflow: 27 December 2011 - 08:22 PM

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#8 AdaHacker  Icon User is offline

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Re: When is enough, enough?

Posted 27 December 2011 - 09:45 PM

Having had experience on both sides of the hiring process, I can assure you that 90% of the time the "skills list" in a job posting is a wish list, not an actual list of expectations. As wordswords said, the list describes their dream candidate. No reasonable hiring manager will expect a candidate to know everything on the list. It's really just a screening technique to keep down the number of grossly unqualified applicants. So don't be intimidated. If you have some competence in the technology stack they use and at least passing familiarity with some of the ancillary skills listed, it doesn't hurt to apply. Depending on the company and the applicant, the listed skills might not be important at all. Personally, I've been offered jobs for which, judging by the skills list, I was marginally qualified at best.

As for the other 10% of the time, in my experience those fall into three groups:
1) Overly lenient on their requirements, i.e. a short skill list. This usually indicates either a junior-level position or a company that's desperate for people and will take pretty much anyone who can make it to the door.
2) Mangled posting. The requirements for the job were either poorly written by the hiring manager or were mangled somewhere along the line to the point that it's hard to tell what's actually important. Sometimes it's because of a clueless manager or HR department, but just as often it's a clueless/careless/worthless recruiter. (Hint: In my experience only about 1% of recruiters are actually worth talking to.)
3) The job doesn't actually exist! Yes, but it does happen. This may be because the company is just collecting resumes for future recruiting. It could also be that they've already decided to fill the position internally but put up the postings because they're required by some rule or regulation to conduct a formal search for candidates. I've seen that a couple of times. They'll basically write a job description that's tailor-made to a particular person's resume specifically so that nobody else will meet the requirements.

So yes, these lists of requirements are stupid and unnecessary and everybody knows it. But don't get discouraged - that's just how the game is played. The more experience you have with job searching and interviewing, the easier it will get to separate the wheat from the chaff.
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#9 jjsaw5  Icon User is offline

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Re: When is enough, enough?

Posted 28 December 2011 - 08:00 AM

I just switched jobs this year and I ran across a lot of job posting like that in my area. I managed to get a couple interviews for the postings that were like what you are describing and let me tell you they were not fun. I felt it was more of a test then an interview. When i met with what would have been my manager he just handed me a stapled packed and said, you have an hour to answer as many of these questions as you can.

After that he then looked over the packet asked me a couple questions and said the interview was over.

It seems like a lot of places (at least where i live) are looking for someone who can do everything. I have friends who have taken these positions and they work like dogs. I'm sure that is not the case everywhere.

Instead of creating two jobs out of that posting and making them each suitable for one person to handle. Companies are trying to be cheap by combining what should be two jobs into one and filling it with one person.
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#10 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: When is enough, enough?

Posted 28 December 2011 - 08:15 AM

Yeah, its called a crappy economy. Its a buyer's market now days, with the buyers being the employers. They are doing this sort of thing because they can. People would rather have low wages than no wages.

Its been talked about all over the place. Numerous times right here on DIC. I'm not the only person whose employer had to drop salaries and drop benefits, just to keep the doors open until business picks back up. I lost 10% in wages and my fully-paid medical insurance which amounted to another 10%. But I'm happy to still have a job and not be out there looking for work when employers are looking for those long lists of requirements and testing as you just described.

As for the testing rather than interviewing... What would you expect them to do? EVERYONE is going to claim to be able to do everything because they want a job. 2,000 applicants for 1-2 job slots. So you test everyone just to weed out the fakers. Then you actually invest some interviewing time with the top 10 candidates. Its just common sense and allocation of HR and managerial time and resources.

This post has been edited by tlhIn`toq: 28 December 2011 - 08:12 AM

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#11 CTphpnwb  Icon User is online

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Re: When is enough, enough?

Posted 28 December 2011 - 08:41 AM

A couple of points about employers:
  • Many of them are making record profits in this "bad" economy.
  • They're doing it by cutting wages.

Programming is a skill that most people cannot do. Something like 75 or 80% of the population has a high school education or less, and most people with college degrees have them in something other than CS/IT. Remember that when you're interviewing: you really don't have as much competition as they'd like you to believe, and the work you'd be doing for them is probably very important (has $value) to their business.

If you know how to write code then your biggest problem is going to be that the person interviewing you or reading your resume probably doesn't. That means they're going to look for key words, length of experience, and other factors that don't necessarily have any bearing on whether you can do the job or not. Even worse, because they think there are lots of candidates they're less likely to make a decision. You need to find a way to get to the person/people who do know what's needed and can make a decision. And be confident: remember that you're one of a very small number of people who can do this.
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#12 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: When is enough, enough?

Posted 28 December 2011 - 08:48 AM

Agreed. But like you said, the interviewer has a skewed belief that there are lots of qualified applicants looking for work. Add to that lots of unqualified people applying for anything remotely close. QC people saying they are programmers and so on.

Therefore the testing. It weeds out all the numb-nuts students and wannabees and fakers. Now those 2,000 applications have been reduced to a manageable 75-100.

Another aspect is demographics. If you are looking for coding work in Silicon Valley you are in the middle of the biggest pool of competition. If you are applying for coding work in Frogwart Montana where a company is setting up then you can probably expect to be one of 3 guys applying for the job.
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#13 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: When is enough, enough?

Posted 28 December 2011 - 08:59 AM

You might want to think about what areas you focus on. It may be a crappy market all around, but not in financial services. The company I work for is a middleman: we make money as long as people are trading, and nobody's pay is getting cut. I don't say everyone should go into financial services, but there will be plenty of places to write code, and you might want to try to avoid the ones that aren't doing well, and the ones everyone else is trying to get into.
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#14 lordofduct  Icon User is offline

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Re: When is enough, enough?

Posted 28 December 2011 - 09:06 AM

I don't know, I'd apply for such a job. I only don't have a bachelor degree.

But I do have a degree in being a bachelor! ::wink::
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#15 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: When is enough, enough?

Posted 28 December 2011 - 09:18 AM

View Postlordofduct, on 28 December 2011 - 10:06 AM, said:

I don't know, I'd apply for such a job. I only don't have a bachelor degree.


No degree here. No college (well a couple courses at the community college). Everything I know is self taught. But that still landed me a coding job. From there it was just a matter of staying with it. Most employers look at experience even more than college. If you can say "I've been developing software for XYZ company for the last 8 years" I think that still holds more weight than "I have a degree but no actual job experience doing it in the real world."
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