A little discouraged - or am I rushing too much?

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#1 carnivroar  Icon User is offline

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A little discouraged - or am I rushing too much?

Posted 18 July 2012 - 01:00 PM

I'm a computer science (and physics) major and I've been programming for one year. This summer I've been looking for internships but they all tell me that I need more experience - even the $10 an hour ones... Furthermore, the requirements for most of these internships are technologies that are not even taught in school. That's okay, because I know that I will have to learn things on my own, but it makes me wonder if I'm getting ahead of my self. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong place - I've only contacted small companies around my area.

So, what exactly should I be doing at this point in my career? Forget about the internship and focus on school instead, or continue looking for a job? Another option would be to become a tutor at my school since I have excellent grades in CS - is that what I should be looking into instead?

I love to program and I do it a lot for fun, but it's nothing that I can call "experience". For example, I just spent the last month learning x86, which is generally much harder than high level languages and should (?) be highly praised, and I have a nice portfolio to show, but employers don't seem to give a shit about it.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks! :gun_bandana:

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Replies To: A little discouraged - or am I rushing too much?

#2 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: A little discouraged - or am I rushing too much?

Posted 18 July 2012 - 01:02 PM

What languages/technologies are they asking for? What languages/technologies are you familiar with?
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#3 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: A little discouraged - or am I rushing too much?

Posted 18 July 2012 - 01:10 PM

Small companies tend to need people that can hit the ground running and produce products that earn income. Small companies don't have the resources to be educational centers. It may not be intuitive, but larger companies can afford to take students KNOWING these students don't have a lot of experience because it also means they don't have a lot of bad habits to break and don't have big egos to overcome. They can afford to put those students in internship programs and teach them THEIR way of doing things.

Also read the Q&A with the experts thread as this sort of thing was asked a LOT.

Also, I never considered intern to mean 'paid'. To me it is a volunteer position where you do for the company, and the company teaches you. Most companies won't pay you to soak up their experience and training then go someplace else.

This post has been edited by tlhIn`toq: 18 July 2012 - 01:08 PM

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#4 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: A little discouraged - or am I rushing too much?

Posted 18 July 2012 - 01:12 PM

Another good spot to find 'experience' - call up your local shelters, red cross, salvation armies, humanitarian groups, etc and see if any of them need help with some light computer and programming skills... well assuming you think you have the chops to maybe make a website or two.. or help out with one.
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#5 carnivroar  Icon User is offline

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Re: A little discouraged - or am I rushing too much?

Posted 18 July 2012 - 01:26 PM

View Postmacosxnerd101, on 18 July 2012 - 01:02 PM, said:

What languages/technologies are they asking for? What languages/technologies are you familiar with?


I see a lot of mySql, PHP, .NET, Agile, database management, open source development, etc...

Here's my resume http://art.lehman.ed...lva/resume.html

Any criticisms on my website in general? I had to take of some cool things to make it more "presentable".

View Postmodi123_1, on 18 July 2012 - 01:12 PM, said:

Another good spot to find 'experience' - call up your local shelters, red cross, salvation armies, humanitarian groups, etc and see if any of them need help with some light computer and programming skills... well assuming you think you have the chops to maybe make a website or two.. or help out with one.


Sounds good. A bike mechanic that I'm friends with does have a website that hasn't been updated in years - I'll talk to him next time to see if he'd like me to redesign it for him for free.

View PosttlhIn`toq, on 18 July 2012 - 01:10 PM, said:

Small companies tend to need people that can hit the ground running and produce products that earn income. Small companies don't have the resources to be educational centers. It may not be intuitive, but larger companies can afford to take students KNOWING these students don't have a lot of experience because it also means they don't have a lot of bad habits to break and don't have big egos to overcome. They can afford to put those students in internship programs and teach them THEIR way of doing things.


Ah, that's where I went wrong then. It makes sense but it's not obvious. Also, I heard that huge companies tend to high CS students right out of college with no experience at all... is this true?
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#6 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: A little discouraged - or am I rushing too much?

Posted 18 July 2012 - 01:31 PM

Woah boy.. that's an interesting resume.. if for any one thing - like this line "Very high tendency to finish started projects".

If you are sitting around pick through some of our project lists and just work through a few.. throw the code on your site... comment it up.. and rock with it.
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#7 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: A little discouraged - or am I rushing too much?

Posted 18 July 2012 - 01:36 PM

What leadership or other IT experiences do you have? Even if they aren't work experiences, could you list a college club, fraternity, etc., position you have held? Also, talk to your CS adviser and see if any companies are listing jobs through them. He or she might be better able to guide you. Visit your college career center as well.
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#8 carnivroar  Icon User is offline

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Re: A little discouraged - or am I rushing too much?

Posted 18 July 2012 - 02:30 PM

View Postmodi123_1, on 18 July 2012 - 01:31 PM, said:

Woah boy.. that's an interesting resume.. if for any one thing - like this line "Very high tendency to finish started projects".

If you are sitting around pick through some of our project lists and just work through a few.. throw the code on your site... comment it up.. and rock with it.


Thanks, and it's very true. I have many examples that I can give where I worked on the same program for hours and days nonstop, sometimes discarding it and starting from scratch, and eventually finishing it because I don't like leaving things unfinished.

As for the planning solutions thing - I bought a dry erase board to design project euler solutions. Very useful for doing stuff in assembly. I guess learning x86 really taught me (the hard way) to carefully plan ahead of time. Well there's something to mention on an interview!

And is that a typo - did you mean "your project lists"? If not, what projects are these?

View Postmacosxnerd101, on 18 July 2012 - 01:36 PM, said:

What leadership or other IT experiences do you have? Even if they aren't work experiences, could you list a college club, fraternity, etc., position you have held? Also, talk to your CS adviser and see if any companies are listing jobs through them. He or she might be better able to guide you. Visit your college career center as well.


Hopefully I can become a programming tutor this fall. I'd love to do that and I'm sure I'd qualify since I have excellent grades in CS. But there's no way to find out if they will need me since it's summer and the professors are all gone. Even the adviser, with whom I have good connections, is not around. So I've been on my own lately.

I've also been asked to be a French tutor once - which I really regret not doing... but would that be a waste of time since it's not related to CS or physics?
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#9 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: A little discouraged - or am I rushing too much?

Posted 18 July 2012 - 02:35 PM

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And is that a typo - did you mean "your project lists"? If not, what projects are these?


Ah, no... I did mean *OUR* lists.. our DIC Lists..

Project Ideas

Martyr2 Mega Project List



Quote

Thanks, and it's very true. I have many examples that I can give where I worked on the same program for hours and days nonstop, sometimes discarding it and starting from scratch, and eventually finishing it because I don't like leaving things unfinished.

No you misinterpreted what I was saying. Word choice is all over the place and should be redone. Example "high tendency" shouldn't be there - it is wishy-washy as well as brings up imagery of you not finishing projects and why... It's better to declare things like "I complete my projects when I start them".. etc..
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#10 carnivroar  Icon User is offline

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Re: A little discouraged - or am I rushing too much?

Posted 18 July 2012 - 03:58 PM

View Postmodi123_1, on 18 July 2012 - 02:35 PM, said:

Quote

And is that a typo - did you mean "your project lists"? If not, what projects are these?


Ah, no... I did mean *OUR* lists.. our DIC Lists..

Project Ideas

Martyr2 Mega Project List



Quote

Thanks, and it's very true. I have many examples that I can give where I worked on the same program for hours and days nonstop, sometimes discarding it and starting from scratch, and eventually finishing it because I don't like leaving things unfinished.

No you misinterpreted what I was saying. Word choice is all over the place and should be redone. Example "high tendency" shouldn't be there - it is wishy-washy as well as brings up imagery of you not finishing projects and why... It's better to declare things like "I complete my projects when I start them".. etc..


Oh okay, just a different way of rephrasing it. But it's definitely a claim that I can back up.

And thanks for the links!
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#11 ishkabible  Icon User is offline

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Re: A little discouraged - or am I rushing too much?

Posted 19 July 2012 - 08:55 AM

I think you need to talk about what you've done; show projects you've actually finished for instance.
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#12 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: A little discouraged - or am I rushing too much?

Posted 19 July 2012 - 09:27 AM

View Postcarnivroar, on 18 July 2012 - 03:00 PM, said:

I love to program and I do it a lot for fun, but it's nothing that I can call "experience". For example, I just spent the last month learning x86, which is generally much harder than high level languages and should (?) be highly praised, and I have a nice portfolio to show, but employers don't seem to give a shit about it.


This is a hard thing to learn, but nobody cares about how hard it is. They care about what you can bring them. Learning x86, to most employers, just means "interested in stuff we don't need". Hard problems aren't necessarily interesting - you could write a web server in Ook, and it would be hard, but what it mostly means is "likes to reinvent wheels using inappropriate tools".

Not to say you shouldn't do the stuff that grabs you, but you shouldn't expect the things that interest you to necessarily be interesting to a potential employer.
What's interesting to an employer? Depends on the employer, but it's always good to be able to communicate effectively - you're not doing bad on that, but you don't highlight this.
Also, real-world work experience. You don't list any actual jobs you've held. I started working when I was 13, I've never had a resume without previous experience on it - this helps. Doesn't matter what it is, but being able to hold a job is a good sign for an employer. If nothing else, steady commitment to a volunteer position would be good - anything that says "this guy can work with other people over a long term and get something done". That would also help in that there would be someone to call who could say "yes, I've seen him work, and he's good". People often fail to check those references, but having them is important.

Unfortunately, though, we're in a job market where any job you want is getting hundreds of resumes. You need a way to get yours to the top of the pile, and one of the most effective ways to do that is to have someone who can talk to the hiring manager and say "be sure to look at this guy". If you know people who are working in tech, network with them. Let them know that you want to find work. You want them to be thinking of you when something comes open.
Nobody's going to give you the job just because you know someone, but if you're qualified and interview well, it doesn't matter how many resumes are on the list after yours - you're likely to get the job. So whatever you're doing, think of it in terms of being the one to get that call when a job comes available. Most people in the industry are happy to help you get your foot in some door - if only because they know that they're likely to need a lead some time in the future. So make sure that your professional contacts know that you're looking for work.


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Also, I never considered intern to mean 'paid'. To me it is a volunteer position where you do for the company, and the company teaches you. Most companies won't pay you to soak up their experience and training then go someplace else.


At my company, interns are paid $15/hour, and encouraged to "soak up the experience and training and go someplace else". They work their asses off while they're here, we pick the best of them and offer them positions, and the rest go off to be good connections elsewhere in the industry. If anything, this rate is a little low here in Boston for serious companies.
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#13 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: A little discouraged - or am I rushing too much?

Posted 19 July 2012 - 09:29 AM

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At my company, interns are paid $15/hour, and encouraged to "soak up the experience and training and go someplace else". They work their asses off while they're here, we pick the best of them and offer them positions, and the rest go off to be good connections elsewhere in the industry. If anything, this rate is a little low here in Boston for serious companies.

Man.. I wanna intern at your company!
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#14 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: A little discouraged - or am I rushing too much?

Posted 19 July 2012 - 09:32 AM

We don't take lazy no-good layabout slackers, sorry.
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#15 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: A little discouraged - or am I rushing too much?

Posted 19 July 2012 - 09:46 AM

Aww.. that's one of my high tendencies...
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