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#1 Zuelajindi  Icon User is offline

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I have an upcoming interview for a programmer position

Posted 27 June 2013 - 10:07 AM

I have neither professional coding nor technical job experience, but I have an upcoming interview for an entry level position, and today I ask all DiC members to come forth and offer their wisdom and advice so I can join the ranks of developers and code monkeys alike.

Forgive the dramatic intro, but I was thinking of going above and beyond, bringing my résumé, even a printed copy of a program I have been redoing from a class, and following up with mailing a thank you letter afterward. I am contemplating going to my college to help me prepare. I have high hopes getting this position but we will see. The position only requires being exposed to some language, which I have. They give interviewer candidates a handout to fill out, probably some tech literacy form, and I want to make sure I am prepared for anything and everything. They would train me with whatever tools needed.

Thanks in advance.

This post has been edited by Zuelajindi: 27 June 2013 - 10:30 AM


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Replies To: I have an upcoming interview for a programmer position

#2 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: I have an upcoming interview for a programmer position

Posted 27 June 2013 - 11:03 AM

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going above and beyond, bringing my résumé, even a printed copy of a program I have been redoing from a class, and following up with mailing a thank you letter afterward


That's not really 'above and beyond' when looking for work. That's pretty much the norm. Maybe not for McDonalds, but for any position above lot boy or short order cook. Of course you bring your resume, references, job history including dates addresses and phone numbers, your portfolio of work (both runable and reviewable) and send a 'thank you' to the interviewers for the time. That's right up there with bring a pen and pad, wear a shirt and tie.

My recommendation is to not see each interview as a potential job, but as a learning experience at how to interview. You'll go through 20 interviews before getting hired. Learn from each one. When they test you and ask you questions you'll see where you are weak with respect to employer expectations. Keep a pad in your car. As soon as you get out of the interview write down the parts you stumbled over so you can research.
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#3 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: I have an upcoming interview for a programmer position

Posted 27 June 2013 - 11:08 AM

Quote

today I ask all DiC members to come forth and offer their wisdom and advice so I can join the ranks of developers and code monkeys alike.

There are plenty of back threads (just one of the reasons we keep'em) to check out.

Quote

but I was thinking of going above and beyond, bringing my résumé,

Yes, bring a printed resume.

Quote

even a printed copy of a program I have been redoing from a class,

A little iffie, but okay.

Quote

and following up with mailing a thank you letter afterward.

Yes, preferably sent that day.

Quote

I am contemplating going to my college to help me prepare.

In terms of what?

Quote

They give interviewer candidates a handout to fill out, probably some tech literacy form, and I want to make sure I am prepared for anything and everything.
\
Yes this is not unheard of to have a test... and then to discuss the test.. and to whiteboard-write out some code solutions..
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#4 Zuelajindi  Icon User is offline

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Re: I have an upcoming interview for a programmer position

Posted 27 June 2013 - 11:12 AM

View PosttlhIn`toq, on 27 June 2013 - 11:03 AM, said:

Quote

going above and beyond, bringing my résumé, even a printed copy of a program I have been redoing from a class, and following up with mailing a thank you letter afterward


That's not really 'above and beyond' when looking for work. That's pretty much the norm. Maybe not for McDonalds, but for any position above lot boy or short order cook. Of course you bring your resume, references, job history including dates addresses and phone numbers, your portfolio of work (both runable and reviewable) and send a 'thank you' to the interviewers for the time. That's right up there with bring a pen and pad, wear a shirt and tie.

My recommendation is to not see each interview as a potential job, but as a learning experience at how to interview. You'll go through 20 interviews before getting hired. Learn from each one. When they test you and ask you questions you'll see where you are weak with respect to employer expectations. Keep a pad in your car. As soon as you get out of the interview write down the parts you stumbled over so you can research.

Thanks. With this being my first interview in the field it is easy for me to have high expectations.

When you say to make your code runable and reviewable, do you mean to bring a flash drive with the code on it? And as for references, I can't think of many that are not personal, minus my supervisors at my current job (in retail), where I have worked for almost six years now. I will be sure to highlight that. What format should I bring my reference contact info in?
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#5 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: I have an upcoming interview for a programmer position

Posted 27 June 2013 - 11:25 AM

It sounds a lot like you've never applied for a job before. And you're in college? Wow. Go back to your college and go through the library for books on interview preparation.

Like any job you'll need to fill out an application. That typically involves the last 10 years of employment with dates, addresses, phone numbers, supervisor names.

Generally an application has spaces for personal and professional references. Bring it printed if you like, or on your iPad. Whatever. Just so you have it for the application.

As for 'runnable' - I don't like to assume that my application is going to run on their PC. Or that they would be willing to put an outside application on a company machine. You do more harm than good by bringing a USB stick then have the app fail on their PC. So take your laptop with your portfolio and Visual Studio on it. Queue up your presentation then put it to sleep. That way you can open it up and go in less than a minute.

You can then run the application(s) you want to show, show them your code if you like. Screen shots of things you've worked on but are proprietary so can't bring with Etc. I always bring mine, but have only needed it once. But I think if it the same way I consider guns and condoms: I'd rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.
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#6 Zuelajindi  Icon User is offline

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Re: I have an upcoming interview for a programmer position

Posted 27 June 2013 - 11:30 AM

View PosttlhIn`toq, on 27 June 2013 - 11:25 AM, said:

It sounds a lot like you've never applied for a job before. And you're in college? Wow. Go back to your college and go through the library for books on interview preparation.

Like any job you'll need to fill out an application. That typically involves the last 10 years of employment with dates, addresses, phone numbers, supervisor names.

Generally an application has spaces for personal and professional references. Bring it printed if you like, or on your iPad. Whatever. Just so you have it for the application.

As for 'runnable' - I don't like to assume that my application is going to run on their PC. Or that they would be willing to put an outside application on a company machine. You do more harm than good by bringing a USB stick then have the app fail on their PC. So take your laptop with your portfolio and Visual Studio on it. Queue up your presentation then put it to sleep. That way you can open it up and go in less than a minute.

You can then run the application(s) you want to show, show them your code if you like. Screen shots of things you've worked on but are proprietary so can't bring with Etc. I always bring mine, but have only needed it once. But I think if it the same way I consider guns and condoms: I'd rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

I have applied to many. I have never had the opportunity to hear back from any hiring managers because they all require 10+ years of dev experience. I don't have a laptop.. I've been needing to invest in one though.

Go easy on me man I am anxious, as any interviewee would be.

This post has been edited by Zuelajindi: 27 June 2013 - 11:31 AM

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#7 Lemur  Icon User is offline

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Re: I have an upcoming interview for a programmer position

Posted 27 June 2013 - 03:25 PM

Get on GitHub and push code, LinkedIn and connect. I only have about 2 years of pro experience in DevOps, and several in Web Design and I get calls all the time from recruiters. If you write good code, and sell yourself well experience is not a huge issue beyond being able to learn and get the job done.

If you don't have confidence in your own abilities, how can you expect any self-respecting employer to hire you?
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#8 Martyr2  Icon User is offline

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Re: I have an upcoming interview for a programmer position

Posted 27 June 2013 - 03:42 PM

Whether you get this job or not, here are some things that you (and other potential employees) should think about getting for future interviewing. Many of these cost list to no money either.

1) A blog where you contribute postings regularly, talking about the industry, your work and your thoughts on the field.
2) A portfolio. I have carried a print one around with me, but you should also put everything on a website or computer ready to go.
3) Publications you have contributed to (got an article on stackoverflow or sitepoint.com? Show them!)
4) Start github repositories with some of your work. Easy to find, easy to download, easy for them to run and play with!
5) Knowledge from a few key books you have read. It is always fantastic to be able to bust out a quote from a book you read about a practice you do or believe in.

The idea here is that you want to show them everything you can do, you can show them quickly, you can show them on their own pace, and anything you can do to allow them to get in and play with code you wrote is often good for employers. They want to know they are hiring someone that knows there stuff and can get up to speed quickly.

If you show them all this and they still don't hire you, it is just not the right fit for you. Always improve the sites, demos and blogs you create. :)

This post has been edited by Martyr2: 27 June 2013 - 03:43 PM

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#9 Zuelajindi  Icon User is offline

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Re: I have an upcoming interview for a programmer position

Posted 27 June 2013 - 06:02 PM

View PostMartyr2, on 27 June 2013 - 03:42 PM, said:

Whether you get this job or not, here are some things that you (and other potential employees) should think about getting for future interviewing. Many of these cost list to no money either.

1) A blog where you contribute postings regularly, talking about the industry, your work and your thoughts on the field.
2) A portfolio. I have carried a print one around with me, but you should also put everything on a website or computer ready to go.
3) Publications you have contributed to (got an article on stackoverflow or sitepoint.com? Show them!)
4) Start github repositories with some of your work. Easy to find, easy to download, easy for them to run and play with!
5) Knowledge from a few key books you have read. It is always fantastic to be able to bust out a quote from a book you read about a practice you do or believe in.

The idea here is that you want to show them everything you can do, you can show them quickly, you can show them on their own pace, and anything you can do to allow them to get in and play with code you wrote is often good for employers. They want to know they are hiring someone that knows there stuff and can get up to speed quickly.

If you show them all this and they still don't hire you, it is just not the right fit for you. Always improve the sites, demos and blogs you create. :)/>

I have gotten frustrated with Git in the past, mostly when I just heard of it and attempted it (I'm sure this happens to many)..
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#10 FusionNinja  Icon User is offline

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Re: I have an upcoming interview for a programmer position

Posted 27 June 2013 - 07:44 PM

Create a blog, post about code. Live code and breath code. Always code. This will help you get noticed. If your passionate, good things will follow. I work 8 hours a day and come home and code. You gotta love what you do.

Advice for your interview:
Dress nice, suit preferably.
Eye contact is a must.
Be prepared to talk about past projects, what your learned.
Be prepared to talk about your team experience.
Be prepared to discuss oop principles and a few language specifics.
Be prepared to write code, sometimes white board or sometimes they will send you a project.
Share your code related interest and passion.
Have a five year plan.
Ask good questions.
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#11 Zuelajindi  Icon User is offline

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Re: I have an upcoming interview for a programmer position

Posted 27 June 2013 - 08:06 PM

View PostFusionNinja, on 27 June 2013 - 07:44 PM, said:

Create a blog, post about code. Live code and breath code. Always code. This will help you get noticed. If your passionate, good things will follow. I work 8 hours a day and come home and code. You gotta love what you do.

Advice for your interview:
Dress nice, suit preferably.
Eye contact is a must.
Be prepared to talk about past projects, what your learned.
Be prepared to talk about your team experience.
Be prepared to discuss oop principles and a few language specifics.
Be prepared to write code, sometimes white board or sometimes they will send you a project.
Share your code related interest and passion.
Have a five year plan.
Ask good questions.

What most are not getting is that this is an entry level position that does not require all these years of dev experience. I will keep this in mind though. Fact of the matter is I have no team coding experience :/
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#12 FusionNinja  Icon User is offline

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Re: I have an upcoming interview for a programmer position

Posted 27 June 2013 - 08:13 PM

View PostZuelajindi, on 27 June 2013 - 08:06 PM, said:

View PostFusionNinja, on 27 June 2013 - 07:44 PM, said:

Create a blog, post about code. Live code and breath code. Always code. This will help you get noticed. If your passionate, good things will follow. I work 8 hours a day and come home and code. You gotta love what you do.

Advice for your interview:
Dress nice, suit preferably.
Eye contact is a must.
Be prepared to talk about past projects, what your learned.
Be prepared to talk about your team experience.
Be prepared to discuss oop principles and a few language specifics.
Be prepared to write code, sometimes white board or sometimes they will send you a project.
Share your code related interest and passion.
Have a five year plan.
Ask good questions.

What most are not getting is that this is an entry level position that does not require all these years of dev experience. I will keep this in mind though. Fact of the matter is I have no team coding experience ://>


Just because your entry level, so am I actually; I have been working a few weeks as a professional developer, doesn't mean you cannot have experience. Everything you code is potential experience. You spend 4 years of college writing code; that alone is valuable experience. You essentially have to prove to your potential employer your merit. Sure they will train you but you have to show that your willing to learn, hard working and passionate. Think about it, would you rather have a entry level that views it as a job or a entry level that would be doing this anyways? In addition, you still should be able to write code and discuss your projects in school and you should have knowledge of oop principles. If you don't, please call your college for a refund. In addition, you have team experience. Even a group project for a unrelated csc class is team orientated.
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#13 Sergio Tapia  Icon User is offline

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Re: I have an upcoming interview for a programmer position

Posted 01 July 2013 - 01:22 PM

Entry level is HR speak for 4 years experience unfortunately.

If you have:

1. Viewable examples.
2. Open source projects on Github (or wheverer)
3. A blog

Consider yourself above the vast majority already.

Open source projects on Github let your potential employer know that you have the cojones to start something from scratch, they can see your written code, know you can use a DVCS like Git (which is the norm these days), can collaborate.

A blog let's them know you enjoy what you do, and can effectively communicate. Not many people can do that well these days. Especially true if this is a remote job.
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