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#1 PecenkA  Icon User is offline

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Who would hire me as software devloper with my experience?

Posted 29 May 2014 - 02:34 AM

Hello

I'm getting more and more dissatisfied with my job. It's my first job and I've been doing it for 11 years now (I'm 32 by the way). When I started in the company there were 15 of us and now there are 50. I'd like to swich jobs to proper software development but I have a few concerns regarding my experience in the field.

What I have been doing so far:
- system administration (server, workstation, DB, network infrastructure, everything basically)
- programming applications for internal use and also some small bits for our customers (<= 10000 lines of code)
- customer support for both my coworkers and our customers (IT and non-IT related)
- managing two more people
- writing user manuals
- performing measurement equipment calibration (our primary field of work)
- writing applications for government tenders
- some graphics design
- writing patent applications
- doing some minor work in electronics
- doing marketing work
- cleaning cars
- showeling snow
- ...

Beside all that I've always been the person that would come and install OS, clean viruses and doing maintenance work for all my relatives and friends. My education is somewhere between high scool and college. I don't actually know how two years of mechatronics that grant non bachelor degree after high school would translate to UK or US education system. Perhaps junior college?

To elaborate on my experience. I know something in every stated field above but with limited depth. And I'm self taught on all of the above. For example I know how to set up and maintain a small active directory but that is it. I know basics of MS SQL Server maintenance and can write moderately complex SQL sentences. I know how basic security policies and Windows Server maintenance. I know rudimentaries of Linus server administration. I know how to program a working application but I know that it probably isn't coded to very high standards (I'm always trynig to improve though). I know how to design a very small system but struggle with a bigger one. And most of all I with struggle maintaining all my developed applications at once since every few months there are changes to our quality management manual (we hold a couple of ISO standards) which reflect in everything I develop. I also have very limited experience working in teams and no experience working on larger projects.

Some of my problems right now probably originate in the fact that I never had proper supervision and mentorship and that I'm not exactly good at organizing stuff.

Programming languages (rated 1 to 5):
- Delphi (4) - current
- Visual Basic 6 and VBA (4)
- SQL (3)
- Java (2) - current
- C# (1)
- C++ (1)
- php (1)
- html (1)

IDEs:
- Embarcadero RAD studio (4)
- MS Visual Studio (2)
- Eclipse (2)
- Netbeans (1)

Databases:
- MS SQL Server (2)
- MS Access (4)

Other software experience worth mentioning (or not):
- Corel Draw and ProtoPaint (2)
- Adobe Photoshop (2)
- Autodesk Inventor (2)
- MS Office (3)

Software development concepts:
Here I'm struggling on what to write and would be happy about anyone proposing something. Since as I mentioned earlier I am self taught I have trouble in that field. I know for example how to prevent SQL injection, what recursion is, OOP and so on but I've never really took a dive into any of it. And it is quite hard to asses security level of your application without proper assesment from more experienced person.

Otherwise I'm good at math, speak two foreign languages (English, German) and some might describe me as a mild geek. I also have a tendency to grasp concepts quickly.

One might say that my confidence levels right now are not exactly high taking into consideration current job market in Slovenia :)/>/>. I'm not aiming at a senior position. I would just like to work on challenging projects and learn more. Money is not a primary objective but is moderately important since I have "some" debt left to pay. I'm also not afraid of long work hours.

I'm aware that a lot of things written here don't belong on a CV but any insight from you on how to proced with my job search in software development field would be extremely helpful.

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Replies To: Who would hire me as software devloper with my experience?

#2 DarenR  Icon User is offline

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Re: Who would hire me as software devloper with my experience?

Posted 29 May 2014 - 04:00 AM

probably not to many companies... you have less experience than a freshmen in college...
the only real strong suits i see are sql and your network stuff

you may be hired as a dba or network engineer
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#3 PecenkA  Icon User is offline

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Re: Who would hire me as software devloper with my experience?

Posted 29 May 2014 - 05:48 AM

@DarenR
I get your point. I dont't have enough experience. But I also made a mistake describing my experience. This line in particular:
- programming applications for internal use and also some small bits for our customers (<= 10000 lines of code)

What I meant was that each application I programmed has less than 10000 lines of code but most of them nearing that number. There are about 30 in that category. And I didn't count many smaller tools and components I made over the years.
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#4 cfoley  Icon User is offline

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Re: Who would hire me as software devloper with my experience?

Posted 29 May 2014 - 05:50 AM

Quick edit: This is a reply to Darrenr

That's a strange things to say. This guy has had the same job for 11 years. That means he has at the very least has managed to be a good enough employee to not get sacked for over a decade. OK, that bar is low but I know a lot of people who don't meet it.

As part of his job, he programs tools for internal use and for customers. 10K lines isn't trivial. I'm assuming the customers are happy or they wouldn't stay as customers. The company started small so there is a good chance he has been doing this for most of his time there. It implies two things about his coding skills: That he can write working code and that he can finish projects. These two points are key.

The language list is interesting. It looks like he is required to use or maintain stuff in Delphi which isn't the hottest language any more, and that they have recently switched to Java. The list of 1s and 2s is interesting. My guess is that he has tried to broaden his knowledge by studying some other languages. The fact that he ranks his skills in each language relatively, and that some of them have low scores, comes across as very honest and humble.

IDEs, databases and other software are all good signs too. So is that his job is a technical one. Calibrating instruments requires care and precision, observational skills and troubleshooting. Do any of those sound familiar?

I would trust this guy more than a new graduate with no experience. I would expect that he will be more skilled at finishing things and making them work than a graduate. In the interview, I would want to see him write some code. I'd want to hear about the software he has written. I'd want to ask him about ADTs, algorithms, architecture, design patterns, testing. I would expect some gaps here because he has followed his own path. However, any gaps can all be tightened up later. All evidence points to this guy's potential to be a good programmer and his unique experience is to be valued more than another graduate out of the cookie cutter.

---

Of course, there are companies who will reject you because you don't have the right piece of paper. These are the places you don't want to work anyway.

This post has been edited by cfoley: 29 May 2014 - 05:51 AM

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#5 astonecipher  Icon User is offline

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Re: Who would hire me as software devloper with my experience?

Posted 29 May 2014 - 05:55 AM

Here is a question for you that will settle the arguement for SOME employers,

What was your official title at this company?

Before I interviewed with a company that actually cared about experiance, I was turned down because of the titles I held, not what I actually did.
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#6 DarenR  Icon User is offline

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Re: Who would hire me as software devloper with my experience?

Posted 29 May 2014 - 06:02 AM

@cof
I only stated that because of his numbers and his great experience with almost dead languages and not much in the way of new.....

here at the company i work for-- if you dont know new they dont even consider you... they dont care if you have 100 years in vba if you dont know vb.net...

He might be a great worker-- i dont know but listing the skills like that would be a no go for me..

what I suggest is instead of listing your skills like that I would say something like:

"I am very adaptable in learning new languages and with a strong background in xxxxx I am confident that I would fit in nicely into this role....."

something like that would get him hired faster than listing his skill set with numbers
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#7 PecenkA  Icon User is offline

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Re: Who would hire me as software devloper with my experience?

Posted 29 May 2014 - 06:04 AM

I've had many titles and no title during my career. Depending on owner's mood, show for customers, tender requirements and so on:
- Laboratory technician (I had this one because every technical employee had this title at some point)
- IT manager
- System administrator
- Software developer

Now my official title is "Head of field ICT" and I had this one for 4 years. It seems our customers like it.
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#8 astonecipher  Icon User is offline

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Re: Who would hire me as software devloper with my experience?

Posted 29 May 2014 - 06:11 AM

When added to your cv, add your titles to the job (under titles obviously) as long as they are relevant to the position. In that timeframe , it also shows momentum in the company.
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#9 cfoley  Icon User is offline

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Re: Who would hire me as software devloper with my experience?

Posted 29 May 2014 - 07:18 AM

Quote

I only stated that because of his numbers and his great experience with almost dead languages and not much in the way of new.....


I bet you can still find jobs for Delphi and VB6.

But I agree, they are not the best languages to have at the top. I do kinda like the scores. Since they are relative you are allowed to assign a 5. I would redo them like this:

- SQL (4) - current
- Java (3) - current
- Delphi (5) - current
- Visual Basic 6 and VBA (5)
- C# (2)
- C++ (2)
- php (1)

- html (1) <<-- Take this out

In splitting it up, I've made some assumptions about the relative levels of the 1s and 2s, and that your current projects actually do use SQL. Now the reader reads it and sees you are currently using SQL and Java and are strong in both. (These are good, solid, current technologies.) You still use Delphi and you used to use VB. The 3 languages at the end are good solid current languages too so it's good to keep them there.

Take HTML out. It's not a programming language and some people will judge you for calling it one.
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#10 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Who would hire me as software devloper with my experience?

Posted 29 May 2014 - 07:33 AM

DarenR- I think a lot of your response to this thread is very narrow in perception. First, do you really understand what completion of freshman year means to aspiring CS students in college? At many schools, it means a lot of general eds, freshman calculus, some lab science, a couple general engineering courses since CS is in the engineering department at most schools, and maybe an Intro to Java class. I hardly think it fair to compare the OP to someone whose only experience is designing a PayrollEmployee class in Intro to Java. Clearly he knows how to program and can do quite a good job at it.

You also tend to make blanket generalizations, and it comes across as quite condescending. "You don't know _ language, so you're not hireable in this industry" isn't a fair or even well thought out statement. It might be true at your place of employment, but one person doesn't define what constitutes normal (from a statistical sense). How often do programmers struggle with system and server maintenance? A sysadmin background seems like quite an asset, especially from a security vantage point. Plus, in this industry, adaptation is key. I think the OP has shown a clear willingness to adapt and learn new technologies. Frankly, in my first year or two of learning PHP, I wasn't all that confident in the language and would have rated myself as probably a 2. This was coming from about three years of a lot of Java. That didn't stop me from being productive in PHP though. There is definitely a way to slant it on a resume, but this thread isn't a resume.
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#11 DarenR  Icon User is offline

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Re: Who would hire me as software devloper with my experience?

Posted 29 May 2014 - 07:58 AM

you're right @mac

however Ive never worked for a small company (less then 100 people) and in all the companies i worked for they did not care if a dev knew anything about system management because the network engineers did that....
also in all the companies I have worked for -- they did care if you didnt know the language they worked in

I never took cs in college I took software engineering and in my freshmen year we had to do java c# vb.net extensively

perhaps it is different for small companies -- i dont know
and if you read my #6 i told him how to spin his knowledge to get a better job
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#12 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Who would hire me as software devloper with my experience?

Posted 29 May 2014 - 08:15 AM

A lot of big-name companies pay big bucks to my school's CS program to get access to our students. Big names like Microsoft, Amazon, Genworth, and others. They're much more interested in what students can do than in what languages they know. My school is predominantly a Java school. The low-level architecture classes deal with C extensively. There is an annual iOS development class. So it's safe to say companies often times use languages our program doesn't teach and they hire people not familiar with said languages. Good companies hunt for smart people that can get things done.

Quote

I took software engineering and in my freshmen year we had to do java c# vb.net extensively

Programming skills are still something that take time to develop. In one's freshman year, starting from no or minimal prior experience, I highly doubt one would be on par with the OP's experience and abilities.
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#13 astonecipher  Icon User is offline

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Re: Who would hire me as software devloper with my experience?

Posted 29 May 2014 - 08:30 AM

Programming is programming. Logic is where the meat is. The rest is just syntax and knowledge of the available libraries.
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#14 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: Who would hire me as software devloper with my experience?

Posted 29 May 2014 - 11:01 AM

View PostPecenkA, on 29 May 2014 - 07:04 AM, said:

I've had many titles and no title during my career. Depending on owner's mood, show for customers, tender requirements and so on:
- Laboratory technician (I had this one because every technical employee had this title at some point)
- IT manager
- System administrator
- Software developer How many years? How many projects can you list for this?

Now my official title is "Head of field ICT" and I had this one for 4 years. It seems our customers like it.


If the question really is "Would you hire me as a *programmer*?" then I'd have to say 'no at at my last job or my current job'. The jobs you've held are mostly not coding. Managers and administrators are about working people, schedules and so on; not code. Being a manager in IT is more closely related to being a manager in any other field: Might as well be Office Manager.

When you take away everything that is not coding for the 21st century (C#, WPF, Objective-C, Web services etc.) like your Photoshop experience - What do you have left to offer a firm as a developer in today's development environment?
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