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#1 Contester  Icon User is offline

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employers want many many skills just to do one job (advice?)

Posted 12 July 2014 - 05:33 PM

Sorry if this is in the wrong section but it's the closest sub forum that matched my question.

I'm basically just looking online for programming jobs and I'm not kidding but I've been through about 100 pages on different websites over the last week or so and EVERY single one of them wants someone who just knows everything. I've been programming Python as a hobby for about 2 years now and I'm quite effectiv and thought I'd start trying to get a job.

Here is an example of a typical job advert that I see.

Junior Python/Java Programmer
To be successful in this position you must possess:

Excellent commercial or personal development experience with Java and Python
Expert level with Html/CSS/Javascript
Strong experience with related databases including Sql Server
Exposure to dynamic languages HTML5, CSS3, Ruby, PHP, OO Javascript, JS Libraries etc
Great communications skills
A true interest for Python and OO development languages.
A very strong, accurate coding ability

I count about 7 different languages here including Python. Ontop of that they want database stuff. I'm not going to post anymore examples but how the hell do you guys get around jobs that require several skills which each take many months, perhaps years of training? I've seen other entry level jobs (junior) that want even more skills like linux experienced CCNA certified etc.

Is it typical for employers to ask for all of this crap but nobody ever actually has it all? So you just tell them what you do have? Basically the perfect candidate would have all of those skills but in reality 99% of applicant won't?

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Replies To: employers want many many skills just to do one job (advice?)

#2 andrewsw  Icon User is offline

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Re: employers want many many skills just to do one job (advice?)

Posted 12 July 2014 - 05:55 PM

Oddly, I could just about apply for that job, although I would have to blag a bit about Java and Ruby. But, heck, it's a Junior position?? :dontgetit:

I certainly agree it is very off-putting, and unrealistic on their part.

I don't really have great advice though, other than to take it with a large pinch of salt, find those that are slightly more realistic, and not expect to fulfil every requirement.

Of course, if you have the gumption, you could still apply or make enquiries. There is the off-chance that they may have an alternative, more suitable, position available.. or they may be honest and state more realistic pre-reqs.

Oh, and expectations for a freelancer will be higher than for a fixed position.

This post has been edited by andrewsw: 12 July 2014 - 06:22 PM

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#3 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: employers want many many skills just to do one job (advice?)

Posted 12 July 2014 - 06:28 PM

Moved to the Corner Cubicle.

Quote

Is it typical for employers to ask for all of this crap but nobody ever actually has it all? So you just tell them what you do have? Basically the perfect candidate would have all of those skills but in reality 99% of applicant won't?

Pretty much. If you've worked on projects, that's what employers care about. Do you have a Github or a website to showcase your work?

Also, are you a college student, by chance? If so, career fairs at your local university are a great way to meet prospective employers.

You might also consider looking at paid intern positions for the programming listings. Intern positions are a bit more relaxed in terms of requirements, but sometimes (often times) companies like for you to be a student.
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#4 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: employers want many many skills just to do one job (advice?)

Posted 12 July 2014 - 08:25 PM

Those are the things that the employer is looking for - the things that they're going to look at most closely in evaluating applicants. If you can show some reasonable subset, you should apply - and expect to discuss the missing pieces and how you can either work around those holes, or fill them in.

Here's how I read this list:

Quote

Excellent commercial or personal development experience with Java and Python


You can pass a reasonably intensive coding interview in these languages. You are not expected to know the lower-level details of implementations of either language, but you should be able to implement something like a prime sieve or a linked list or something of the sort. They may ask you to play "spot the bug" or "read this code".

Quote

Expert level with Html/CSS/Javascript
Strong experience with related databases including Sql Server


You need to understand the structure of modern web pages from back end to presentation.


Quote

Exposure to dynamic languages HTML5, CSS3, Ruby, PHP, OO Javascript, JS Libraries etc


This is clearly not written by a technical employee. This list is pretty incoherent. Pick anything that you know that can apply here and call it out in your resume, but don't focus on this one. The people who are making the decision don't care about this item.

Quote

Great communications skills


This is essential for any employee in any organization. You demonstrate this one in the interview.

Quote

A true interest for Python and OO development languages.


Already covered in the first item. Show some things you've done in python - preferably things that you're particularly proud of. Enthusiasm is contagious.

Quote

A very strong, accurate coding ability


Too vague to be meaningful. Don't make stupid mistakes in the coding part of the interview, or if you do, spot them immediately and correct them.


So basically, demonstrate your competence with java and python, and also show some web development stuff and you should be able to get the interview.
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#5 depricated  Icon User is online

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Re: employers want many many skills just to do one job (advice?)

Posted 15 July 2014 - 05:21 AM

Except for the fact that I don't know Python and don't love working Java, I could apply for that.

Quote

Excellent commercial or personal development experience with Java and Python

Show some examples of projects you've made in Python and Java. They want a dev who works in those.

Quote

Expert level with Html/CSS/Javascript

imo, any programmer worth his/her salt knows all of these thoroughly. HTML and CSS are absurdly easy to grasp and memorize. Javascript is just a scripting language not in any way actually related to Java. In and of itself fairly simple and easy to pick up, though libraries like jQuery are used more often and may take some time to learn specific patterns of.

Quote

Strong experience with related databases including Sql Server

Many applications are going to use some sort of data storage, so you should know at least a couple. SQL and XML are good to pick up.

Quote

Exposure to dynamic languages HTML5, CSS3, Ruby, PHP, OO Javascript, JS Libraries etc
This seems redundant but the key here is that they want a HTML/CSS/JS expert, but exposure to more recent versions like HTML5 and CSS3, and things like Ruby, PHP, etc.

Quote

Great communications skills
A true interest for Python and OO development languages.
A very strong, accurate coding ability
Hello HR

So basically what you're looking at is this the result of this:

A made up scene with made up characters - Sean = Hiring Manager, Rand = Manager's Boss, Sean = HR Recruiter

Rand: Sean, how is progress on your project coming along?
Sean: So-so. It's coming along but I'm afraid we're not going to make the deadline without another dev. Can we hire someone?
Rand: Let me see what I can do. Get me a list of what you're looking for.

So Sean writes his requirements "Java and Python Developer, knows SQL, HTML, CSS, JS."

Rand gets the list and, as his manager, must feel useful by making additions/changes to everything. He determines that there is, in the budget, room for a Junior Developer. So he tags it as Junior Dev and determines that even a Junior Dev should be an expert in HTML, CSS, and JS (I agree with this for the most part, though I personally hate JS and can excuse that in anyone). He also consults what technologies are being used in other projects he manages, so that the new hire will be someone he can reassign once the current project is finished or he grows out of the role. He sees that the website is using CSS3 and HTML5 for canvas rendering, along with jQuery to give events to page elements, PHP for the framework, and Ruby on Rails for syndication. He adds those to the requirements so that potential applicants will be ready to look at those as well. Then he passes it on to Mark in HR.

Mark gets the list and goes over it. He refines it, and adds some HR buzzwords. Everyone everywhere needs "Great communications skills" so he sticks that on there, along with some other vague feel-good terms like "true interest in OO development languages" and "strong coding ability."

This is how, in my experience, the requirements portion of a job ad form. It's not to deride employers, it's just how it goes in a corporate environment. First the person who requested another employee lists what they're looking for, that gets modified by the person who can approve such a request, and then HR adds on their requirements. You can spot the difference in the way the requirements are listed. Specific languages probably came from the hiring manager, and that'll be what you focus on. More vague but still appropriate targets like "exposure to Ruby, HTML5, CSS3" would probably come from the person who approved the request to hire and wants to be sure there isn't a high turnaround with people unable or uninterested in learning new languages. Then HR gets ahold of it and adds their boilerplate vagueries.

So you should meet all the requirements, but you should consider the language used in describing them. Exposure to doesn't mean you work in them frequently - take an hour or two to sit down and write something simple with Ruby. Theres your exposure. When/if it comes up, talk about that. In fact, this one I've found is something hiring managers really like:

Sean: "So we have some projects that use Ruby. Have you had any exposure to it?"
Zero: "Well, kind of. Before scheduling our interview I hadn't more than heard about it and read about it, but I decided to sit down and spend a few hours with it to better understand it, since you're looking for that. So I don't have a lot of experience with it, but I have played with it a bit now."

The key to a junior position, also, is showing a willingless and eagerness to learn. A personal example: One staffing agency I went to had me interview with their lead engineer to determine if I was qualified to be pitched for C#. We spent about an hour talking about what I know, what I don't, and he determined that even though I didn't then know C# very well, I would be an excellent junior candidate because I clearly understand development, was able to intuit what he was asking about, and because when I didn't know something, I readily admitted it, but then offered what I thought it sounds like, and asked for clarification. I later got a call back that they were looking for an in-house developer, not for a client but for the staffing agency themselves, and that guy had specifically requested me for the job, so they called and gave me an offer without another interview. It was a really good feeling, and I'd have taken it if I hadn't already accepted my current position - though now I love where I'm at and won't let it go for anything.

You'll read a thousand interview tip articles that say "never admit you don't know something" - but honestly, in the programming world, you're not expected to know everything. It's not about what you know and don't, it's about how you think and how you would learn what you don't know when you need to.

So arm yourself with that. You know Java and Python? HTML and CSS? SQL? Apply for that position. Brush up on JS, Ruby, HTML5, CSS3. I spent a week learning ColdFusion for an interview. Show what you know and an ability to learn, and imo you'll be far above anyone who can only show what they know but is rooted in it.
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#6 Contester  Icon User is offline

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Re: employers want many many skills just to do one job (advice?)

Posted 19 July 2014 - 09:59 PM

View Postdepricated, on 15 July 2014 - 05:21 AM, said:

...


Thank you for posting the great detailed reply. Much appreciated.
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#7 no2pencil  Icon User is offline

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Re: employers want many many skills just to do one job (advice?)

Posted 19 July 2014 - 11:14 PM

They want to scare off people that are easily intimidated & don't believe in themselves. People that don't wish to peruse new languages, or that are scared to learn a new technology to solve an existing problem.

Just my opinion.
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#8 astonecipher  Icon User is offline

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Re: employers want many many skills just to do one job (advice?)

Posted 20 July 2014 - 01:03 AM

I have seen some pretty interesting job request that are intended to thin out applicants. One was a web developer position that wanted experience in HTML8.

I spoke with them and the HR screener asked my proficiency in it.

I responded that they would be hard pressed to find anyone whom had the slightest idea of HTML8 and was asked why.

I told them and was then told it was a screening question used to find out how much of your resume was falsified for the application. If you said you knew it, they knew to move on.
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#9 depricated  Icon User is online

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Re: employers want many many skills just to do one job (advice?)

Posted 20 July 2014 - 04:34 PM

I am giggling like a madman at the idea of seeking an HTML8 dev
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#10 Robin19  Icon User is offline

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Re: employers want many many skills just to do one job (advice?)

Posted 31 July 2014 - 12:13 PM

I've seen postings asking for 20+ years experience of .NET development. I doubt they will find anyone with 20+ years experience in a technology 12 years old. This is usually the hiring manager saying they need a .NET developer and HR adding the 20+ years experience because anyone that was coding in 1994 is obviously good at coding today.
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#11 astonecipher  Icon User is offline

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Re: employers want many many skills just to do one job (advice?)

Posted 31 July 2014 - 12:22 PM

The tagline behind this came up with a friend's interview the other day,

County job looking for a VB.NET developer. She goes in and has the initial interview and they want to know how long and what she has done in VBA. She tells them some, but not many as she specializes in rapid prototyping with .NET.

They then go into the differences between VB and VBA. The hiring manager read Visual Basic and figured they had seen vb.net posted a lot and it must be the same thing.

This post has been edited by astonecipher: 31 July 2014 - 12:23 PM

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