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#1 tamara0715   User is offline

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School Assignment: Anyone In Software Dev I Can Interview?

Posted 18 February 2014 - 02:52 AM

Hello,
I am in my first year of studying software development at the technical college in Appleton, WI. As part of my IT Careers class I need to interview someone who is working in my field. The idea is learn what the job is like from someone who has actually worked at writing software.

The interview can be done via email and would consist of 20-25 questions. The questions are all the basic who, what, when type questions: how did you get into this field, what was your schooling like, did it prepare you for the job, etc.

A little about me:
I first started getting interested in coding many years ago when everyone had an Angelfire personal webpage. I wanted to make a page but I didn't like how the default pages looked. So I Googled "how to html" and taught myself basic web design from there.

After making a few html-only pages I knew I needed more so I learned CSS and played with that for awhile.

Over the last year I have been learning a little PHP and plan on learning Javascript next. It's taken me a lot of time to learn even a little bit because I tend to be all over the place and can't focus on one thing at a time.

Finally I thought maybe it's time to go to school and learn this in a more structured environment. I went to an open house at the tech and talked to one of the IT instructors. He asked me the kinds of things I like to do so I told him I really like the coding and making things part of web design but I'm not really good at the making it pretty part. I also want to learn mobile app development and have some ideas for software that I'd like to create. I intended to sign up for the Web Development program but he talked me into the Software Development program.

I started school in January. I start my first programming class in the fall. We will be learning C#.

I am new to this website, as you can see, first post. I spent a couple of hours reading the forum and trying to find the correct place to put this. I hope I got it right.

Thanks for reading. If anyone has a few minutes to answer a few questions for me for the assignment I'd really appreciate it.

tl;dr I'm a first year software development student and need to interview another developer to get a good idea of what the job would be like.

Thank you,
Tami

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Replies To: School Assignment: Anyone In Software Dev I Can Interview?

#2 DarenR   User is online

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Re: School Assignment: Anyone In Software Dev I Can Interview?

Posted 18 February 2014 - 06:38 AM

yeah you can message me and ill answer questions as you send them
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#3 depricated   User is online

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Re: School Assignment: Anyone In Software Dev I Can Interview?

Posted 18 February 2014 - 01:45 PM

Likewise, feel free to PM me and I'll answer questions for ya
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#4 tamara0715   User is offline

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Re: School Assignment: Anyone In Software Dev I Can Interview?

Posted 18 February 2014 - 05:35 PM

Thank you both! I will message both of you with the list of questions.
Thank you.
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#5 Logik22   User is offline

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Re: School Assignment: Anyone In Software Dev I Can Interview?

Posted 19 February 2014 - 08:50 AM

Someone just posted something similar to this a few days ago. It's a shame no one else responded. These were his questions and those were my answer. If you have any more let me know. Perhaps you'd be better off just posting them?


1. What is the outlook of programming for the future?
2. What is typical day of programmer?
3. What type of schooling did you need to start your career?
4. How did you find a job in the field upon graduation?
5. What are your dislikes and likes of programming?



1) Positive. Fortunately, the world is turning in to a highly automated system. Unfortunately, it is a slow progression. What this means is there are going to be less and less needs for jobs. You can argue that some jobs will be created for those that need to design and maintain these automated systems but I'd say for every job created, 4 will be replaced. With that being said, there is always going to be a need for someone to teach your robot how to think and/or improve how your robot thinks.

2) Boring. It's not action packed like a cop who kicks in the door during a raid. It can stimulating at times but It depends what you're in to. If you want to get out and smell the roses, you might get bored. If you love solving problems and improving the way something is done, you will probably enjoy it.

3) Typically you need at least a Bachelors degree to get past HR. Sure there are exception like having a strong reference, work experience, nice portfolio, etc. As a Bachelors is quickily becoming the standard you can expect the bar to rise.

4) I worked while in school. I moved to the location of my university so I found a job out of dumb luck. I started working at Staples as one of their PC technicians. I met a guy there who actually went to my school (a little older than me). There's usually a lot of people that drop out in the beginning of the year (money issues, too cool for school, etc) and they eventually consolidated the housing situation and we chose to be roommates. He graduated and found a job doing IT stuff. A few months later he contacted me and said they have an opening in IT. I was interviewed and got the job. I finished out the last 1.5 years of college there, spent another year working there as I looked for a different job. I enjoyed it, the pay wasn't bad, and I got excellent experience. However, I was a temp so I was hourly, didn't get paid time off, etc. I ended up interviewing for a job programming HVAC devices. This isn't your typical text based programming, more of a drag and drop. Though I did end up developing firmware in C but that's besides the point. After working there for about a year a customer of my employer (at that time) contacted me and offered me the same position but with a ~50% pay increase. So now I work there and am doing my best to soak up all the information. Most employers think I'm an attractive candidate because I have people skills (sales at Staples), problem solving skills (troubleshooting IT problems), and program experience (current and previous job).

5) It's very boring. I really enjoy problem solving but sometimes I get antsy that I can't walk around and do something a little more physical simulating. I find my mind wonders a lot. At my IT job I supported users in multiple buildings (beside and across the street from eachother) so I got to enjoy the fresh air (and rain and snow -_-/> ). At Staples I got to slack off and joke around. Now I just sit in my cube, briefly BS with coworkers ("How was your weekend?", etc), and keep my head down. Though I make really good money (twice as much as I did at my IT job) and that allows me to afford the things that add excitement to my life. I'm 23, have a brand new car, and I'm house shopping. All of this while having my own apartment at 18. I've been VERY lucky with my jobs so I wouldn't say if you become a programmer your life will be great. I know some people that are better programmers than me but can't find a job, work for much less, etc. A career is what you make it.
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#6 tamara0715   User is offline

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Re: School Assignment: Anyone In Software Dev I Can Interview?

Posted 20 February 2014 - 05:45 PM

Thanks, Logik22. That is helpful.

Here are additional questions if you or anyone else wants to answer. I like hearing a variety of answers.
Gives me a good feel for the job.


Work Schedule:
What is your official position?
What is your total IT experience and time in this position?
What made you decide to pick this career path?
Describe what at typical day at work would be like for you.
What type of schedule do you have? (a typical 40-hr work week 9-5, long hours, random hours, etc.)
Do you need to be on call? How often and for how long?
Do you normally work alone or in a group?
After working in this field for awhile do you still have a passion for this field?
Is there a lot of room for advancement in your field?

Benefits and Downsides:
What is the best part of working this job.
What are the downsides?

Education and skills:
Have you had formal training for the position and what was it?
What are the minimum education requirements for this position?
Are there any certificates you recommend going after?
Do you feel recent college graduates are properly prepared for this work? If not, what would be the best way to get prepared? (additional courses, internships, related experience, etc.)
Do you feel your schooling helped you prepare for this job?
Does your position require ongoing schooling
What piece of advice do you wish someone would have given you when starting out?
What advice do you give to new grads entering the field?
What skills or temperament do you think a person needs to have to be happy in this field?
Are there any trends that concern you? Do you foresee any trends that will make this position more or less attractive in the future?

Thanks to all for your help so far!
Tami
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#7 Logik22   User is offline

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Re: School Assignment: Anyone In Software Dev I Can Interview?

Posted 20 February 2014 - 06:10 PM

Work Schedule:
What is your official position?
Software Engineer

What is your total IT experience and time in this position?
In my experience IT doesn't really relate to software development. However, each company is different I suppose. I did about 3 years in IT and I'm going on 2 years as a software engineer.

What made you decide to pick this career path?
I like the logic needed to work with computers. I also like solving problems.

Describe what at typical day at work would be like for you.
Boring. I come in, put my headphones on, and do my work. Occasionally there will be a meeting. My work usually involves creating the software on my computer and then testing it in a simulator. Since I work in HVAC this simulator has a bunch of inputs and outputs that I can use to simulate stuff (temperature, humidity, etc) so I can see if my software works correctly. I break up the day by browsing Reddit and talking to friends.

What type of schedule do you have? (a typical 40-hr work week 9-5, long hours, random hours, etc.)
8-5, mon-fri

Do you need to be on call? How often and for how long?
Luckily not. Though I guess there could be times when someone is on a roof somewhere and they need your help so in that case you'd be expected to talk to them.

Do you normally work alone or in a group?
About 50/50. Sometimes I work alone while other times I will be assigned a part to complete and then later we'll add our modifications together.

After working in this field for awhile do you still have a passion for this field?
Ehhh. If I won the lottery, I'd be outta there. I definitely still have a passion for computers and software development but I intend to transition in to a web development role. I'm 23 so I have plenty of time for it. Right now I'm just focused on soaking up knowledge.

Is there a lot of room for advancement in your field?
Yes and no. At my last company there were 3 of us in the software development department. One guy who was a little older than me and my boss. My boss had been doing the job for 20+ years so he wasn't going to move. I was going to surpass him so I was sort of held back. Unless they created a position (which is very possible) I could move up.

Benefits and Downsides:
What is the best part of working this job.
It can be easy to mess around. If I'm stumped or not feeling motivated I can browse the web for a bit and then come back to it.

What are the downsides?
Very boring. My job could be done at home but it's not really a common thing.


Education and skills:
Have you had formal training for the position and what was it?
None. When I got hired I had experience in IT (not relevant to the job). I was just out of college but my degree was focused in text based coding, not the drag and drop proprietary IDE they use. Though I guess they recognized that I could learn so that's all that really mattered.

What are the minimum education requirements for this position?
Bachelors or a shit ton of experience

Are there any certificates you recommend going after?
Ehhh. Some recommend certifications but personally I'd rather just spend that time making a worthwhile demo project to show I know my stuff. Plenty of people can pass a drivers test, doesn't mean they are good drivers.

Do you feel recent college graduates are properly prepared for this work? If not, what would be the best way to get prepared? (additional courses, internships, related experience, etc.)
No. I think a lot of the education is outdated. It's not really their fault because technology moves so fast and I'm sure they must go through their proper channels to get a curriculum approved.

Do you feel your schooling helped you prepare for this job?
No. I went to Devry and it sucked. Luckily I prefer to learn on my own so I've been able to compensate. If I didn't need a degree to get past HR I wouldn't have gone to school.

Does your position require ongoing schooling
No

What piece of advice do you wish someone would have given you when starting out?
I've had a lot of good mentors so I don't feel neglected. Best thing I can say is "just learn". In my current and previous companies I was able to do the jobs of 3 people. I'm not saying I replaced them, I'm saying we started doing it and when they asked if I was capable of adding those responsibilities to my plate, I accepted. That looks VERY attractive because it's a massive money saver. Though I knew I could do it so if you know you can't, don't waste their time because it can make you look terrible.

What advice do you give to new grads entering the field?
Keep your head down and learn.

What skills or temperament do you think a person needs to have to be happy in this field?
They should be able to think on their own and read between the lines. Don't just say "Gas pedal makes the car go forward". Explain the chain of events that start with you pushing the gas pedal and the car moving forward.

Are there any trends that concern you? Do you foresee any trends that will make this position more or less attractive in the future?
Automation is going to fuck this world up. There was a time when everything needed to be done by a person. There will be a time when nothing needs to be done by a person. The time in between there is going to get messy. The entire world will need to be reworked. There will be lots of capable people able to work but not have any jobs. I'm not talking about High School Dropouts, I'm talking about people with 30 years of experience in a field.
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#8 tamara0715   User is offline

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Re: School Assignment: Anyone In Software Dev I Can Interview?

Posted 21 February 2014 - 01:13 AM

Thank you, Logik22. You've all been very helpful!
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