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#1 ChrispyChris   User is offline

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A Felony Conviction

Posted 11 June 2015 - 12:37 PM

I hope this constitutes a post in this section guys.

Well I'm twenty two years old, coming up on twenty three. I've had a love of computers for as long as I can remember, I have been on them constantly since like the age of five. Now I'm interested in a career with computers and specifically something related to some sort of programming. I'm currently learning C++ now and am enjoying the challenges it's bringing, as well as the possiblities that could come from learning a programming language.

A little history, I graduated high school with Honor Roll grades and even was advanced in math and completed a college Spanish course while in high school and aced it. Always had great grades. Well I also did a lot of drugs. Eventually when I was nineteen I was convicted of a federal felony for distributing Heroin. I just got done doing my time a little while ago and am now, like I said, studying programming.

My question comes to the part about getting hired and job options. I'm curious for you programmers out there that do this as a career. First off, do you work for a company or did you do your own thing? Do you know any felons that work in the industry? How do you feel it would affect me in a field of computers? I am thinking it's at least a LITTLE different than if I was going to apply to be a pharmacy tech.. Haha. Umm, and maybe if anyone out there actually has ever hired people, if they are good in their language, able to work well with people, and educated, is a felony something that would scare you off completely? It happened when I was nineteen, so I know the further I make it in life, the further the conviction is behind me. I'm just curious as to if anyone has some sort of insight. I would really appreciate hearing anything you guys have to say on the subject.

Thanks,
Chris

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Replies To: A Felony Conviction

#2 macosxnerd101   User is offline

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Re: A Felony Conviction

Posted 11 June 2015 - 12:45 PM

I'm not sure if having it expunged from your record is an option at some point in the foreseeable future. Perhaps in the mean time, go back to school and get a degree to help you get up to speed more and get your foot into the door. A degree will make the felony conviction less of a big deal, as it shows you have the focus and drive to make it through some education.

Aside from those, I really don't have much insight. Best of luck in getting your life back on track!
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#3 ChrispyChris   User is offline

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Re: A Felony Conviction

Posted 11 June 2015 - 12:49 PM

I don't think it is for this felony, but it's something I still plan on looking into to see if there are any hidden laws about it. The Feds have tons, so it could be possible and if so, it is something I would do. If not, I have to work around it.

I definitely see myself going back to school. I would like to take some more math classes, because I believe they would come in handy with a lot of this programming stuff! Anyways, I appreciate your input, thank you.
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#4 tlhIn`toq   User is offline

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Re: A Felony Conviction

Posted 11 June 2015 - 01:29 PM

High school grades: Meaningless in the real-world.


When I was a developer for Clear Channel radio there was a policy in place that they didn't hire felons: People with felony convictions. Period.
Same with working for Clark County School district... Same with several other companies. Lots of companies will have the same policy. It has nothing to do with the software industry. I think Home Depot has the same policy and that's just dealing with gardening and hardware.

Sadly, I have to agree about the degree. 30 years ago when I was your age there wasn't a need for computer science degrees to be a programmer. Now with 20 years doing it on my resume I still have doors shut in my face for lack of a degree. But I'm closer to retirement than college so its not worth the time or expense at my age. But at your age its pretty much a requirement these days even if you didn't have the felony record.

Right now there are plenty of unemployed people, so employers can be picky. All things being equal between your resume and someone else's, of course the employer is going to hire the guy that's not a felon. So you need to make your resume not be equal to the other guy's. That means education as well as successful projects you've done on your own. Maybe some iPhone apps, or build yourself a complete website with eCommerce etc. just to prove you can. Build an entire fictitious Gym site, or State Park site etc. with event schedules and calendars people can schedule cabin reservations on etc. It gives you practice and gives you a portfolio to show.
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#5 BenignDesign   User is offline

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Re: A Felony Conviction

Posted 11 June 2015 - 01:35 PM

I work in the education sector, and I can say - with near absolutely certainty - that a felony conviction of any kind will keep you from snagging a job in a public college or university. I've seen people turned away for having a DUI on their record, a drug conviction would send Human Resources off the deep end.

As far as private sector companies are concerned, the places I've worked have been a 50/50 shot of whether or not they'll run a background check.

Speaking as a former manager (prior to my IT days), I did quite a few interviews and hired several employees. From that perspective, I would have to say if I've narrowed the pool down to two qualified, personable candidates and their background checks indicate that one has a felony conviction and the other does not... sorry, but I'm going to choose the guy without the criminal record. Is it fair? No, not really. And I'm truly not trying to be a jerk. It's just that the entire job search/interview process is all about making yourself look better than everyone else on paper. The guy who looks better on paper wins the race. Is he the best guy for the job? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe your skills far exceed the guy without the record, but on paper, you looked pretty even until the background check was returned and he gained the advantage.

I hope some of that made sense. I'm not saying you're screwed, though. I'm saying you're probably going to have to work harder than the average joe to make yourself look even better on paper.
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#6 jon.kiparsky   User is offline

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Re: A Felony Conviction

Posted 11 June 2015 - 01:57 PM

Obviously, for legal advice you want a lawyer. If there's a way to get this cleared up, legal counsel will be your best bet. It's often possible to get pro bono help with this sort of thing, I would research the situation in your immediate area.

As for career advice - well, I've got some. Probably worth exactly what you're paying for it. Caveat emptor and all that. First of all, you're in a bit of a spot. Assuming the conviction stays on your record, some employers will immediately reject you on the basis of it. There's not much you can do about that. However, not all employers will have this attitude, and you don't have to get all of the jobs - you just have to get one of them. So your situation isn't as dire as it might immediately appear. I would advise complete transparency on this. Assume they will do a background check and find everything there is to find, and start out by laying these cards on the table. If you can make a convincing story that tells them this is behind you, there are people who will consider taking you on - but if they find out about it from the background check instead of from your own mouth, that's a lot less likely.

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Umm, and maybe if anyone out there actually has ever hired people, if they are good in their language, able to work well with people, and educated, is a felony something that would scare you off completely?


I haven't been responsible for the final hiring decision, but I have been in on the process a few times. For me, the key things in an interview, beyond the technical, are basically who are you, where have you been, and where are you going. No different in your case - if I think that you're someone I want to work with and someone whose direction matches the goals of the project, then you've got a good shot. This is a question of the whole package, not just about the one incident - though obviously that's a big element in this case.

Quote

I'm not saying you're screwed, though. I'm saying you're probably going to have to work harder than the average joe to make yourself look even better on paper.


Agree. However, it's not just on paper that matters. Once you're in the interview room, you really have to be the person I want to have working with me, or it's not going anywhere.
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#7 ChrispyChris   User is offline

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Re: A Felony Conviction

Posted 11 June 2015 - 02:51 PM

I appreciate everything you guys are saying. Makes me feel a bit better. I figured I would have to work harder than the average joe now, which I'm not opposed to doing at all. I also definitely know I should go to school and I want to do that after I self teach myself a bit more. I want a nice degree to at least show I put the time and effort into this thing, because this is something I believe I really want.

I also like the idea about making good projects to display my skills. As of now I'm not anywhere close to that :P, but I know at some point I will be, so I'll keep that in mind as well.

Thanks guys!
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#8 astonecipher   User is offline

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Re: A Felony Conviction

Posted 11 June 2015 - 07:39 PM

Look into having it expunged/ sealed. A felony will preclude you working for some companies just as it would in any other industry, the main reason being you are around or have access to valuables, hardware, personal/ confidential information, ect.

In the grand scheme of things, it was not that long ago that it happened... It is a bit different to say, "Yes I screwed up, but I have not even had a speeding ticket in the last 15 years" compared to, "it was 3 years ago and I am working on bettering myself."


A degree may or may not help. It would at least show that you are trying to better yourself, but you are aware that you cannot get FASFA because of your background, correct?
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#9 Liontrue1   User is offline

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Re: A Felony Conviction

Posted 16 June 2015 - 09:17 AM

For programing careers, I doubt that this will be a problem. Over the last 20 years, I've seen countless employees having records working for the company. The older the conviction, the less meagniful it is. Just show your skills, and make sure to let them know only after you've shown your skills. They might disregard it and give you a chance if you've got skills.
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