First real job after learning a programming language?

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23 Replies - 942 Views - Last Post: 19 November 2018 - 12:07 PM

#1 albert003   User is online

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First real job after learning a programming language?

Posted 16 November 2018 - 02:53 AM

I'm pretty comfortable in python and when I try to find a job they all require 3 to 5 years experience. I've read a bunch of articles saying to do work for free or near free for different places to get experience. My question is, to my self taught programming peers. How did you land your first job and if you didn't (work for free), what did you do to land your first paid regular job coding?.
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#2 astonecipher   User is offline

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Re: First real job after learning a programming language?

Posted 16 November 2018 - 09:02 AM

I took a programming job for less than market rate just to get my foot in the door and get the title. After that, the next few jobs get easier and easier to obtain.
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#3 TechnoBear   User is offline

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Re: First real job after learning a programming language?

Posted 16 November 2018 - 12:21 PM

View Postastonecipher, on 16 November 2018 - 10:02 AM, said:

I took a programming job for less than market rate just to get my foot in the door and get the title. After that, the next few jobs get easier and easier to obtain.


Similarly to this, my first job in the industry was essentially at a fraction of the cost of my competition. I worked it for a bit to get my feet wet and justify my title and then moved on to something else more reasonably paid.

Worst case you can always fudge the numbers a little and blame it on the recruiter when you get called out ;)
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#4 BetaWar   User is offline

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Re: First real job after learning a programming language?

Posted 16 November 2018 - 12:26 PM

Starting out, I got jobs around the local college, then took on internships as companies would consider me for the position. After a year as an intern I got hired on full-time and went from there.

I know some people that have been established in their careers but are trying to change the focus that have taken intern positions to see if they like the company and it also lets the company have a set-time for them to be on contract (most internships only last the summer). That way the person can see if they like that career direction, and the company can see if they think the person is good enough to make an offer to later on.

Also, it sounds like most of the positions you are looking at are a level 2 or 3; if you find a level 1 position it should require very little in terms of experience (such as a degree and that is it).
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#5 jon.kiparsky   User is online

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Re: First real job after learning a programming language?

Posted 16 November 2018 - 02:03 PM

Depends on the market you're in, I guess, but here in Boston there are companies that are hungry for talent and if you convince them that you're worth the effort they'll hire pretty junior people and mentor them up to proficiency. If you're new to the work, it's good to be part of a team that's big enough to support a junior dev without losing too much velocity - in a small shop, that bite from your total capacity is usually just too large, but if the team is big enough to amortize that mentoring effort, it tends to work out.
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#6 albert003   User is online

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Re: First real job after learning a programming language?

Posted 16 November 2018 - 02:33 PM

Thats the thing, I've fudged my numbers and I have been applying to numerous jobs and I still can't make it to the phone call for an interview. Ive tried local staffing companies and even offered my services to my current employer, which gave me a goose egg.
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#7 TechnoBear   User is offline

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Re: First real job after learning a programming language?

Posted 16 November 2018 - 02:45 PM

View Postalbert003, on 16 November 2018 - 03:33 PM, said:

Thats the thing, I've fudged my numbers and I have been applying to numerous jobs and I still can't make it to the phone call for an interview. Ive tried local staffing companies and even offered my services to my current employer, which gave me a goose egg.


I was joking about the numbers lol, but whatever works. A big factor can be where you're based and your portfolio of work. Sometimes you just gotta keep trying. I was out of work for nearly two years before jobs opened back up in Illinois (where I am based), sometimes you just gotta keep trying till something sticks.
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#8 jimblumberg   User is online

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Re: First real job after learning a programming language?

Posted 16 November 2018 - 06:06 PM

And while you're looking keep working on your skills. And note that if you are only comfortable with one language may not have much luck in your current location because that one language may not be popular in that location. So you may need to consider changing locations and becoming comfortable with more than one language.


Jim
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#9 ndc85430   User is online

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Re: First real job after learning a programming language?

Posted 18 November 2018 - 01:37 AM

Note also that software development isn't just programming, so continue to work on other skills too. Writing tests (e.g. unit tests) and using version control are important. If you've never touched a database, it might be a good idea to learn. It's impossible to give an exhaustive list of skills because you won't be able to learn everything beforehand (and you'll hopefully learn some on the job), but you should be aware that this career path involves continuous learning so it's a good idea to broaden your horizons a bit even now.
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#10 albert003   User is online

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Re: First real job after learning a programming language?

Posted 19 November 2018 - 12:24 AM

A friend gave me his copy of SQL. Its from the late 90's, but you can't beat free.
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#11 ndc85430   User is online

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Re: First real job after learning a programming language?

Posted 19 November 2018 - 12:47 AM

View Postalbert003, on 19 November 2018 - 07:24 AM, said:

Its from the late 90's, but you can't beat free.


You need to be careful with this because, in general, a couple of decades is a long time. Java for example, has changed quite a bit over the years and learning from really old material just doesn't make sense (I can't say specifically for SQL really, since I only ever use a very small subset of things).
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#12 andrewsw   User is offline

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Re: First real job after learning a programming language?

Posted 19 November 2018 - 02:05 AM

I don't understand how someone could give you a copy of SQL.. do you mean a book about SQL?

(Having a book is not as useful as reading it ;) )
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#13 astonecipher   User is offline

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Re: First real job after learning a programming language?

Posted 19 November 2018 - 06:44 AM

SQL is a weird one. So, by in large, “it” hasn’t changed, but depending on the RDBMS, there could be a lot that has. T-SQL for instance has big differences between 2008 and 2017.
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#14 baavgai   User is online

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Re: First real job after learning a programming language?

Posted 19 November 2018 - 07:13 AM

First job, administrative assistant ( secretary ) at a consulting company. With the understanding that my knowledge, if not my experience, with PCs might get me out in the field. After supporting a number of clients one of them wanted to poach me, offering the job I wanted. I took it, with an amicable break from prior employer.

I also did websites on the side. Having a web site portfolio is kind of a new brainer. Some jobs mayn't pay well, I did a site for a craft store once for eleven yards of hemp fabric, but they do add to the experience pile.

I know a number of amateur programmers who started out life as the office computer guy. Change some toner, tweak an excel sheet, and some suit might think of you as "that computer guy." At which point, you can become that guy and move somewhere where the don't remember you fighting the photo copier.
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#15 andrewsw   User is offline

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Re: First real job after learning a programming language?

Posted 19 November 2018 - 07:19 AM

Slightly drifting off-topic, many years ago I was "that computer guy". For a short while I had a title something like Super User. I would wander around and turn printers off and on, and jiggle the wires. This was enough for people to say, "That's great! You must be a computer wiz."
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