Velocity Reviews

Velocity Reviews (http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/index.php)
-   Java (http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/f30-java.html)
-   -   typical entry level job (http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/t123799-typical-entry-level-job.html)

happyrav 06-27-2003 11:41 PM

typical entry level job
 
Hello,
Can any of you seasoned or new programmers give a quick run down of
what your first job was like? WHat does it mean to be a programmer?
What is life like as a new programmer? Long hours on the job? Steap
learning curve? Thanks for the info.

happyrav 06-28-2003 06:44 AM

Re: typical entry level job
 
"amaass" <amaass@attbi.com> wrote in message news:<ME5La.38787$XG4.25134@rwcrnsc53>...
> "happyrav" <hi_buzz@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Hello,
> > Can any of you seasoned or new programmers give a quick run down of
> > what your first job was like? WHat does it mean to be a programmer?
> > What is life like as a new programmer? Long hours on the job? Steap
> > learning curve? Thanks for the info.

>
> My first programming job, in 1994, was at a federal contractor who needed a
> quick (and cheap) way to finish up a project that had been lingering for too
> long. (They didn't get paid until the job was finished, but virtually all of
> the money allocated to the project had already been spent for other
> purposes.)

what kind of education did you have at this point? I'm wondering if I
should teach myself Java and jump right in or go to school and take
more computer science. Bottom line I don't want to waste my energy on
an education if I don't have to. maybe I need an attitude adjustment
but high school was such a joke...
>
> Technologies were selected for me, and I was told (more or less) "make it
> work with what we've selected for you. And oh, by the way, the deadline is
> in 6 weeks and you need to do a testing phase in addition to writing all the
> code." This is how I ended up cobbling together a UI and some basic database
> management stuff using Prograph CPX (which nobody uses) and Visual FoxPro on
> MacOS 7, while my colleague did some nifty things with the libraries we had
> purchased to make it all happen.
>
> Steep learning curve? Object-oriented programming started to make sense to
> me only then. An education in how software gets written in the real world?
> Definitely. Insane deadlines, crazy work schedule? That too. Looking back on
> the experience, I'm surprised I didn't burn out that first year.
>
> There is a real difference between someone who knows how to write code and
> someone who understands what it means to accomplish business objectives by
> writing code. I'm still figuring a lot of that stuff out.
>
> -- Adam Maass


amaass 06-29-2003 09:41 PM

Re: typical entry level job
 

"happyrav" <hi_buzz@hotmail.com> wrote:
> "amaass" <amaass@attbi.com> wrote:
> > "happyrav" <hi_buzz@hotmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > > Hello,
> > > Can any of you seasoned or new programmers give a quick run down of
> > > what your first job was like? WHat does it mean to be a programmer?
> > > What is life like as a new programmer? Long hours on the job? Steap
> > > learning curve? Thanks for the info.

> >
> > My first programming job, in 1994, was at a federal contractor who

needed a
> > quick (and cheap) way to finish up a project that had been lingering for

too
> > long. (They didn't get paid until the job was finished, but virtually

all of
> > the money allocated to the project had already been spent for other
> > purposes.)

>
> what kind of education did you have at this point? I'm wondering if I
> should teach myself Java and jump right in or go to school and take
> more computer science. Bottom line I don't want to waste my energy on
> an education if I don't have to. maybe I need an attitude adjustment
> but high school was such a joke...



I had finished my BS.

Go to school. You'll learn a lot, not just programming. You might get a tech
job without a bachelor's, but you'll be pretty limited in your advancement
opportunities. Most job postings want at least a bachelor's. If you want to
program, a bachelor's in Computer Science is excellent preparation. If you
have the time and energy, and the school you're at offers them, business
classes would be a valuable addition to the technical curriculum. If you're
interested in scientific computing or number-crunching, math classes are
valuable, too. You'll want to pay attention to internships, even if they
don't pay much (or anything).

The difference between someone with a bachelor's and without is related to
depth of understanding and flexibility: someone with a bachelor's has
demonstrated some level of independent critical thinking and is more likely
to respond effectively to novel situations than someone without. I'd expect
someone with a bachelor's in Computer Science to fairly rapidly pick up a
new programming language, for example, whereas someone without might be
completely lost.

-- Adam Maass



Jon A. Cruz 06-29-2003 11:13 PM

Re: typical entry level job
 
amaass wrote:
> The difference between someone with a bachelor's and without is related to
> depth of understanding and flexibility: someone with a bachelor's has
> demonstrated some level of independent critical thinking and is more likely
> to respond effectively to novel situations than someone without. I'd expect
> someone with a bachelor's in Computer Science to fairly rapidly pick up a
> new programming language, for example, whereas someone without might be
> completely lost.



Unfortunately, my experience in regards to programming has been the
exact opposite of what you describe.

:-(

Rather, someone with a bachelor's in CS has been trained in the system.
Whether or not they will make a good programmer is something else.

More often than not those I've seen with 'the talent' do much better.
Those who have a love of the field and spend time learning on their own
are far more likely to pick up a new language quicker. Those who only
are getting a degree just get by enough to get the scores needed to
pass. (and some of the things the professors are teaching... eeek!)

Now, I will not disagree that a person with 'the talent' who gets a
degree is more often a better hire. However, in hiring over the past 15
years I've seen that when it comes to programmers more often than not
having a degree is a sign of the people we don't want to hire. (Or more
precisely, those who rely on a degree on the ones we don't want).


So now we have a problem. In most cases, tech leads and senior engineers
don't do hiring. HR does. HR most often *only* looks at papers.

:-(

But... the world is chaning a bit. Nowadays it is shifting to where
those with 'the talent' are also starting to follow up with getting
degrees. Just like the days where an engineer had to have poor personal
hygene to be percieved as being a good programmer have faded away, so
too the times when degrees are a negative when looking at programmers is
now fading also.


amaass 06-30-2003 02:11 AM

Re: typical entry level job
 

"Jon A. Cruz" <jon@joncruz.org> wrote:
> amaass wrote:
> > The difference between someone with a bachelor's and without is related

to
> > depth of understanding and flexibility: someone with a bachelor's has
> > demonstrated some level of independent critical thinking and is more

likely
> > to respond effectively to novel situations than someone without. I'd

expect
> > someone with a bachelor's in Computer Science to fairly rapidly pick up

a
> > new programming language, for example, whereas someone without might be
> > completely lost.

>
>
> Unfortunately, my experience in regards to programming has been the
> exact opposite of what you describe.
>
> :-(
>
> Rather, someone with a bachelor's in CS has been trained in the system.
> Whether or not they will make a good programmer is something else.
>
> More often than not those I've seen with 'the talent' do much better.
> Those who have a love of the field and spend time learning on their own
> are far more likely to pick up a new language quicker. Those who only
> are getting a degree just get by enough to get the scores needed to
> pass. (and some of the things the professors are teaching... eeek!)


Point taken. There is often a large disconnect between what business needs
and what schools produce. Talent can't be taught. It can be earned, but only
through much blood, sweat, and tears. A good school will provide the
framework around which to earn talent. A degree can be considered shorthand
for "the candidate might have talent." No degree means that whatever talent
is there is harder to prove. Not impossible, just harder.

Three years or so out of school, and the presence or absence of a degree
becomes almost meaningless; whatever talent the candidate has will be
reflected in the positions he or she has worked. Unless you're talking
Artificial Intelligence or really high-end number crunching, where the
degree might still matter. I suggested a CS degree because that is the
easiest route into programming positions. But it isn't the only way.

>
> Now, I will not disagree that a person with 'the talent' who gets a
> degree is more often a better hire. However, in hiring over the past 15
> years I've seen that when it comes to programmers more often than not
> having a degree is a sign of the people we don't want to hire. (Or more
> precisely, those who rely on a degree on the ones we don't want).
>
>
> So now we have a problem. In most cases, tech leads and senior engineers
> don't do hiring. HR does. HR most often *only* looks at papers.
>
> :-(
>


How does one judge talent? It isn't obvious. In someone fresh out of school,
I would look at GPA and ask about projects, particularly extra-credit or
independent projects. I might give a few short quizzes on the technologies
the project I'm hiring for is using. I'd ask former bosses, co-workers, and
professors about the candidate's intellectual curiosity. I'd seek evidence
of flexibility when it comes to solving problems.

> But... the world is chaning a bit. Nowadays it is shifting to where
> those with 'the talent' are also starting to follow up with getting
> degrees. Just like the days where an engineer had to have poor personal
> hygene to be percieved as being a good programmer have faded away, so
> too the times when degrees are a negative when looking at programmers is
> now fading also.
>


LOL. During the dot-com boom, it may have been possible (and even
desireable) to avoid formal degrees. You could pick up the language of the
day and get good money practicing your art. Things are different now; I
would expect most "programming" positions to be commoditized and shipped
offshore (well, out of the US anyway); the positions that remain will
require much more business savvy or will require a higher-level
understanding of what's going on than mere code. In this environment, a
broad liberal education is more likely to keep one employable than more
narrow technical know-how.

-- Adam Maass



Sudsy 06-30-2003 02:20 AM

Re: typical entry level job
 
Jon A. Cruz wrote:
> amaass wrote:
>
>> The difference between someone with a bachelor's and without is
>> related to
>> depth of understanding and flexibility: someone with a bachelor's has
>> demonstrated some level of independent critical thinking and is more
>> likely
>> to respond effectively to novel situations than someone without. I'd
>> expect
>> someone with a bachelor's in Computer Science to fairly rapidly pick up a
>> new programming language, for example, whereas someone without might be
>> completely lost.

>
>
>
> Unfortunately, my experience in regards to programming has been the
> exact opposite of what you describe.
>
> :-(
>
> Rather, someone with a bachelor's in CS has been trained in the system.
> Whether or not they will make a good programmer is something else.
>
> More often than not those I've seen with 'the talent' do much better.
> Those who have a love of the field and spend time learning on their own
> are far more likely to pick up a new language quicker. Those who only
> are getting a degree just get by enough to get the scores needed to
> pass. (and some of the things the professors are teaching... eeek!)
>
> Now, I will not disagree that a person with 'the talent' who gets a
> degree is more often a better hire. However, in hiring over the past 15
> years I've seen that when it comes to programmers more often than not
> having a degree is a sign of the people we don't want to hire. (Or more
> precisely, those who rely on a degree on the ones we don't want).
>
>
> So now we have a problem. In most cases, tech leads and senior engineers
> don't do hiring. HR does. HR most often *only* looks at papers.


And that's a problem as far as I'm concerned. It seems a bit
outrageous that HR has a "hit list" of skills which all
applicants must have, including the ubiquitous degree.
Question: if someone graduated from Uvinursery 20 years
ago when they were teaching FORTRAN and COBOL, are those
skills truly relevant in the here and now?
Jon notes that those whose are committed (or should be?!)
to the practice will invest their own time learning the
emerging technologies.
So how does my 6 years of practical Java experience
measure up against an ancient degree?

> But... the world is chaning a bit. Nowadays it is shifting to where
> those with 'the talent' are also starting to follow up with getting
> degrees. Just like the days where an engineer had to have poor personal
> hygene to be percieved as being a good programmer have faded away, so
> too the times when degrees are a negative when looking at programmers is
> now fading also.
>


True. Those with money left over after the melt-down are
pursuing a piece of paper just to prove that they know
what they know. So maybe we should all just become
professors? ;-)
(Tenure is looking mighty attractive right now!)


Jon A. Cruz 06-30-2003 05:12 PM

Re: typical entry level job
 
amaass wrote:
> "Jon A. Cruz" <jon@joncruz.org> wrote:
> How does one judge talent? It isn't obvious. In someone fresh out of school,
> I would look at GPA and ask about projects, particularly extra-credit or
> independent projects. I might give a few short quizzes on the technologies
> the project I'm hiring for is using. I'd ask former bosses, co-workers, and
> professors about the candidate's intellectual curiosity. I'd seek evidence
> of flexibility when it comes to solving problems.


Ahh, here's a good point. In a good hiring process the company and
interviewers should not focus so much on what a candidate knows, but
rather on what he has done.

The best indicator of furture performance is past behavior. And large
companies are even doing some nice training about this.


brougham3@yahoo.com 06-30-2003 11:46 PM

Re: typical entry level job
 
"Jon A. Cruz" <jon@joncruz.org> wrote:

>Ahh, here's a good point. In a good hiring process the company and
>interviewers should not focus so much on what a candidate knows, but
>rather on what he has done.


Err...I'd focus more on what he *can* do. Show me that you know what you're
talking about.

Anybody can talk a good talk. Claiming experience is a lot different from
having experience and having the aptitude to apply it to current situations.

Jon A. Cruz 07-01-2003 06:11 AM

Re: typical entry level job
 
brougham3@yahoo.com wrote:
> "Jon A. Cruz" <jon@joncruz.org> wrote:
>
>
>>Ahh, here's a good point. In a good hiring process the company and
>>interviewers should not focus so much on what a candidate knows, but
>>rather on what he has done.

>
>
> Err...I'd focus more on what he *can* do. Show me that you know what you're
> talking about.
>
> Anybody can talk a good talk. Claiming experience is a lot different from
> having experience and having the aptitude to apply it to current situations.


But that's the whole point of focusing on past performance.

Once you start drilling down to get details on various past projects the
*can* will fall into place. Otherwise you are just wasting time and
hiring someone who interviews well instead of someone who works well.

Once you start talking with someone about something they actually did,
they can fill you in on all sorts of details. On the other hand, if
you're talking to someone who just kinda slacked off and let others on
his project do the brunt of the work, then they won't be as up on the
details of what was really done.

Instead of trick quesions and language traps, focus on drilling down on
things like 'In the work field, what challenge are you most proud of
having overcome?', etc.


brougham3@yahoo.com 07-01-2003 11:03 AM

Re: typical entry level job
 
"Jon A. Cruz" <jon@joncruz.org> wrote:

>Otherwise you are just wasting time and
>hiring someone who interviews well instead of someone who works well.


We disagree on the method, but we're both trying to accomplish the same
thing. :)


All times are GMT. The time now is 11:51 PM.

Powered by vBulletin®. Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO ©2010, Crawlability, Inc.