typical entry level job

Discussion in 'Java' started by happyrav, Jun 28, 2003.

  1. happyrav

    happyrav Guest

    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, Jun 28, 2003
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. happyrav

    happyrav Guest

    "amaass" <> wrote in message news:<ME5La.38787$XG4.25134@rwcrnsc53>...
    > "happyrav" <> 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
     
    happyrav, Jun 28, 2003
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. happyrav

    amaass Guest

    "happyrav" <> wrote:
    > "amaass" <> wrote:
    > > "happyrav" <> 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
     
    amaass, Jun 29, 2003
    #3
  4. happyrav

    Jon A. Cruz Guest

    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.
     
    Jon A. Cruz, Jun 30, 2003
    #4
  5. happyrav

    amaass Guest

    "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!)


    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
     
    amaass, Jun 30, 2003
    #5
  6. happyrav

    Sudsy Guest

    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!)
     
    Sudsy, Jun 30, 2003
    #6
  7. happyrav

    Jon A. Cruz Guest

    amaass wrote:
    > "Jon A. Cruz" <> 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.
     
    Jon A. Cruz, Jun 30, 2003
    #7
  8. happyrav

    Guest

    "Jon A. Cruz" <> 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.
     
    , Jul 1, 2003
    #8
  9. happyrav

    Jon A. Cruz Guest

    wrote:
    > "Jon A. Cruz" <> 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.
     
    Jon A. Cruz, Jul 1, 2003
    #9
  10. happyrav

    Guest

    "Jon A. Cruz" <> 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. :)
     
    , Jul 1, 2003
    #10
  11. happyrav

    Jon A. Cruz Guest

    wrote:
    > "Jon A. Cruz" <> 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. :)


    Yes...

    But the method I'm focusing on is now being tought in actual classes on
    the subject. I'm not sure of the terms, but the HR 'industry' is
    starting to get things down better, and has learned many lessons.

    BTW, the training is manditory in my company (a fairly large one) for
    anyone who is going to be in on interviews. And after doing hiring in
    the industry for 15 years, I have to say that my experience does back up
    the methods they focused on (even though they did say not to do a few of
    my favorite things)
     
    Jon A. Cruz, Jul 1, 2003
    #11
    1. Advertising

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

It takes just 2 minutes to sign up (and it's free!). Just click the sign up button to choose a username and then you can ask your own questions on the forum.
Similar Threads
  1. Rick
    Replies:
    7
    Views:
    476
  2. AtomicBob
    Replies:
    14
    Views:
    953
    Toby Inkster
    May 2, 2006
  3. pabbu
    Replies:
    8
    Views:
    757
    Marc Boyer
    Nov 7, 2005
  4. Mike Owen

    Allowing entry of a Carriage Return during data entry

    Mike Owen, Jul 27, 2006, in forum: ASP .Net Web Controls
    Replies:
    3
    Views:
    772
    Alessandro Zifiglio
    Jul 27, 2006
  5. Noozer
    Replies:
    2
    Views:
    290
    Dr John Stockton
    Aug 1, 2005
Loading...

Share This Page