Life After College....job hunts, questions...etc etc

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Alan Erceg, Sep 25, 2002.

  1. Alan Erceg

    Alan Erceg Stunt Coordinator

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    I have been thinking about this....and was thinking i could get some opinions on some people here...


    I am currently in my last term of school. I graduated from high school in 2001 in june...and then went straight to a tech school. i chose a tech school for the main reason that i could take the core classes i wanted and not have to worry about taking history and literature etc etc..... I started there about 2 weeks after i graduated high school in july of 2001. I graduate in December of this year with an Associates Degree in Computer Information Management(Heavy on Programming).

    Here is my question...or questions i should say...

    Where to start and how to put this into words....

    I know what i want to do in my life. I love to program i really do....i get joys out of sitting down in front of a computer and programming. I like debugging ... I like everything to do about programming.

    An Example of this. A friend and myself were working on our final project for Ada over the last few days...jsut the 2 of us. This project was recommended by our instructor for 4 people at least. We had to write a proposal on why we thought we could do it with just the 2 of us. Anyways we had one error...for 2 days..couldnt figure it out. When we finally did figure it out...that feeling was just unreal. Thats what im talking about. I felt proud after that. Cheesy i know...but maybe someone who programms can understand what im talking about.....

    anyhow....The course im taking is an 18 month course.

    The Languages I have taken so far:
    C++
    VB
    Ada
    Unix Shell Scripting
    Cobol
    Javascript
    HTML

    Languages I will take this term:
    Assembler

    Now out of those languages i feel strong and really comfortable working in C++, VB, Javascript, HTML, and Ada. I can program in COBOL....but i hate it....its the one language ive taken so far ive hated. Unix Shell i can manage in...but im not the best in it as compared to the other languages.

    So i guess what im trying to figure out for myself is after im done in December...what do i want to do?

    Is it plausible to go out into the workforce without any real work experience and get a decent job??

    I am interested in getting some certifications....but not sure where to start.

    Would it be better(if anyone has experience in having done this) to transfer my credits to a 4 year college and go for a bachelor's??

    This is how i feel about my abilities.

    I know what im capable of. I feel i can program almost anything in C++, ADA, VB, or JavaScript that is asked of me. I am comfortable working with Novell Netware Clients and Servers. I have and can build a computer from scratch. I myself feel confident in what i can do....its just showing that to someone else.

    anyone offer any insight...or comments...would be appreciated.

    Thanks
    Alan
     
  2. Sean Conklin

    Sean Conklin Screenwriter

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    I am taking Computer engineering and networking at ITT. And I have just started the C++, and have done the VB (Visual Basics?). I am in the 3rd quarter.

    I hear there is a better market for networkers than electronic repair and engineering.

    I would look into Networking.
     
  3. Alan Erceg

    Alan Erceg Stunt Coordinator

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    Sean,

    Thanks for the reply. I have taken 2 networking classes already. I have one more to come this term TCP/IP. I like networking.....but i enjoy programming better.

    Alan
     
  4. Steven K

    Steven K Supporting Actor

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  5. Alan Erceg

    Alan Erceg Stunt Coordinator

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    Steven,

    Thanks for the reply. As far as preparing for the job interview what do you mean exactly?

    Should i say be expecting a pontential employer to say in an interview program this or program that? to say gauge my abilities?? I would have no problem doing that....but just wondering if that would be considered the norm.


    Im just curious....its like im getting ready to go out in the real world...and i dont know what to expect....


    To put it in realistic terms i dont expect to come right out of school and land a 60,000 a year job or even half of that. I know my first job could be at a help desk or something. I accept that....i know i have to work my way up and am willing to do so.

    Any other comments.....??

    Thanks
    Alan
     
  6. Alan Erceg

    Alan Erceg Stunt Coordinator

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    Steven,

    as for Ada....yeah i guess they do still teach it at least at my school. I think it is a rather interesting language and enjoy programming in it.....


    Alan
     
  7. Steven K

    Steven K Supporting Actor

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    Alan,

    While you probably wont land a $60K a year job right out of school, you should be able to land a $35K-$40K job, depending on the part of the country you are in.

    In preparing for your interview, you will want to learn as much as you can about the company, the position, and the technologies that they have. Before going in for the interview, you will probably have a chance to talk to the person who will be interviewing you, or at least someone who works for them. This is when it is best to ask questions.

    I found my job on Monster.com... there was a detailed job description there. I received a call from my ex-boss (she was my boss when she hired me) asking me if I would be interested in interviewing. Of course, I said yes, and asked her a few questions about the position, etc...

    For instance, I knew, from reading the job description and from asking my ex-boss some questions, that the main programming languages that she was looking for a candidate to be strong is were C and C++. Of course this was great news for me, as these are the languages that I am strongest in, but I still brushed up on some aspects that I wasn't particularly strong in.

    As for Ada, to be completely honest, I really haven't seen a demand in the marketplace for Ada programmers. CC++ and Java are the languages in demand, moreso with CC++. Of course, having Ada listed on your resume is still another language you can list.
     
  8. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    they taught ADA at my university in the lowest level CS class up until they replaced it with VB about, I dunno 1 or 2 years ago. Back in 96 when I took C (different U.) my choices were C or fortran90 [​IMG]
    for the record I hate programming [​IMG]
     
  9. Kenneth

    Kenneth Supporting Actor

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    Since "Behavioral Interviewing" and variations on that theme are popular in interviews now (in addition to the technical interviews) another good preparation technique is to review any key projects or major activities you have done in school. Behavioral questions will often focus on problem solving skills (tell me about a time when you found an innovative solution to a complex problem), stress, and other key job skills. Without work experience you should use your school background as the first drawing point and then personal background as the secondary. Remember that when behavioral questions are asked they are looking for sufficient detail to verify that you actually possess the skill in question. Don't give them a play-by-play but give them as many specifics as possible (date/time, key participants names, etc). Good luck.

    Kenneth
     
  10. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    back on the interview topic. I actually just 2 nights ago went to a discussion with an airline captain that interviews for his airline (major airline, guy was super cool). Get all the practice you can, most schools offer mock interviews, try to get in on a few, dress well, in my profession anything but a black suit, white shirt, and red tie is literally unheard of, just wouldn't happen.
    For a techie position I always wore nice pants, a shirt, and a tie, but a suit wouldn't hurt. Remember the first 5 seconds is critical, comb your hair, trim your nails, all that shit.
    You will get chances to defend and sell yourself, so be prepared, a good example would be
    "tell me your biggest success"
    then a turnaround question would be
    "tell me your biggest failure"
    or
    "who is your best friend"
    "what is the worst thing they'd say about you"
    you can always have a (+) answer for each, like the best friend question something like "he/she'd say that I'm too dedicated to my goals of being a (insert career here) to spend enough time with them"
    for every selling yourself question you can usually expect a turnaround defending yourself question.
    do your research on the company, know who they are and their history, work it in.
    keep in mind while you're trying to be as attractive as you can be, the company is also trying to attract the best candidates they can, they'll probably ask why you want that job, or why you want to work for them, the answer is "why wouldn't I?! you're the best (insert whatever)"
    basically an interview consists of telling them what they want to hear in a manner that sounds sincere coming from you, while selling yourself like a common street whore whenever possible [​IMG]
    I would imagine the interview would be with your supervisor and an HR person if they have one, that's pretty common IME.
    that's my $.02 maybe I'll add more later as I recal it.
    Oh, also account for breaks in employment, to a HR pro that's a hige red flag that you were in jail/prison.
     
  11. Alan Erceg

    Alan Erceg Stunt Coordinator

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    Steven,

    I live just outside of Pittsburgh if that helps clear up what the salary in the job market would be. I feel C++ is my strongest language right now....but that is probably because i have studied it the most. Though Ada to me in a way is a lot like C++ with some different Syntax....Thanks for the interview tips as well. I would think i would have to research the company ...and there is no way i would go into an interview completely unprepared.

    Kenneth--Thanks for the tip on the "Behaviorial Interviewing"....interesting....

    Philip--Thanks for the tips on the interviewing part as well. Useful stuff...I know i would have to sell myself..but also defend myself....i cant act like im a know it all...but cant be scared to say what i think im capable off..

    Thanks again guys...
    keep the thoughts coming....

    Alan
     
  12. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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