General Development

What Degree? – bennythebear

bennythebear

Member

Posts: 1225
From: kentucky,usa
Registered: 12-13-2003
I'm currently going to DeVry Online and I'm going to be going for a B.S. in Computer Information Systems. I'm worried though that once I graduate I won't be able to find a job. Every programming job within 100 miles of here that I find on monster requires a B.S. degree(CIS is acceptable) AND 2 years or more of experience, even entry level jobs. So I was wondering how do you get the experience if you can't get a job to get it? Would be writing my own small games, apps, and asp sites for around 3 years count as experience? (the time it will take me to finish the degree). I need some good advice from people who have got jobs in the programming field, whether it's something like Clint is doing, or game development. What do employers look for in a developer, what experience do I need, how do I get that experience???

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proverbs 17:28
Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

proverbs 25:7
open rebuke is better than secret love.

www.gfa.org - Gospel for Asia

www.persecution.com - Voice of the Martyrs

ArchAngel

Member

Posts: 3450
From: SV, CA, USA
Registered: 01-29-2002
Internships is an ideal way to start. a company many times will hire you after an internship ends.

Get on your internships before your degree ends and make connections in the industry.
It's ALWAYS about who you know.

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"The generation of random numbers is too important to leave to chance."
Soterion Studios

HanClinto

Administrator

Posts: 1828
From: Indiana
Registered: 10-11-2004
I got my first "resume-worthy experience" from two things -- small "contract sized" projects (like a radio automation program I wrote for my college's media department), and by doing an internships (that turned into a 4-year stint after graduation). I had been programming on my own (mostly games) throughout high-school/college, and the experience from that gave me confidence and knowledge about how to work on projects, and that helped land me a job/internship as well.

It's not the only way to go, but that's how God led me as I was trying to figure out what to do.

--clint

jestermax

Member

Posts: 1064
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: 06-21-2006
At my first college i had a year of co-op which is where i got a ton of my knowledge and experience from.
I'd suggest trying to find an intern placement like arch said. If you're lucky you could even get paid for it.

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Visit my portfolio (and check out my projects):
www.JestermaxStudios.com

InsanePoet

Member

Posts: 638
From: Vermont, USA
Registered: 03-12-2003
I'm not a coder, but I am IT. I started with "help desk technician" job. Those can be easier to get into than an entry level coding job.

Might consider coding as the others suggested, which is often unpaid and get an IT job. In IT you'll learn a lot of organization which is a skill that every employer of every profession desires. It will also broaden your skill set and not limit you to just coding, but allow you to go into computer support as well. And since it's customer support, it will show that you have experience dealing with people, which is a skill often lacking in the programming field.

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"I find myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world!"
-C. S. Lewis

samw3

Member

Posts: 542
From: Toccoa, GA, USA
Registered: 08-15-2006
You may want to consider adding a code portfolio to your resume. For many employers, "experience required" is a flexible thing. However, I would only recommend this if your code really *shines*. Otherwise, it may be drawback.

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Sam Washburn

ArchAngel

Member

Posts: 3450
From: SV, CA, USA
Registered: 01-29-2002
if your not getting paid for an internship, you're getting ripped off.
but then again, I live in the highest paid city in the nation and most internship positions pay okay (15-20 an hour). Symantec does 30 an hour.
I got jipped for my internship, but hey, I'm not complaining.
from what I saw, unpaid programming internships are a thing of the past.

and like Samw3 said, it's experience is flexible. more of a guideline.

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"The generation of random numbers is too important to leave to chance."
Soterion Studios

MastaLlama

Member

Posts: 671
From: Houston, TX USA
Registered: 08-10-2005
In High School I won 1st place at the Region and Area competitions in 3 different categories. One of the categories was a website. It was done entirely in HTML but it got the info across in a very pleasing manner.

My first job out of high school was a job "proof reading" websites before they went into production for a small web development firm. I branched out on my own into programming with ASP/VBScript, VB, and Flash development.

Due to a down-size (all eggs were in 1 basket with 1 account and my boss screwed 'em and lost the account) I found myself working for myself. I did that for 4 years and made a nice bit of money just doing small database apps for websites (some shopping carts, ecommerce, etc...).

I have an Associate's Degree of Arts. Most of my resume is experience stuff and very little education stuff.

dartsman

Member

Posts: 484
From: Queensland, Australia
Registered: 03-16-2006
Everyone has their own past experience and past skills, everyone is different. Job posts are typically their 'ideal' candidate, though there are normally a selection of 'required' skills. There will be some things which you will have to show to even get past HR, but then there will be some things that the company could do without, or could teach you on the spot, and so will be overlooked (but having them will be a bonus).

A good thing to is to join a group who are working on a project your interested in or just form one of your own. Get some Team based project experience, and show that you can work on a team project and get it finished.

Your best bet is to get a good code and project portfolio ready. I work at the university that I studied at, as a lab supervisor (opening labs and helping programming students). I see a lot of students who are quite good, but end up not getting jobs due to being unprepared. When you finish uni, you better have a decent portfolio ready for any potential company to see.

For a coder, get a code snippet (or all the code for a small project), and have several finished projects (games or software, depending on what your wanting to get into).

Also, have a look at the jobs you want to do, and look at what they want from it. They are telling you exactly what they would like from you for that job.

I landed a job as Junior Programmer at Auran (www.auran.com) just over 10 months ago, but had gone to 2 QA tester interviews before I got a job there. The job wasn't offered on their site or anything, but the lead coder asked me at the end of the 2nd interview if I could send him an example of my stuff, then he sent me the exam to do, and then I was phoned up a day or two later with the job offer (I'm guessing I did ok in the exam)...

I now have 2 paid jobs and also am doing some volunteer work at Rebel Planet Creations as a Programmer in QA...

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jonwarner.net

bennythebear

Member

Posts: 1225
From: kentucky,usa
Registered: 12-13-2003
so if my cousin and me worked on several small apps, and small games, and like one or 2 big apps through the course of my schooling that would be usable experience? I plan on my main thing being web development. so my list of skills to learn/learn-more-of are :

c#
asp.net
sql
css
xhtml
javascript

my hobby of game development i'll be using:
c#
directx
asp.net
sql

so i guess my second question would these skills be good to have?
c#/asp.net/sql/css/xhtml with a pinch of directx & game development thrown in?

------------------
proverbs 17:28
Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

proverbs 25:7
open rebuke is better than secret love.

www.gfa.org - Gospel for Asia

www.persecution.com - Voice of the Martyrs

steveth45

Member

Posts: 536
From: Eugene, OR, USA
Registered: 08-10-2005
quote:
Originally posted by ArchAngel:
from what I saw, unpaid programming internships are a thing of the past.

Not yet.

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+---------+
|steveth45|
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Matt Langley
Member

Posts: 247
From: Eugene, OR, USA
Registered: 08-31-2006
quote:
Originally posted by steveth45:
Not yet.


haha... very true. We still do unpaid internships. We find some fresh and dedicated talent that way. A large portion of GG has been hired from internships, including our CEO. We also provide intern housing.

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Matthew Langley
Lead Documentation Engineer
GarageGames

dartsman

Member

Posts: 484
From: Queensland, Australia
Registered: 03-16-2006
quote:
so if my cousin and me worked on several small apps, and small games, and like one or 2 big apps through the course of my schooling that would be usable experience?

umm yes and no... it's still not the same as if you did that in a professional manor. Hobby and Professional experience still are rated differently. Some companies prefer more hobby experience (typically means the person is more independent, self motivated and other similar qualities), but on the same note, some companies prefer more professional experience. It's a fine balancing act...

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jonwarner.net

ArchAngel

Member

Posts: 3450
From: SV, CA, USA
Registered: 01-29-2002
I never said they were gone (although it looked like that).
I meant they were fading.

I don't think it'd be unlikely for Benny to get a paid internship.

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"The generation of random numbers is too important to leave to chance."
Soterion Studios

InsanePoet

Member

Posts: 638
From: Vermont, USA
Registered: 03-12-2003
take the better experience over the paycheck while you still have the liberty to do so.

This may mean unpaid internships, it may just mean less pay, but at this point in the game, the paycheck should not really be on the radar. If you get paid, then great, but don't sacrifice the experience for a few nickels and dimes at the cost of dollars later.

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"I find myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world!"
-C. S. Lewis

ArchAngel

Member

Posts: 3450
From: SV, CA, USA
Registered: 01-29-2002
I know I'm not the only one here, but I really don't have that option. (unless it's a 5-10 hour a week internship, I'd probably take that up)
experience is nice, but it won't pay the bills until after your evicted, or your car repossessed, etc etc.

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"The generation of random numbers is too important to leave to chance."
Soterion Studios

InsanePoet

Member

Posts: 638
From: Vermont, USA
Registered: 03-12-2003
Realize that I was careful to preface my statements with "while you have the liberty to do so"

I would encourage young students not to purchase a vehicle. Vehicles are a huge expense and burden and when in the learning student phase really limit what sort of work can take.

A young student going on to campus really, often has no expenses. His room and board is built into the bill and often covered by at the very least student loans. There is no rent check, no car insurance check, no gas money. If you receive zero income all needs would still be met.

However, if you chose to take the mundane and unfruitful experience for the benefit of money, you will be stuck doing that mundane task for much much longer than desirable.

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"I find myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world!"
-C. S. Lewis

ArchAngel

Member

Posts: 3450
From: SV, CA, USA
Registered: 01-29-2002
yeah, I saw that preface and my post wasn't necessary a rebuttal towards yours, but rather an explanation of my and many other's situations.

As for a vehicle, I bought and paid a decent sum for my car, and am also forking over gas money and insurance. and yes, it is extremely expensive. But if I were to go back in time, I'd do it all over again.

and I can't afford room and board on campus. I could barely afford tuition last year (room and board is not covered in tuition). Getting an apartment with a friend would be cheaper (1bedrooms go around 1k a month here), but I would still need to work as much as I do too keep my head above the water.
and, well, taking a girl out is a bit easier when you have your own car.
just saying, it's not as simple as you explained. Not where I live.
besides, I find working during school to be both a valuable experience and a productive break from homework.

but all in all, I am pretty biased. My car is one of the few things I enjoy in life. I love to drive her and I love to work on her. I can get unreasonably defensive sometimes when someone suggests that I shouldn't have gotten my car.

and to keep on topic.
Good luck, benny!

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"The generation of random numbers is too important to leave to chance."
Soterion Studios

Cohort X

Member

Posts: 126
From: The Great Pacific Northwest
Registered: 09-16-2006
I think for the average student the time when you could just take out a student loan, and maybe a scholorship or two, and go through college is becoming a thing of the past. Tuition has been increasing at two to three times the rate of inflation. So while my degree cost about 40,000 to get someone doing the exact same program starting the year I graduated would have to pay about 52,000 if they started now, three years after I graduated it will cost them approximately 67,000. I think this is the big reason why most students cannot do an unpaid internship anymore unless their parents are fully funding their education.
Matt Langley
Member

Posts: 247
From: Eugene, OR, USA
Registered: 08-31-2006
My degree was 60k+, I worked my way through college, after graduating I did an unpaid internship for 2 1/2 months. If you really set yourself on something you find that the excuses tend to fade away

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Matthew Langley
Lead Documentation Engineer
GarageGames

ArchAngel

Member

Posts: 3450
From: SV, CA, USA
Registered: 01-29-2002
well, I'm working my way through college and doing a paid internship for 2 1/2 months.
and I needed the money, too. finally out of debt. avoided student loans altogether, too.

I'm not saying unpaid internships are terrible. I just saying it's more and more common to get a paid internship now.

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"The generation of random numbers is too important to leave to chance."
Soterion Studios

bennythebear

Member

Posts: 1225
From: kentucky,usa
Registered: 12-13-2003
young student with wife and kid, so i don't really have that liberty...but with that said, i would take an unpaid internship if it was the right kind of experience, but that's because i could "lean" on dad, and then later i would be a lot better off. right now i'm working at mcdonald's, so go to working for free wouldn't be much of a pay cut.

*how do i go about looking/getting an internship???

*edit

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proverbs 17:28
Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

proverbs 25:7
open rebuke is better than secret love.

www.gfa.org - Gospel for Asia

www.persecution.com - Voice of the Martyrs

[This message has been edited by bennythebear (edited August 01, 2007).]

ArchAngel

Member

Posts: 3450
From: SV, CA, USA
Registered: 01-29-2002
well, check DeVry's resources. many colleges and stuff have programs where you can look for internships. My university hosts career fairs where hundreds of companies put up booths and you can talk to the hiring managers, turn in your resume, etc.
Job hunting. you can look around at the individual companies. many will state they are looking for interns. (e.g. GarageGames, which I admit, while unpaid, sounds like fun)
use connections. Connections have to be the most effective way on landing a job. I don't know who you know, and how much an option this is, but ask your friends in companies your interested in if their hiring.
you're already using stuff like Monster, so, that's good. maybe look for similar sites, like www.collegegrad.com/internships/ , etc.

basically, pursue it like a job. turn in resumes. talk to hiring managers.
other than that, I have no more advice to give.

also, for unpaid internships, many give benefits to outweigh the free labor. so on my entire argument against unpaid internships, technically, I have one. I get a stipend every month to cover whatever expenses I have (like those flowmaster mufflers). so it's like getting paid without taxes, although technically it's scholarship money.

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"The generation of random numbers is too important to leave to chance."
Soterion Studios

WalkMan
Junior Member

Posts: 5
From: San Antonio, TX, USA
Registered: 07-16-2007
Here's my 2...

Yes, C# and ASP.Net are worthy of pursuing. Since the C# language is similar in structure to Java, begin studying Java on the side. You'll find that a majority of the ads for programmers ask for one or the other.

Contrary to what you've heard or been told, you don't need a degree to get a great computer job. I started my job at $65k/year without a degree. I had two things going for me - experience and knowledge.

Experience doesn't always come from a full-time programming job. A great way to get experience is to begin consulting on the side. Many of the resumes you can find on the Internet have some form of consulting on them. My first paying computer job was to write a classified ad web app in PERL way back in 1994. I didn't even know the language when I took the job. I went to the local bookstore, bought a book on PERL, and taught myself how to do it. I continued to do the same thing to accumulate experience.

Networking at church can be amazingly successful. Check with the churches in your area to find opportunities to help out with their web sites. Develop a program to help churches manage their membership lists, offering financials, emails & newsletters, etc.

Learn everything you can in your chosen area of expertise. I conduct technical interviews for my employer (a Fortune 500 company) and I can tell you this - degree or not, you need to become an expert in what you're doing. Get Microsoft certified in C#, ASP.Net, and Sun Certified in Java. They prove competence and are a positive attribute.

Finally, don't give up. Even the best programmers don't get hired right away. Companies have a filtering process that takes time. You may have to go through many interviews before getting hired. View each of them as an opportunity to polish your skills in presenting yourself and your qualifications.

Good Luck!
Scott