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Experience with SetFocus

Michael Pearson
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 11, 2001
Posts: 351
I'm changing careers from Controls Engineering to Software Development and eventually hope to have a role as a Software Architect. I came across this firm in Parsippany, NJ and thought I'd see if anyone else at the Java Ranch had run into SetFocus.
SetFocus offers training for Java or MSCD certification and a 9-month position for entry-level IT consultants.
If you have experience with this company I'd like to read your opinions of them. I've interviewed and been offered a position.
Any general opinions of immersion training programs would also be appreciated.
Thanks,
Mike
John Coxey
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 24, 2000
Posts: 503
Mike:
Is this the outfit that you go to training - and then sign a contract saying you will work for them for next 9 months.
I think they contract you out to other firms (correct me if I am wrong).
I don't know anything about them - but did see them advertise alot in the NJ marketplace 2 years ago.
BTW/ How is the pay? Is it adequate for NJ?
Also, if you do accept the job - can you let us know how things went / your impressions. I was curious about this company when I saw their advertisements in the paper.
Later,
John Coxey
(jpcoxey@aol.com)


John Coxey
Evansville, Indiana, USA
Michael Pearson
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 11, 2001
Posts: 351
John,
Yes, this is the outfit that gives you 3 months of training in exchange for a 9-month contract to work for them. After fulfilling the work commitment you're free to do anything you want.
There is no pay during the training. During the 9-month consulting period the pay is $2,500 per month. I haven't had an entry-level job in awhile, but I think this is a little low.
SetFocus�s business model gets you free training and some entry-level experience, but they are making money from the firm they contract you out too.
I'm arrogant enough to think I can continue learning on my own and find a job where I live (KC). This was an interesting opportunity, but not one that makes me want to move to NJ.
Mike
Chris Cingrani
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 21, 2000
Posts: 69
Michael -
You might want to look around a bit more before moving to NJ. I went through a similar training program with a place called Chubb Computer Services (also based out of NJ). However, Chubb has offices all over the country offering the same program (in my case, I took the classes in Chicago). I think if you look around, you can find a similar program closer to KC.
As for the program at Chubb, I thought it was excellent. Their placement left a little to be desired (I was the only one placed out of 11 people), but the classes were top notch.
Hope that helps -
Chris
Michael Pearson
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 11, 2001
Posts: 351
Chris,
Why were you the only one placed after training?
Did you have a more marketable background?
I haven't found a company in KC that does what Chubb or SetFocus do, but I'm still looking.
I took an aptitude test at ExecuTrain. They offer a training scholarship and placement services through Bernard Haldane if you get a 100%. Unfortunately, I got a 92, which means I'd have to pay $16K if I want to take their training.
I have practical programming experience, so I think some training would allow me to shift gears into a Java career. I can't get a job programming Java until I know a heck of a lot more than I do right now.
Mike
Chris Cingrani
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 21, 2000
Posts: 69
Mike -
My background prior to Chubb was in corporate computer sales (networks, servers, etc.).
The problem with placement at Chubb was due to them being newer to the Chicago area (they had been there for about a year). So, they didn't have as many contacts within businesses as they needed. Also, the recruiters working for Chubb weren't the best. However, during the initial interview process with Chubb, they quoted something like a 98% placement rate. This is true, but it was their national average, not their Chicago average. Unfortunately, we found this out after we had all started.
As for why I was the only one placed, I guess it had to do with the fact that I went to a career fair and one of the companies contacted me for an interview. I setup the initial interview and got my Chubb recruiter involved once I had passed the initial test and first interview (they took over for the negotiations).
As someone who used to live in Overland Park, I know the KC area has an abundance of local colleges. What about taking a Java class at KU or at UMKC?
Also, I believe there is a Java User's Group in the KC area. Maybe they could refer you to some local training programs. Just an idea...
Good luck -
Chris

[This message has been edited by Chris Cingrani (edited March 29, 2001).]
Michael Pearson
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 11, 2001
Posts: 351
Thanks Chris,
If there is a local user's group I'll find it.
OP is the hot spot in the city for sure. I've got a full time job with excessive travel (50%) which keeps me from taking traditional college or night courses. I'm planning on quitting and finding something with less travel, which is where the Java career comes in.
I live in Lawrence; did you happen to attend KU or Missouri?
Mike
Chris Cingrani
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 21, 2000
Posts: 69
Mike -
Here is the link to the User's group in KC. I don't have any information about them, I just ran across it one day when looking for a User's Group in Chicago. http://home.kc.rr.com/krzysztow/JavaSIG/
I'm glad to hear that OP is still a hot spot for jobs. My wife and I are thinking about moving back there in the near future.
As for school, I actually attended college in Iowa (Drake University). I just ended up in KC after graduation. However, my wife's brother lives in Lawrence, so we still make it there for a visit a couple times of year.
Chris

[This message has been edited by Chris Cingrani (edited March 29, 2001).]
Michael Pearson
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 11, 2001
Posts: 351
Chris,
I'm familiar with Drake. I had a friend from High School that went there in the late 80's. It's one of those regional schools that gives you a great education, but isn't known nationally.
If you are looking to move back to the OP area check out the Silicon Prarie web-site.
Experienced Java programmers are in demand, and there aren�t a stampede of east or west coast programmers that wants to live in the Heartland. I don't know why. This is a great place to raise a family and the cost of living can't be beat.
Mike
Chris Cingrani
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 21, 2000
Posts: 69
Mike -
Thanks for the link. I checked it out and I think it will definitely be a good resource once I start looking in the OP area.
Your absolutely right about the KC area being a great place to raise a family at a cheaper cost of living. Those are two of the many reasons why my wife wants to move back there!
Chris
 
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