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Starting a Software Career

Paul Puodziukas
Greenhorn

Joined: Aug 25, 2001
Posts: 16
( 1 ) What would be the most marketable skill set for a begginer to have with java in order to land an internship situation ? ( perhaps java/ html or java/ perl ? )

( 2 ) What is the best way to get an internship as a java programmer? It seems that you have to just formulate a resume, send them out to companies you like, and see if they're interested in hiring you on informally at $10/ hr. Is this the best way and that's just how it is?
John Coxey
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 24, 2000
Posts: 503
Paul:
If you are a beginner looking for an internship - here are my suggestions:
1. Get the SCJP / SCJD / UML exams under your belt.
2. Get JSP under your belt.
3. Get EJB done - although this may take some time.
4. Get a sophomore/junior level data structures class out of the way.
5. If you are in college - and I can't stress this enough - by all means talk to your professors / department chairs / deans. It's amazing the contacts that these guys have. Fortunately, for you - 90% of your fellow students are too lazy to pursue them.
You may want to see if the college/professor has an in-house research project. I know it may not be business related - but it's something that you can use to show-off your programming talents. It gives you something to talk about during the real-world interviews. Meaning - now you can show how you used your brain for solving a problem. You can list the steps involved. Hell, write the steps you used on the whiteboard during your interview.
I've said this before. If your college can not or will not provide you with a 3 to 6 month Java project (you don't have to get paid) - then you are going to the wrong college. That's the way it is.
I know - USA colleges are 20 yrs behind the times - this is why an internship / project is so important. It is also the reason USA companies are hiring H1B's as overseas IT schools seem to appear to focus more on real-world technologies than US colleges. It certainly seems true of the folks that work here. I am amazed at how much real-world knowledge some of the 23-25 yr old overseas folks are bringing into the company.
Do you see how the game is played?
This is why I laugh at these folks who want to jump into and out of the computer programming field - like it was working for McDonalds. This is a career - not a job.
--------
Sorry if I rambled on a bit - but it's been rough going here the past few weeks. Lots of 60-70 hour weeks lately.
John Coxey
(jpcoxey@aol.com)
[This message has been edited by John Coxey (edited October 15, 2001).]


John Coxey
Evansville, Indiana, USA
John Coxey
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 24, 2000
Posts: 503
Paul:
Some sources (other than college) for internships:
1. Networking/Friends
2. Look at www.brassring.com
3. Look at www.flipdog.com
4. There are some specific sites geared towards college students and employement. Check with the career service folks at your college. Again, screw what 99% of the other students say. If you know how to use these folks - they can be an awesome asset.
5. There are some employement books at Borders or Barnes & Noble. Look at these - I think they had red covers on them. Take some paper/pens and write the info down. I tell you, it's a damned shame they don't have copy machines at these places.
6. You may want to write to specific HR departments regarding possible internship opportunities. Don't sent a resume out first - just ask for information. If you get a name - then you can use it on a cover letter/resume.
Hope this helps,
John Coxey
(jpcoxey@aol.com)
William Barnes
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 16, 2001
Posts: 986

I can only disagree with John a little. I think that for an intern position asking someone to have 3 different certificates is a bit of an overkill. All the suggestions about talking to your teachers and getting at-school projects are very good.
To answer your question specifically; perl and html are both good skills. html is really easy to pick up, the basics at least. Perl is nice as a substitute for unix shell scripts and can be less easy to pick up, but not difficult. I go out of my way to use perl instead of shell scripts. Try and find a small project that you would enjoy working on, a personal web page maybe, and use that as a way of learning new skills.


Please ignore post, I have no idea what I am talking about.
Thomas Whalen
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 26, 2001
Posts: 123
Christopher,
I am amazed at how just taking the time to look at your profile (most people don't have any information in their profile, so it's no biggy) showed that you live in Boston, Mass. Is that correct? Just the fact that you live in Mass. is inspiration to me, since I live in Pittsfield, Mass. and was beginning to think that I am the ONLY person in the state who wants to program for a living. j/k.
Anyway, I have talked to a lot of people and they say that Pittsfield is a poor place to try and land a progrmaming position (yes, I have never had a full-time paid programming position), that I need to move onward. What is your opinion about the job market in Mass. for entry level programmers? I am just learning Java, but am comfortable with HTML, PHP, ASP, some Visual Basic.
The college I attend is STCC (Springfield Technical Community College), and while I impressed with how the professors seem to be current with technology and some are very strong fundamentally with things like System Analysis, I feel that the college does not provide the student with a gateway to job opportunities. I know I need to do a lot more researching, but so far, after having talked to my System Analysis & Design professor, I am not feeling too good about things right now. The Enterprise Park that is situated across the street from the college, and is designed specifically for providing students with internships and new businesses in the community with incubation-like benefits, is a joke.
I would very much appreciate it if you would contact me in person, by email or phone (if you wish, which you can obtain by emailing me).
thanks,
Thomas
tmwhalens@yahoo.com


if you don't know, then ask. if you do know, then share. love is knowledge.
William Barnes
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 16, 2001
Posts: 986

I will drop you a line tonight. The bartender for this forum, Mark Herschberg, is also from Boston. One of those smart MIT people.
 
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subject: Starting a Software Career