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Prospects for aging engineers...

Donna Feller
Greenhorn

Joined: Jan 25, 2003
Posts: 22
Hi,
I have seen a lot of posts here from people having problems getting a job due to lack of
professional experience.
My problem seems to be at least partly that
I have too much of the wrong kind of experience.
That is to say, for the seven years leading up
to my layoff, I was comfortably working at a job using my then-current skills (C/C++ on Unix and
to a lesser extent Windows). Meanwhile, Java,etc
came along and now I am out on the street and
virtually nobody cares about C/C++ (and if they
do, it is for a particular application that I
DON'T have experience in, so forget me)...
Also, it feels like my length of experience (22 years!) is a liability rather than an asset. I know that I have to go out
and learn new stuff if I ever expect to earn
a decent wage again. But don't have the luxury of time to second-guess a best approach to this, so seeking opinions on this.
I know there are plenty of others out there in the same boat. Can any of you share your thoughts and experiences regarding new skills, ageism, etc?
And in general, any advice on how to make myself more marketable in the current climate and given my background would be appreciated.
Right now, I am planning to take the SCJP2 next week (been preparing for about 2 months off and on). And then considering SCWCD, and possibly SCJD (on the fence about the latter. On the one hand, it seems like a better measure of skills, on the other, with 22 years experience, do I really need to prove this?). But what else do
I need to do/know/prove? XML? Database? BTW,
I am also currently enrolled in a J2EE course.
I prefer working in Unix environments but if
Windows skills are more marketable, I have to
be practical.
In summary, appreciate any opinions on how someone in my situation can best proceed for
success in current technical market...
Thanks
Donna
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
I will never understand this. Foolish managers continually look to hire people with hot skills, when what they really want are smart, competent people.
I had a recruiter talk to me yesterday and his client is looking for someone with particular IDE skills. Who the hell cares? Unless you're a total moron you can learn an IDE in hours to days, and become a master in weeks to months.
More generally, a hiring manager should be looking to hire someone for a period of 2-5 years, the initial learning costs are neglible. With the possible exception of changing from procedural to OO code, or particular domain experience, I don't see any particular skill which cannot be overcome easily by an intelligent person.
Bottom line, although this may not be what you want to hear, I don't see it as a drawback. Companies that evaluate people in the short term make short term decisions, and I, personally, wouldn't want to work for them.
--Mark
Manish Hatwalne
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 22, 2001
Posts: 2578

Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:
I had a recruiter talk to me yesterday and his client is looking for someone with particular IDE skills. Who the hell cares? Unless you're a total moron you can learn an IDE in hours to days, and become a master in weeks to months
--Mark


I was asked this question a while back during one technical interview. He asked me if I knew JBuilder, I told him that I use JCreator Lite, and it can be customized for Swing Appplication, Servlets, Midlets (or whatever) with the required deployment options, folders and I can learn JBuilder if it is company's policy to use it. But he insisted that he needed someone who knew JBuilder!!!
Looks like you met the same guy
- Manish
Donna Feller
Greenhorn

Joined: Jan 25, 2003
Posts: 22
Well I have seen this happen throughout my 22 years but was always able to work around it one way or another. This market is unprecedented, and some of the requirements are downright impossible, wanting X years experience in Y
when Y has only been around for X-4 years, etc.
It has always irritated me, because as Mark pointed out, it is only conceptual stuff that
should be seen as any barrier...but it has
gone to the extreme now.
In any case, I don't have any input yet on my
actual question, which is, what advice do
people have for me GIVEN THAT I AM IN THIS
SITUATION???
I know I have to learn "new stuff", but what
"new stuff" will maximize my chances for success?
Am I scrambling with Java and J2ee, only to settle myself into a pool of dime-a-dozen
resources??? And, what database credentials do
I need to acquire?? Unfortunately, we had a
proprietary database at my last company, although
I have looked at DB stuff and it appears quite
simple. But again, nobody cares how simple it
seems to me...
My bottom line is that two years ago I was sitting
on a cushy salary and a mountain of stock options. Now that is all gone, and I still have
3 kids!!! I am only too happy to go out and
get whatever credentials I need to get, but
don't want to waste any time if I can avoid it.
I know no one can predict the future (wouldn't
we all in be in better shape now if we could?)
but just looking for some input to help me
plan my next moves.
Thanks again!
Donna
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Donna Feller:
In any case, I don't have any input yet on my
actual question, which is, what advice do
people have for me GIVEN THAT I AM IN THIS
SITUATION???
I know I have to learn "new stuff", but what
"new stuff" will maximize my chances for success?
Am I scrambling with Java and J2ee, only to settle myself into a pool of dime-a-dozen
resources??? And, what database credentials do
I need to acquire??

Well, having kids may make this advice impractical, but assuming you don't have immediate needs for income, I'd learn to meet better companies.
That sounds like a flip answer but I'm serious. There are plenty of solid companies out there who are hiring. Assuming you're a good developer and have decent communication skills, given 22 years experience, those companies would be happy to have you--you just need to find them.
Why should you jump through hoops you know are inappropriate. If they don't know how to hire people, what else don't they know how to do? market? manage? forecast?
Network, network, network and go find companies where 22 years of experience isn't a rarity.
--Mark
John Dunn
slicker
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 30, 2003
Posts: 1108
Donna,
For what it's worth, my two cents:
First off, try to relax. You're not the first person to be going through this. I had to restart my career at about 32, after having brain surgery, blah blah blah whatever... Long story, short: I'm okay but the experience really cleaned my career slate, so I can sympathize. When the internet started simmering, I took a gamble and got into it early and when the whole field switched gears, I was there waiting. (A good hunch and a VERY lucky break for me.) About 18 months later, I was way ahead of the folks that I had worked with previously, when I started my career. So, my point is: things change.
That said, it definitely sucks, but you can be right back on top of your game in a short time if you work hard. THAT is the upside to this field. You have a very awesome opportunity here. I'm not a big fan of Microsoft - (...so beat me with a wet noodle!!!) - but they die hard, so I think IMHO that C# & .NET will eventually provide jobs - if you get a cert in that area you may be able to catch that wave early. A lot of java folks stay away from it, b/c there is enough Java related work/new stuff to keep us busy.
Learning enough java to pass the SCJP and SCWCD tests is great. If you work on a college-course-expectation pace you can do those in six months. (SCJP won't be easy.) Learn XML no matter what, cause you'll need it. I'd recommend passing IBM-141 - just as a benchmark. Oh and yeah, you do need to prove yourself again. Get over it Did you care that someone was a cobol guru when you were getting pretty hot with C??
If you haven't worked with Java, XML, or webstuff I think you'll like it. Java is an easy language and compared to C - pointers, sockets, rpc, db connectivity, etc etc are all a piece of cake. My guess it that you will be able to apply a lot of your experience into a new area, (unless you married the CEO and were a total slack-queen).
I bet you'll kick yourself for not jumping into this arena sooner.
One final thing, when you get to the finish line, look up... You'll see that you're back at the starting line and it is time to do it all over again. So don't forget to enjoy the race. Generation X is here now and they can't do the same damn thing for 10 minutes, before its old.


"No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does."
Mark Howard
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 14, 2001
Posts: 285
Originally posted by Donna Feller:
Also, it feels like my length of experience (22 years!) is a liability rather than an asset.

Hi Donna, and welcome to the has-beens club
Just kidding. I have been in IT for 20 years myself now, and the market, sadly, does look a whole lot different now than it did in the early eighties. In some ways I have myself to blame, locking myself into some-or-other technology rather than opting for a more generalised IT position (eg. team leadership). But programming is why I entered this arena in the first place. I loved the concept, and have always wanted to sully my hands with code.
I remember what it was like after about 10 years in IT, feeling on top of the world and my profession, and seemingly able to illicit a certain level of respect from my peers almost purely from the amount of time I'd been in what was still considered a relatively new science. But after 15 years I felt (and saw) the turning of the tide. The gaps between technology upgrades became narrower and buzz-word experience became the order of the day. I have since seen very few well thought-out system designs and implementations as IT management seem to pander towards technological prowess in favour of good and simple business solutions. Ah, but this is probably what my mentors where thinking of us when we came into the profession as know-all junior-programmer upstarts
I too am trying to break into the Java market. A SCJP2 and SCWCD hasn't helped too much (yet), but I still have a lot of digging to do. The one that gets me are these online CV/resume libraries that you can subscribe to - which are apparently trawled by prospective recruitment staff - based almost purely on searchwords (ie. buzz-words) that you must have extensive experience in. Not to mention those myriads of recruitment agencies, who with their own lack of IT knowledge often stand between you and a job that you would in all likelyhood slot into very well.
What Mark Herschberg said is true - you've got to keep looking for that hiring manager or company who has the foresight to recognise experience over your dexterity with a Java IDE. It only takes one of them to get you what you want.
As for the certifications, go for it. There appear to be many arguments for and against the validity of these certifications in the currently depressed market, but in my current technology-switching capacity, I couldn't think of a better and more disciplined approach to learning a new IT field. Especially with two toddlers at home, whose demands for attention usually restricts most of my quality study-time to the bus ride to and from work each day
Good luck!
Donna Feller
Greenhorn

Joined: Jan 25, 2003
Posts: 22
Thanks for all of your input. It makes me feel
a bit more encouraged at least!
When I went to outplacement seminar following
my layoff, I was told to not ever explicitly
state that I had 22 years of experience (instead,
say "10+"), btw. Interesting.
I am going to forge ahead with SCJP2 (taking this
Thursday, wish me luck!) and SCWCD, and the
IBM cert sounds like a good idea too. After
that, I should have a good idea of where to go
next.
I also wanted to say that I DO have an opinion
about what I WANT to be doing (going with Java/
J2EE given my Unix preference) but was WILLING
to take the Microsoft route if that was
unavoidable...I have been avoiding Microsoft
platforms for most of my career, with varying
degrees of success. I suppose I shouldn't say
that in a public forum, but there it is!!!
OK well guess I'd better get back to my SCJP
studying. Thanks again for your great replies!
Donna
Kevin Thompson
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 04, 2001
Posts: 237
Donna,
You have my sympathies. Believe me, I understand!
But these appear to be absolute truths ==>
They do not want old people.
They do not want people who are overweight.
They do not want unattractive people.
The social stereotypes against people who are older, or weigh more, or are not beautiful is overwheming and just about insurmountable.
Did you know that there was a study that showed that most people would rather associate with a convicted criminal than an overweight woman(size 14)?
Sometimes it feels as if the world has gone mad.
I want to live in a rational world. Where ability counts. Where knowledge and merit counts. Where hard work and education and experience matters.
But we do not live in that world.
I just wish I would have known this 15 years ago.
Good Luck.
Kevin
Rufus BugleWeed
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 22, 2002
Posts: 1551
Matloff claims they simply refuse to hire older people without the experience they want. In his opinions certificates or college courses carry no weight for older employees. When he wrote this older was 35 and IMO is younger now. Matloff's assertions are long but you'll probably find it fascinating reading.
I forget the exact numbers in the survey, and this may have dropped out of his latests version of the document, but only like 2% of hiring managers are interested in hiring somebody wit 20 years experience.
A lot of the young bulls around here trash the value of certificates.
I only list my last ten years of experience on my resume. One can see the anguish on their faces at the interview. Most are polite thought.
Some people believe you can pick up experience by working an open source project. But it does not put food on the table.
C++ seems to have been one of the better markets of late. But your having no luck at that?
Between the companies sending lots of work offshore and the US goverment's green light to industry importing as many cheap H1-Bs as the industry wants has many of us old timers thinking prospects are grim.
Another big terrorist attack might change the globalization picture, but one can't hope for it.
Lots of people around here think lobbying your elected representatives is a good idea. A million engineer march on Washington complete with riots would help a lot.
Hersberger thinks the bottom 20% ought to get out of the business. I'm afraid industry puts older workers in that bin.
Donna Feller
Greenhorn

Joined: Jan 25, 2003
Posts: 22
OOOPS and there I was feeling upbeat for a short
while. Thanks for bringing me back to reality!
The C++ jobs I have seen have been for Microsoft,
and while I do have that experience, it is not
my platform of expertise, and have figured that
I probably would not have success because of
that.
I can only hope that a combination of my degree,
experience and updating skills with certs will
eventually pay off, but only 2% consider "older
people" (and it ain't like I'm 75!)??? Yikes,
pretty scary.
The world is in such a state of flux there isn't
much more one can do but keep plugging away
and hoping for the best. Although the million
engineer march sounds like fun. Include me
in the revolution if it ever begins!!!
Thx again
Donna
Mark Howard
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 14, 2001
Posts: 285
Originally posted by Rufus BugleWeed:
Matloff claims they simply refuse to hire older people without the experience they want.

Very interesting read.
Though not at all encouraging.
I knew I should have become the train-driver I'd dreamed of as a kid. Then again, I'd probably be refused an entry-level position on account of my outdated coal-shovelling skills
Rufus BugleWeed
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 22, 2002
Posts: 1551
I would not give up all hope. Sure would be nice to see the nasdaq jump 20%.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Donna Feller:

I can only hope that a combination of my degree,
experience and updating skills with certs will
eventually pay off, but only 2% consider "older
people" (and it ain't like I'm 75!)??? Yikes,
pretty scary.

What does 2% mean? I'm guessing the number of companies started between 1996 and 2000 which are still in business today is less then 2%. Should we avoid startups? Some say yes. I say, choose wisely. Those 2% probably correlate to the better companies.
--Mark
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 15657
    
  15

If you find something that works, let me know. I got tossed out on the street nearly 2 years ago now and still no hope. An interview maybe once every 4 months and that's it.
Ageism is a given, but many of the oft-quoted ills of the recruiting process are not new. I saw much of the same nonsense back in the '80s. Absolutely must have "X" experience in Version "Y.Z" (note the minor release requirement) of Product "Q". The major difference is that the laundry list is longer and even more improbable now.
The sad truth is that HR has always tried to recruit IT skills the way they would something like accountants. That is, the idea that everything you ever needed for the career you got in college. Since this is manifestly not so, they attempt to fake it by demanding pre-existing skills, even though in real life, if you do get the job, you may not even end up using those skills, and in any event, you're going to need new skills within 2 years.
Learning new skills has never been a problem for me. Though I've avoided formalizing it (via degrees or certifications - the places that are most prone to demand them are often the places I'd least like to work - nevertheless, I've made it my career to constantly be on the alert for new skills to add to my collection, both in the software and hardware areas. If fact, thanks to offshoring, I figure my best chance is to leverage those hardware skills, since until the entire office goes offshore (which admittedly looks to be the Next Big Thing), someone has to make sure that the systems keep running, no matter what part of the globe the software comes from.
As for picking up a new software technology and "being there" when the demand begins to swell, I'm afraid I just don't see much hope. Currently local demand is for 3-5 years (no more, no less) employment experience in MQ Series, Oracle 8, and 5 years RUP. Occasionally COBOL gets thrown in just in case someone can truthfully claim the above.
The killer is there's no way to get the minimum 3 years experience with a product because they only want to deal with people who already can claim the experience. This was bad enough trying to initially break into the field, but it's insane when screening experienced people, since the most important skill to have isn't really in a particular product, but rather the ability to become productive in whatever products the company needs to use.
It would also help it HR would A) develop some sort of concept of equivalencies (e.g. 5 years DB2 might be worth 3 of Oracle) and B) do a "scoring" system, rather than a simple boolean "AND" operation on the candidates skill set vs. their requirements.
I'm fairly well convinced that the only reason HR exists is to ensure that no qualified person gets an interview (at least without lying profusely). The only real way to get the job is to know someone on the other side of the wall who can recognize your skills for what they're really worth, or at least a recruiter who can sell you.
Unfortunately, IT folks are infamously lacking on the social skills that make this process work well. Compounded by the fact that it's hard to locate fellow IT workers to network with, since we generally do little off-the-job socializing.
And the recruiters have been hit so hard by the current state of affairs that they won't even talk to anyone.


Customer surveys are for companies who didn't pay proper attention to begin with.
Donna Feller
Greenhorn

Joined: Jan 25, 2003
Posts: 22
Unfortunately, the sadder of your stories seems
to be gelling the most with my personal
experience. With my 22 years and c/c++, I
have not gotten so much as a "buzz off" from
my resume submissions (although, with the
job listings, I admit I have only sent out
about 40).
I am wondering, though, if there is any "good
way" to put the right spin on this overabundance
of experience in a cover letter to make it seem
more palatable. It irks me to no end that
I am supposed to downplay my position, but
that seems to be where it's at.
Also, any opinions on WHY there is this
discrimination? Is it mainly because of
perceived salary expectations, or is there
also a large element of being outdated, or
set in thinking patterns, or...gak! dwindling
intellectual resources??? Not hungry enough?
I am out of work for six months with 3 kids.
I am plenty hungry!
Just wondering how I might present myself
to try to deflect some of this discrimination,
especially once I have a few certifications
under my belt...
Thanks yet again
Donna
Rufus BugleWeed
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 22, 2002
Posts: 1551
IMO not hungry enough is part of it. Have you worked a series of thankless 60 hour weeks?
They think you should be VP, 6 patents, or the Nobel Prize by now too.
By now you've seen how they play the game and won't fall for their bait and switch ploys.
I think health insurance premiums go up as one gets older.
The chances you'll quit them goes down.
The government gives special age discrimination protection to older workers.
IMO humans have an innate urge to hire based on sexual appearance. This is like the biggest rack of antlers gets to be the herd bull moose. Did you ever notice their obsession with height?
John Dunn
slicker
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 30, 2003
Posts: 1108
Donna,
A lot of these postings have a real Kafkaesque element to them. Don't go shooting yourself in the head or cutting off your digits just yet...
Embellish your resume. With twenty+ years you can get past some HR numbskulls.
If they ask you if you have jBuilder, the answer is 'YESSSSSSSS - My friends call me Queen JBuild'
REALLY stupid questions probably come from HR not IT so go with the flow.
If you study and pass the SCJP & SCWCD tests, then build some app using a decent book, you'll have better skills then a lot of folks piggy-backing in some good company.
Rufus BugleWeed
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 22, 2002
Posts: 1551
Which of these two gets hired for your j2ee project?
OR
[ February 19, 2003: Message edited by: Rufus BugleWeed ]
Pradip Bhat
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 04, 2002
Posts: 149
IMHO if both have similar software experience,same programming/ problem solving skills,same level of communication,I think almost all managers(HR and Project) will prefer that woman.


Yeshwantpur
Donna Feller
Greenhorn

Joined: Jan 25, 2003
Posts: 22
Hmmm...I don't look much like either of those
guys, so not sure where I stand!!
I have to admit, I have never noticed this
"obsession with height". What's that about?
I am medium-tall (5'8"), where does that leave
me???
This thread is getting silly! And I am still
unemployed! Maybe I should try to move the tone
back to the "million engineer march" idea.
"Above average workers unite!!!"
Donna
Angela Margot
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 07, 2002
Posts: 80
I'm in the "older worker" sector too, 40 with 15+ years of experience. Experienced, degreed, certified, and fortunately employed. My experience has been that I have to work harder than some folks do - and it's not because of education or experience.
I've been busting my tail on certifications to give me an edge over my equally (and some less equally) educated and experienced peers. As each year goes by I become more aware - younger and younger people are hired. I already put in a ton of effort to be technically sharp, and I just wonder how much more I'll be putting in during the next decade...


Angela Margot <img src="smile.gif" border="0"> <br />Sr. Software Engineer<br />SCJP2 SCWCD MCSD MCP
Peekaboo Switchback
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 18, 2003
Posts: 33
Angela,
You are right on.
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 15657
    
  15

Height???
Well, it wouldn't matter. When your r�sum�'s getting shredded on arrival, it doesn't matter what you look like. No one ever sees you.
"Embellish", I fear is Enronese for "lie".
It was very much a point of pride for employers to brag that none of their programmers were over 30 in the dot-com days. The point being:
o They were cheaper
o You could work them 100-hour weeks
o Experience wasn't an asset
On the reverse side, there was (and for the uninformed, may still be) the perception that older people took more time off. They do usually cost more for insurance and benefits. And traditionally someone who's still "in the ranks" by age 50 or so is figured to be stodgy, unimaginative, and mostly just marking time to retirement.
I'll admit that there did seem in my youth to be people who'd picked up COBOL or Autocoder and did minor little diddlings to the Accounts Payable system and that was about it. These days, that just wouldn't work. And, as for "staying in the ranks", what's so much more fun about management? Especially since it's even more perilous than line-level employment when layoff time comes.
Todd Killingsworth
Greenhorn

Joined: Jan 30, 2002
Posts: 28
Not quite accurate - managers can lay off some of their minions before they get cut. This is a significant reason that Sun went through a second layoff. In the first round, Scott McNealy was emphatic about making a 'even cut', but instead a lot of managerial political manurevering happend behind the scenes. End result - a lot of managers saved their position at the expense of extra people underneath them.
It didn't save the extra managers the second time, but it did give them a few paid months to conduct a job search.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Todd Killingsworth:
Not quite accurate - managers can lay off some of their minions before they get cut.

That isn't quite accurate, either.
In some places, they say "reduce your expenses, I don't care how." The manager can lay off whomever, and maybe if there are a few layers of management below, those manager know the decison maker better then the developers.
However, sometimes the company will say, "reduce employee type X to number Y," and it's a question of which name, not which position.

Typically, business development goes first, then sales and marketing and some support staff. Then they get into management and project support. Generally speaking, engineers are the last to go. As you noted above, that may not be true for any given company, but by and large, engineers are perceived to be directly creating value. (Ironicly, despite being the clearest value creator, they are the hardest to whom to trace specific value, because they are furthest removed from the revenue stream .)
--Mark
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 15657
    
  15

Originally posted by Todd Killingsworth:
Not quite accurate - managers can lay off some of their minions before they get cut.

That's OK, I had my fun. I knew the day I got that my manager had designs. He'd brought in the Enterprise Support Group to see if they could take over my duties and once again, they told him they weren't up to it.
So I got called up to my exit interview and met him going out as as was ushered in! I lasted a whole half-hour longer than he did!
Rick Cromer
Greenhorn

Joined: Feb 20, 2003
Posts: 1

Donna, I wouldn't worry about learning Java to get up to speed for these new positions. I have seen almost an equal number of Jobs for Java programmers as C++. I'm currently unemployed and have both Java and C++ experience. Seems like companies really want a young person with termendous experience and don't want to pay much for that.
Since you have strong C++ skills, you should leverage that. Usually the companies looking for C++ also want the rest of the .Net experience (as if there could be a lot so far). Bone up on the Win API, Windows Foundation Classes, .Net and other MS features surrounding the .Net buss. With your years of C++ programming and getting familiar with the recent MS product trend you'll have a solid position for a job.
Sal DiStefano
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 28, 2002
Posts: 90
I noticed a lot of talk about certifications. If you can find a product out there that you like it is a great way to get your foot in the door without all the certs.
I began working with developer versions of WebSphere and WebLogic. Used all the free resources available from IBM and Bea. It is a great inexpensive way to train yourself. I know there is a lot of talk out there about Java and j2EE's portability but I have yet to come across a company that was not tied to at least one vendor 1 one way or another.
This way when you walk in to the Interview you can talk about your specific experience with product X. It helped me.
Sal
Craig SullivanI
Greenhorn

Joined: Feb 28, 2003
Posts: 3
Hi Donna,
Have you considered taking courses at your local university or community college?
Back in 1997, I was a little over a year out of college with my BSCompE and was in a paper-pushing job I didn't like. I wanted to get into programming, so I took an introductory class in Visual C++ at a local community college. As it happened, one of the software development managers at Sprint was teaching the class. I worked hard in the class and near the end I mentioned to him that I was interested in switching from being a network engineer to becoming a programmer. He told me to e-mail him my resume. I ended up going back to school to get my M.S. in computer science, but I probably would have been offered a job if I had wanted it.
I believe taking a class taught by a manager is the absolute best way to get a job. I would only do the certs if you can't find a class like this. By taking a class, you not only learn the technology, but you can impress the manager with your enthusiasm. Taking a class combines learning, networking, and possibly getting to talk directly to a hiring manager. It combines the best of all possible worlds.
Even if the class isn't taught by a hiring manager, it will probably be taught by someone who works in the industry. Also, your classmates may have jobs at companies where you want to work.
I realize that 1997 was a different time, but it can't hurt to check out this option. Also, there were several people in my class with considerable work experience and the teacher himself was probably in his 40s.
Anyway, I hadn't seen this option mentioned and thought I would throw it out there. Good luck!


Hi.
Craig SullivanI
Greenhorn

Joined: Feb 28, 2003
Posts: 3
Almost forgot: I, too, recommend not getting stuck on Java. If I had Unix C++ experience, I would try to leverage that by moving over to MS Visual C++ or C#. We all know that MS is evil, but if you wear garlic on a string around your neck while you are programming, you will have a chance at saving your immortal soul
Seriously though, the MS IDE is much better than anything I've seen for Java. VisualAge absolutely blows compared to the MS Visual C++ IDE. Also, if you end up going with Java, you will probably have to program some JSPs which will mean you have to deal with all the damn HTML that goes with it. If you can find a job programming in MS Visual C++, you may be developing an internally deployed program that is only deployed on PCs, and you then just use the Visual C++ libraries to create the front-end. You won't have to mess with HTML that way.
Anyhoo, keep your options open and don't take any crap from those young punks out there.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Craig SullivanI:
Also, if you end up going with Java, you will probably have to program some JSPs which will mean you have to deal with all the damn HTML that goes with it.

Very unlikely.
The only Java developers who do JSPs are Java web developers. Many application developers never touch JSPs. (And right right now there's an excess of the former.)
--Mark
Rufus BugleWeed
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 22, 2002
Posts: 1551
Since your unemployed with no job prospects, you can read an interesting article in the New York Times about age discrimination, here.
For those of you in a hurry, a bunch of Allstate insurance agents are suing. To me it looks like Allstate is letting them go because of competitive pressure from companies like GEICO.
The Allstate case aside, it looks like the courts are very unsympathetic to the blight of older workers. This is in opposition to legislation by the Congress and clear evidence of age discrimination. The courts like an interpretation made in 1884 by the Tennessee Supreme Court of the phrase, at will.
Employers are free to fire workers, for ''good cause, for no cause or even for cause morally wrong, without being thereby guilty of legal wrong.''
BTW, I'm sure you all recognized Anna Nicole Smith, without cheating, who is the little guy on the right?
[ March 02, 2003: Message edited by: Rufus BugleWeed ]
boyet silverio
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 28, 2002
Posts: 173
Stephen Hawking. You made the picture as if he was in a police line up.
Marie Mazerolle
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 01, 2002
Posts: 81
Stephen Hawkins! And here I thought it was Janet Reno... oops!
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 15657
    
  15

Even if the class isn't taught by a hiring manager, it will probably be taught by someone who works in the industry.

You might be surprised to know how many IT classes are being taught right now by unemployed IT people who are trying to pay their bills!
Donna Feller
Greenhorn

Joined: Jan 25, 2003
Posts: 22
Thanks for all of the great tips...right now, I have decided that I will go ahead and take the SCWCD exam and then switch over and try to get an MCP with the MS 70-315 exam...ASP .Net and
C#...I took a quick look at C# and it doesn't
appear to be any big deal....I have seen an
awful lot of ads lately for these, although it
could just be recruiters collecting resumes
again. Anyway, hope this will help in some way to show my versatility, flexibility, whatever...
esp because in about two months I will have to
liquidate my 401K. Meanwhile, thinking of finding some part time 10-12 bucks an hour piece
of crap just to stay alive.
Argh.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
 
subject: Prospects for aging engineers...
 
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