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Too Old To Punch More Cows?

Greg Neef
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 16, 2003
Posts: 82
I see a fair amount of angst from the newbies to programming here and wanted to open a topic for the old jappers. I have been in IT for mamy, many years and was a high level IT Architect with Big Blue until a layoff. I was doing Siebel for the last two years which was hot and has since died. Now, looking for work I see ridiculous laundery lists of exact skills and experience. Clearly .Net or Java is must in today's market. So here is my question, can even an experienced developer get work transitioning into Java now in USA? I will get SJCP this summer (or die trying) and am shooting for SJCD this fall, but all the jobs I see require 3 years of Java (as if any other programming experience is of no use). I see no better idea than to get the certifications and keep trying to find an IT job until my unemployment runs out, but in this market I can easily a see a loading dock job in my future. Frankly, I don't mind starting again with an entry level Java programming position and working my way back up but even that is looking very tough.


SCJP 1.4
Jessica Lang
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 23, 2002
Posts: 61
I am in the mid-range (AS/400) system for a long time...and have been programming in structural language (RPG/400). I know how you feel. Currently, I am trying to get myself certified in Java.
Can I know what platform, OS and language did you use before this? Maybe, I am able to relate my experiences to yours....my 2 cents opinion...
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
I think that you can. I believe good comapnies will recognize that what you lack in Java experience you compensate with general experience, having been around the block on quite a few projects.
Of course, I'm also bullish on the IT market (so if you disagree with that, discount my opinion.)
--Mark
Greg Neef
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 16, 2003
Posts: 82
370 Assembler-> MF COBOL -> C/UNIX -> PowerBuilder -> Siebel -> ??? (loading dock worker?)
Mike Dahmus
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 07, 2002
Posts: 29
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:
I think that you can. I believe good comapnies will recognize that what you lack in Java experience you compensate with general experience, having been around the block on quite a few projects.



In the real world, unless you are getting hired through personal or professional contracts, your years of experience programming other languages hardly ever helps; you will not make it past the gatekeeper unless you match the laundry list.


Even at good companies, one resume in a batch of 1,000 doesn't get more than a cursory glance. This is where macroeconomics can defeat the libertarian ideal.


-----Mike Dahmus mike@dahmus.org
Billy Tsai
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 23, 2003
Posts: 1304
they always have so many lame reasons to reject ppl, like we dont want ppl with education+certs but no experience , ppl with lots experience but no certs+education, or when ppl has experience and certs+education they just say ur skill set don't match. Or the application are overwhelming so we couldnt be bother reading all the details of ur experience and qulifications+certs etc...


BEA 8.1 Certified Administrator, IBM Certified Solution Developer For XML 1.1 and Related Technologies, SCJP, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCDJWS, SCJD, SCEA,
Oracle Certified Master Java EE 5 Enterprise Architect
Mike Dahmus
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 07, 2002
Posts: 29
Originally posted by Mike Dahmus:

Even at good companies, one resume in a batch of 1,000 doesn't get more than a cursory glance. This is where macroeconomics can defeat the libertarian ideal.

By the way, this is not hypothetical; when I was interviewing for the position I have now held for about a year; I was unemployed (as were all of my current coworkers). At that time, there was exactly one other job posting even remotely relevant (and I cast a wide net - any kind of programming would do) in about three months either direction; and it was at a company in a very nice part of town for my purposes. I got to the point of a phone interview, which went something like this:


"Do you have any OOP and Javaexperience?"


"Yes, if you'll refer to job X listed here, you will see that I was one of three guys that ported the AWT from Windows to O/S NNNN in Java 1.1.1; and if you look here; you will see that I led the team that did the follow-on release for O/S NNNN".


"OK".


One week passes.


I call.


"Oh, we didn't think you were right for the position because you didn't have any OOP experience".


Point is that this recruiter; the gatekeeper; was looking for a specific, criminally stupid, buzzonym on the resume; and was incapable of extrapolating even from "Java" to "OOP". To say nothing of the C++ experience. Even after I told her!


The cyberlibertarian response to this is probably "they're not a good company". I agree. Problem was that at that time, they were the only company hiring. And my unemployment was nearing its end (as were my future coworkers, by the way, several of whom had an identical experience with the same company!). That's where macroeconomics comes in - N% of all companies will always be stupid; and when you've got bills to pay; you've often got to struggle with the bad companies; which sometimes won't hire you even if you're a perfect fit (otherwise they would be good companies, right?)


I think the only constructive advice here is to keep a version of your resume around which contains every possible buzzword even remotely related to your actual experience, in spelled-out and acronym form; and be ready to use it as your first entry into a company if you're desperate enough. The problem is that once you're at a good company, you weed those resumes out quickly (when we started hiring more people; one of the guys that works with me came up with a resume with a record for buzzwords that we still keep taped to his cubicle for entertainment value; and we did not invite him in for an interview; presentation being part of the reason why).


So maybe the constructive advice is: excrement happens; no advice will work at both bad and good companies; take your chances.
Matt Cao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 715
Hi Mike,
I have experience in that kind of company many times in my adult life. At first, I thought it fits with discrimination so Afirmative Action existed for a reason. Then I encounter my counterpart in AA companies, I am so disappointed at the program. Luckily, only a few of them are in the operative side. Sorry, if I go off the tangent.
Regards,
MCao
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Mike Dahmus:

In the real world, unless you are getting hired through personal or professional contracts, your years of experience programming other languages hardly ever helps; you will not make it past the gatekeeper unless you match the laundry list.

Well, you and I must be applying to different companies. Although I've never really worked with C/C++ (certainly not professionally), companies requiring a min of 2-3 years C/C++ experience have been talking to me.
--Mark
Greg Neef
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 16, 2003
Posts: 82
In the real world, unless you are getting hired through personal or professional contracts, your years of experience programming other languages hardly ever helps; you will not make it past the gatekeeper unless you match the laundry list.

The trouble with personal/professional contacts is after working at one company for 5 years, everybody I know professional (and no small share of those personally) works at the company that laid my a** off. I have stopped even bothering applying for jobs that I can't match up 100% on the laundry list but they are few and far between. The lists seem absurd, with a requirement for multiple years of experience with some stupid tool like a SCCS that takes 2 hours to figure out, or they want multple years of experience with J2EE and COM+/.NET and a DBA/Project Manager to boot. It is ridiculous. My feeling is now that the SCJP and SCJD will only help me advance if I get a new position but not be much help in getting it. I am figuring if the market doesn't improve dramtically in the next 9 months my 20 year DP career will be over. Man is it going to suck going back to doing real work... anybody remember having to punch a clock? :roll:
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Greg Neef:

The trouble with personal/professional contacts is after working at one company for 5 years, everybody I know professional (and no small share of those personally) works at the company that laid my a** off.

This is why you must actively network on your own. JUGs and other professional groups, alumni networking from your college, local business community events, even social settings are all areas where you can make new contacts outside your company.
--Mark
Billy Tsai
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 23, 2003
Posts: 1304
even if u got through the selection process and get to the interview some the managers or the technical ppl in some company interviewing and testing u are just out to humiliate u, humiliate u like u r useless without experience, u dont have the enough certs, how the hell did u get ur master degree, u thesis is like a joke etc... , or the certs r useless anyone can get them, even for IT job they say ur maths sucks, or if u r avg grades are B- they say hmmm u have a C- avg and u r no use in this society etc....
Matt Cao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 715
Hi Billy,
Enough with your nonsense. :roll:
I have notice many ranchers extended their helps to you through career strategies. What steps have you done to follow up with those advices? As you know IT goes global the primary cost is competition. Your GPA low that meant you are a failure at the first hurdle. It will create another hurdles in your higher learning achievement. As Alfred Newmann points out, you have another route which proven working for his case. That is your living testimony right there! He has a soft-spot for you because he has been in your shoes before. You need to have working projects combine with your existent certs together present to your potential employers. Once you have working experiences, only then you will think about higher learning.
Since your folks have a computer business, if I were you I would come out to business take the job as salesperson, practice human interactions, practice public speaking, and practice to make a right decision on a split of second. At night, develop my projects base on my knowledge if lacking ideas, joining those opensource projects. Forget about all those certs in the meantime. I will floor those gatekeepers or anyone that look down on me previously.
Who know your parents may help you out on a down payment for a new car for you to go interviews later on?
If you give me your resume now, I definitely would toss it away too because I see you as loudsy time management. As I write to this piece of advice, I am still at work conduct meeting with Taiwan. Tomorrow, I have to relay to Texas and Holland of what I learn tonight on top with other agendas. Just tell you how important time management is.
Back to orginal comment, nobody I know of sending out to potential candidate just to make fun or humiliate the candidate. It is a sacred moment, for better or lack of words, because we all have been on the other side in one time or another.
Regards,
MCao
Billy Tsai
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 23, 2003
Posts: 1304
Those are not my personal opinion in the first place, I saw those quotes at another forum where there is a discussion about everyone's interview experience, with lots of posts, and those r some quotes I found on which made me feel negative and majority of those post r about negative interview experiences.
Rory French
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 97
Originally posted by Billy Tsai
Even if u got through the selection process and get to the interview some the managers or the technical ppl in some company interviewing and testing u are just out to humiliate u, humiliate u like u r useless without experience, u dont have the enough certs...

Hi Billy
I have to say I really enjoy reading your posts because they often reflect exactly how I feel. I have been programming for about 8 years and have decided to drop it and do something else. There is absolutely no dignity in being a programmer anymore, and dignity is something I value, and that is why I have become so frustrated like you.
While I agree that interviews can be a humiliating experience, I've come to realise that employers aren't intent on humiliating applicants. Its completely impersonal. You/we are merely a commodity with a one-dimensional boring set of skills/certs that needs to be matched with a predetermined laundry list. They arn't out to hurt your feelings because they simply don't care about your feelings.
So, the one way to improve our lot may be to make it more 'personal'. One way to do this is by networking and selling ourselves and 'getting under other people's skin' so to speak. I find myself having to agree (often reluctantly, because its hard to be open minded when you're p****d off) with Mark, Matt etc when they say things like:
posted by Matt Cao
Since your folks have a computer business, if I were you I would come out to business take the job as salesperson, practice human interactions, practice public speaking, and practice to make a right decision on a split of second

posted by Mark Herschberg
This is why you must actively network on your own. JUGs and other professional groups, alumni networking from your college, local business community events, even social settings are all areas where you can make new contacts outside your company

Practicing social skills like these is really intimidating for people like me, but I realise that it's necessary and there's no way around it. To achieve goals you inevitibly have to interact with people, and the better you are at the gentle art of arm twisting, the easier it will be to get what you want.
And while you're at it, why not shift your focus and try becomming an employer instead of an employee i.e. go 'where the real cheesecake is'. Here's an idea: why not act as a broker/middleman between programmers in India and clients in Australia/NZ. You can undercut the price of local programmers just enough to keep Indian programmers employed and youself deeply in the green for many years to come. This may sound unethical, but life is tough and only the fittest survive. After all many of us are the victims of this very type of activity, so I think Its time to stop being victims. Check out this (advertised on Javaranch, go figure) website for some ideas.
Rory
Greg Neef
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 16, 2003
Posts: 82
I am guessing that this and similar forums is not a representative sample of IT as most people who would be reading this are Out of Work and therefore probably frustrated and to varying degrees pissed off. Personally, I doubt I will be visiting Java Ranch much myself once I start working again and have time management issues again (even if it is to get to the loading dock job). Clearly the IT industry is both shrinking and globalizing. The former is hopefully temporary and the latter is definitely here to stay (regardless of protectionist legislation). I have been in it for 20 years and it has beat the hell out of having a real job like pounding nails or punching a clock. The fact is, some of us will find jobs and continue on the cruise and some of us will not. Which catagory we fall into will depend partly on luck, partly on attitude and (hopefully) partly on skills. My current attitude is that I have better skills and motivation and contacts to find a reasonable job in IT than something else at this point in my like. In 7 months when my unemployment runs out, I'll be loading trucks or driving a truck or whatever else is available if I still have not found an IT job. Personally, I will give up programming when they pry my cold dead fingers from around it, but that day may well come. It took me many tries to find a career as rewarding as IT has been. I am greatful, even if the ride is over. Regardless of your training and background, I suggest for the young that locking in on a shrinking market as a career may not be the best long term approach. Find the careeer path that is expanding and a way to start there. IT is going to be a very rough ride for a long time to come.
[ July 29, 2003: Message edited by: Greg Neef ]
[ July 29, 2003: Message edited by: Greg Neef ]
Paul McKenna
Ugly Redneck
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 08, 2000
Posts: 1006
Greg,
Please check your email and let me know your response. (I sent an email yesterday to the address mentioned in your profile)


Commentary From the Sidelines of history
Mike Dahmus
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 07, 2002
Posts: 29
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:

Well, you and I must be applying to different companies. Although I've never really worked with C/C++ (certainly not professionally), companies requiring a min of 2-3 years C/C++ experience have been talking to me.
--Mark

There you go again.


The smart person learns from others. The non-smart person has to learn from experience.


Yes, a few good companies will spend the time to talk to you because they see comparable experience in comparable technologies; but most will not, because even good companies are unwilling to filter thousands of resumes at that high a level of effort. So again, you're relying on either word-of-mouth or having the buzzwords (I've done both).
Donna Feller
Greenhorn

Joined: Jan 25, 2003
Posts: 22
I wish I could see Mark Herschberg's resume. I have rewritten mine
many times since getting laid off, and still am not getting called
even for jobs that I am a PERFECT match for.
I cannot in my wildest dreams imagine getting a phone call for a
job that I was not qualified for.
The resume IS the way to get called. Mark, any chance you could
at least tell the rest of us what you are putting on there to get
all these calls? Any tips would be appreciated on this.
I have over 20 years experience, 10+ OOP, have done everything from
UIs to network comms, although most of work in application development,
in four different industries. I am Java certified, and just about
to take SCWCD. I have extensive tech lead experience, as well as
individual contributor. I have received awards and one patent for
my work. I also have good social skills.
Finally, today, after nearly a year of unemployment, I got my first
phone interview, and will have a "live" interview next week. It
seems that if I can just get a CALL I will be ok. But why is it so hard
to get my resume noticed??? ARGH! Is it geographical??? I am
in New England...
Thx for any tips.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Greg Neef:
I am guessing that this and similar forums is not a representative sample of IT as most people who would be reading this are Out of Work and therefore probably frustrated and to varying degrees pissed off. Personally, I doubt I will be visiting Java Ranch much myself once I start working again and have time management issues again (even if it is to get to the loading dock job).

I think this is the wrong attitude to have. JavaRanch is useful so long as you can benefit from it. I get help on technical problems in the other forums. I also gain information from discussions in this forum. I have networked with people through JavaRanch. Heck, JavaRanch is one of the factors that lead to my book.
You can use it now, and turn from it when you don't have an immediate need, i.e. are employed, but that is living paycheck to paycheck. If you continue to use it while employed, you are more likely to be able to better manager your career. It's analogous to an ounce of prevention being worth a pund of cure. (Again, assuming JavaRanch, of whatever similar tools you use while unemployed, do add value.)
--Mark
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Mike Dahmus:

Yes, a few good companies will spend the time to talk to you because they see comparable experience in comparable technologies; but most will not, because even good companies are unwilling to filter thousands of resumes at that high a level of effort. So again, you're relying on either word-of-mouth or having the buzzwords (I've done both).

You'll get no argument from me here on that. Those comapnies are the exception, not the rule. But that just makes it easier for me to find the few good comapnies; it saves me time from having to talk to not so good companies. If you want to be successful, always work with people smarter then you, because you learn from them. Smart people produce smart companies. Convesely, a smart company is likely to have people smarter then you, and you should work there.
(And just to avoid any misunderstanding, I'm using the term "you" in general. It applies to you, me, that guy over there, and everyone else.)
--Mark
Stephen Pride
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 14, 2000
Posts: 121
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:
Heck, JavaRanch is one of the factors that lead to my book.

That's what he has different on his resume.


SCJP
Matt Cao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 715
Originally posted by Rory French:

And while you're at it, why not shift your focus and try becomming an employer instead of an employee i.e. go 'where the real cheesecake is'. Here's an idea: why not act as a broker/middleman between programmers in India and clients in Australia/NZ. You can undercut the price of local programmers just enough to keep Indian programmers employed and youself deeply in the green for many years to come.
Rory

Hi,
This is a good idea too. Billy, take note. You need to practice on sale skill, build your contacts hopefully one of them will lead to the source of cashcow and build your own business from there.
If you happen to read Bill Gates book probably you can see how important of the right contacts and he's smart enough to realize the important of his friends.
My company president is used to work for Nortel as engineer, then Nortel made a mistake by laid him off without realizing he is a silverspoon in Taiwan with family tree link to Lam's Research. Since he knew the contacts, he created his own computer company with an operation model slightly different version than Nortel and the rest was history. But the executives and management kept changing the operation model further and further away from it initial mold. Needless to say the majority of Nortel clients were and are still his clients eversince.
Regards,
MCao
[ July 29, 2003: Message edited by: Matt Cao ]
Michael Bronshteyn
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 26, 2002
Posts: 85

I am guessing that this and similar forums is not a representative sample of IT as most people who would be reading this are Out of Work and therefore probably frustrated and to varying degrees pissed off.

Besides 'job discussion' there is a lot of other forums on javaranch. If you are going to learn java, you can participate in those forums and help to answer some questions.
I would not read this forum all the time, because it is depressing. If you feel that IT is no longer a career, think of something else. Loading trucks is one of the possiblities. But is it anything else to do but load trucks?
Anyway, good luck. Don't limit yourself only to IT or truck loading.


Michael
SCJP2
Greg Neef
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 16, 2003
Posts: 82
Posted by Mark Herschberg
I think this is the wrong attitude to have. JavaRanch is useful so long as you can benefit from it. I get help on technical problems in the other forums. I also gain information from discussions in this forum. I have networked with people through JavaRanch. Heck, JavaRanch is one of the factors that lead to my book.

No disparagement meant to JavaRanch. I was only referring to the Jobs Discussion forum which seems to be an unlikely place to visit for those blessed with still having one.
[ July 30, 2003: Message edited by: Greg Neef ]
[ July 30, 2003: Message edited by: Greg Neef ]
Kevin Thompson
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 04, 2001
Posts: 237
Greg,
It depends on your looks! Your problem will be your age - not your lack of experience.
If you can pass for "30 something" - you have a chance. If you look & act older than that - your career is over.
I wish it was different.
Kevin
[ July 30, 2003: Message edited by: Kevin Thompson ]
Rufus BugleWeed
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 22, 2002
Posts: 1551
In this market 30-something is probably thess than 35. When they say they want 3 to 5 years experience, that's all the experience they want. I think that translates into something like 25 to 30 years old.
If you have 15 to 20 years of experience you should be a figure of national prominence.
Billy Tsai
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 23, 2003
Posts: 1304
I think after 35years old should be changing from technical to management
or get a Master of Commerce in Information management. Still maintain the advanced technical skills, but changing into managment position and gaining management capabilities.
Mike Dahmus
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 07, 2002
Posts: 29
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:

You'll get no argument from me here on that. Those comapnies are the exception, not the rule. But that just makes it easier for me to find the few good comapnies; it saves me time from having to talk to not so good companies. If you want to be successful, always work with people smarter then you, because you learn from them. Smart people produce smart companies. Convesely, a smart company is likely to have people smarter then you, and you should work there.
(And just to avoid any misunderstanding, I'm using the term "you" in general. It applies to you, me, that guy over there, and everyone else.)
--Mark


Mark,
When I was your age, I thought and talked exactly like you do - I was sure that I'd always be able to find a job at a company that at least met a reasonable standard for "good". Microeconomics (my own skills) was all that mattered; as a "good" programmer, I'd always be able to find a job at a "good" company.


As my respected colleagues began to have trouble finding jobs, though, I was quickly disabused of the notion so common among programmers that macroeconomics doesn't matter. It does. Believe me. The collapse of the internet bubble meant that a lot of other "good" programmers were out there; far too many for each and every one to get a job at a "good" company (or jobs at all, for that matter).


I learned this lesson before I had trouble finding a job after my one and only layoff. I advise you to think long and hard about it too; because not only are you setting yourself up for a lot of hurt later on; you're carrying a mental blind-spot the size of Texas.
Greg Neef
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 16, 2003
Posts: 82
Posted by Kevin Thompson
It depends on your looks! Your problem will be your age - not your lack of experience.

Fortunately I have plenty of time to work out these days (you can only job search, study and cattle drive so many hours a day) and I'm in better shape than I was at 30. I agree appearance is important and projecting an enthusiastic and energetic appearance certainly matters. We'll see if it I can get back into the game. I may not have the legs I used to but I can read defences real well now!
Posted by Billy Tsai
I think after 35years old should be changing from technical to management
I can safely say I have no more interest in being a manager as I push 50 than I had at 25. Project politics still annoy me as much as ever, I am just a lot better pretending not to be pissed off. One advantage of being in a big company like IBM was that they have a techincal career path that allows techies to stay techincal and still make serious cash.
[ July 30, 2003: Message edited by: Greg Neef ]
[ July 30, 2003: Message edited by: Greg Neef ]
Greg Neef
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 16, 2003
Posts: 82
In my experience there has been an ongoing battle between keeping up your technical chops and taking lead roles. The more time you spend doing project management and 'IT Architecture' the less time you have to actually get your hands dirty. I have continually tried to keep my hand in the technical s*** but it has been difficult if not impossible. I had no desire to lose touch with it but was given little choice by various employers. They have 'grunts' who can code and expect leads to be leading not coding. However, now that the technology has undergone a major paradigm shift, the jobs require J2EE expertise plus Project Management skills and/or IT Architecture. Being pretty good at both PM and Arch. roles, I would like to continue BUT without the hands on J2EE stuff my experience is not as marketable as I would like. I can think of no way to progress other than to get back into the coding (of Java) to be able to dovetail that knowledge with what I know very well of Project Management and System Architecture.
Al Newman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 30, 2003
Posts: 716
Originally posted by Greg Neef:
I can safely say I have no more interest in being a manager as I push 50 than I had at 25. Project politics still annoy me as much as ever, I am just a lot better pretending not to be pissed off. One advantage of being in a big company like IBM was that they have a techincal career path that allows techies to stay techincal and still make serious cash.
[ July 30, 2003: Message edited by: Greg Neef ]
[ July 30, 2003: Message edited by: Greg Neef ]

At least until they can your butt because of lack of development work, eh? Been there, done that.


SCJP1.4, SCWCD
Al Newman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 30, 2003
Posts: 716
Originally posted by Greg Neef:
In my experience there has been an ongoing battle between keeping up your technical chops and taking lead roles. The more time you spend doing project management and 'IT Architecture' the less time you have to actually get your hands dirty. I have continually tried to keep my hand in the technical s*** but it has been difficult if not impossible. I had no desire to lose touch with it but was given little choice by various employers. They have 'grunts' who can code and expect leads to be leading not coding. However, now that the technology has undergone a major paradigm shift, the jobs require J2EE expertise plus Project Management skills and/or IT Architecture. Being pretty good at both PM and Arch. roles, I would like to continue BUT without the hands on J2EE stuff my experience is not as marketable as I would like. I can think of no way to progress other than to get back into the coding (of Java) to be able to dovetail that knowledge with what I know very well of Project Management and System Architecture.

Tell us about it! It's the classic dilemma and will force you to go back to brass tacks about once a decade if not more often. It's very easy to become an unemployable BS merchant if you lose touch with the code....
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
Anyone who says that your IT career is over at 30 is wrong. I am 45. I was laid off right after 9/11 because I was working for a company in the travel business. It took me about 6 months to find a job (in .NET, of all things). I left that job and got another to get back into Java earlier this year.
Tip - don't give up. There are a lot more resumes out there so not every resume gets looked at. So you need to send your resume out to more jobs. Tweak your resume for the job you are applying for (that was how I got the .NET job - I updated my resume to concentrate on my OO design skills and database experience). Don't feel that if you aren't hearing anything that you will never hear anything. Keep trying and eventually your resume will be the one looked at out of the pile. Make your resume easy to computer scan. Put all the buzzwords in a section at the top. I labeled my section as technology experience. If you are an interview with a non-technical person and they ask you if you have OO experience, don't confuse them with buzzwords. Say, "Yes! I have lots of OO experience in both design and development. Would you like me to tell you about some of that experience."
Don't give up because if you give up you will never find a job. The market is slowly getting better and companies that have been putting off development will be forced to start working on long delayed projects. Position yourself. Even if you don't get a job think of it as an opportunity to sell yourself for future postions at that job. An interview is not a test... it is a salesman meeting with a potential customer. You are the salesman and you are selling yourself!
[ July 31, 2003: Message edited by: Thomas Paul ]

Associate Instructor - Hofstra University
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Matt Cao
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Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 715
Hi Thomas,
I thought you are a teacher. How did you have the time?
Regards,
MCao
HS Thomas
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Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 3404
For those Baby Boomers not looking to retire just yet, there's hope in the following words :

Ten Tips to Help IT Pros
Become More Marketable

By Joe Liberatore

To gain control over their careers, information-technology candidates must be aware of changing employment needs in their industries, functional areas and particular technologies.
Now that the economy is slowly inching forward, their best move is to determine where the hiring cycle is now or will be in the near future in IT and how to improve their prospects. Opportunities are available for senior candidates, particularly those willing to work as "temps" or in temp-to-perm jobs prior to a hiring upswing.
In all, 1.1 million new IT jobs will be created by 2004, reports the Information Technology Association of America. The need to find applications to reduce costs, integrate existing software systems and improve data security, as well as the continuing "Webification" of businesses, will drive demand for software engineers, computer-support specialists, network and computer-systems administrators, systems analysts, data-security professionals and information-systems managers.
Indicators to Watch
But anticipating the job market is a little like timing the stock market. A lot of people talk about it, but few are successful. Some indicators can serve as a good gauge.
The easiest trends to spot are demographic. Expect changes in both demand and supply. Any occupation or industry serving teens or the elderly will likely grow during the next decade, according to Leon (Lee) Hoke, a professor of economics and co-director of the TECO Energy Center for Leadership at the University of Tampa.
To serve the millennial group, the Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates increased demand for elementary and secondary teachers and teacher aides. The health needs of aging baby boomers will require an increase in nurses, nurses aides and other health-care workers in hospitals, assisted-living facilities and nursing homes. According to the BLS, registered-nursing positions will grow 26% by 2010.
IT positions in health care should see corresponding increases, notes Johnny S. Tureaud, director of shared-business services at Genesis Health System, a multi-facility healthcare system based in Davenport, Iowa. Mr. Tureaud believes IT is driving clinical and business decision-making in health care.
"It's at the heart of process improvement," he says. "It's critical for health-care providers to leverage their IT functions to improve the efficiency and cost effectiveness of operations, helping them to get a better handle on growing reimbursement challenges."
Health-care employers will need to focus on recruiting and retaining staff in daily operations, systems-maintenance, system-installation/implementation, systems-diagnostics and help-desk functions at software and core-systems levels, Mr. Tureaud says.
The Story of a Search
For Sherri Fiumara, finding a job in health care was a drawn-out process. It took her five months before she received an offer as project lead/principal software engineer at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School in Boston. While the average U.S. job hunter takes about five months to find a new position nowadays, Ms. Fiumara had never had such a long search.
"In the past, I was able to rely on the strength of my resume. Working with one or two recruiters, I often found a position within four weeks," she says.
With 20 years of IT experience, Ms. Fiumara began job hunting after her position as applications-development manager at a law firm ended when the firm closed. She began working with recruiters; responding to Internet postings; setting up search agents on job-boards; and networking with former colleagues and contacts. She spent four to five hours per day on the search until she received a referral to her current role from a former colleague now at Beth Israel Deaconess.
Work Force Megatrends
In terms of supply, more employees will leave the work force than enter it as baby boomers retire. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the 60-to-64-year-old age group will increase by nearly 35% between July 2003 and July 2010. This is seemingly good news for senior professionals who want to advance in their careers or at least keep working.
But don't count on this trend as a solution to your career woes, says Myron A. Harmon, vice president of human resources for AchieveGlobal, a Tampa, Fla.-based firm specializing in customer service, sales and leadership training. While many baby boomers do plan to retire, a high percentage hope to work longer than usual to compensate for investment losses or previous bouts of unemployment, he says. In addition, many companies have consolidated jobs and eliminated management layers, so fewer senior positions will open up.
Steps to Improve Your Marketability
Here are 10 steps you can take to make yourself marketable and increase your chances of landing a good position:
1. Move beyond an industry focus. If there's one lesson to be learned from the Internet boom, it's that specific industry needs can come and go at warp speed. Industry demand moves constantly; the challenge is to identify where the demand is now and where it's going. Having moved from the high-tech, telecom and dot-com sectors, it's now centered on defense, data and network security and the always-strong areas of health care, education, government and utilities. These latter fields aren't glamorous and working in them may be considered a "flight to safety," but they do offer stability.
2. Anticipate the need to transfer your skills. Some skills transfer more readily than others, and this relates to the industry and type of application. It's more difficult, for example, for a systems analyst who develops highly specialized financial-services applications to move to another industry than it is for a UNIX systems administrator whose skills are needed across a number of industries. In a nutshell: while generic technical skills transfer, many applications requiring specific industry knowledge don't.

3. Understand the effect that the business climate has on your skills and your search. Several years ago, demand was high for enterprise-resource-planning gurus and those proficient in applications development for new systems. In today's economy, infrastructure upgrades are smaller, and there's little demand for individuals experienced in full-scale ERP initiatives.
4. Be willing to work as a temp or in a contract job. Until supply and demand in the IT job market reaches equilibrium, employers will try to eke out more productivity from existing staff, hire temporary employees or contract with other companies for employees. This means that candidates who are willing to accept untraditional work arrangements may have an edge.
5. Pay attention to soft skills. Employers want more than just technical skills. Professionals in management or aspiring to managerial positions must hone their communications, supervisory and managerial skills. Ms. Fiumara says she was asked about such skills while meeting with employers. "Interviewers placed a great deal of emphasis on softer skills, asking how I would interact in specific scenarios with end users."
6. Upgrade your skills. An economic down cycle may be a good time to pursue an advanced degree or other professional training, even if it's on your own dime. Choose a program that can help you reach your career goals. Individuals with experience in finance who choose to move to IT, for example, may want a master's degree in information systems or computer science rather than specific technical certification. Research future marketplace needs to help you choose a program that can position you for changing market demands. This combination of initiative and up-to-date training will help you jump to the front of the line when the market opens up.
7. Expand your contacts. Join professional groups and try to meet members who can help steer your career. To build relationships, concentrate less on "what's in it for me" and more on helping others.
8. Remember the value of a good defense. If you're employed, stay employed if it's within your control. You're always most marketable and have the greatest negotiating leverage while you have a job.
9. Study prospective employers. A lot of information is available, but too few candidates bother to research companies before contacting them or meeting interviewers. Start your research with networking contacts. If you've targeted a particular employer and want to speak with current employees, ask colleagues for referrals. If you like what the employees tell you, do more formal research.
Many sources are available on the Internet. If the company is public, review their government filings and analyst reports. Locate information about revenues, revenue history and growth, profitability trends, the composition and stability of management, corporate values, employee benefits and whether you would feel comfortable working there.
10. Be persistent. Remember that employers are always looking for the perfect employee. It's up to you to take personal ownership of your job search and to anticipate and overcome potential objections.
The job market will likely heat up and turn in candidates' favor again. This will cause the 'talent war' to expand to include many industries, skills and levels of employment. How you respond to a hot job market depends on your career stage. If you're winding down your career, try to maximize your earning ability during your final years, particularly if your salary declined recently.
If you're in early or mid-career, consider the long-term picture. Your goal should to position yourself for long-term economic security, not look for jobs that will pay you the most. Seek roles that fit your values and career goals. Individuals who become "job mercenaries" can often sabotage their careers in the long run


Some has been said before. No harm in reiterating .
regards
[ July 31, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
Originally posted by Matt Cao:
I thought you are a teacher. How did you have the time?

I only teach part time. Usually two classes a semester is all I carry.
Greg Neef
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Joined: Jun 16, 2003
Posts: 82
Thanks to an 'ugly redneck' I actually got a call about work from participation in this forum. WooHoo! Even if it does not turn into a job, it reminds me we need to maintain a certain positivity and evidence some creativity in our approach to finding work here. No telling if someone listening might know of something helpful. Just gripping about how unfair it all is, is unlikely to motiviate anyone to pass our names along.
[ July 31, 2003: Message edited by: Greg Neef ]
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
I just wanted to add a comment about the problem of people without experience finding jobs. In 1979 when I got my first job, if could walk and chew gum without damaging the hardware too much you were given a job. By 1982 the bottom had fallen out of the market and newbies couldn't get a job if they were willing to pay the boss. A few years later the market was again hiring newbies and we couldn't find enough warm bodies to keep the head count up. So don't become too negative. Yes, the market sucks right now but it will get better because it always does.
Al Newman
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Joined: Mar 30, 2003
Posts: 716
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
I just wanted to add a comment about the problem of people without experience finding jobs. In 1979 when I got my first job, if could walk and chew gum without damaging the hardware too much you were given a job. By 1982 the bottom had fallen out of the market and newbies couldn't get a job if they were willing to pay the boss. A few years later the market was again hiring newbies and we couldn't find enough warm bodies to keep the head count up. So don't become too negative. Yes, the market sucks right now but it will get better because it always does.

You were lucky. I graduated in May of 1982, in the middle of the 'rust belt' yet! There were hundreds of programmers laid off with a year or two experience. It took a year to find my first professional job, but the market improved eventually.
[ July 31, 2003: Message edited by: Alfred Neumann ]
 
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