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Handy tips to get some work experience in your CV

arulk pillai
Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 31, 2007
Posts: 3219
The following questions get repeatedly asked. In future I can refer any similar questions to this thread.

You can�t get a job if you don�t have enough experience, but how do you get an experience, if no one is willing to give you one?

If the market is hot, a well-rounded candidate with a decent resume and little or no experience could easily walk into an interview. But, during a difficult job market with economic meltdowns, one needs to have a highly effective resume with at least 1- 2 year experience or more. So, how do you beat this vicious cycle?

-- Try voluntary work through a number of different avenues discussed in Job Hunting Tips. Voluntary work shows commitment and initiative, even if it is not mentally stimulating. It can increase your industry knowledge, give you the much needed hands-on experience, enhance your soft skills, and give you something to write in your resume without any prolonged gap of employment. Since the task of applying for a paid full-time position can take up considerable time, you could start working voluntarily 2-3 days a week, even weekends if required. Even if it does not involve Java/JEE, provided you can gain any other sought-after technical skills like SQL, XML, integration technologies, Web development, etc and more importantly valuable soft skills, domain knowledge, software development processes and methodologies that are easily transferable to your future dream job.

Now, on a more positive note, while gaining hands-on experience and learning on the job, you will likely uncover paid opportunities by being an excellent contributor with enthusiasm and personal growth or by networking with similar professionals you would not have met otherwise. Voluntary work is generally a win/win situation for both the employer and the employee. Even though larger brand name organizations may look more impressive on your resume and can give you a greater chance of potential internal paid opportunities, smaller companies are more likely to offer you a voluntary work, and also in general, you will not only get to learn more things faster, but also your efforts will get noticed and recognized quicker. You can even try contacting your local charities for any potential openings in IT. Don�t be too concerned about the size or brand name of the organization, but pay more attention to type of skills, experience, and capabilities you will be gaining. Brand name or popularity may take you to the interview stage, but cannot guarantee success in interviews without the right knowledge, skills, capabilities, and experience. If you properly use the guidelines in this book, you can draw on your other strengths and achievements to look more impressive on your resume than to just rely on brand name or popularity.


-- Contribute to open-source projects to gain much needed hands-on experience in sought-after technologies and frameworks. The choices are plenty ranging from widely used products such as NetBeans, Eclipse, GlassFish, etc to smaller hobby projects, which have been open-sourced by their developers. Pick the one depending on your level of experience, interest, and motivation. If your motivation is to learn Spring & Hibernate, then pick a project that uses both. How do you benefit from open-source project contributions?


== Gives you a pretty good big picture of different technologies, tools and frameworks used in a typical application. A typical Java application uses Eclipse, NetBeans, or similar IDE, Java, JUnit, Log4j, Ant, Maven2, Spring, Hibernate, Apache commons library, etc. Try to analyze and understand how all these pieces fit together.

== You get to read a lot of code and learn from it. You can not only learn the best practices, but also can learn to identify potential issues.

== Write your own small programs just to learn the language and libraries (APIs) used in the open source projects. For example, Java APIs and Apache commons library that has very useful utility methods such as StringUtils, CollectionUtils, MapUtils, BeanComparator, Validate, etc. Observe the coding and formatting standards.

== learn how to use the tools like CVS, SVN, Eclipse, Maven2, Net Beans, etc.

== Experiment by making changes to your local copy of the code. Try going through JEE deployment descriptors, Spring, and Hibernate configuration files to understand how different pieces are wired up.


-- Self-taught projects and tutorials to build up confidence and acquire some level of experience with the sought-after technologies and frameworks. Some open-source projects can be a bit overwhelming for some beginners. So, choose carefully. Alternatively, you could take up some self-taught projects by using sought-after technologies and frameworks. While this can be an easier option, it is not easy to be disciplined and looks less impressive on your resume compared to open-source contribution. Having said that, this option is better than not doing anything at all. It at least, shows commitment and initiative with some level of familiarity with popular technologies and frameworks. Improve credibility by providing your URL or mentioning availability of your source code. What is even better is that, if your self-taught project is based on a creative idea and if you think it can be useful to others, you can open-source it or even try selling it.


Each approach has its own pros and cons. If you are a beginner and looking for work, voluntary work will not only give you the experience employers are looking for, but also can open doors for paid job opportunities. If you are already in an employment, and either not mentally challenged or not acquiring the required skills and experience, try contributing to open-source projects. If you are not in much luck with first two options, and sitting idly or you have a bright idea, then try working on a self-taught project, while looking for a paid job.
[ October 22, 2008: Message edited by: arulk pillai ]

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Sunil Chandurkar
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 09, 2008
Posts: 37
I am experiencing this vicious cycle right now. Seems like all firms want Java Developers with 3 years experience.

After spending money on classes to learn Java and paying for Certifications, now I also have to work for free to be employable.

This is just pissing me off.
arulk pillai
Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 31, 2007
Posts: 3219
This is just pissing me off.


The frustration is understandable and you are not alone. All your training and certifications are not wasted, keep applying what you had learnt to practice.

Don�t put all your eggs in one or two baskets. Try using a combination of as many baskets as possible in different ways. Take realistic steps by researching your local market to see what is more important, what really works, monitor the job advertisements to see what are in demand , etc and employ a good problem-solving mind. Enhance your soft-skills, find ways to improve your resume based on what the prospective employers are looking for - �experience� and �accomplishments�, and most importantly start networking to have more people working on your behalf.


Be patient and don't give up. Even if you don't get the kick start dream of, once you get the initial break, all your investment in terms of money and time can get to work in fast tracking your career along with future investments you make in terms of acquiring more knowledge, skills (both hard & soft), etc.
Kj Reddy
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 20, 2003
Posts: 1704
Originally posted by Sunil Chandurkar:

This is just pissing me off.


Agree with Arulk.

Earlier I do work with many freshers who are trained and having certificates. I observed the following with many of them:

Unfortunately the training institutes & certifications wont give knowledge of how exactly you use Java(other language) in real time projects. Mostly they will teach with you with simple programs. And there is a gap between the simple program and real time coding. Only practice/experience can fill the gap.

I wont see every one is like that but it is very commonly observed in India. We can't just change this opinion in the industry. So don't get frustrated and as Arulk said concentrate on gaining knowledge/skills.
[ October 23, 2008: Message edited by: KJ Reddy ]
Bob Hager
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 23, 2008
Posts: 15
Not to be bitter or anything, but it seems to me that the only money to be made in Java nowadays comes from selling books to desperate Java programmers looking for a job.

Billy Tsai
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 23, 2003
Posts: 1297
I would like to know why do you call it CV instead of resume in the topic of this post when this topic is probably for junior professional that might not have that much working experience?
And isn't resume the document that most of the HR hiring people want to see instead of CV and isn't CV longer than a resume where resume should only be limited to 2 pages even if it belongs to a senior professional, also resume seems to be the word more commonly used in most of the job advertisements.

Thanks


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
Gabriel Claramunt
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 26, 2007
Posts: 375
In some countries, a CV is used instead of a Resume


Gabriel
Software Surgeon
arulk pillai
Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 31, 2007
Posts: 3219
Billy, you are right, the term resume would be more appropriate.
[ October 25, 2008: Message edited by: arulk pillai ]
Bobby Sharma
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 18, 2008
Posts: 574
    
    1

I see most of people don't understand difference of CV and Resume ,even
some of them regard CV as a bio-data.

best regards,
Omi


Back to Java , again.
Billy Tsai
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 23, 2003
Posts: 1297
what happens when one's degrees and industry accreditation would already taken up half of a page of a resume which should not be more than 2 pages then that would already have ocupied 1/4 of the space and when one also has participated many different projects; the name of the projects and responsibilities within those projects would surely taken a lot of space so wouldn't be diffcult to fit everything in 2 pages even if you only list 1 or 2 bullet points for each project that one has been in.
Bobby Sharma
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 18, 2008
Posts: 574
    
    1

I don't understand why most of people in India think if they acquire US
degree , then they can get job easily.

I see our friend Bob Wager native American,who has five years of experience and CS degree ,still jobless is struggling to get one.

no offense here.

best regards,
omi
arulk pillai
Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 31, 2007
Posts: 3219
I don't understand why most of people in India think if they acquire US
degree , then they can get job easily.



Some of the beginners and unemployed are more tempted to get back to school doing a post-graduate study or inclined to gain additional training or certifications with a view of improving their employment prospects. This may not be a bad idea especially for someone who has no basic degree, but for degree holders, this has a lesser chance of improving their short term employment prospects because this won�t give you the experience and personal growth what the prospective employers are looking for, and will look less impressive on your resume compared to more hands-on experience driven accomplishments. Academic qualifications should go hand-in-hand with practical experience. Professional experience can help one better identify his or her strengths, weaknesses, and interests, and align appropriately his or her future educational needs. Knowledge is essential, but what is more important is to know how to put it to work because doing is how you learn and how you ultimately prove yourself.


Learning the design concepts and design patterns may look easy enough, until you try to apply it. Once you start applying it in real projects, your knowledge entirely takes a new dimension. Learning gives you the information to act on something, while doing not only makes you proficient at what you had learnt, but also help you learn more things effortlessly. So, don�t get overwhelmed by the number of technologies and frameworks relating to Java/JEE. It may look daunting at the beginning, but if you put both learning patiently alongside of applying what you had learnt pro-actively and courageously to practice, you will slowly see yourself getting on top of things. You will also start to notice significant improvements in your ability to learn and grasp fundamentals, newer technologies and emerging frameworks. You will soon start to identify potential issues relating to the key areas like performance, concurrency control, transaction management, security holes, etc like the real experienced professionals do to make their mark. These key areas were the motivation for my interview companion book. No book can help you master this, without really experiencing it yourself. Books give you the information and raise the awareness, but it is up to you to act on that piece of information to make it work for you by experiencing when to apply, when not to apply, how to apply, where to apply, what the pros and cons are, what the potential risks are, etc.


Looking for a job is a long term investment, especially in tough markets and it is important to develop all the required experience and skills not only in your chosen career, but also in job hunting like writing an effective resume, self-promotion, telephone technique, high-level researching ability, and networking. Remain positive and get busy with applying all different techniques and tips. Perseverance and action are critical to any job hunting efforts and learn to accept rejection. At times it may be necessary to settle for a job that is unpaid, entry-level, less challenging, temporary, less convenient, etc to get your foot in the door. Once you get a foot in the door, you can work harder and smarter with confidence, enthusiasm, and positive attitude to fast-track your career to be where you wanted to be.

At times some are unluckier than the others, but luck will only work if you keep at it and try different things to get back in. 9 years back I was unemployed for about 15 months in my original field of Mechanical Engineering (some say over qualified while others say not enough experience). I wish had known all these then. I learnt a lot since then by experiencing, researching, observing and analyzing.
[ October 26, 2008: Message edited by: arulk pillai ]
Bobby Sharma
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 18, 2008
Posts: 574
    
    1

Originally posted by arulk pillai:


At times some are unluckier than the others, but luck will only work if you keep at it and try different things to get back in. 9 years back I was unemployed for about 15 months in my original field of Mechanical Engineering (some say over qualified while others say not enough experience). I wish had known all these then. I learnt a lot since then by experiencing, researching, observing and analyzing.

[ October 26, 2008: Message edited by: arulk pillai ]


I learned new things by this post,I will follow it
Sunil Chandurkar
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 09, 2008
Posts: 37
I have got a job, well the employer has hired me on a week's trial basis. If he thinks I will be a good fit after a week he will retain me or let me go.
I find this rather unusual. Maybe in this economic environment every employer is being cautious.

The job involves programming web forms, shopping carts etc. in PHP and ASP and also write queries for a FoxPro database.

Will this job help me a fresher with no experience to get a Java job in the future?

How long should I stay with this firm before looking for Java jobs?
Shalini Zing
Greenhorn

Joined: Jun 22, 2009
Posts: 3
arulk pillai wrote:The following questions get repeatedly asked. In future I can refer any similar questions to this thread.

You can�t get a job if you don�t have enough experience, but how do you get an experience, if no one is willing to give you one?

If the market is hot, a well-rounded candidate with a decent resume and little or no experience could easily walk into an interview. But, during a difficult job market with economic meltdowns, one needs to have a highly effective resume with at least 1- 2 year experience or more. So, how do you beat this vicious cycle?

-- Try voluntary work through a number of different avenues discussed in Job Hunting Tips. Voluntary work shows commitment and initiative, even if it is not mentally stimulating. It can increase your industry knowledge, give you the much needed hands-on experience, enhance your soft skills, and give you something to write in your resume without any prolonged gap of employment. Since the task of applying for a paid full-time position can take up considerable time, you could start working voluntarily 2-3 days a week, even weekends if required. Even if it does not involve Java/JEE, provided you can gain any other sought-after technical skills like SQL, XML, integration technologies, Web development, etc and more importantly valuable soft skills, domain knowledge, software development processes and methodologies that are easily transferable to your future dream job.

Now, on a more positive note, while gaining hands-on experience and learning on the job, you will likely uncover paid opportunities by being an excellent contributor with enthusiasm and personal growth or by networking with similar professionals you would not have met otherwise. Voluntary work is generally a win/win situation for both the employer and the employee. Even though larger brand name organizations may look more impressive on your resume and can give you a greater chance of potential internal paid opportunities, smaller companies are more likely to offer you a voluntary work, and also in general, you will not only get to learn more things faster, but also your efforts will get noticed and recognized quicker. You can even try contacting your local charities for any potential openings in IT. Don�t be too concerned about the size or brand name of the organization, but pay more attention to type of skills, experience, and capabilities you will be gaining. Brand name or popularity may take you to the interview stage, but cannot guarantee success in interviews without the right knowledge, skills, capabilities, and experience. If you properly use the guidelines in this book, you can draw on your other strengths and achievements to look more impressive on your resume than to just rely on brand name or popularity.


-- Contribute to open-source projects to gain much needed hands-on experience in sought-after technologies and frameworks. The choices are plenty ranging from widely used products such as NetBeans, Eclipse, GlassFish, etc to smaller hobby projects, which have been open-sourced by their developers. Pick the one depending on your level of experience, interest, and motivation. If your motivation is to learn Spring & Hibernate, then pick a project that uses both. How do you benefit from open-source project contributions?


== Gives you a pretty good big picture of different technologies, tools and frameworks used in a typical application. A typical Java application uses Eclipse, NetBeans, or similar IDE, Java, JUnit, Log4j, Ant, Maven2, Spring, Hibernate, Apache commons library, etc. Try to analyze and understand how all these pieces fit together.

== You get to read a lot of code and learn from it. You can not only learn the best practices, but also can learn to identify potential issues.

== Write your own small programs just to learn the language and libraries (APIs) used in the open source projects. For example, Java APIs and Apache commons library that has very useful utility methods such as StringUtils, CollectionUtils, MapUtils, BeanComparator, Validate, etc. Observe the coding and formatting standards.

== learn how to use the tools like CVS, SVN, Eclipse, Maven2, Net Beans, etc.

== Experiment by making changes to your local copy of the code. Try going through JEE deployment descriptors, Spring, and Hibernate configuration files to understand how different pieces are wired up.


-- Self-taught projects and tutorials to build up confidence and acquire some level of experience with the sought-after technologies and frameworks. Some open-source projects can be a bit overwhelming for some beginners. So, choose carefully. Alternatively, you could take up some self-taught projects by using sought-after technologies and frameworks. While this can be an easier option, it is not easy to be disciplined and looks less impressive on your resume compared to open-source contribution. Having said that, this option is better than not doing anything at all. It at least, shows commitment and initiative with some level of familiarity with popular technologies and frameworks. Improve credibility by providing your URL or mentioning availability of your source code. What is even better is that, if your self-taught project is based on a creative idea and if you think it can be useful to others, you can open-source it or even try selling it.


Each approach has its own pros and cons. If you are a beginner and looking for work, voluntary work will not only give you the experience employers are looking for, but also can open doors for paid job opportunities. If you are already in an employment, and either not mentally challenged or not acquiring the required skills and experience, try contributing to open-source projects. If you are not in much luck with first two options, and sitting idly or you have a bright idea, then try working on a self-taught project, while looking for a paid job.
[ October 22, 2008: Message edited by: arulk pillai ]

where are these open source projects available?
arulk pillai
Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 31, 2007
Posts: 3219
Where do I look for open-source projects?

-- http://www.sourceforge.net/
-- http://dev.java.net/
-- http://jakarta.apache.org/
-- http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/views/java/projects.jsp
-- http://www.google.co.in/search?q=Apache+Java+projects
-- https://www.dev.java.net/servlets/ProjectList
-- https://openjdk.dev.java.net/
-- http://developers.sun.com/javadb/
-- http://www.netbeans.org/
-- https://glassfish.dev.java.net/public/devindex.html
-- http://www.ohloh.net/
-- http://www.freshmeat.net/
-- http://code.google.com/

Alex Serna
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 18, 2009
Posts: 58
Sunil Chandurkar wrote:I have got a job, well the employer has hired me on a week's trial basis. If he thinks I will be a good fit after a week he will retain me or let me go.
I find this rather unusual. Maybe in this economic environment every employer is being cautious.

The job involves programming web forms, shopping carts etc. in PHP and ASP and also write queries for a FoxPro database.

Will this job help me a fresher with no experience to get a Java job in the future?

How long should I stay with this firm before looking for Java jobs?


Please could someone experienced response the above post???

I have a similar situation. I graduated 2 years ago with a CS Spanish degree. I love computer science, but at the time I didn't have a way to know what each IT professional career was really like. I started with System Administration which I like, but the shifts were giving me sleeping troubles. After that I worked with pl/sql which I don't find very interesting. While I was working with pl/sql I studied Java(which I find fascinating), but I had the feeling that working 10 hours a day and studying Java from scratch was impossible (or at least too slow) . Now I'm unemployed and trying to get my SCJP so that the HR believe me when I say I know some Java(or at least the syntax).

Here comes my personal questions... Are those 2 years going to help me at all getting a Java programming job?(I think the answer for this question is going to be 'not much'). Is this 4 months-so-far gap in my CV going to give a bad impression to employers? am I expected to just get any IT job even though that would triple the time I need to acquire the desired Java knowledge?

Thank you everyone.

Sandeep Awasthi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 23, 2003
Posts: 597
Alex Serna wrote:
Here comes my personal questions... Are those 2 years going to help me at all getting a Java programming job?(I think the answer for this question is going to be 'not much').


System administration experience may not be much helpful in programming. I did Novell Netware administration long back for small training institute. I consider it did not help me in my software development career.

But PL/SQL experience is not waste, it will help you with Java as well.



Alex Serna wrote:
Is this 4 months-so-far gap in my CV going to give a bad impression to employers?


No, it is opportunity for them to decrease your salary expectations. When they negotiate salary, they have to attack on your weak points, this may give them opportunity. You can prepare your answer and defend yourself in interview.

Alex Serna wrote:
am I expected to just get any IT job even though that would triple the time I need to acquire the desired Java knowledge?


IMO first priority should be get into job and with the job learn whatever you want to learn, doesn't matter if it take more time. As long as you do not get job, you can continue learning Java but your focus should be primarily on getting job.




Sandeep
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
 
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