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Your 'Breaking Into The Industry' Story

 
Peter Mc Cormack
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Hi, I recently completed my OCJA 6 and am currently studying OCJP 6 (will sit exam in January).

I'm in touch with several recruitment agents with a view to setting up interviews for Dec/Jan.
Ideally I'd get an entry level position but these are few and far between. Junior positions are for those with 1 - 3 years.

It would be great to hear how seasoned programmers got your first jobs in IT, and what your first month to six months was like (what was expected from you).

Thanks.
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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My first two IT jobs were paid internships. At one I wrote a tiny bit of code, but largely took minutes at meetings. The second one I did a lot of web app coding. Everyplace I've worked has been understanding of the new person not knowing much and provided strong mentoring.
 
Peter Mc Cormack
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Everyplace I've worked has been understanding of the new person not knowing much and provided strong mentoring.

Thanks Jeanne. Is it the norm that most people get there first year experience as an intern?

Anyone else want to share their experience about their first year in IT?
 
Prasad Krishnegowda
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Unfortunately, I was not able to get any interns..
I was placed though the campus and my first(current also) job was in an MNC....
In my First year, 4 months went in training and other 6 months went in doing some small small works and some learning projects...
 
Peter Mc Cormack
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Prasad Krishnegowda wrote:Unfortunately, I was not able to get any interns..


@Prasad, Do you think it would be better to get an intern position to start with?
 
Prasad Krishnegowda
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Definitely Yes, if we get an opportunity. This will help us know, about the environment the corporate world works and gives a bit exposure on the type of projects/technologies used.
 
Peter Mc Cormack
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Thanks for the feedback guys, you've been really helpful!
 
Jayesh A Lalwani
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My first job was an unpaid internship *coughslavelabor* in India in my final year of college. My boss gave me an assignment that required converting data in one format to another. I was like I'm OOP this and OOP that and over designed the whole thing. I was slogging on it for 3 days a week for 3 months, before my boss got completely frustrated with me, and banished.. yes banished is the correct word... me to a server room in a satellite sales office. Apparently, I was not even worth the real estate of the table and chair I was sitting on. The only reason he didn't kick me out was because he knew my father, and the only reason I was staying with him because my father knew him. I would plead with my mother everyday to let me find a differrent internship.. but no go

So, after I got kicked out of the office, I took a step back. I threw away all the code that I had written, and basically wrote everything procedurally (which is what was really required.. the problem was not that complex that it required OOP). BAM! 2 weeks I'm done. I gave it to my boss, and then spent the 2 weeks testing it and playing solitaire. Then one day, the boss came to the satellite office and told me he will drive me home. On the way we started talking about stuff, and he started explaining to me about Visual C++ or something and I learnt more in that 40 minute ride that I had learnt in the 4 months I was in that company

So, couple of weeks later, I'm back in the main development office, working on a new project. Having the principle of KISS firmly drilled into me via my backside, it was all uphill from there.
 
Peter Mc Cormack
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@Jayesh, great story!
 
Ulf Dittmer
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I never had an internship, nor (I think) do I know anybody who did. My first job out of school was for a contracting company that worked for a huge industrial client. I had some specialized skills they needed -namely Fortran, but I also knew C, which they also used- so it was a good fit. I learned a lot, and stayed for 18 month, but then left when they didn't offer what I considered to be an adequate salary after I felt I had proved my worth. I moved on to a startup doing Java in the online world and have never looked back.

In my neck of the woods, I don't think any developer worth his/her salt would go for an internship; the demand is just too high.
 
Peter Mc Cormack
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In my neck of the woods, I don't think any developer worth his/her salt would go for an internship; the demand is just too high.

Demand is very high for OO Programmers in my country as the IT and game industries are growing, and there is a skills shortage.
Entry salaries are €30k - €35k. I don't know what paid interns get, but I suppose it would amount to less than mentioned...
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Peter: Yes, most people where I live (in NY) come in with internship or part time job experience.

Ulf: I'm referring to a summer internship done while in college not an entry level job called an internship. AKA an organized training type job with a defined start/end date.
 
Maneesh Godbole
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I have always hated being told what to do or more importantly, how to do it.
I bought a book (Let Us C by Yeshwant Kanetkar), a PC and started toying around. When I felt confident, I got Java Complete reference - Herbert Schildt and Core Java - Cornell/Horstmann and toyed around more.
My first "commercial" code was an inventory management system with Swing & MS Access(!). At that time, Java did not have that good printing support. So I came up with my own version of generating "printable pages" (.html which were generated from the data at runtime by a clever mechanism* which I am still proud of) I somehow convinced the client that html was the "best way to view these pages". Fortunately he bought this argument and I could piggy back on the browser's print/preview functionality!
*Later on, when I toyed around still more, I realized this is conceptually the same way servlet/jsp work!

I kept on freelancing, learning on the way, and somehow managing food on the table. I also invented a device which would enable my software to convert binary to braille. I tried desperately to get it working commercially, but hard luck.

After 5 years and a daughter, I realised a job was required for consistent financial stability. Fortunately my 1st boss was so impressed by my braille software, that he gave me a nod, even thought I am not a graduate. So effectively I "broke in" with 5 years experience....and boy do I miss the old days.
 
Sumit Bisht
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As I didn't have a computer degree after my graduation(I self taught myself java and basics in j2ee), I started my masters and continued learning java and other open source stuff.
I went to a local company that works for an MNC and was handed Hibernate in action ebook the first day. After half an hour, I asked for some real work and was assigned a problem involving database connection in a spring application. Applying connection pooling in spring was what I did on my first day in office.
It has been a rocking ride for me since then!
OCJP is great, I remember thinking that I knew java but when I started studying SCJP(OCJP's old name) and came to javaranch, I was humbled.
Wishing you good luck for your future!
 
Don't get me started about those stupid light bulbs.
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