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Bare Essential skill combinations for various job profiles?

Andy Jack
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Joined: Nov 22, 2012
Posts: 257
Lets say you want to be a web developer (WD), then these are the combinations (just made them up) that could help you to fit into a job or job profiles that are common -

WD1 - PHP, MySQL, JS
WD2 - HTML5,JS,CSS
WD3...

Nice to haves XML, Apache Web Server, Linux (for LAMP jobs) etc

Some more examples -
Java Desktop App developer - Java, Database, Swing etc
CS fundamentals you must be excellent in - Data Structures and Algorithms, Multi threading.
Nice to have - Design Patterns

Android Developer - Java, XML, JSON etc

Can we make a thread or doc which lists various combinations like these ?



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Pat Farrell
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Joined: Aug 11, 2007
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    5

I think the "checkbox for skills" approach to hiring is at best short sighted, and more often than not, moronic.

I've been doing this for 40 years and have used something like 30 languages professionally (Fortran, Cobol, Smalltalk, Java, Python, etc are only the big ones). Having a "skill profile" just makes it easy for HR people who understand nothing about technology claim that they have a perfect candidate.

I want to hire the smartest engineer possible. One interested in the stuff we are doing today, and interested in learning the stuff we will do tomorrow. There is zero probability that what I want for skills from an engineer today will be what I want in five year. I want an engineer who wants to learn and use new stuff.
Andy Jack
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Joined: Nov 22, 2012
Posts: 257
Pat Farrell wrote:I think the "checkbox for skills" approach to hiring is at best short sighted, and more often than not, moronic.

I've been doing this for 40 years and have used something like 30 languages professionally (Fortran, Cobol, Smalltalk, Java, Python, etc are only the big ones). Having a "skill profile" just makes it easy for HR people who understand nothing about technology claim that they have a perfect candidate.

I want to hire the smartest engineer possible. One interested in the stuff we are doing today, and interested in learning the stuff we will do tomorrow. There is zero probability that what I want for skills from an engineer today will be what I want in five year. I want an engineer who wants to learn and use new stuff.


You make a valid point. But, my question was that I need some kind of check list for the first 3-5 years. Of course, i will learn new things/skills on the job or besides the job. So, please tell me some combinations that can guide us.
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
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  65

I agree with Pat that any such list would not make much sense. And if you ask 10 different people for such a list, you'd get 10 different lists.


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Paul Anilprem
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    2
Pat Farrell wrote:
I want to hire the smartest engineer possible. One interested in the stuff we are doing today, and interested in learning the stuff we will do tomorrow. There is zero probability that what I want for skills from an engineer today will be what I want in five year. I want an engineer who wants to learn and use new stuff.


Just because an engineer knows the stuff that you are doing today doesn't necessarily mean that he is not smart.

In fact, more often than not the choice is between a smart engineer who wants learn the stuff that you need today and interested in learning the stuff you may need tomorrow, and a smart engineer who is knows the stuff you are doing today and interested in learning the stuff you may need to use tomorrow.

So, imho, it does make sense to focus on what is required in the industry right now.

To get such a list, just look at job postings in Monster/Dice. Here is an example from a req that I got today in my mail box.

· Solid understanding of object oriented design principles and patterns including UML
· 7+ years of java development experience including JDK 5, multithreading, JDBC, servlets, JSP, Hibernate, Spring, JavaScript and DWR.
· 3+ years of experience as a technical lead in designing and architecting scalable & high performance software products using modeling techniques and software design patterns
· 3+ year of experience with Java persistence models, implementations, including SQL, JDBC, ORM solutions, Query Abstraction models as well as familiarity with different databases.
· Spring, Hibernate is highly desirable.
· Strong experience in web design, HTML , DHTML, JavaScript, Cross Browser Scripting, YUI, AJAX, CSS
· Experience with java performance profiling
· Strong experience with restful web services
· Strong experience with MySQL, Oracle databases
· Good experience with Unit Testing processes and tools (JUnit)
· Hands-on experience with Design Patterns
· Experience with source management tools such as Subversion, CVS, Perforce or Rational Clear Case required


This is a very very common set of requirements. Of course, this doesn't mean this is the only list. Based on what kind of role you are looking for, if you search the job listings, you can easily arrive another set of skills that are required for that particular kind of role.


HTH,
Paul.


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Pat Farrell
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Joined: Aug 11, 2007
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    5

Paul Anilprem wrote:
Pat Farrell wrote:
I want to hire the smartest engineer possible. One interested in the stuff we are doing today, and interested in learning the stuff we will do tomorrow. There is zero probability that what I want for skills from an engineer today will be what I want in five year. I want an engineer who wants to learn and use new stuff.


Just because an engineer knows the stuff that you are doing today doesn't necessarily mean that he is not smart.

You seem to be missing my point. Its great that an engineer knows what I am using today. But meeting a long checklist does not mean that she is smart or flexible
or willing to learn new technologies. And I don't hire for this week, I want someone that I will want on my team in 5 years. There is zero chance that I'll be using DHTML, CVS or SVN.

Having the checklist skills does you zero good if I'm the one hiring you.

I know I'm in a minority here. I know that Monster and Dice and most head hunters are too clueless to help me find the staff I want. And it may be that having some long checklist of "skills" will help get a job. But it sure is not how to get a career.
Paul Anilprem
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    2
Pat Farrell wrote:
Paul Anilprem wrote:
Pat Farrell wrote:
I want to hire the smartest engineer possible. One interested in the stuff we are doing today, and interested in learning the stuff we will do tomorrow. There is zero probability that what I want for skills from an engineer today will be what I want in five year. I want an engineer who wants to learn and use new stuff.


Just because an engineer knows the stuff that you are doing today doesn't necessarily mean that he is not smart.

You seem to be missing my point. Its great that an engineer knows what I am using today. But meeting a long checklist does not mean that she is smart or flexible
or willing to learn new technologies. And I don't hire for this week, I want someone that I will want on my team in 5 years. There is zero chance that I'll be using DHTML, CVS or SVN.

Having the checklist skills does you zero good if I'm the one hiring you.

I know I'm in a minority here. I know that Monster and Dice and most head hunters are too clueless to help me find the staff I want. And it may be that having some long checklist of "skills" will help get a job. But it sure is not how to get a career.


I totally agree with you when you say, "And I don't hire for this week, I want someone that I will want on my team in 5 years." That is not the point I missed. You post seemed to imply that you don't care if the person knows the stuff that you are doing today as long as he is a smart engineer. Among 10 smart people, you could have one smart guy who, besides being smart, also knows the stuff you are doing today. If you don't care about that, then that is what I don't agree with. In that sense, I think it is a good idea to work on a check list. You could be an engineer from MIT with a PhD in LISP, but if my deliverable in next 6 months requires JEE development, I can't afford to have you spend next 2 months learning JEE.
Paul Anilprem
Enthuware Software Support
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Joined: Sep 23, 2000
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    2
Pat Farrell wrote:
Paul Anilprem wrote:
Pat Farrell wrote:
I want to hire the smartest engineer possible. One interested in the stuff we are doing today, and interested in learning the stuff we will do tomorrow. There is zero probability that what I want for skills from an engineer today will be what I want in five year. I want an engineer who wants to learn and use new stuff.


Just because an engineer knows the stuff that you are doing today doesn't necessarily mean that he is not smart.

You seem to be missing my point. Its great that an engineer knows what I am using today. But meeting a long checklist does not mean that she is smart or flexible
or willing to learn new technologies. And I don't hire for this week, I want someone that I will want on my team in 5 years. There is zero chance that I'll be using DHTML, CVS or SVN.

Having the checklist skills does you zero good if I'm the one hiring you.

I know I'm in a minority here. I know that Monster and Dice and most head hunters are too clueless to help me find the staff I want. And it may be that having some long checklist of "skills" will help get a job. But it sure is not how to get a career.


I am not sure if I am conveying this right. But in one sentence, here is how I see it:

I don't want to be just smart engineer, I want to be a smart engineer who knows the stuff that is required in the industry today.

So if I think I am smart. Great. No one can my smartness away. But you know what. I am not the only smart person around. If I want to get hired I better know what is required in the job market today. Monster/Dice will tell me what is required today. No job requirement says that they want dumb people. Being a smart engineer is a given and a hiring manager should and will check for that as well.
Pat Farrell
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Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4646
    
    5

Paul Anilprem wrote: You post seemed to imply that you don't care if the person knows the stuff that you are doing today as long as he is a smart engineer. Among 10 smart people, you could have one smart guy who, besides being smart, also knows the stuff you are doing today. If you don't care about that, then that is what I don't agree with. .... but if my deliverable in next 6 months requires JEE development, I can't afford to have you spend next 2 months learning JEE.


You can teach even a smart MIT or IIT engineer JEE in two months? Wow, I sure can't do that.

If I find a great engineer who has spend most of her time recently using say python, and I need Java skills, then I'll eat the learning curve on Java. And vice versa. Once you have learned a few languages, the next one is really not that hard, especially if you have someone who knows the new language. A smart engineer who has never seen EL or JSPs can pick up a working knowledge in a few days. Same with a general engineer on DBMS packages. Oracle vs MySql, who cares? Sure there are differences, but they have far more in common than the fan-boys like to argue about.

There are skills that we use in building modern web applications where the skills are highly specialized. But these skills are never going to be found in someone with a long checklist as suggested by the OP. For example, great human interface (GUI) design is an art. If you want that, you want that one skill. But again, the tools used are far less important than the art skills.
Pat Farrell
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Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4646
    
    5

Paul Anilprem wrote:I don't want to be just smart engineer, I want to be a smart engineer who knows the stuff that is required in the industry today.


Sounds more like you just want to be hired today for a job. Fine if that's what you want.

Sadly, many hiring managers are very shortsighted, and don't want the best long term person, they want to fill a slot today. Maybe most hiring managers are this way. But I have never want to work for folks like this. Even if I liked the current assignment, such a boss is not going to be a good fit for me over time.

We can't stop Monster/Dice and clueless HR folks from using checklists. But we don't have to like it. And we don't have to work for them.

More than 40 years ago, when I was a freshman engineering student, one of the old professors said that when he was my age, the hottest field in all of engineering was steam locomotive engineering. Most jobs, most money, best working conditions. (This was probably 80 years ago now). Soon, those jobs were obsolete, as the steam locomotive was obsolete.

I have very little interest in what the industry is hiring today.
Paul Anilprem
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    2
Pat Farrell wrote:
Paul Anilprem wrote: You post seemed to imply that you don't care if the person knows the stuff that you are doing today as long as he is a smart engineer. Among 10 smart people, you could have one smart guy who, besides being smart, also knows the stuff you are doing today. If you don't care about that, then that is what I don't agree with. .... but if my deliverable in next 6 months requires JEE development, I can't afford to have you spend next 2 months learning JEE.


You can teach even a smart MIT or IIT engineer JEE in two months? Wow, I sure can't do that.

If I find a great engineer who has spend most of her time recently using say python, and I need Java skills, then I'll eat the learning curve on Java. And vice versa. Once you have learned a few languages, the next one is really not that hard, especially if you have someone who knows the new language. A smart engineer who has never seen EL or JSPs can pick up a working knowledge in a few days. Same with a general engineer on DBMS packages. Oracle vs MySql, who cares? Sure there are differences, but they have far more in common than the fan-boys like to argue about.

There are skills that we use in building modern web applications where the skills are highly specialized. But these skills are never going to be found in someone with a long checklist as suggested by the OP. For example, great human interface (GUI) design is an art. If you want that, you want that one skill. But again, the tools used are far less important than the art skills.


I think now you may be missing my point. It is absolutely true that a smart engineer who has never seen EL or JSPs can pick up a working knowledge in a few days. But the point is why should you pick him over another smart engineer who already knows EL or JSPs?
Paul Anilprem
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Pat Farrell wrote:
Paul Anilprem wrote:I don't want to be just smart engineer, I want to be a smart engineer who knows the stuff that is required in the industry today.


Sounds more like you just want to be hired today for a job. Fine if that's what you want.

I have mouths to feed today you know
BTW, you seemed to have missed "just". I dont want to be just a smart engineer.
Pat Farrell
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Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4646
    
    5

Paul Anilprem wrote: It is absolutely true that a smart engineer who has never seen EL or JSPs can pick up a working knowledge in a few days. But the point is why should you pick him over another smart engineer who already knows EL or JSPs?


Simple, I value brains and flexibility and willingness to learn and accept challenges more than I value this or that checkbox.

Next project will have different checkboxes. I don't like firing folks.
Paul Anilprem
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Pat Farrell wrote:
Paul Anilprem wrote: It is absolutely true that a smart engineer who has never seen EL or JSPs can pick up a working knowledge in a few days. But the point is why should you pick him over another smart engineer who already knows EL or JSPs?


Simple, I value brains and flexibility and willingness to learn and accept challenges more than I value this or that checkbox.

Next project will have different checkboxes. I don't like firing folks.


Let me complete the circle

Paul Anilprem wrote:
Just because an engineer knows the stuff that you are doing today doesn't necessarily mean that he is not smart.

In fact, more often than not the choice is between a smart engineer who wants learn the stuff that you need today and interested in learning the stuff you may need tomorrow, and a smart engineer who is knows the stuff you are doing today and interested in learning the stuff you may need to use tomorrow.

chris webster
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Joined: Mar 01, 2009
Posts: 1609
    
  13

As an out-of-work developer currently trying to correct his own skills shortage, I reckon Paul and Pat are both right. When I'm looking for a job, I'd much rather deal with somebody who takes Pat's view i.e. that a good and experienced developer can adapt quickly to new technologies etc, because of course that's what I'm trying to do, I've done it before and seen plenty of other people do it before. That's the nature of life in this industry after all - learn fast or lose out.

But many managers understandably take Paul's view i.e. they have to deliver a project in 6 months and they don't want to take a risk that despite my years of experience and devastating good looks, I might well be a complete idiot who won't learn anything useful throughout the project. So they try to specify the skills they need right now.

But I don't think the buzzword-bingo approach works for anybody except HR people and recruitment agencies. It inflates skills requirements to the point where nobody can recruit anybody, while leaving lots of good developers fighting for work. I've worked on several projects which were using a similar technology stack to the one in Paul's example job ad, but there was nobody on any of those projects who actually knew all of that stuff in any depth (if at all). So why restrict your pool of potential recruits to the 6 people who claim to know it all, especially when 3 of them will be lying and 2 of the others will have no team-working skills whatsoever, which is why they're looking for a job in the first place?

I know there are some very smart people out there (and here on the ranch), but most projects I've worked didn't need geniuses anyway. Instead, they had teams of regular hard-working developers who were experts at some things but not at others, learned new stuff as they went along, and collaborated to share their respective skills as necessary. So why not recognise reality in recruitment practices, instead of playing self-defeating games with ludicrously inflated lists of required skills that typically are not necessary for the job or could be acquired on the job if necessary, and may serve only to massage the egos of recruiters ("Look how hard we're searching to find your new recruit!") or high-level managers who think they need an MIT graduate to tweak their shopping cart code?

OK, rant over. As for Andy's original post: just start learning something new, Andy - don't waste your life here on the JavaRanch - you're young, you can still make it outta here!


No more Blub for me, thank you, Vicar.
Seetharaman Venkatasamy
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chris webster wrote:Andy - don't waste your life here on the JavaRanch - you're young, you can still make it outta here!

Jeanne Boyarsky
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Seetharaman Venkatasamy wrote:
chris webster wrote:Andy - don't waste your life here on the JavaRanch - you're young, you can still make it outta here!


I think Chris means "just start learning" rather than "keep waiting for the perfect thing to learn"


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Pat Farrell
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    5

I'm not Chris, and I won't claim to know exactly what he means, but I think I can interpret the spirit of @Chris' answer.

I do photography as a hobby. Digital photography has a lot of technical issues that a geek like me can get into. Plus, there is a bit of an art involved, which is radically different from my engineering day-job, so it uses other parts of my brain. There are lots of photography blogs and forums. There are lots of newbies posting the same questions over and over. Some of the questions are phrased with very specific details: Should I use the 85mm F2.8 lens, or the 105mm F2.0 lens, when I shoot this kind of portrait? The common response is to address the relative image quality of the two lenses and how that might impact the photo. The proper response is "Stop being anal about lenses that are essentially the same, go out and shoot photographs. You don't learn photograph on a computer, you learn photography by taking pictures and looking at photos."

Rather than asking which checkbox items you need on your resume, get a job and write code. Figure out what you like. Hint: the things that you like are most likely to be the things you get good at. Being good at a technology is much more important than getting the checkbox filled in on it.

So, what I am saying and what I think @Chris is saying, is that the answer is not on a forum, even one as good as Javaranch. The answer is within yourself.
chris webster
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Joined: Mar 01, 2009
Posts: 1609
    
  13

Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:I think Chris means "just start learning" rather than "keep waiting for the perfect thing to learn"

Pat Farrell wrote:So, what I am saying and what I think @Chris is saying, is that the answer is not on a forum, even one as good as Javaranch. The answer is within yourself.

Yeah. What they said.

(Sheesh - see what happens if I try to be brief for a change! )
Paul Anilprem
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Joined: Sep 23, 2000
Posts: 3253
    
    2
Pat Farrell wrote:
Rather than asking which checkbox items you need on your resume, get a job ...

How do you propose a person should get a job? By writing a one line resume that says, "I am smart, flexible, accept challenges, and am willing to learn technologies that you are using now and will use in future?"
Pat Farrell
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Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4646
    
    5

Paul Anilprem wrote:How do you propose a person should get a job? By writing a one line resume that says, "I am smart, flexible, accept challenges, and am willing to learn technologies that you are using now and will use in future?"

Again, it depends on where you are looking for the job. If you are using Monster/Dice or a clueless HR person, you must do what they expect.

But even within that world, you can address what they are looking for, aiming at what they are asking.

Many people think that they have "the resume" that is submitted to any and all position postings. This is nonsense. You have a work history, and its stored in a word processing program's data files, so its trivial to re-order things, highlight some and downplay others. The key is to match your work history to what they want.

This assumes, of course, that you have the experience. No point in lying or writing a bunch of fiction. Maybe lies will get you past the HR person, but if you dont' know something, your co-workers will know in the first week you are on the job.

You can't put your line on the resume, but you sure can talk about how you showed initiative, took challenges and made them into success, and picked up a bunch of new technologies.

Perhaps you are really asking the "if I must have experience, how do I get it?" That is worth a separate thread, and I'm sure it has been covered many times before.
Paul Anilprem
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    2
Pat Farrell wrote:
Paul Anilprem wrote:How do you propose a person should get a job? By writing a one line resume that says, "I am smart, flexible, accept challenges, and am willing to learn technologies that you are using now and will use in future?"

Again, it depends on where you are looking for the job. If you are using Monster/Dice or a clueless HR person, you must do what they expect.

What other ways are there for a relative inexperienced person? (Ignoring nepotism for a moment)

Pat Farrell wrote:
Many people think that they have "the resume" that is submitted to any and all position postings. This is nonsense. You have a work history, and its stored in a word processing program's data files, so its trivial to re-order things, highlight some and downplay others. The key is to match your work history to what they want.

Really? Haven't you been saying that a check list is "short sighted, and more often than not, moronic"?

Pat Farrell wrote:
This assumes, of course, that you have the experience. No point in lying or writing a bunch of fiction. Maybe lies will get you past the HR person, but if you dont' know something, your co-workers will know in the first week you are on the job.

Nobody is talking about lying. OP asked if there is a checklist of things that one should learn. I am of the opinion is that there indeed is and is very much evident from job listings. If you are learning anything, it makes absolute sense to learn things that are in demand for a job that you want to get. Just like it makes no sense to learn psychology if you want a job in Aeronautics, it makes no sense to learn Lisp when you want a a job in JEE. No matter how smart you are. In fact, you smartness would be questionable if you do that.

Pat Farrell
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Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4646
    
    5

Paul Anilprem wrote:Really? Haven't you been saying that a check list is "short sighted, and more often than not, moronic"?


Yes, it is all of those things. But if you are trying to get a job using Monster/Dice/clueless HR person, you have to play their game. If you don't, you won't make it past their initial screening process.

Shotgunning your resume is not a wise strategy. So when you find a job that interests you, tweak your resume to match it. This assumes, of course, that you are basing your interest on the match between some of your existing skills and what the job wants.

But I'm getting the feeling that you, Paul, are arguing just to be argumentative.

Again, the "I need experience to get a job, but I need a job to get experience" is a separate thread and a well covered area.
Paul Anilprem
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    2
Pat Farrell wrote:
But I'm getting the feeling that you, Paul, are arguing just to be argumentative.

Very sorry you felt that way. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Andy Jack
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Joined: Nov 22, 2012
Posts: 257
Paul Anilprem wrote:
Pat Farrell wrote:
Rather than asking which checkbox items you need on your resume, get a job ...

How do you propose a person should get a job? By writing a one line resume that says, "I am smart, flexible, accept challenges, and am willing to learn technologies that you are using now and will use in future?"


Yes, one has to highlight the relevant skills to make it past the HR DRONE. It is these kinds of checklists
that i am interested in.

Once the drone passes you, then comes the part where see/test if you are "smart, flexible, accept challenges, and am willing to learn technologies that you are using now and will use in future". Thats what I learned from
my limited interviews for junior positions.
 
Don't get me started about those stupid light bulbs.
 
subject: Bare Essential skill combinations for various job profiles?
 
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