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Rob van der Horst

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since Jul 20, 2002
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Recent posts by Rob van der Horst

My last assignment at IBM ended and decided to take the certification path.
With javaranch as starting point it was easy to find my way.
All-in-one Java 2 Certification Exam Guide by Stanek set me up for 70%, Mughal and Marcus Greens mock exams did the rest. I wish I had spent some time with awt. Did not know about show() and pack() which came up twice during the exam.
Next is SCWCD.
19 years ago
Sam, many people tend to think that Java and OO makes the world go around. It does not. Number one programming language, especially in the financial world probably still is COBOL, as awefull it may be.
I have done dozens of interviews and below is what I learned from them. They are my humble opinion.
Having said that, the first thing you have to understand is that your new employer is not just one person. Normally, you have 3 roles: HR, the project manager (or line manager, or whatever) and the team-member.
Try to skip the first two, or at least HR. If that is not possible then often, the first person you meet is someone from HR. After fourteen years of experience you must show HR who's boss. HR always takes the offensive with lots of acronyms and will keep doing so until they come to one you don't know, or you honestly admit you have little experience with. You and I both know that design patterns, EJB's, servlets, SOAP or whatever they come up with nowadays is just re-inventing the wheel.
Realise this and keep this constantly in mind during interviews! HR people normally have no experience at all in computing or have failed as a developer; the latter being proud of their programming experience with Focus or equivalent.
The second person you meet is the project manager. The project manager is always convinced that his (or her) team is up-to-date with cutting edge technology, do IT the way it was intended and that you will have to adapt to fit in. Do not argue with that! A good way to take this hurdle is have a team member join the interview. An old-timer is a sure way to get in because you and he (or she) are on the same level. With a newby it is best to pass questions from the PM on to him (or her), but go easy on him. Remember that the team member present during this interview is of big influence to the project manager! With a newby present you will have to stay in charge and lead the interview. Ask them about the difficult and boring stuff in IT like SLA's, fall-over systems and escalation procedures, or even documentation standards.
At the end, let the project manager assess your value and your function level. Make a note of this because you'll need in your next interview with HR.
If they decide to hire you, then in your second interview with HR they will try to convince you that your 14 years was a complete waste of time, and your career in IT starts now, oh how lucky you are to join their company.
Hold on to the function level proposed by the project manager and make sure you get just as much as anybody else at that level with your kind of experience.
I do not dislike HR people, I even have some friends that are HR. Really!
Good luck!
19 years ago