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Question about employers


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#1 lmbarns   Members   -  Reputation: 458

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 07:01 PM

The majority of the job postings I see state things like:

Proficiency in, at least, one modern programming language such as C, C++, Java, or Perl


2+ years of experience developing scalable and distributed systems with either C++/C#/Java and experience with a scripting
language JavaScript/Python/Ruby/PHP/ Perl in a UNIX or Windows environment


Proficiency in, at least, one modern programming language such as C, C++, C#, Java, or PERL


Which made me curious if they plan for you to switch or do these places have projects utilizing all of those different languages so they'll put you where they can use you?


Also with an entry level front end developer job, assuming the candidate is coming from a completely unrelated career, and screwed their academic path over years ago, has good grades in key courses but didn't finish, would any of this help?

Showing an interest(hobbyist) in development for 10 years before getting serious about it.
Showing a transcript with B's in 2 visual C++ classes(begin and advanced), VB, and a C in COBOL(yea as/400) but 10 years ago when I was 18 and a senior in highschool.

Showing websites and html5 applications built in notepad.
Showing a javascript html5 2d sprite engine rpg I made with skilling system, magic, buying/selling from npcs, inventory, crafting, etc, made in notepad. (was interested in websockets and node.js at the time)
Showing a 3d version of the 2d rpg made in Unity with C# for android, exact same mechanics and such just rewritten in C#.

I'm really struggling to present this stuff, like it would take forever to make the portfolio site I imagine, I even roughed out a website that was super corny, built as a game HUD, where I had a "Character panel" with inventory, stats, etc with my "skills" which were icons and charts of different software I'm familiar with and tooltips showing information like number of years experience with it(showing off jquery). Also an ajax viewer that switched through different character models displaying all their stats/skills/name/title/etc within an interface and you could swap through based off entries in an xml file. It had a bunch of animated sprites as I was trying to "demonstrate" what I could do but it's pretty crazy now that I look at it again.

Some stuff I want to display was never completed, and to "wrap it up" now would take a lot of time, some was abandoned for good reason, should I make a page with code highlights and maybe a video of the features I'd like to show working?

I'm thinking now of just doing a blog style video with description scrolling down a page, if you click on a section it takes you to a page with the video, full description and code.

I have some 80 videos I uploaded over the past 14 months that I've been actively working on games. I was planning to pull out a dozen that show actual mechanics and show the code as well.

I'm trying to wrap up the bugs in my current android game at it's current stage and have it on my tablet at the interview.

Some of the old stuff that got me interested in programming were scripts I made for botting resources in games using autohotkey. There was logic in them, and I had almost a framework with a master script which loaded dozens of others, for organization. They'd scan the screen against a collection of images I had and run subroutines when a match was found that would move to it, use the tool then rescan a Rect around the player then target the resource with the tool. Another one would run your character from the Inn to the tailor and blacksmith shops (pathfinding by searching for tiles along the way) and run some subroutines to buy/sell and accept quests when they got to them, then it would run you back to the Inn. Not sure if that's relevant but it shows an interest in problem solving, and creativity :)

I'm just kind of terrified of having no professional experience, I just want an entry level or internship for whatever to get experience, so how do I market myself best? If someone's completely eager to improve (and get out of current career) and has some experience, what else would help? I'll admit I'm in a program to finish my degree but it's more of a patchup if you know what I mean. I have 5 courses left two java, 1 perl, and a capstone project which you take with technical writing. I've got a ton of certifications not for programming, like network+, security+, project+, etc from Comptia and Microsoft 70-680 for win7 enterprise.

So any tips on what you look for or consider when weighing candidates, I know having completed your degree puts you in front, I do live in Seattle which I'm hoping will be to my favor. Would you just round up what you want to show and start applying? I keep talking myself out of it subconsciously thinking if I just make it better I can win someone over.

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#2 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 18373

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 08:15 PM

What are you asking about, exactly?

Have you read the forum FAQs yet? It sounds like you are going through a few of the 'wannabe' items in the FAQ; worrying so much about not being prepared that you never even take the opportunity. It also sounds like you haven't yet learned what the jobs actually entail doing, which are covered in several FAQs.



If you do not have the ability to create and finish programs then stop worrying about it. Instead do something to improve your skills. Most likely that means taking a few classes at a community college or going back to finish a degree in Computer Science.

If you have the ability to write programs then stop worrying about what they want and apply for entry level jobs. They are rarely advertised since there are usually so many direct referrals and so many unsolicited applications.

If you know the languages or tools they are asking for then apply for the job. Statistically the odds are already against you for any particular job --- there are many applicants and just one you --- so you'll need to apply to many jobs and present your best work for every one of them.
Check out my personal indie blog at bryanwagstaff.com.

#3 L. Spiro   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 11938

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 08:49 AM

The majority of the job postings I see state things like:

Proficiency in, at least, one modern programming language such as C, C++, Java, or Perl


2+ years of experience developing scalable and distributed systems with either C++/C#/Java and experience with a scripting
language JavaScript/Python/Ruby/PHP/ Perl in a UNIX or Windows environment


Proficiency in, at least, one modern programming language such as C, C++, C#, Java, or PERL


Which made me curious if they plan for you to switch or do these places have projects utilizing all of those different languages so they'll put you where they can use you?


Also with an entry level front end developer job, assuming the candidate is coming from a completely unrelated career, and screwed their academic path over years ago, has good grades in key courses but didn't finish, would any of this help?

The core of your entire post is right here.
  • Do they plan to switch me around or make me work on all of these topics/languages at once?
    • No task requires all of those skills/languages. You will be switched around. If you are lucky you can get into a company like mine where they are even willing to completely reclassify you as long as they see potential for the original position for which you applied. A coworker and I started on the same day for the same department, but that department required multiple shipped games during past experiences. He had none, but they still hired him, putting him on a game team instead of R&D with the intent of transferring him to R&D after he has completed a few full games in that department. Most companies will just not hire someone who is not suitable for that position at that moment.
  • Does it help that I screwed over my academic career years ago but am willing to start anew (at the bottom of the barrel) in a new career?
    • It doesn’t matter that much, but you must truly be willing to start at the bottom of the payroll etc.
    • Getting into the industry without any education at all is possible, if you have a good portfolio. This applies to people who have an education that was either screwed over or simply not related too. Basically, “Bad education? Then make a good portfolio.”


L. Spiro
It is amazing how often people try to be unique, and yet they are always trying to make others be like them. - L. Spiro 2011
I spent most of my life learning the courage it takes to go out and get what I want. Now that I have it, I am not sure exactly what it is that I want. - L. Spiro 2013
I went to my local Subway once to find some guy yelling at the staff. When someone finally came to take my order and asked, “May I help you?”, I replied, “Yeah, I’ll have one asshole to go.”
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#4 turch   Members   -  Reputation: 590

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 10:58 AM

The majority of the job postings I see state things like:

Proficiency in, at least, one modern programming language such as C, C++, Java, or Perl


2+ years of experience developing scalable and distributed systems with either C++/C#/Java and experience with a scripting
language JavaScript/Python/Ruby/PHP/ Perl in a UNIX or Windows environment


Proficiency in, at least, one modern programming language such as C, C++, C#, Java, or PERL


Which made me curious if they plan for you to switch or do these places have projects utilizing all of those different languages so they'll put you where they can use you?


Employers expect a good developer to be able to learn a new language fairly quickly. The idea is that if you are an experienced programmer that knows a C#, then switching to Java is just learning a new syntax but applying the same concepts. Of course its not nearly that simple, and if the job requires you to understand the deepest pits of a certain language then they will be looking for someone that has a lot of experience with that language specifically. But most entry level positions tend to be more generalist, a candidate needs programming knowledge rather than knowledge of the ins and outs of any specific language.

Those places most likely don't use all the languages listed, and even if they are they aren't hiring someone that can use any one language to put them where they can use them, they just want to see that you can use one of those languages to show them that you have programming experience, and the candidate will have to learn whatever language they use if they don't know it already.

#5 lmbarns   Members   -  Reputation: 458

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 11:43 AM

Thanks guys. I don't know a single person who works in CS or even IT.

@ spiro, thanks for the example of your coworker. I guess if I have 7/10 of the requirements for an opening I should give it a shot.

as for 2) I really mean bottom of the barrel, I'll work for minimum wage, my spouse makes just under 6 figures and I don't consume much. If I make half as much as her behind a computer in 3-5 years I'd be ecstatic. My last and longest term job was $19/hr for a general contractor.

@turch yea I've noticed the concepts transfer nicely and looking at c++ posted on this forum I can follow it but haven't read anything about memory allocation/management and bitwise operations. Even in Javascript I read about bitwise stuff but I wasn't sure the point. Java and C# seem very similar.

I know a lot of jobs don't let you post workplace code in forums, but I assume they let you use documentation as much as you need?

Edited by lmbarns, 15 June 2012 - 11:49 AM.


#6 turch   Members   -  Reputation: 590

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 11:56 AM

I know a lot of jobs don't let you post workplace code in forums, but I assume they let you use documentation as much as you need?


Oh yeah, you'll spend a lot of time reading documentation. No one is ever expected to know everything - you hire a programmer when you need something figured out, not when you need rote tasks done :)

#7 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 18373

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 12:22 PM

I really mean bottom of the barrel, I'll work for minimum wage

Employers would rather pay a skilled worker more money than a mercy hiring at minimum wage; having one bad worker tends to cost more than just that one worker, it brings down all the rest of the team.

The exception are jobs where they know you need training; entry level and intern workers need some training and are expected to reach competency very quickly.

I know a lot of jobs don't let you post workplace code in forums, but I assume they let you use documentation as much as you need?


Oh yeah, you'll spend a lot of time reading documentation. No one is ever expected to know everything - you hire a programmer when you need something figured out, not when you need rote tasks done

Yes you have access to help you on your job.

On the other side of the coin, I have seen several people 'let go' because they could not write code quickly enough. Turns out they were poor programmers who relied on Google to find snippets that were similar to their task at hand. Over-reliance on Google means slow productivity.


Every employer I've worked with has required writing code as part of the interview process.

If you interview with me, you will be required to write some fairly simple algorithms with multiple people watching. Google is not an option as we ask you to implement a linked list, or implement a sorting route of your choice, or given a begin and end pointer reverse an array of objects, or whatever.

At one time I was surprised at how few candidates were unable to write simple routines during an interview. Now I understand why it is one of the easiest tests to remove an applicant from the pool. I am now a big fan of programming test administered by HR, a test that most programmers can finish in 15-20 minutes or so, but with a two hour time limit.



If you are able to write code and develop solutions then you should apply for the jobs.

If you are unable to do it competently and you still want the job then you should re-apply for school. Whatever went tragically wrong the first time should be fixed by maturity. The rules for applying straight out of high school are very different than the rules for applying as a more wise adult. The first is overly-fixated on your test scores and GPAs to weed out those unwilling to work. The latter assumes that you have taken some bumps and bruises and have learned the hard way what work actually means.
Check out my personal indie blog at bryanwagstaff.com.

#8 lmbarns   Members   -  Reputation: 458

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 02:01 PM

@frob I'd actually prefer a test during the interview to be sure I am what they're looking for.

I was wondering do they have their own internal documentation, or clearly MSDN, and what about internal libraries/existing code base? Do you do most everything from scratch or do you interface with/re-use existing code, or likely a mix of both?

Taking Unity for example, if I break down exactly what I want to do, each piece is right there in the manual...similar with ECMA, or even MSDN usually gives an example usage.

Also I'm looking eventually for a position at a studio that will make flash/unity/html5/mobile/browser type games. Which is different from people writing custom source engines, I'd rather master Unity(or UDK, or XNA) than be mediocre at best on a much meatier low level source engine. It's not as esteemed a position or high paying and has more competition (more accessible to more people) but tbh it's the type of development I'm interested in becoming good at (so I can do it on my own or with a small group).




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