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HinataHyuga

First interview for a programming job.

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Well I submitted my resume on Monster.com and got a phone call from a company about a job interview for PHP Developer. I am not sure what to expect at the interview or how to even prepare for it. Let me show you guys the job posting and my resume and maybe some of you experienced guys can give me some tips. I am a beginner at php (well I can connect to mysql databases and manipulate data as well as some of the basics of php) but the position is entry level. Here is the job posting:
Revelex Corporation, a web based travel distribution product company, is seeking multiple entry-to-senior level application developers. No relocation package available at this time. Local area applicants will only be considered.

 

Entry Level Requirements:

    * Must have working knowledge of a programming language and the desire to actively learn PHP (Professional experience is preferred, but work on open source and self motivated projects will be considered).
    * Must be organized, self-motivated and be able to communicate effectively.
    * Must have good problem solving skills.
    * Ability to identify and fix software bugs.
    * Ability to implement simple business logic in code. 

Mid-to-Senior Level Requirements:

    * Must have 2+ years of solid PHP experience in a business environment.
    * Must be organized, self-motivated and be able to communicate effectively.
    * Must have good problem solving skills.
    * Intermediate to expert level PHP skills.
    * OOP experience.
    * Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
    * Ability to take a leading role on projects.
    * Ability to develop comprehensive system design and architecture.
    * Ability to write technical specification and test plans. 

The following qualifications will be considered a plus:

    * Knowledge of the travel industry.
    * Working knowledge of C, C++, Java, Visual Basic or other OO languages.
    * Working knowledge of Perl, Python, or other scripting languages.
    * Familiarity with XML. Familiarity with CGI, DBI and Socket API Skills.
    * Familiarity with advanced HTML and Javascript (Ajax, etc.).
    * Experience working with or administrating GNU Linux / Unix servers.
    * Experience working with Apache, MySQL, Sybase or MS SQL.
    * Experience developing system documentation.
    * Zend PHP Certification.

 

Revelex offers a busy but enjoyable atmosphere, full compensation packages including company paid employee health insurance, vacation, sick and holiday pay, and the opportunity to grow with a dynamic company. 


and here is my resume. CENSORED ADDRESS Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410 Phone CENSORED E-mail CENSORED CENSORED NAME Objective My goal is to be employed at a well known company as a programmer. Education June 2004 - Present Palm Beach Community College WPB, FL Computer Programming Major  I am in my last 2 semesters working towards my Associates Degree.  Afterwards I plan to move on to FAU to pursue my Bachelors. Awards received Associate of The Month Food Lion Inc June 2004 Associate of The Month Sam’s Club Inc June, July 2006 Interests and activities I am interested in every aspect of computers. Since I was 10 years old they have fascinated me and it is my goal to understand everything about them both hardware and software. Languages My first language is English, but I also speak intermediate Spanish. Work experience 12/13/2006 – Present Palm Beach Community College Boca Raton, FL Supplemental Instructor  It is my job there to be a facilitator of learning. I tutor students and sometimes faculty in Operating Systems, Microsoft Office, Structured Programming, and MYSQL Database design. 06/01/2005 – 01/26/2007 Sam’s Club WPB, FL Marketing Representative  It was my job to create new business for this busy wholesale warehouse. I mainly cold called potential business clients and had a very good sales record. Hobbies I have been a hobby programmer for several years working on small games and applications in C/C++, Java, PHP, MYSQL, HTML/CSS, and javascript. References Professor CENSORED, Dept. Chair Business, Computers, and Accounting. Palm Beach Community College, Boca Raton, FL. Phone#: CENSORED Mrs. CENSORED, SI Coordinator Palm Beach Community College, Boca Raton, FL. Phone#: CENSORED Mr. CENSORED, Marketing Director Sam’s Club, WPB, FL. Phone#: CENSORED Community activities I am currently designing workshops for the PBCC South Campus Computer Club. (PBCC Computer Club Email: computerclubsouth@gmail.com) Accreditations and licenses I am certified as an IT Tutor by the CRLA (College Reading and Learning Association) Salary Requirement It is not about the money for me at this point. I have not completed my schooling yet so I would not expect more than 10$ per hour. Thanks for any input / tips/suggestions. Sorry if the copy/paste formatting messed up. Hinata

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also. if you didn't want to read that jargon above(as i now see it is quite cryptic) please give me tips about what to say/expect at an interview.
Thanks
-Hinata

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A regular in the Business of Game Development forum, Tom Sloper has a spectacular website concerning just that: the business side of things. While it's geared towards game development, there's plenty of good generic advice for programming positions. Look especially at FAQs 3, 7, 8, and 9.

In general, be honest. This means both not embellishing what you've done, but also not downplaying anything important you've done. Be open; answer those questions you can honestly ("What got you started programming?"), and don't get flustered by technical questions to which you may not know the answer ("I'm thinking of a number..."). For the latter, they're most likely interested in how you (attempt to) answer the question, not whether or not you wind up at the right conclusion.

Be confident, but not overly so. There's a fine balance to everything (but not too fine), but it should be clear what's over the line, and what's not.

Be friendly and polite. And courteous. A Boy Scout, in other words.

Best of luck! If you foul it up: don't worry, you'll have more chances. If you don't foul it up, but still don't get the spot: don't worry, you'll have more chances. If you knock their socks off and they offer you a ridiculous salary, paid continuing education, and a company car, send some of the wealth my way. [grin]

Let us know how it goes, the experience will be frightening but enlightening. Here's to it!
-jouley

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You can read The Guerrilla Guide to Interviewing on Joel's page. It's written for interviewers, but it should also help you prepare (know what you're getting into, etc.) When I do interviews/phone screens, I definitely have an eye open for the "smart and gets things done" bit.

Also, don't be full of yourself. If I say "tell me about yourself", which is a REAL softball question that everyone (no exceptions) should be able to nail (if you have nothing to say about yourself when given the choice.....) Yet I find that the worst answers are from people who are full of it. They sound something like this: "I like to utilize my skills to achieve my goals. I am a team player, and a people person. I am goal-oriented and career-driven." Then I'll be sitting there thinking, are you sure that's something about yourself? Are you sure it isn't... nothing?!?

That pet peeve being out of the way, the best preparation I can recommend is the following: Instead of downloading lists of hundreds of interview questions, and panicking because you don't know how you'd answer some of them, just focus on preparing what you want to tell the interviewer. This will probably happen automatically if you really want the job, because you will be running scenarios in your head all the time, so you'll be ready by the time you get there. Then, just weave what you want to tell them into the questions. That's for the softball questions like "what are your strengths and weaknesses."

Any tech interviewer will ask you some relevant questions. If it's a phone screen, you can ask really easy questions like "write a function to reverse a string." That's short enough to convey over the phone, and while it's absolutely trivial, you have no idea how many people actually manage to get it COMPLETELY wrong, and can't fix it even with coaching. It's a great weeding technique. However, it sounds like you've got an in-house interview coming, so it might be more involved, but I'm sure it won't be too bad. Just get some practice before you get there, and make sure you're comfortable with everything you have on your resume, and you'll be fine.

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