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Fl4sh

how would I get my work taken seriously in a professional environment?

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If I (as a programmer) want to get my foot in the door in a professional environment, what type of projects would I need to do? Btw I'm not talking about games, I'm talking about web development and anything .net. For example, I know charles petzold's .net book zero front to back and I have written several small c# programs.

Also w/ php, I'm learning about security and how to fight things like sql injection, etc.

But I feel like programmers are screwed when it comes to a portfolio. What can we really show off?...it's not like an artist who can actually show his skill level visually. We have to depend on networking and all that stuff. Amirite? ;o

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I think to answer your question we'd need to know more about your background and previous educational or work experience.

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Make some stuff, put it out there, and you'll have something to put on your resume.

Basically, if you don't have anything out there at the moment, then you don't have enough experience to consider getting a job professionally.

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To be honest, I have on my laptop (for when I finish Uni) a Folder called "Portfolio" where is just have sub folders for all my XNA games(only thing I have done at the moment.) and all there Source code, imho the most important thing a programmer can have is source code (Duh :p)

Also, most programming jobs seem to make you do a little coding task before they accept you.(I think)

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All *GOOD* programming jobs will make you do a test.

Think about it this way;

Some companies don't make you write code but just sort of ask "so... can you program then?" and let you in if you say yes.

That's peachy if all you need to do is get hired.

However, think about what you'll find when you get there. That's right. The guy across the desk from you or at the table the other side of the room won't actually be able to program because people at the company don't HAVE to be able to. It's a sort of "nice to have" aspect.

And that's peachy as well. Until you have to work with them and then it all goes horribly wrong because in order to do your work, you have to do his as well...

And then think about other things -- if they don't make programmers do programming tests, do they make sure the accounts clerks can process expenses and payroll correctly?

Quality comes from the people in a company.



How you get a 'foot in the door' is to go for junior roles.

There's an expectation there that you'll be able to write simple programs, but that you don't have experience at bigger stuff. Instead, you'll get partnered with someone who'll teach you how to do larger things.

Well. That's the idea. The question to ask at the interview is if you can MEET the person who would be your mentor. If they blink and say "who?" or "your what?" then you won't get one. Keep looking until you find a company who say "sure, I'll just go get him[1]".

And then you get to learn how big software is built by watching it being done.


The other thing you will almost certainly need is a degree in something useful. "Something useful" doesn't just mean compsci or comp engineering, although those are good choices. Chemists, physicists, mathmoids and even electrical engineers can all make the leap to software. Many of them are very good at it. A useful degree is one which needs you to do a decent amount of maths and understand big wadges of technical stuff.


You CAN do it without a degree.

But by far and away the easiest route through this is a Bachelors in a computing subject. That route is so much easier that companies actually turn up to campus before you graduate to see if they can find people to hire, and at that point they're not expecting portfolios. Just the graduation certificate.




[1] The chances of it being a "her" are pretty small -- I'm usually the only female developer on a team, never mind the only senior one. There is a joke that on any given software team the number of men who share the same first name will outnumber the women and it's truer than it ought to be.

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Quote:
and I have written several small c# programs.


Do serious (= bigger) stuff.

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I was hired a as a web developer couple months after I finished school. My resume had my college credentials, and in my cover letter I talked about an 8 month project I worked on as part of school, as well as a small project I did part of a co-op. If you don't have such projects, talk about in your coverletter things you've done. Such as small projects you've built yourself, the concepts you've learned from doing so. It sounds like you know some concepts, so I suggest putting something small together. I realize it may not be a "real" project, but it's something. Maybe scratch your own itch if there's something that would make your life easier.

Mentioning open source projects you've worked on can be good as well. They can see your code that way. If you haven't worked on any, maybe try to find one you like and can contribute to.

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Quote:
Original post by Fl4sh

But I feel like programmers are screwed when it comes to a portfolio. What can we really show off?...it's not like an artist who can actually show his skill level visually. We have to depend on networking and all that stuff. Amirite? ;o


If only there were some way to showcase your work. Like open source participation, blogs and web pages hosting and describing existing work, discussion forums through which to present knowledge and similar.

Quote:
All *GOOD* programming jobs will make you do a test.


While definitely the lesser of two evils, consider how low on skill scale programmers are.

"So, you are applying for a job as a surgeon. Let's just go quickly over this test:"
- What color is the blood of a human? What about a dog?
- Describe, in your own words, what pain is.
- Look at the instruments on the table over there, please point out the scalpel.
- A patient has a headache. Demonstrate out of box thinking.

And experience would show, than 9 out of 10 active surgeons, full-time employed in hospitals, would not pass this test.

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I'd say keep writing stuff in C#/ASP.NET. Learn some web design skills and create some web templates and/or try and get some web development work as a freelancer but most importantly remain as active as possible. Employers like people who are enthusiastic and are actively contributing outside of University.

A degree only gets you an interview, you then need some experience to draw from during your interview.

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Quote:
Original post by Antheus
If only there were some way to showcase your work. Like open source participation, blogs and web pages hosting and describing existing work, discussion forums through which to present knowledge and similar.
I am always curious how much these actually count for. Sure, getting a non-trivial patch accepted into the linux kernel will carry a lot of weight in certain circles, but do less prestigious open-source projects merit a line on the C.V.? Does discussion on GameDev (no matter how knowledgeable you demonstrate yourself to be) count for anything unless one is lucky enough to be interviewed by a fellow GD'er?

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