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Recent Grads and Experience Beyond the Desktop? 574

Posted by Cliff
from the college-and-preparation-for-a-real-world-job dept.
over_exposed asks: "I'm a recent college grad (B.S. in C.S.) and have been on the job hunt for about 6 months. I've been playing around with tech toys as long as I can remember, but it all focuses around the desktop environment. Desktop-grade routers, switches and wireless as well as any/all desktop PC (and some Mac) hardware is what I could get my hands on with my limited budget. After looking through hundreds if not thousands of job postings, everyone is looking for 3+ years of network admin experience or 5+ years of C++ experience even for an entry level position. How is one expected to gain that kind of experience when no one will hire you without the experience? What kind of (part-time) work can you get as a college student to gain experience (Cisco, Exchange, SQL, etc) that will be marketable in the real world? Any suggestions from the Slashdot community will be of great benefit to myself and thousands of others who will enter the 'real world' in the next few years."
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Recent Grads and Experience Beyond the Desktop?

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  • LUGs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SIGALRM (784769) * on Saturday June 26, 2004 @01:45PM (#9537990) Journal
    What kind of (part-time) work can you get as a college student to gain experience

    Aside from simply applying for such positions, I would suggest you attend a Linux User's Group [linux.org] in your area. Along with expanding your knowlege and skills, a LUG connects you with relationships that might be helpful in finding part-time work. You'll also get a better feel for the local job market.
    • Re:LUGs (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I bet just because you said that, now all the LUGs will fill up overnight. Not an inch to move at any of the meetings, and a room full of newbies.
    • Re:LUGs (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 26, 2004 @01:52PM (#9538035)
      Exactly - I realised something the other day. Linux geeks aren't the hollywood-stereotypical geeks. Linux users tend to be social, gregarious folk, and a raucous LUG meet in a pub in Manchester contrasts sharply with the Rain Man Microsofties I encounter here in England, anyway. Linux folk are Social Geeks, a group that has yet to be widely recognised, but holds an amazing amount of latent potential - MBAs can control the Rain Man Geeks, but Social Geeks have the same networking skills as MBAs. Microsoft makes its money by acting as a bridge between the Rain Men and the MBAs. Social Geeks render them irrelevant, not just economically, but societally.

      • Re:LUGs (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Well said. I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
    • Re:LUGs (Score:5, Funny)

      by cubicledrone (681598) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:21PM (#9538216)
      I would suggest you attend a Linux User's Group in your area.

      The average middle manager wouldn't know a Linux User's Group if it jumped out of their ass and did the tap number from 42nd street.

      • Re:LUGs (Score:4, Informative)

        by pongo000 (97357) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @03:36PM (#9538634)
        The average middle manager wouldn't know a Linux User's Group if it jumped out of their ass and did the tap number from 42nd street.

        While certainly deserving of being modded "Funny," it's equally deserving of "Overated," possibly "Untruthful." The North Texas Linux Users' Group [ntlug.org] job opportunity list routinely sends out requests for assistance, sometimes full-time, sometimes part-time, sometimes contract. Over the years I have participated in a few contact jobs as a result of posts to the LUG mailing list. Contrary to the parent poster's message, there are people out there who recognize the value of networking and the value of targeting a select group of individuals who, on average, will generally have a more appropriate skill set than, say, the population exposed to a newspaper classified.

        Find the LUGs in your area, as well as other UGs and subscribe to their job lists. It's probably one of the more underated activities and least time-consuming you can add to your job search techniques.
  • by firstadopter.com (745257) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @01:48PM (#9538002) Homepage
    The best way to do it is an internship. The best way to get a job is NETWORK, NETWORK, and NETWORK. All the jobs I've gotten has always been through someone I knew, who knew someone. So work your friends, friend of friends, and socialize more. Best advice.
    • by Grant29 (701796) * on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:16PM (#9538187) Homepage
      Yep, I can't find the article now, but I read that most job openings are filled by referrals from existing employees. You might be able to find openings online or in the paper, but they will give you a tougher interview process. A recommendation from a friend on the inside will get you a step ahead of the other random applicants.

      --
      11 Gmail invitations availiable [retailretreat.com]
    • NETWORK, NETWORK, and NETWORK

      This is easily said, but not easily done for many people. Imagine a person rowing up to New York City in a grass boat from a primitive island-nation having never seen such a city before. It is reasonable for me to say "Yeah, you just get on the subway, go to XYZ street, take a cab to QRS square, don't look homeless people in the eye, stay out of suspicous alleyways, etc." and actually expect that person to make it?!?

      The people who are good at networking typically got that w
    • Here's a quote from the book F'd Companies by Philip J. Kaplan in which he talks about the downfall of a bunch of dot-coms (a la his corresponding website [fuckedcompany.com]. Specifically, this is from the analysis of refer.com, which paid people who refered other people to hiring managers if they were actually hired:

      So...in contrast, in order of importance, here's how most companies hire people:

      1) Internal referrals--Employees or stakeholders refer their friends and acquaintances. Even if the company you work for were off

  • Internships (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 26, 2004 @01:49PM (#9538008)
    Internships are a great way to get practical work experience while you're still in school. They look great on a resume, and they can also be an excellent venue for you to get practical work experience after you get your degree. The theory being, you're already a known quantity to them and so they'd be much more willing to bring you on full-time after school.
    • Re:Internships (Score:3, Interesting)

      This is very true. It's most likely too late for the story submitter, but I have a (lucky and smart) buddy who interns every summer, last few years he interned at Honeywell, and this year he actually had three companies offer him NICE internships, Honeywell, Cray and Qualcomm, to be exact. Not only is it great resume fodder, and a chance to get real world experience without really having to deal with a "real" job where they demand you know everything at interview time, but he gets paid pretty damn well to b
  • Lie (Score:5, Funny)

    by chaffed (672859) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @01:49PM (#9538009) Homepage
    Lie...
    • Basically, people are looking for someone with the confidence to say they have five years experience and be able to show you that they can do what they were trained to do.
    • Re:Lie (Score:2, Informative)

      by AgntOrnge (718563)
      While this used to work many moons ago for most positions now, no way. To combat this exact behavior a company I recently interviewed with had two different system engineers grill me followed by the a director. They were very prepared and all asked different questions. Unless you KNOW you can fake it, don't.
      • Re:Lie (Score:2, Interesting)

        by chaffed (672859)
        What I meant was; Personally I have the proficiency in network administration. Equal to someone who has been working "professionally" for 5 years or more. However I do not have 5+ years "professional" experience.

        So if you can answer the questions then what difference does it make whether you have 3 or 10 years under your belt.
        • Re:Lie (Score:5, Insightful)

          by antiMStroll (664213) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:37PM (#9538323)
          Two questions. Are you prepared for the consequences if you're caught? Being fired for lying on your resume could have a far more serious impact on your future than lack of early experience, especially in the more tightly knit (and typically higher paying) specialized fields. If you don't have the experience, how do you know you really have the proficiency? Proficiency is more than just hardware and software, it's knowing how to take direction, manage budgets, work within corporate systems guidelines you don't agree with, and much more.
  • by kalpol (714519) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @01:49PM (#9538012) Homepage
    I've taught myself quite a bit working with my own Linux server, writing web pages and databases for my music and pictures using PHP/MySQL, and playing with new technology. If you create something you can show a prospective employer, not only are you gaining experience but it goes a long way towards showing you're a self-starter and eager to learn.
    • by NineNine (235196) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:25PM (#9538248)
      I got my first job with my porn site... all database driven with some decent traffic handling abilities, stored procedures, etc. I agree completely that sometimes you have to do something on your own to set yourself apart.
    • by John_Booty (149925) <johnbooty.bootyproject@org> on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:27PM (#9538262) Homepage
      If you create something you can show a prospective employer, not only are you gaining experience but it goes a long way towards showing you're a self-starter and eager to learn.

      I'm in "in the trenches" programmer, not a manager who does hiring. But I've been doing it for about 8 years, and I've been sometimes involved in the hiring process at the companies I've worked for.

      Anyway, I agree with the above post. To me, a person who loves this stuff enough to code something up on their own has the right mentality to be a talented programmer. In fact, I've seen somebody with no professional experience whatsoever get hired that way... the person doing the hiring was so impressed at the kid's demo software that he hired him right away. He turned out to be a brilliant programmer.
    • by fishdan (569872) * on Saturday June 26, 2004 @08:51PM (#9540073) Homepage Journal
      Building your own project is 100% the best way to get hired. One of my first questions (after I've established competency) is "what have you built for yourself." If you haven't built anything, do it now, make it web accessible, and include a link on your resume. A resume that comes across my screeen, with a clickable link ALWAYS gets clicked. That's it -- you could not ask for a better chance to show your stuff.

      And heck, build it like your trying to start a business...you just might!

  • Too high too fast (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Manip (656104) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @01:50PM (#9538014)
    You will never get the job you want right after you leave University, you need to look for lower-position that do not require experience and then get your self moved up internally.

    Once you get promoted you can then use that as leverage for external promotion. Remember all promotion is essentially internal in one way or another, it just seems like it is external because people change jobs so often.
  • by PktLoss (647983) * on Saturday June 26, 2004 @01:50PM (#9538017) Homepage Journal
    I think it is time we all faced the facts. The times when one could walk out of University with nothing more than a shiny new diploma and into a well paying job are gone. They probably aren't comming back. I particularily don't understand this mentality in CS when there are so many ways to get involved. Open Source software is more than a great way to use great software for free, it is also a great way to get your name out there. Attach it to some projects, big or small and actually contribute. No it isnt regular office experiance, but it is coding, and will seperate you from the rest of your classmates who have dont nothing more than school projects. Pick any project you use, phpBB, Apache, PHP, *nuke, whatever and get involved and get noticed. Even helping out with documentation shows some initive, and can help you stand out from the crowd.

    • I think it is time we all faced the facts. The times when one could walk out of University with nothing more than a shiny new diploma and into a well paying job are gone.

      ...and with them went our communities, neighborhoods, being able to sign a mortgage before starting to withdraw from the (probably non-existent) retirement fund, families, hope, joy, careers, the value of our educations, and everything else that makes working a 40 hour week important.

      But that's alright. Don't complain too loud. There'
    • by pvera (250260) <pedro.vera@gmail.com> on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:34PM (#9538304) Homepage Journal
      This is very solid advice.

      If you are fresh out of college but walk into your interview with a couple years of active work in open source projects, you will make a good impression.

      If I have to hire a guy right out of college I would love to find one that has helped run an open source project that is in wide distribution. This way at least I know the programmer has been exposed to real life situations like scope creep, managing user expectations, quality assurance, etc.

      Internships don't hurt either, my own employer has hired people that started with us as interns.
  • by HBI (604924) <kparadine@@@gmail...com> on Saturday June 26, 2004 @01:50PM (#9538018) Homepage Journal
    Get a crappy help desk job and work your way up. Or do phone support. Or be a telemarketer for a computer company if that's all you can get.

    You need to work to succeed. No one is going to hand you an IT job based on certifications or college. Well, they might, but you'll be working for an idiot, and probably not for long.
    • Ugh. Don't do phone support. At least not for a major ISP. I answer phones for Comcast, have done so for a year and a half and now hate my life. My girlfriend has a Linguistics degree and now has a job way cooler and geekier than mine. And really, it's not a Linguistics job. Having a degree can open doors to you that are closed to those of us without.
    • The post said that s?he had a CS degree, not a CIS or something that had no real technical value behind it.

      The real problem here is new grads are competiting against other grads, others with years of experience (and software to show for it) and connections, and the low costs of overseas. Basically, the job situation is the same as before the dot com.

      This person has to do two things:
      1. Aquire connections; this can be done at lugs, contract shops, moving to a new place, simply spend more time on-line
      2. Produce
    • by pla (258480) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @03:02PM (#9538468) Journal
      Get a crappy help desk job and work your way up.

      While not unrealistic in the current IT market, "crappy help desk job" has nothing to do with becoming a software or network engineer.

      For an analogy, a helpdesk job at an IT firm compares well to a secretary at a law firm. The secretary does not "climb the ladder" to full fledged lawyer, and the helpdesk guy does not eventually become a real engineer (not to say it never happens, but it when it does, it will involve some circumstances beyond "working up the corporate ladder"). Totally different jobs, one geared toward MCSEs and assorted other college dropouts, the other to people with a 4-year degree and good coding skills (which do not automatically come with any degree... You have to get those skills on your own through years of practice, which fortunately can start long before college).

      No, a recent college grad shouldn't expect a six-figure salary. But they shouldn't take a $7.50/hr helpdesk job thinking it gives them any sort of "skills" beyond "new ways to insult users without them noticing".


      Now, I did mention that the current market may require such work... Not because it has any relevance to the desired "real" job, but rather, because of what so many others have pointed out - You don't get a job by sending out resumes, you get a job because you know Bill, and Bill knows Fred, and Fred's sister works in HR at BlobCo, where they need a new entry-level code-monkey. From that position (which, if you tried to get it from a job posting, would still mention 5+ years of a dozen languages, as well as intimate familiarity with every type of networking hardware ever created, even though they just want someone to do VB scripting to access their customer mailing list running on Oracle 7 on an ancient Sparc with a fully redundant backup - Which you can later call "3.5 years of experience with Oracle in a mission-critical clustered environment" for the HR drones), you can work your way up to a real engineer. But the work at a helpdesk in the interim just kept you fed until you met the people needed to actually get a real job.


      Now, the above may sound a tad elitist, but I don't mean it as such - I really do appreciate those who can work a helpdesk. But don't delude yourselves into considering that as any sort of entry-level position for a software engineering job.
  • by JamesD_UK (721413) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @01:50PM (#9538019) Homepage
    Be prepared to start from lightly lower levels and work your way up. Try and find a company that deals with both small and medium sized customers and you'll soon find that you'll be getting the exposure to higher end technologies hopefully with the guidance of a colleague who's got the experience. That's the way it's worked for me.

    Buy some good books and keep yourself studying and learning. At least you'll be able to tell a potential employee that you've studied the theory and are eager to get experience even if you don't already have any.

  • Fedex (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ObviousGuy (578567) <ObviousGuy@hotmail.com> on Saturday June 26, 2004 @01:51PM (#9538022) Homepage Journal
    When I went to some "back of the kitchen" job fair, I met a Fedex recruiter there. Obviously, they were looking for someone who would be happy spending the next twenty years delivering potential terrorist packages, but I was there looking for a job programming.

    Turns out that Fedex only hires within its ranks. So there is essentially no way to get into the Fedex programming core without spending a year delivering packages. After that year, you would be free to transfer to a group that more naturally fit your skills.

    Now back to your problem. What exactly, have you looked at? Software Developer postions? Well, no shit, it's fucking hard, asshole. There are a million of us, and a billion of you-unlearned, untrained, unskilled, greenthumbs who think they know what's what but couldn't tell their ass from a hole in the ground. Frankly, it's no wonder you didn't get a job. There's simply too many skilled engineers who are unemployed to waste any spare minutes on someone straight out of school.

    My advice is to join ANY company and see where it takes you. Hell, even McD's needs engineers. Who do you think writes the software to calculate "hamburger+softdrink=happymeal"?

    There are a million positions wide open and just because you closed your eyes to them doesn't mean they don't exist. Go out and get them, you budding programmer.
    • Re:Fedex (Score:5, Funny)

      by bwy (726112) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:22PM (#9538223)
      Well, no shit, it's fucking hard, asshole.
      "hamburger+softdrink=happymeal"


      Even harder than your letting on, apparently.
      By my calculation you just fucking jipped me an order of fries and a toy. I bet you'd whine to customers that its always just some "mundane detail" infecting the code, huh?

      You can just call me Mike.
      • Re:Fedex (Score:3, Funny)

        by PsiPsiStar (95676)
        Well, no shit, it's fucking hard, asshole.
        "hamburger+softdrink=happymeal"

        Even harder than your letting on, apparently.
        By my calculation you just fucking jipped me an order of fries and a toy. I bet you'd whine to customers that its always just some "mundane detail" infecting the code, huh?


        It's not a bug. It's a calorie reducing feature.

        • Re:Fedex (Score:3, Funny)

          by kzinti (9651)
          By my calculation you just fucking jipped me an order of fries and a toy

          It's not a bug. It's a calorie reducing feature.


          Yeah, those plastic toys are loaded with carbs and calories!
    • Re:Fedex (Score:4, Informative)

      by WindBourne (631190) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @03:01PM (#9538467) Journal
      Actually Fedex does hire outside from their ranks. Always has. They have a large shop in my neck of the woods. But they do give preference to in-house.
  • Everyone has this problem coming out of school. My suggestion is to get experience with the necessary technologies/skills on your own time (you've had 6 months of your own time, right?) by working on projects. If it's c++ you're after, then write a killer app in c++. If it's OS experience you need or experience developing a particular kind of application or system, then find one that already exists and try to get a patch accepted.

    People in the art wold have to have a portfolio of their work to get jobs
  • Go ahead and apply (Score:5, Informative)

    by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Saturday June 26, 2004 @01:52PM (#9538032) Homepage Journal
    Seriously. Many of those requirements are written by people who have no idea what they're talking about. Now, in many companies, your resume will just get thrown out because you don't match some HR monkey's checklist -- but with luck, at a few places, your resume will get to someone with some technical knowledge who is willing to at least give you a chance in an interview.

    I mean, apply everywhere. Any job you think you might possibly be able to do. If you get one nibble for every hundred resumes -- well, these days, in the post-.bomb world, that's not bad.

    Also, I don't know if you're still eligible for this since you've graduated, but most schools' CS departments do have lists of available interniships. The money usually isn't great, but it's real experience, and can lead to a full-time position. (Mine did, though I didn't get it through the school.) They may have some formal job placement services for grads, too.
    • by nwf (25607)
      I mean, apply everywhere.

      As someone who hires, I see people applying to every position we have, and I just ignore it. Submitting a resume for a computer scientist to a chemistry lab position or a system admin to a developer position (without any development experience) will get you removed from ALL positions in my world. I'm not looking for mindless and/or desperate people.
    • I think this is very true. On a couple of occasions I've seen adverts for jobs asking for more experience than it is possible to have in new technologies.

      Going back some years when Java was new there where a lot of ads for developers in the Uk where if you worked at Sun on oak [vt.edu] then you might have been able to qualify.

      It is defiantly the case that what ever job spec is originally written by the time it's been mangled by HR and an agency the requirements will be stupid.

      The first job I had was advertis

    • by Inexile2002 (540368) * on Saturday June 26, 2004 @03:17PM (#9538532) Homepage Journal
      He speaks wisely. Listen to him and listen well. Apply for the damn jobs and don't sweat the requirements. If you think you can do it, make sure you explain why in your cover letter.

      But I've said this before [slashdot.org] on Slashdot and I'll say it again. Sending out a one or two page document to some stranger is a piss poor way of getting a job.

      If you rely on job postings and resumes, you'll look forever, end up with a mediocre job and less money. Network. You know people and they know people. I said it before, but your aunt's nieghbor's butcher should know who you are, what kind of job you want and that you're available. People who you'd NEVER think of asking for a job suddenly say things like :You know, my brother Carl works at a technology company, you should call him. Then you freaking call Carl! Seriously.

      It works faster and gives you better jobs that pay more. At my last job (in tech, I'm out of the biz now) people would hear my background and my experience and ask how the hell I got the job. Well, 5 years before at a party I had met someone who worked for the company I wanted to work for. I called the host of the party, who I didn't know well at all, got the name of the guy and his number. Called him at home and spoke to him for five minutes.

      In my opinion, resumes and job postings are a suckers game.
  • by KalvinB (205500) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @01:52PM (#9538033) Homepage
    You're looking for an internship. Preferably paid.

    Lots of companies have internships available because it's a good way for them to get cheap labor that will do grunt work and for the intern to get their foot in the door. After so much time if they like you they hire you.

    Find a company you want to work for and call them up and ask if they have internships availablable. These are the kinds of jobs that college students are expected to take as a way to get started in their career.

    Ben
    • Exactly. I'm working for a semiconductor company right now as a student, and they *only* hire new graduates who have done an internship there. Why? because it's a cheap way for them to determine if you are suited for the jobs they have, without taking a big risk. Basically they sign you for a 4 month internship contract, and at the end of the 4 months they evaluate your performance. If you did a good job, they will ask to you to work full time. If not, they move on to the next intern, no big loss to them.
  • One solution... (Score:5, Informative)

    by SixDimensionalArray (604334) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @01:53PM (#9538041)
    I recently graduated with a Masters in Information Systems and experienced the same exact problem. One particularly annoying thing is that many of the jobs I was close to being able to perform asked for skills in an enterprise application that I simply couldn't afford to have learned in person, aside from books about them. That brings up a good question - does learning from a book but not performing hands on count as experience these days?

    My answer was, I took a job with a smaller company where they understood my position but gave me responsibility and room to grow. Of course.. less salary, but it is a good starting position. I once met the "first CIO" in the United States, Duwayne Peterson [cio.com] - his advice was simply to "get your foot in the door" somewhere!

    Good luck to you! -6d

    • Re:One solution... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DissidentHere (750394) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:14PM (#9538173) Homepage Journal
      Mod parent up, this is very true. Take a job at a small company for less money; you get:
      1) opportunity to grow - at a small company everyone does some of everything. You get network, DBA, desktop and coding experience all rolled in to one.
      2) you're efforts get noticed and you see results.
      3) small companies tend to have close relationships with a few customers. You can get to know and impress your customers and maybe create a new opportunity with one of them.
      4) small company may be purchased and you get to join a large company (or lose your job).

      Also think about jobs that might not be tech specific. For example, did you minor in econ? Maybe look at business analyst positions or marketing for a tech company. Are you really good at explaining technology to non-tech people? Think about technical sales rep jobs.

      If you have any skills and experience outside of the technology world leverage that to find positions you didn't consider before. I'd much rather have a software sales rep that knows technology than one who doesn't.

      Best of luck to OP and everyone else looking.
  • What kind of (part-time) work can you get as a college student to gain experience (Cisco, Exchange, SQL, etc) that will be marketable in the real world?

    I graduated April 2003 and I was able to find a fantastic job in what could be termed "corpademia"(half academic/half corporate).

    I didn't really study the things mentioned above, so I can't comment on their usefulness. What gave me the experience which got me this job was working part time in a research lab for a professor, in some cases doing research

  • by stroustrup (712004) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @01:57PM (#9538065) Journal
    You should either be a GOD in CS with a PhD or too many impressive qualifications to find a 'good job' in CS these days.
    If you have only minimum quals, you might end up as a sysadmin somewhere for a small network.

    If you're not a GOD, and want a good job, then try not to be a pure CS guy. Take up a minor that you like while you're still in school and try to think about how your CS skills can be used in that minor. Eg Civil engineering needs lot of programmers who know some civil engineering. There is a surfiet of programmers in the market who know nothing other than programming lanugages.
  • Open source (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mattgreen (701203) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @01:57PM (#9538067)
    Work on open source projects as if it were a job. It shows initiative and you learn far more than you ever could in school about software engineering and design. Of course, realize that your code is going to speak for itself, so you might not want to do a sloppy job. ;)
  • from what i've experienced, it's not what you know, it's who you know. Ask your friends if there are any openings were they are, and if you could fit in.

    Also, on your resume, stretch the truth as far as you can, without lying. You know that job where once and a while you did a ipconfig /renew * instead of rebooting? that sounds like "Network administrator" to me, just make sure your refrences know what's up.
    • by Kope (11702) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:06PM (#9538128)
      I'm currently hiring about a dozen high level network security engineers. One of the biggest headaches I've had to deal with in the last month has been people who think "resume true" is what I care about.

      When I schedule a technical interview for a candidate, and they arrive, and two minutes into the interview session I realize that this candidate has never done half of the items on their resume (heck, some haven't even bothered to read their resume) I do three things.

      1) I end the interview abruptly, inform the candidate that I'm sorry for wasting his time, and send them packing.

      2) I throw out every resume I received from whatever source provided me with that resume, call that head-hunter, and let them know that they wasted my time, and the time of my team members who I pulled in for the interview. I not-so-politely let them know that they are black-listed from my group and that I really would appreciate them never contacting me again.

      3) I let the other managers I work with in the international, 200k employee company I am part of know both the name of the recruiter and the name of the lying applicant so that they won't be bothered wasting their time in the near future either.

      So .. take this guy's advice if you want to. But don't end up on my doorstep.

      For real advice I'd do the following -- by your junior year, find a part-time job someplace doing anything related to your field. Work your ass off, get good grades, apply for a fellowship or research position and get it. Find local contractors who do short-term and part-time work for large companies. Get on a team and get some experience. It really doesn't matter what you do -- make connections with people of influence in your field. Those connections will be your lifeline to meaningful positions as you advance.
      • You're one hell of a vindictive bastard, aren't you?

        Bet you're REEEAL fun to work with.

        -Nano.
      • Please please please (Score:3, Informative)

        by geekoid (135745)
        Be sure to show the applicant the resume you have, and see if they agree with it. I went on an onterview, 10 minutes into the guy is asking me questions about things I didn't know. I asked to see the copy of my resume the agency sent him, it had all kinds of things I had never put in my resume.
        I politely informed him that the agency had doctored my resume, and then gave hime a copy of my actual resume. He called the headhunter. They exchange some pleasentris such as: "I can't believe your wasting my time" a
      • I'm curious as to why you politely dismiss the applicant then trashing his chances at future employment at your company, and then unleash the beasts of the apocalypse upon the headhunter as well. I've known a few headhunters in my time, and even the ones that specialize in placing techies are pretty easy to deceive regarding qualifications. Then there are recruiters who are desperate for a commission and willingly shove any warm body in front of an interviewer.

        I guess what I'm asking is, given that yo
  • Temp Agencies (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Discopete (316823) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @01:58PM (#9538077) Homepage
    Register with your local temp or employment agencies and take whatever they have.

    Once you're in the door start looking around for positions inside the company you're working at.

    You're in, you can prove that you have the ability and not just the shiny new piece of paper that says you sat through 4 years of classes which probably taught you nothing that you didn't already know, and then you can see about moving up in the world.
  • First of all, SQL databases can be installed and played with on your PC. Its close enough to the "big" databases to get your foot in the door. No one expects a new grad to have mastered the latest vedrsion of Oracle.

    As for Cisco equipment...well, first of all you mention SQL and Cisco in the same sentence...what is it you really want to do? Databases or networking? If you want ot do networking, numerous training firms will cert you on high end networking equipment...you will have to pay to play but you wil

  • by Corf (145778) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @01:59PM (#9538086) Journal
    When I graduated from college, there was no way I'd get a job in my particular field. Competition was on the lines of one opening for every 40-50 applicants, and if I had to put in the effort it would've taken to land that job, it would've made my life suck completely. So I did something else. I kept working at a bicycle shop and was fortunate to get enough of a raise to keep going... and earlier this year I got a career started with a distributor. Result? I make a bit less money than I would otherwise, but weekends piss me off because I like being at work so much. I've got an IRA, good health/dental/vision, and I pay about a third to half of what folks on the street do for bike parts, which makes me grin. Expand your horizons a bit, maybe make a hobby into a career - it worked for me!

    Oh, and everyone else will say this, but most of the jobs I've gotten (from ice cream scooper at Baskin' Robbins to the current one), it wasn't what I knew but who I knew. The right references, and the right person speaking up for you when someone mentions an opening, make all the difference. If you aren't outgoing, then at least be pleasant towards those around you whenever possible.
  • by AdamHaun (43173) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:00PM (#9538095) Journal
    One bit of good advice I've heard is to look at companies that aren't focused on what you're doing. Every graduate with a CS degree is going to apply to work at IBM and Microsoft, but other industries need software too! Send your resume to companies that specialize in automobiles, food service, medical equipment, aerospace...you name it, they'll probably need software.
  • Surely a masters or a PhD [phdcomics.com] will make you more employable.
  • You're not going to get in on the enterprise computing space with your B.S./C.S. alone. If you can, try to get hired by your university IT department. In anything, yes, even tech support... you can move up once you show your skills. Speaking of..

    Split your time into working, studying/taking classes and learning on your own. Spend time getting to know open source technologies that have enterprise level analogs so that you start to learn fundamentals. If you have multiple switches and PC's, make multiple net
  • Hiring for software developers etc. as far as I can see has returned to the state it was when I graduated from university, before the dot-com thing. The dot-com hiring scene was a large deviation from the norm.

    What helped me was being on a 'sandwich-degree' - which includes a year of employed work as part of the degree. Many companies took students on for a year of "industrial training" (internship, co-ops, the name varies by nation) - I worked for IBM. After that year, I went back to university and finish
  • I will be attending RIT this fall, and my major(CE) requires a full year of co-op on the job experience. Will this be enough experience to give me an edge when I enter the job market?
  • I can empathize (Score:4, Insightful)

    by raistphrk (203742) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:04PM (#9538115)
    I can really empathize with you. I'm about to finish my undergrad, and I've been having trouble finding a full-time job. I've worked part-time in a netadmin position for several years, but whenever I call or email an employer, they want someone with 2-3+ years experience in a full-time job. It's such a pain.

    However, I suspect the way I got this job will end up being the same way I get my next one. I started in this position six years ago. I was in high school at the time. I did some tech work for one of my teachers, and he knew the person running the network here, and hooked me up. Networking is the key. It's not even a bad idea to pass up internship-style jobs. In those jobs, you'll get an incredible amount of experience, though pay is a bit lower than you might like.

    Being qualified is equally as important as being known, but being known is what gets you a job. So, while you're waiting for a good job, do some work for people you know. Install cable modems and DSL service. Run antivirus scans. Do small little jobs like that. If you do some work for a small business owner, you might take a look at the systems they're running and say "ya know, I can write an application for you that will do that better." Give them some details, and quote them a price. If you impress them enough, they'll take you up on your offer. You'll find, after a while, that the people you help will say "Wow, you're really bright and talented. I should introduce you to some people." Then they'll point you in the direction of a job.

    And in the meantime, you can charge them $30-60 an hour for your regular tech work, even more for your programming work (if you don't just hammer out a contract for the whole job), and have enough money to pay the bills.
  • internships!!! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tomphaedrus (661561)
    The best thing you can do as a student to make yourself more appealing to potential employers is to take a part time job or paid internship as a student.

    I interned at a software company for three years during college, which I believe put me on a completely different level than my peers who had no work experience - even though many of them had better grades

    You mentioned "Cisco, Exchange, SQL, etc", IT type jobs are the ones getting washed out by grads. If you are serious about becoming a developer, yo
  • While it may be too late for you, colleges often hire students for system administration jobs. The pay is peanuts, but you will gain real world experience and come out of college with more than a piece of paper.
  • Pirate Software (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Yes thats right. How else do you expect me to learn photoshop. I have over 6 years experience in it which I never would have gotten without pirating it. Spare me your gimp stories because photoshop!=GIMP. I also have a great knowledge in MSSQL server and I would setup servers at home and play around with them, buy books and create replication sets and fool around with advanced things. I would setup active directory domains on my pirated windows 2000 server box so I could learn it. And you know what, I
    • Re:Pirate Software (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sniperu (585466)
      Not to mention the 3Gb worth of e-books stashed on my harddrive . Anyway , i do think Microsoft is actually happy with you pirating MSSQL for learning it . It may not be that good for buissness , but it shure beats you using open-source db's . Cause in the long run , they'll still get their money . If not from you , from your employer .
  • Chicken and Egg (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ari_j (90255) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:09PM (#9538153)
    It's a chicken-and-the-egg problem. The real problem, though, is that for a few years in the late 90's companies were handing out eggs left and right to everyone they could. When the floor fell out in the early 2000's, everyone got laid off, including people with 10+ years of experience with very specific technologies that are in demand now. What this means is that those people will be hired back first as the market recovers and, if there are any jobs left, you'll have a chance at that time. Find what work you can, keep your skills up, and keep applying for jobs.

    I and many of my colleagues had predicted the storm would pass by the end of 2003. It's still here, and I'm revising my prediction: without knowing the right people (of which there are few), an entry-level programmer will not be able to get a job that matters (i.e., gives him experience that is at all pertinent to his dream job) until 2010 or later.
  • Testing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dten (448141)
    Seems to me that most people don't start as developers, they start as testers or call center reps, and work their way up internally. That's if you're going for larger companies. If you want to get into smaller companies or consulting, it's all about networking.
  • Face it, everyone wants to hire an experienced proven employee, but then not have to pay them much.

    Realistically the 'requirements' are more of a wishlist. For full time employees they want someone with the basic skills with a personality to handle the job. (smart, fast learner, plays well with others ....

    I'd apply to these jobs, point out any experience, if you get an interview tell them what you know, and where you want to go.
    Nobody ever gets the perfect candidate, just show that you are a good choice.
  • It's simple... (Score:3, Informative)

    by ValourX (677178) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:15PM (#9538184) Homepage
    Lie. Corporate America is all about lying; how it's done, when it's done, and whom to lie to.

    Or just twist the facts a little. Doctor your resume. Cook your C.V. Overstate your importance [catb.org].

    Or work on Free Software projects and list them all in your resume.

    -Jem
  • Find a cool project with a charity or non-profit, they usually have some money, maybe not a lot. If you can find a project you like its a good place to start. A couple of years ago I was in the process of leaving the IT industry, I took on a PDA project for a non-profit, probably didn't make minimum wage on it, but I gained valuable experience and exposure, today I'm fully booked for PDA projects, and making good money. Point is if you can get a project up and running for someone, it will get you experien
  • by cubicledrone (681598) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:16PM (#9538191)
    How is one expected to gain that kind of experience when no one will hire you without the experience?

    Because companies don't want to hire people unless they absolutely have to. HR departments are in the business of disqualifying people, not hiring people.

    Most of it is due to middle management's inability to understand the concept of hiring entry-level employees and then teaching them the business so they can become valuable members of the company.

    Entry-level means:

    NO EXPERIENCE.

    ZIP.
    ZILCH.
    NADA.
    NULL SET.
    ZERO.

    NONE.

    SPELL IT:

    N-O-N-E.


    Advertising for an entry-level employee with five years experience is an exercise in flagrant cynicism. It is part of an overall goal of making the workplace a joyless shithole.
  • Work closely with your college's alumni association and with the CS department's industry liason. Both of them are excellent resources for job placement assistance.

    Don't forget the power of social networking, either. I was lucky enough to get my "dream job" before I graduated (BSEE) because a friend of a friend was a manager at the company. In fact, that may be the best way to get the job, regardless of your experience.

    Thirdly, consider joining the Computer Society of the IEEE and attend the functions,
  • Sign up (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sql*kitten (1359) * on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:20PM (#9538208)
    The army's always recruiting, and if you join the Royal Signals (or whatever your local army calls 'em) you'll get plenty of training and experience in IT and Comms.
  • by jregel (39009) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:25PM (#9538247) Homepage
    Don't expect to necessarily complete your degree and walk straight into an interesting role.

    After I graduated, I got a job as a "Remote support consultant" at a software house. I got it because I had UNIX experience (I knew a bit about it, but nothing significant) and showed an interest in learning new things.

    That role enabled me to learn lots more about UNIX and then get involved in Cisco, Citrix and other tech that you only typically find in business.

    Five years later I'm one of the senior techies and I get to play with all the new interesting things. My general rule of thumb, is that new people are generally only useful after about a year. It takes that long to learn the systems we use. If they show a particular interest in learning, I'll teach them as much as I can. It's the only way to grow decent techies.

    Starting at the helpdesk is an excellent starting point, degree or not, because it give you a wide subject knowledge (I'm not referring to call center-type helpdesks). If you're good, you'll be noticed.
  • by Pollux (102520) <speter@tCHICAGOedata.net.eg minus city> on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:28PM (#9538266) Journal
    I'll be the technology coordinator for a school district this coming fall. Now, I know there's a bunch of people out there who are gonna say "Those who don't know, teach." And they can just piss off. I'll tell you, the last tech coordinator I knew personally taught at my high school for four years and is now pursuing a doctorate while being the head of the technology development team at Indiana State University.

    First, let me tell you: you need to be professional. That means cordial, exchanging pleasantries whenever possible, writing letters, as well as actually calling the human resources department personel and introducing yourself, if not in person. Believe it or not, professionalism will get you a lot further into acquiring a job then just sending out apps and waiting for something to happen.

    Second, you gotta start somewhere. Example: banks always need IT support staff, but more often than not they hire internally. Start off as a bank teller. Sure, for a Comp. Sci. college grad it doesn't sound like a lot of money, but the perks are nice and it leaves plenty of room for growth. From experience, companies that have high demands for entry-level programming positions do so because it is easy to filter the qualified from the "they say that they're qualified, but...". It's simply because a company is not going to waste precious hiring-time to see if you can do the kind of work they demand if you've never done that kind of work before.

    Or, try for tech support. Again, the pay ain't great, but every TS company has an IT support staff, and at the few I've applied to in the past couple years, all only hire for that internally, because they want someone who knows their systems and demands rather than some joe with an A+ cert. off the street.

    Finally, even accept something lower. I did merchandinsing for CocaCola for a couple years, and they hired a lot of staff internally, including their IT support staff (well, if they did not find internally, they looked elsewhere, but the company knew that a lot of their workers are soon-to-be college grads who are looking for more qualified work, and it saves the company a lot of money not to have to advertise the position).

    I suppose to sum everything up: climb the ladder. It's not fun, and you have to lower your expectations to start out with, but if you're as qualified as you say you are (and professional, I can't stress that enough), you'll get what you're looking for eventually.
  • Volunteer (Score:4, Interesting)

    by div_2n (525075) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:29PM (#9538271)
    Charity organizations or non-profits are always in need of people but don't have the funds. Volunteer as many hours a week you can offering your computer skills for free. Many of these organizations have in house networks that need occasional work.

    If you are highly recommended by one of these organizations after a year or two of volunteering, you can bet that puts you up the ladder of resumes. It doesn't mean you worked 8 hours a day every day fo the week. While not working there, work wherever you can to make ends meet.
  • by Bobo_The_Boinger (306158) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:30PM (#9538278)
    The father of my freshman year roommate was a professor at the University I went to. He was a mathmatician and he had written a C program to do mathmatical modeling. My roommate told me he was looking for someome to make some modifications to the program. I worked on modifying the program to run under both UNIX and windows. I got some good experience from it, and I was able to help the professor. I also got paid some for the work, so it worked out pretty well for everyone.

    If I hadn't ended up traveling the China to study abroad, the professor was also planning to give me a system admin job for the department he managed.

    The main thing is to keep your eyes open and talk to people. Talk to some professors you know and like, ask them if they could hire you to do some work (paid work looks better than volunteer on a resume I think, because it shows that the work you were doing was really valuable to someone.) Or if they don't have the money or need, ask them if any of their coworkers do. Don't just ask the comp. sci. department either, talk to all of your professors.

    If no one you know needs help, go talk to your schools job search assistance center. They can help you look for something on campus that will help you fill out your resume before you graduate.

    And of course, look for something that you will like, that is really important. If you are interested in the work, you will do better work, and then when your first post-graduation employer calls for a reference you will be remembered as a happy active employee.
  • by chrysrobyn (106763) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:40PM (#9538339)

    There are times, like now, when the market is lean. I remember when I was 17, being unable to get a job at McDonalds, Taco Bell or any number of super markets due to insufficient experience. It so happened that all the jobs in entry positions were taken where I was. Merely being an honor student with club activities didn't demonstrate much. Perseverance paid off, and I finally found a job that taught me a variety of skills-- namely cooking, cleaning and running the register.

    When the market is lean, you don't find the job you want, you find one that will let you dabble in what you like. Maybe you find a mom and pop or a startup that needs something you can do, but don't want to, and also needs something you want to do, but can't afford to pay someone full time to do. In three years, you'll have that part-time experience in the real world, which is better than someone fresh out of college with only what you had three years ago. Of course, if the economy picks up, or otherwise you find a good job before then, you've been able to pay the rent.

    Networking also helps, be it through user groups or church or maybe your old college professors. Often a relationship that involves trust, demonstrating how dependable you are, one that prompts conversations that end with, "...[s]he really pulled me through that tough spot" can get you some interviews your resume wouldn't.

  • how to get started (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eric Smith (4379) * <eric@AAAbrouhaha.com minus threevowels> on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:44PM (#9538361) Homepage Journal
    After looking through hundreds if not thousands of job postings, everyone is looking for 3+ years of network admin experience or 5+ years of C++ experience even for an entry level position. How is one expected to gain that kind of experience when no one will hire you without the experience?
    You can't get a job that way, even with a lot of experience. If a company has a job open, they'll interview candidates that respond to a job listing, but unless one of them really stands out, they'll hire someone from an employee referral instead.

    Out of more than a dozen tech jobs I've held, I only ever got ONE though job listings, and that was because I was living in a backwater place at the time and the company had few applicants. All the rest were by knowing someone at the company (directly or indirectly). You don't necessarily have to know them well; a casual acquaintance is enough to get your foot in the door.

    The companies DON'T CARE whether you can find a job or not. There are too many IT people on the market, so they can afford to only hire people with a lot of experience even for an entry level position. They believe (correctly or not) that if they get someone with less experience it will cost them more money.

    If you really want to stick with this career path, you need to find a company through friends, friends of friends, etc., that needs someone, possibly part time or as a consultant, and almost certainly for substandard pay. Work up from there.

  • one word (Score:3, Funny)

    by maxpublic (450413) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @03:02PM (#9538472) Homepage
    Blowjobs.

    If you need some experience in this area prior to graduating from college, join a frat.

    Max
  • by pyite (140350) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @03:37PM (#9538647)
    To all those of you who have yet to go to college or are still in it, let this guy's mistakes be your guide. If you do not work (for a real company, doing real work associated with your desired job placement), you will have EXTREME DIFFICULTY getting a job later on. Really, the only way to avoid the Catch-22 associated with getting your foot in the door is to work during school. School is only a part of your education. Do not be one of the people who thinks it's the only part. You will regret it. Fortunately, I took my own advice, and when I graduate, I will actually be able to honestly say I have 5+ years experience with stuff most small time network admins only dream of touching (Cisco 12000, Cisco 6500, Cisco 6000, etc.).

    Now, it's not easy to find the right place to work. You need somewhere that's going to be willing to let you learn AND give you responsibility. I started off the summer before freshman year of high school working for a company doing fairly simple database stuff. That quickly progressed into a demanding database programming and design position from which I was able to gain much experience and client contacts I have used as references. That job morphed into networking, implementing things in very specific ways where there was a lot of on the job learning. I spent a solid four years there doing all of this. By the time I left there, my resume was so long that when I applied for another job, my age was actually questioned due to the wide variety of skills mentioned on my resume. And no, they didn't think I was lying on my resume, as they questioned me about the things on it and hired me.

    Moral of the story: Work, work, work. It's just as, if not more, important as your formal school education.
  • Make a job (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HeyLaughingBoy (182206) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @04:42PM (#9539018)
    As you're looking for full time employment, are you doing anything on the side? If you know PCs, get some business cards, print up flyers and try to drum up business doing small office/home office/home support/computer repair. It's one way of bringing in additional income while giving you valuable business experience dealing with irritating clients (yes, I'm serious!). It's also one way of increasing your base of contacts; one of those people whose PC you clean up may know someone who's hiring and can now give a good reference.

    Do you have hobbies? Try writing software that can be used in your hobby. Like building handmade birdhouses? Write a program to calculate how much wood you'll need for projects and how much it'll cost. That kind of thing. The software itself doesn't have to be very useful, but it will accomplish two things: it keeps you developing and improves your skills and it gives you something interesting to talk about when you finally get an interview and makes you look productive.

    Employers hiring for entry level positions won't expect much in the way of experience, but they will want someone who can work in a team and is motivated and smart. You'll probably find it easier to improve in that area rather than getting useful development experience quickly.
  • by arhar (773548) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @05:35PM (#9539274)
    I've graduated a year ago, and I hope my experience can help you and other recent graduates, even a little bit, in this tough market.

    I got my Bachelor's in CS in May 2003. I didn't graduate a Top 10 Ivy League school, or have a particularly good GPA, so I knew it was going to be very hard. I looked around for jobs for a while, went on a few interviews, but I had no clue on how to pass interviews, or how to write a resume. So, money was very scarce and I needed some kind of job.

    So I got a job - I don't even want to say what it was, it wasn't programming for sure. I worked there for 8 hours a day, and then I went to my friend's office to help him set up his business - both software and hardware, and then I came home, practiced programming and sent out resumes. I read programming books on the train everywhere, as well.

    After a while, I got really lucky - a family friend agreed to help me with my resume, and I realized how much it sucked. There's way too little space here and I don't have the time to say everything I want to say about the resume, but here's a few basic pointers.

    Make it absolutely clear what kind of job you are looking for. Don't put there things that would indicate that basically, you would agree to any job in an IT field.

    Put concrete things on your resume, that show that you know what the hell you're talking about. So instead of 'Programmed a Java', write 'Used Java to design and develop an inventory management application, utilizing Swing for front-end and JDBC to interact with Sybase database.' People that search through resumes on Monster.com or Dice.com don't look for 'Java', they look for Swing, JSP, JDBC - etc.

    Don't lie. At least, don't flat out lie - everyone expects your resume to paint a little better picture than you actually are, but don't put blatant lies like 4 years of Unix experience while your Unix experience has been limited to checking your college mail at campus network (guilty).

    Keep track of where you send your resume, what position, and what version of your resume. Nothing fancy, simple Notepad file will do. But it saves you a lot of valuale time while searching for a job.

    Interviews - again, there are tomes written on this subject, but basic pointers again: SHOW YOUR ENTHUSIASM. Ask questions that show that you understend and are genuinely interested in the subject. The word "no" should NOT come out of your mouth. Of course, again, you shouldn't flat out lie - but if someone ask's you if you know skill X, instead of 'No', you should say "I've heard about it, but didn't have the opportunity to work with it professionally.. however, I'm a very fast learner and will pick up very fast"

    The money question. The correct response to 'How much money do you want?' is "Money is really not that important to me, if the job is interesting and challenging, I would be happy with any reasonable offer." If they ask you to name a number, name a range. DON'T UNDERVALUE YOURSELF. If the job pays $40K and you say you'll be willing to do it for $25K, the alarm bell immediately rings in your interviewer's head - if this guy is so desperate to do this job for $25K, he must be a loser. Next!

    So, in conclusion, looking for a job is a VERY HARD job in itself. You have to pay attention to every small detail and work very hard to succeed. In my case, after 10 months it finally paid off - I was offered a full time position and now happily working for a major financial company, with a salary almost twice as large as an average entry-level CS graduate.
  • QA/Test/Support (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Titusdot Groan (468949) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @05:39PM (#9539289) Journal
    Look for QA/Test/Support roles at medium to small companies. Our company often moves ambitious, smart and hard working people out of QA/Test/Support into Development, Product Marketing or Sales Engineering.

    The key is once you get into these roles work yourself out of them and into better positions. If you try to whine, complain, or brag yourself out of them it won't work.

    It's also important these be small companies or small departments -- large companies usually don't care if Junior Support Technician #2679 is performing in the 98th percentile this week.

  • by buffy (8100) * <buffy.parapet@net> on Saturday June 26, 2004 @09:36PM (#9540218) Homepage
    I started out as a word processing-lab assistant, for minimum wage, quickly graduated to the faculty lab, then on as a full sysadm running all the computer systems. Along the way, I picked up a TON of experience including Novell (hey! it was neat back in the day,) UNIX, Linux, and Cisco networking.

    Medium-sized schools or bigger tend to be pretty well equipped, even if it's not readily visible (does you school have labs spread across multiple buildings, dorm-networking, wireless???)

    I leveraged that into a good IT engineering position, and beyond.

    Get in with your UCS/ACS/OIT/Whatever it's called, department, and you can learn a heck of a lot.

    -buf
  • The blank resume... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nsxdavid (254126) * <dw @ p lay.net> on Saturday June 26, 2004 @09:41PM (#9540232) Homepage
    We, for one, hire coders (and others) who have no prior work experience. In fact, that is my prefered choice. And I'll tell you why.

    First, let me be clear... no prior work experience doesn't mean we hire people with no talent. It's just that we don't count of a long resume as an indication that someone is without merit. That's just laziness (or necessity, time being money in the hiring process).

    What we look for is someone who knows what they are doing and can demonstrate that to is in their resume cover letter, and ultimately at one of our interviews. We won't ask any of the stupid Microsoft questions except to see if you've been to the web site that has the answers accumulated (grin). But we will put you through a tough interview that focues on your ability to write code. If you can do that, it's a walk in the park. If you can't, we'll both know it's not a match real quick. But we'll still take ya to lunch, our treat. ;)

    One thing I've learned over the last 15 years... a resume is a damn poor indication of someone's talent. Therefore, if you ever want to apply for a job with us, go ahead and incude a resume but be damn sure you spent the time to make a cover letter that sells yourself. This will probably be true of any place you try to get hired on. (isclaimer: I've never really had to send a resume or go on an interview, but I've interviewed and hired hundreds over the years. So I can only speak to my experience directly.

    In my case, I read resumes only if the cover letter intrigues me. A good cover letter should skip the pretence ("Seeking growth opportunities where I can apply my extensive education in bladibla..."). Save it. Just tell me how you code your butt off doing the kinds of things we do, and it might be cool to see if there is something we're doing that you'd like to be part of. Some examples of the stuff you've done is a huge win. Talk the talk. You're cover letter is being read by coders.

    For me, I also like to see what areas an applicant wants to learn more about. We strive to find raw talent and give them a chance to really learn in the trenches. We've trained a lot of coders and 3D Artists, fresh out of college (or still in college) and continue to today. It's fun, rewarding and a way for us to give back.

    So, yes, there are places you can get a job without experience. And have a blast doing cool stuff at the same time. I think there should be more, personally.

    We're even hiring now, if anyone's in the market, email me and I'll turn you onto the right place to inquire.
  • Apply anyway (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Chanc_Gorkon (94133) <gorkon@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Sunday June 27, 2004 @03:25AM (#9541126)
    Sometimes the requirements on these jobs are atypical. It's a wish list. They KNOW they probably are not going to get that particular combination. They put that out there in hopes that they do get that combo. When theyh go through the resumes and job apps and find noone meets the criteria, the look at the next best ones and bring those ones in for a interview. Also, don't be afraid to work in academia for a while. It may pay less, bnut it's real work.
  • Internships (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DarkOx (621550) on Sunday June 27, 2004 @09:25AM (#9541854) Journal
    Seriously this is what internships are for. Maybe you can't get 3+ years experience but you certainly can gain lots of experience that you can truth fully list as independent items. Lots of IT companies are happy to take interns unpaid and often even paid, for the summer or part time durring the school year. The career services office or some of your profs SHOULD be able to hook you up. If they can't then your school has big problems. I know my school now requires an internship to get a degreen is CS or IS.

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