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Ask Slashdot: Computer Science Freshman, Too Soon To Job Hunt? 309

Posted by samzenpus
from the get-a-job dept.
First time accepted submitter stef2dotoh (3646393) writes "I've got about a year of computer science classes under my belt along with countless hours of independent online and tech book learning. I can put together a secure login-driven Web site using PHP and MySQL. (I have a personal project on GitHub and a personal Web site.) I really enjoyed my Web development class, so I've spent a lot of time honing those skills and trying to learn new technologies. I still have a ways to go, though. I've been designing Web sites for more than 10 years, writing basic PHP forms for about 5 or 6 years and only gotten seriously into PHP/MySQL the last 1 or 2 years on and off. I'm fluent with HTML and CSS, but I really like back-end development. I was hoping I might be able to get a job as a junior Web developer, but even those require 2+ years of experience and a list of technologies as long as my arm. Internships usually require students to be in their junior or senior year, so that doesn't seem to be an option for me. Recruiters are responding to my resume on various sites, but it's always for someone more experienced. Should I forget about trying to find a junior Web developer position after only one year of computer science classes?"
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Ask Slashdot: Computer Science Freshman, Too Soon To Job Hunt?

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  • by xtal (49134) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @06:09PM (#46975117)

    You are making a huge financial investment in both real dollars and opportunity cost.

    Don't worry about developing web sites. Spend that time advancing your core knowledge. Learn as deep and as abstractly as you can. The technologies will change, the knowledge will not.

    Any job you take now will likely not impact your career. Find out if there's a professor you can work with in another faculty instead - by going up and down halls knocking on doors if possible. Chances are they have some IT problems that need solving this summer or know someone who does.

    • by mlts (1038732) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @06:28PM (#46975219)

      Instead of jobs, I'd look for internships as well. Internships get you actually in front of people who hire, and this is quite important, as showing on a resume that you worked for a company or two will put you further ahead than someone with a degree but no documented work experience other than a Starbucks position.

      Professors can be of help, but a lot of them tend to work isolated from the "real" world. Their world has little pressure from H-1Bs and offshoring (other than foreign competition when it comes to textbook publishing,) so they may not know or care about trying to find work once one gets the degree.

      Projects can help too. If one is a good coder, joining and looking at an OSS project might be a help come resume time. Doing a coding project that is something other than the usual smartphone/tablet app is going to get one noticed.

      Finally, keep an eye on the market. What was needed four years ago may not be needed now. However, embedded programming always needs good people. It isn't a commodity job (thus the offshore dev houses are not worth the time), so it can be a niche for a career.

      • If you're going to volunteer, go find an non profit that speaks to you and volunteer there. At least if you don't get a job lead out of it you'll feel good about the work you did instead of bitter over doing free labour for a company that didn't give you a job in the end.

        In my personal case, I did volunteer work for an non-profit ISP just starting up way up north. 6 months later, I was being paid for the same work, and jump started my professional career.

        There are options for lots of types of geeks, from

    • Don't worry about developing web sites

      I see we have a seasoned computer scientist in the field!

      /sarcasm wtf

      FYI graphic designers calling themselves developers develop websites. And they're great at it. Computer scientists should stick what they're good at, which has nothing to do with markup languages nor computers nor programming.

      Real computer scientists do one, the other, or both:

      1) RECKONING

      2) SCIENCE

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 11, 2014 @07:27PM (#46975525)

      This is terrible advice. Aggressively pursue employment or internships. I routinely sit on hiring panels for entry level and experienced positions. The major on your resume will guarantee your resume will make it to the stack I have to look at for an entry level position. In descending order of importance, the following affect where you rank in the list of people we extend job offers to or even interview.
      Relevant Work Experience
      Relevant Internships
      Relevant Hobbies or Relevant Extra-Curricular Experience (ACM, etc)
      Name of School
      GPA

      What I want to see on your resume is:
      Skills that I believe will be applicable to my positions
      Experience that substantiates the skills you claim to have proficiency in

      There are a LOT of CS majors where the rest of the parts of the resume are blank, or sparse. If that is what your resume looks when you decide to enter the workforce it will be undifferentiated. I don't believe you when you tell me you know some language or system and there is no work experience to back up that assertion. Classes don't count in the eyes of the hiring board. Hiring the wrong person has huge real and opportunity costs, so in most cases we prefer to leave a position unfilled than to hire someone we don't think can cut it. Show me as many instances as possible outside the classroom where you faced a problem relevant to the position for which you are being hired and you solved it.

      • I was an officer in my school's ACM student group. It was not relevant to...anything, really. I agree that GPA is not all that important if you append "so long as its within the normal range". I'm going to look askance at someone with an extraordinarily low GPA. Not because it means they're dumb or unskilled, but because it may suggest they lack the ability to complete tasks and/or work on things they don't find intrinsically interesting.
    • HR only gives a shit about experience and holes and your resume. Not how much you know or can do. They are the gatekeepers who will let you beg for a job or be invisible to any manager.

      One thing I observed was in the early 1990s the market was not hot. In the late 90's a cab driver could make $80,000 a year after reading learn c++ in 21 days! In the mid 2000's the market was cold and I remember seeing on Slashdot "DO NOT BE A CODER. INDIANS ARE TAKING THEM" and "ALL I got WAS 33,000 A YEAR? etc". Today it i

    • I couldn't agree more. Making websites is not computer science. Try focusing on related core areas: say distributed computing (Hadoop and the like). Work on your data structures and algorithms. Get into low level aspects of computing to get a good grip of computer architecture. Dabble a little in natively compiled languages such as C/C++ as well to see what a paradigm shift interpreted languages give you.
  • ...they will hire you.
    It doesn't matter where you are IMO. I have a kid here who is a Sophomore in his CS degree path and I have him doing basic web design, MySQL maintenance and other odd things when I need him. He is not full or part time, but I do pay him by the hour when he is doing a job for me. Keeps him fed and he works for cheap so it works out for us both.
  • by lgw (121541) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @06:16PM (#46975153) Journal

    First, the world has enough "web designers". Learn how to code the hard stuff, do distributed systems with no UI, do low-level coding and debugging, spend the time to develop real skills. Eventually take the "write an OS" and "write a compiler" classes any decent program offers. More than anything, be writing code as much as you can for any reason. "A writer writes," and a coder codes.

    In the meantime, summer internships are good, they'll help more than your degree in landing your first full-time engineering job. It's really hard to find one summer of your freshman year (though it's worth putting in the effort to apply, just to learn that skill too), but summer after sophomore year is a real possibility. But note that recruiting for summer internships starts over winter break for the big companies, and pickings get slim as the year goes on.

    • by Nutria (679911)

      First, the world has enough "web designers".

      Gah! The very first thing I thought when seeing the summary was, What ever happened to Algorithms + Data Structures = Programs ?

    • I just got my haircut from a lady whose 23 year old son just got a consulting gig making 120,000 a year! He started 2 years ago making websites and turning them into smart phone applets.

      No offense but I do not believe that advice as employers and HR can not find anyone with 2 - 3 years of HTML 5 and css 3 experience. Coca cola and others hired this kid and keep paying him $50/hr to code.

      It is the Java jobs that require 10 years experience because the old timers all have that and can simply demand it. Web an

    • by Aighearach (97333)

      i haz php, i haz home in geocities, I can haz developer jobs?

    • by Xest (935314)

      Agreed, I was going to make a cheap dig about the fact he was focussing on PHP, and hence was automatically unfit for professional work, but there's a more serious point to be made, and that's that the simple fact is there is absolutely no shortage of people who can make a PHP website with forms authentication. These people are two a penny, and are battling it out for minimum wage jobs, it's a waste of time and effort to even bother chasing it.

      If you want to be a developer you need to go beyond that, you ne

  • by maccodemonkey (1438585) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @06:23PM (#46975201)

    Keep in mind: Freshman year you're going to have the most free time out of any other year. By senior year your workload is going to be double or tripled.

    With that in mind: I'd focus on your studies. If you have spare time, focus on getting other classes out of the way so you won't have to take them later. Or take other classes that could develop your degree and help you learn things you didn't know before. Take a network security class, or a graphics class. Something outside your wheelhouse.

    If you're already at 18 credits and finding yourself bored: Work on your own outside project, contribute to open source project, etc. Whatever you do, do not commit yourself to a regular job with expected hours.

    For reference: I worked while I was getting my degree (had to, I paid my own way) and it delayed my graduation about a year to a year and a half. So I'd only recommend doing it if you need the money.

    • by rahvin112 (446269)

      Egad, what terrible advice. Yes freshman year is the lightest workload if you came from a good HS but it can be hard for people that come from crappy school systems.

      But there is something more important and that's having fun. Collage is the last real time in your life you can goof off and have a good time without severe repercussions. Studies need to be important and good grades a must but with the lighter work load freshman year you should be having fun. That means making friends, dating and having a good

      • Egad, what terrible advice. Yes freshman year is the lightest workload if you came from a good HS but it can be hard for people that come from crappy school systems.

        But there is something more important and that's having fun. Collage is the last real time in your life you can goof off and have a good time without severe repercussions. Studies need to be important and good grades a must but with the lighter work load freshman year you should be having fun. That means making friends, dating and having a good time. Once you graduate are looking at almost 50 years of continuous 40+ hour workweeks with 2 weeks of time off a year.

        Enjoy collage, its your last chance to act like a kid.

        Well, I didn't mention dating or having fun, but that's not bad advice either. :)

        Seriously OP, this is going to be one of the best dating pools you will have in your whole life.

        If the OP is looking for things to do with his/her time, I was kind of assuming the whole social thing had been considered and rejected, but if your school is being paid for and you've got the time, it is one of the best time's in your life to live a little.

      • by Hognoxious (631665) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @06:48PM (#46975337) Homepage Journal

        Enjoy collage, its your last chance to act like a kid.

        Don't eat the scissors, and don't run with the glue. Ah, those were the days.

      • by ranton (36917)

        But there is something more important and that's having fun. Collage is the last real time in your life you can goof off and have a good time without severe repercussions. Studies need to be important and good grades a must but with the lighter work load freshman year you should be having fun. That means making friends, dating and having a good time. Once you graduate are looking at almost 50 years of continuous 40+ hour workweeks with 2 weeks of time off a year.

        Enjoy collage, its your last chance to act like a kid.

        Egad, what terrible advice. This student is already self-motivated enough to learn independently and look for employment to learn job skills, and you want him to just goof off instead? College is not the last time someone has the chance to act like a kid. The last time is the two years after college when they are living at home working at a fast food joint looking for a real job because they goofed off during college.

        Seriously though, at 18 it is time to start acting like an adult because you are an adult.

  • You're a *real* CS major, from the sound of it (not one of these "CS because it is profitable" people). To the point: if you graduate, then you have failed. When you are sleeping on the floor, then you cannot fall out of bed. This is the definition of college and you are there now. Build something of use - anything. But do it well and you will eventually find your niche before you graduate. On the other side of the coin, if you do graduate, you'll have a great "plan b" for the rest of your life. But
    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 11, 2014 @06:44PM (#46975319)

      Please do not take this guys advice. He has drank the Silicon Valley kool-aid. Try to do side projects if you have time for them, but to think of graduating as "failing" is the stupidest thing I have ever heard.

      • by gtall (79522)

        More to the point, all you've been taught in freshman year is a few languages and technologies, you've not done any actual computer science yet. You have one chance (now) to learn enough computer science to last the rest of your career; that computer science will prepare you to work just about anywhere, except for... ...you have precious little domain knowledge. Most computer scientists are not going to be hired for web development or anything else that can be done in China or India. There are a lot of nich

    • by Elfich47 (703900)
      Unless you are so busy that your start-up is consuming more time than your studies, finish your degree.
  • by david_bonn (259998) <davidbonn@m[ ]com ['ac.' in gap]> on Sunday May 11, 2014 @06:28PM (#46975223) Homepage Journal

    I wouldn't worry about some list of technologies. I wouldn't worry about n years of experience in some field.

    Technologies come and go rapidly.

    It would be better to focus on what problems you have solved, and how you used technologies you knew and came up to speed rapidly on technologies you did not know to solve those problems. Come into an interview with working software you can demo and code you have written -- and expect to talk about what you are showing.

    Also, bypass recruiters as much as possible. Work connections through friends, family, and school to get an interview. Expect to get turned down more than you get accepted, but eventually something will turn up.

    • by Elfich47 (703900)
      At this point in a career, recruiters are the way to go. Until a solid collection of connections through work experience can be built up recruiters can find jobs faster that you can.
    • Dunno, I find recruiters pretty darn useful. Annoying when I have a job I'm happy with, but useful when I'm between jobs.
    • by Xest (935314)

      Meh, I've never had a problem with recruiters but I'll admit that dealing with them is a talent in itself. They are useful in getting access to jobs that aren't advertised directly or you don't know any contacts for but you do have to know how to play them.

      And sometimes that means lying to them- you know better than they do if you can do a job you're looking for so if they say "Do you have any experience with .NET C++JavaSharp 3?" just say "Yes". Don't argue with them that that's not a thing, they'll just a

  • wrist tapper (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Hognoxious (631665)

    I still have a ways to go, though

    Indeed. Writing English would appear to be a major section of your route.

    • Indeed. Writing English would appear to be a major section of your route.

      My advice to the kid is; don't grow up to be this guy.

  • Should have skipped university and gone straight for a job.

  • The most important thing is to gain employment experience before you graduate, and the more the better. If at all possible, get a job that is somehow related to your career objectives. This will help you gain experince, find direction, and develop relationships that will help you later on. If that fails, try to find work that will have skills that are transferrable to your desired industry. Even mundane office work will allow you to acquire the skills required of technical workers, even if those are sof

  • You need to create a website. Create a website that shows off your web design skills and link it with your resume. You can also do some cheap web design jobs on Fiverr or elsewhere to further show off your skills.

    It is difficult to hire a web designer if you have never seen something they have done.

  • My advice is invest in the education. I had a similar situation when I was in my second year (I had been doing software development as a hobby for about six years by then). A guy came to me who had a small business developing business websites and managing them. He wanted me to come work for him, but it would have turned into a full time job and I likely would have had to cut back on study time. Yes, I would have made a lot more money earlier, but there were several pitfalls I identified and they kept m

    • by Aighearach (97333)

      You totally leave out from your calculations that full time work experience is 1:1 equal to time spent in school in the computer field. So instead of calculating what you think you would have made from that one job and then saying you made more by waiting, you're leaving out the increase in value that you would have had in that job. Once you're up to 4 years of experience nobody even cares about the degree unless it is a graduate degree. All the degree got you was in the door; but the other path led through

      • by Zmobie (2478450)

        I disagree. I've got the experience now, but the foundation you get from the degree I feel is more valuable. And as I stated, you also pigeon hole yourself into a technology set. You may learn *something* related to the field, but not the specifics to build a general foundation for software development. Some people may vary from that, but that is my opinion and experience.

        Based on what I've heard from friends and family too, in their fields and in software development, having the degree makes a huge dif

  • by raymorris (2726007) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @07:14PM (#46975453)

    You sound like the kind of person we may be looking to hire soon. I've hired a few people with your level of experience.

    > I can put together a secure login-driven Web site using PHP and MySQL.

    Error. One of the companies I own is based on a single product, a SECURE login system. I've been studying security for over 20 years and I've been programming longer than that. We came out with our login security system fifteen years ago and we've been doing real R&D on it ever since. We've found a couple of serious errors we made several years ago. That means that with 10 years of professional programming experience, fifteen years of security experience, and five years of security R&D, we didn't have a secure system. I guarantee you're not far, far smarter than us. If you think you've made a secure authentication and authorization system suitable for the demands of the public web, that's only because of how little you must know about the threats you face.

    Have you read the 2001 Pennywize whitepaper, or one of my writings about the Pennywize vulnerability? If not, it's a pretty safe bet that you've coded the exact same vulnerability. That issue makes brute force orders of magnitude easier, such that it becomes pretty trivial to overcome any attempt counting that you think you're doing.

    You mentioned you had some publicly available code. If you link to it, I'll be glad to point out two or three significant security issues in your code (if it's for use on the public internet, where it will be attacked daily.).

    Assuming you're willing to learn about security, to be humbled, you.can send your resume and a link to ray@bettercgi.com .

    The other suggestion I have for you is if you do work these next few years, think mainly about what you can learn from working. Don't consider the salary when deciding whether or not to take a position, but rather accept one (or not) based on what you can learn and who you can meet. Working on autonomous cars at Google for FREE would be wiser than working on yet another message board system for yet another local web design shop for $35,000. The "just another job" option gets you $35 K. Working on the autonomous cars gets you the opportunity to learn from the best and brightest in the world.

    • Do you have a link for that vulnerability, some googling isn't turning up anything much of relavence.

      • I'm not at my desk, but here's a very brief summary.
        Do NOT leak any information as to whether:

        The username is correct or not (check your "forgot password" form, it should never say "that username was not found )

        The password is correct or not

        The captcha / human check is correct

        Security relockers such as attempt counters have been triggered

        In a properly coded system, an dictionary attack should be the most efficient possible, and that should involve trying each possible username with every possible password.

        • In theory, yes your super secure system should not leak any info. On the other hand, it's nice when you also make this stuff user friendly.

          because some systems allow any username, some require email addresses instead, some require username but have some sort of odd limitation on it (must be 10 chars, or must have a number, or 2 numbers, etc), it's actually quite useful to know if I've even got the right username before attempting all of the passwords it might be (which again may be various, because you've i

          • You make the assumption that the system is stupid. Most systems ARE stupid, so that's reasonable. However, here I'm talking about a system that isn't stupid. I said a properly designed system.

            > I'm going to assume over and over that it's the captcha that I'm just not reading correctly (is that distorted Y character an uppercase or lowercase?).

            That would be stupid. Our system doesn't do that.
            There's no distorted Y, and even if a customer chooses the textual captcha rather than the default , case doesn't

  • HR lies. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by seebs (15766) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @07:17PM (#46975469) Homepage

    Okay, real simple:

    HR people put things on "job requirements" which are not actually required.

    This is an intentional thing, done to try to find "highly confident" people.

    Basically, they think they are selecting for confidence and zeal. Mostly they are selecting for dishonesty and "can't follow simple instructions". Anyway, just send the resume in anyway. Don't lie on it or anything, just send it in anyway. When they realize that there is no such thing as an "entry-level" person with "2 years of experience", they'll look at the rest of the pile.

    • HR does not lie when they say (must be currently employed) and no gaps more than 3 months long in 5 years, and years of experience.

      I have a good relationship with the HR department at my employer. They tell me if they do not see any commitments of at least a year it goes in the trash. If they see a hole more than 3 months old it goes in the trash. Other stuff, yes it is a plus, but they are sticklers with everything else.

      The only way to get in is to quote the job description per verbatim sadly. They get 400

      • "no gaps more than 3 months long in 5 years"

        So does that mean anyone who has a gap or is nearing 50 years old should either work retail or just put a bullet in their head and speed up the process?

        This is all pretty harsh and sad, and the concept that people who have a hiccup in their life --- well, those are people who may have no problems and no creativity. The rest of us look for meaning, and occasionally have to deal with our spiritual side. Whatever the reason -- people don't have a problem until they h

        • This is the result of capitalism. But for now, the way to do it is to go back to school with student loans, or find some contract work to do, either way that will cover up the gap as large as it can. Same advice with those who have criminal records as a result of criminal identity theft.

        • by Aighearach (97333)

          Luckily the majority of total jobs are in small business, and there are no "HR" people involved.

    • by Elfich47 (703900)
      At the same time if I am comparing twenty resumes and one says: 5 years relevant work experience and the other nineteen say: 5 years relevant work experience and a BS in comp sci the one resume that doesn't have the BS is going to get passed over on the first pass.
      When an HR rep has to review 20-50 resumes for a job opening any deficiency or typo will get you passed over without a second thought.
      • by Aighearach (97333)

        The standard rule is that work experience counts 1:1 the same as education. So a 4 year degree is worth 4 years of experience.

        So you're right. In your example, one person has 5 years, the others have 9.

        OTOH, many jobs are lying about how much experience they want, and they'll hire anybody with over 4 years who looks like a match for the job. The very best candidates will have less experience than the mediocre-but-minimally-competant ones, by definition, because they will have climbed higher in the same time

  • Yes, too soon. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tpstigers (1075021) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @07:27PM (#46975521)
    75% of students change their major at least once. You may be one of them.
  • You don't say why you want a job? Do you feel you have gotten everything you can out of college? Do you need the money? Or are you just itching to get started in your chosen career?

    Anything but the middle answer (money) is a bad reason to be looking for work while you are still in school. College is hard enough, and will consume far too much of your time for you to be adding a job as a programmer on top of it — and if it isn't, if everything is just a breeze, then you aren't pushing yourself hard

    • by Aighearach (97333)

      If you're studying CS and it is hard, change majors now before you've wasted 3 years of tuition on the wrong classes.

      • by jockm (233372)

        Have to disagree, if it is easy that means you aren't taking classes that are challenging enough. If it is easy, then you should find a way to make it hard. Its only by trying to learn things just beyond our reach that we truly grow as professionals.

  • Ob (Score:4, Funny)

    by Hognoxious (631665) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @08:00PM (#46975677) Homepage Journal

    Dude, if you're already at college it's too late.

  • by pla (258480) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @08:07PM (#46975699) Journal
    By the time you actually have two years of experience, you will count as a senior developer.

    That said, I'll give you the same advice I give everyone that applies to my company - Learn the Microsoft food chain. Yes, I do Open Source dev on my own time too. I run and like Linux at home. But when I hire someone, I want you to know ASP.NET inside and out. You know PHP? Great... Cute... Next!
  • I advise that you do riskier things at your age.

    Take a summer and try to build an app with a few of your friends...try to make it be the next "big thing"...do something

    Your future in the computing industry is foretold....just read through the pages of /. or valleywag to see what everyday workers say about their jobs.

    That's your future.

    Take riskier jobs now.

  • The web developers I know have more work than they can handle. If you're good at building websites, make a portfolio and start marketing yourself. That gives you a flexible schedule to work around your studies, pays better, if less reliably, and gives you independence.

  • by sunking2 (521698) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @09:15PM (#46976001)
    Computer science == building web sites.
  • Wow, not much modding up on these posts. Lots of bitter people. Maybe you should consider a career in health care.
  • When you graduate and apply for your first post college job, they will look at your GPA and school if you don't have any relevant experience listed. I attended a college that had a co-op program. On the job, my employers taught me that college is about learning how to think critically and learn. Yes, they will expect your college program to teach you relevant skills. But, that is not the main objective.

    But, an employer is going to be more interested in what you have done during your college career to bet

  • Yes. The sooner the better. You would be surprised at how many small shops are doing their own web stuff who need help. Even if you didn't have quite that much experience, dependable and conciencious tech works are in short supply. There are PLENTY of tech workers, but few of them are grade A material. Most good shops, in my experince, are happy to at least throw the ball to anyone who looks like they can help them. As long as they're dependable, smart, and conciencous employers will at least want to
  • Try getting into community technical groups - there's always jobs bouncing around these places for those who have natural interest and skill, and they're more likely to understand and accommodate your (student) lifestyle, rather than places that put up ads with more generic applicants in mind.
    Hit Meetup and Facebook to help you find groups.
  • Internships are available. But you're late. You wanted to apply over winter for the summer internships. It's possible that you could get a later in the year internship at this point, but it could interfere with your attending school, depending on where and what hours and how many hours were expected.

    Almost all CS internships pay.

    Also, don't worry about how much school you have, if you are good at what you do; we had to get special dispensation for it, but we had Hexxeh (Liam McLoughlin) as an intern on th

  • and create a start up. It's easy to make a bazillion dollars doing it. And remember, do it now because once you hit 25 you will be "over the hill". And if on the off chance it doesn't work out, just go back to school and get an MBA and do it again. Don't get a law degree, that takes too long and is too much effort. Take the easy way out.

  • I read your list of achievements. Very nice.

    In the next few projects focus on
    - planning the programming before you do it, so you can explain your design decisions
    and the inevitable tradeoffs to prevent people who come after you from trying to "fix"
    what isn't broken.
    - documenting what you did do so anyone can support your code

    If you are fond of saying any of these:
    - "Anyone who can read code can see what it does"
    - "the obvious doesn't need documenting"
    - "there were no tradeoffs"
    - one day I will rewrite this

  • If you can't put in time when an employer wants work done there's no point advertising as if you can. Your first commitment should be to getting that piece of paper that will get you past HR and into a job you want, so other things should be flexible. Volunteer work that you can drop without warning when pressed for time is a better way to go instead of facing a work deadline and exams at the same time. Another option is vacation work of any kind or limited part time work during a semester where your emp
  • These are the lowest of the low with the least insight of what is actually happening inside the server. There are basically no ways to move out of that trap, except to get the additional skills and insights. After 1 year of CS you do not have them.

  • PHP/MySQL is to CS what McD's is to french cuisine. Usually that is. Of course you can do proper development in PHP and proper DB design with MySQL, but you'll get queer looks from 99% of your collegues in the field and a rundown from your boss on why that internet thingummy isn't finished yet. Last winter I met a guy doing MySQL for a decade who didn't know foreign key constraints or their concept or what they were. He was my senior. He was the leaddev on a large data-driven project which was the core busi

  • It's not too early for job hunting, although you are shooting a little too high for your experience level. What you should be looking for now is an internship somewhere. Many companies are looking for students to do basic coding for them over the summers. Yes, you can even do the Web development you were looking for. When I was in intern, I worked on several things: Code cleanup, a program to audit a database and report stats, experimenting with new methods and writing & documenting a sample program, e
  • There are plenty of web sites where you can bid on web dev tasks to be done for people and companies. Some people just want a wordpress website set up with a bunch of plugins, some want some minor coding done, some want bigger things. Try and find the websites that will give you the opportunity to bid on jobs you can take on at a price you are willing to charge for it. Do that for a while, you can balance the work load with your education. In a year or two, you will have plenty of experience on your resume

We want to create puppets that pull their own strings. - Ann Marion

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