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

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 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 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 ranton ( 36917 ) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @06:38PM (#46975279)

    Seems to me you have way more than 2+ years of experience.

    While he says he has 10 years of web designing experience with 5-6 years of dabbling in PHP, he also says he really enjoyed his freshman level web development class. I had about 7 years of rudimentary programming experience before college, and all of my programming classes in the first two years were mind-numbingly boring and basic. And I was still not good enough to work as a professional developer. I have never met a self-taught developer that enjoyed their 100-200 level programming classes; they just suffered through them until the real CS classes started.

    It sounds like this student is a self-motivating learner, and if that keeps up he will do quite well. But there are probably still huge gaps in knowledge that would make working in the industry very difficult at this point. I would suggest to do everything you can to get internships even in your Fresh/Soph summer, but understand you probably aren't ready to be employed as a software developer yet. I have known people who caught a lucky break writing basic websites for a family friend or something similar, but that was long before there were tools that help even laymen get a SMB website going in no time.

  • Re:Move to India (Score:4, Insightful)

    by viperidaenz ( 2515578 ) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @06:40PM (#46975293)

    Or move to India so you can come back on an H-1B

    On a serious note, if someone is asking for 2+ years experience for a junior position, they're smoking crack.
    Perhaps they really want intermediate people at a junior salary.

  • wrist tapper (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @06:41PM (#46975301) Homepage Journal

    I still have a ways to go, though

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Re:Dead tech (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AuMatar ( 183847 ) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @07:48PM (#46975627)

    No, at this point he shouldn't be giving a flying fuck about languages. He should be studying data structures, algorithms, and learning how to break down problems. Languages don't matter, if you know the other stuff you can pick up whatever language you need in under a week.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 11, 2014 @08:48PM (#46975893)

    the poster's intent was somewhat obvious.

    I've seen two bums off their heads on butane and nail varnish gibbering away. They seemed to understand each other perfectly well.

    I'm not a bum.

    The jury's still out on that. But it is clear you're an asshole.

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @08:52PM (#46975907)

    IT needs to be a skilled trade with trade schools and not years of class room with little hands on work.

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. -- Bill Vaughn