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Fearless Leader
Feb 2, 2008, 01:04 PM
I have been looking at jobs in the programming area. Just kinda deciding if I want to become a pro developer. right now im just a freelance, i guess you could say, programmer that does a few things here and there.

Everything opening I see says something like "4 years of 123 programming and at least 2 years in XYZ language or database management."

How on earth do you get your start?

Also whats programming on a large scale teams (well larger than 2 or 3 people) like? Any programming I have done is A) by myself or B) with another person or two.



MooM101
Feb 2, 2008, 01:47 PM
Hi

Usually it's just a matter of starting at the bottom and working your way up. There are usually a good number of Junior Developer jobs out there (depending on what sector you're in). I started coding as a career about 10 years ago coming out of Uni with a degree in software engineering and little by little worked my way up the ladder.

At the start the best way is to get a junior dev job with a view to staying between 6-12 months, and while there learn as much as you can on the job from the most experienced dev there. Then after that switch jobs (even if you like working there). This way at the start you can expect to add about 50-100% to your wages pay each time you move.

Currently I work at a big investment bank in London as lead developer for about 20 people (10 in London and another 10 in Singapore) What it's like working as a developer in large teams totally depends on both the team and your manager. Sometimes it's great working together on a huge project and seeing it all come together after months or years of work. Other times it can be soul destroying when you get told to do something one way and you know it's not the right way it should be done but not being the most senior of the team you can't always argue (being possibly more politics etc)

Any other questions give me a shout.

Ta

M

AlmostThere
Feb 2, 2008, 04:26 PM
Things will vary from place to place. Another UK perspective here, but not London, hopefully adding to MooM's contribution.

Apply to smaller companies, directly. A little, good knowledge can go a long way when it is correctly applied but be flexible. Every business now has computing requirements and even small companies will have development teams. I have seen places struggle to find developers and adverts of often optimistic in experience requirements. If you are relatively normal, easy going and can fit in well other people, you have a good start. Of course, don't expect anything like a London salary!

If there is one concept to grasp about larger team, IMHO, it is communication. Making code expressive is really important - it is no longer just about code and you won't be able to sort mis-understandings so quickly. Organisation of teams will differ from place to place, but just remember you are dealing with humans.

Lastly, I would say be wary of recruitment consultants. Some are very good and know what they are doing but there are a lot of muppets out there - and it's not just the candidates that suffer, we get a lot of crap from agencies.

Personally, I have worked both as contractor and full-time, in both private and public sector (which enabled me to also get post-graduate degrees, part-time). There is a lot of word of mouth; do a good job in one place, wherever you get your foot in the door and keep in touch and on good terms because you will get opportunities and recommendations.

Catfish_Man
Feb 2, 2008, 11:06 PM
I got in via open source work. It's nice 'cause they can see the stuff you've done, and know that you can work on a team (and are familiar with bug trackers, version control, etc...)

sord
Feb 3, 2008, 02:25 AM
I got into it by interning as I was going for my Computer Science degree. Usually (assuming the company likes you) they will hire you in after you get your degree. From there you can build up experience and start looking for higher paying jobs in areas you may be more interested in.

skinnybeans
Feb 3, 2008, 04:11 PM
If you don't have a programming qualification you will probably find it next to impossible. Unless...you can show potential employers previous work you have done along with source code.

Being able to show that you can write easily understandable and well designed code will be very important.

I've been working as a developer for 5 years now, and I still find it hard to move jobs. A lot of employers have very specific requirements that can be very hard to meet.

I was doing c++ game dev for 3 years, and decided I wanted to move out of game dev back to business. Oh my that was hard...

Just don't get discouraged, it can take a long time (took me about a year to find something that I was looking for) you just have to keep plugging away at it and keep faith in your abilities (this can be the hardest part..).

Jeff Hall
Feb 6, 2008, 05:23 PM
If you know some of the programming languages listed in the job postings, it wouldn't hurt to get certifications for those.

For example, the Sun Java Certified Programmer certification is a very tough test to pass and will really re-enforce your knowledge of the APIs and basic best practices. It will, if anything, set you apart from 90% of the other Java developers applying for an interview.

While certifications are not a substitute for experience, they might give you an edge for a junior level position. Once you've been employed for 6-12 months, you can start looking to move up at another company as long as you've got some good experience under your belt.

You also want to emphasize your successes in free lance work. Get that stuff up front on your resume.

I rarely pay attention to job requirements such as "must have xxx years of experience". If I am familiar with the technology and have had success with it, then it's enough to talk about in an interview. The employer can decide later if he really needs someone with more experience after talking to me. But I don't let such requirements stop me from sending in my resume.