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Thread: Getting hired

  1. #1
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    Getting hired

    Hello I'm a newbie to the board.

    I'm adamant about web development and am completing my bachelors in Computer Science this semester. I've been trying to get a job in web development for a couple of months now but nobody seems to want to hire me

    So, I wanted to ask how you guys, if any of you are professionals, managed to land that wonderful job of web development? Was it portfolios? Good connections? Resume? An inquiring mind wants to know!

  2. #2
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    Good question and a thorough answer would surely fill a book :-)

    I think it is anything you mentioned - portfolio, connections, resume... if I would be in need of a web developer, I would have a very close look at his/her portfolio first.

    So maybe this is a good place to start for you: Create some websites, design studies or demo applications - depending on what you are specialized in. Surely you have many half-finished projects used during your studies. I think now is a good time to complete some of them.

    Good connections... well, if you have some, you don't need a portfolio ;-) No, just a joke. I think these times have gone. In today's business you need to convince with your experience and work results.
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  3. #3
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    Lol @ the connections comment.

    Well, I DO have a portfolio, with some projects that I made in various tools/languages. Most are programmed applications (C, C++, java, etc), so that might be a contributing factor? I'm trying to move more towards web developing tools now. Two of my most recent sites are a simple message board and a simple ecommerce site. Perhaps it would be good to post these things to get some critiquing?

    But, if you were someone hiring and looked at their portfolio, what would you like to see on it? What would make you go "WOW! I need to hire this person today!!"

  4. #4
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    If you're really lucky, someone will hire you directly out of school with no professional experience in exactly the type of job you are looking for. But if you do not want to count on luck, you might want to broaden your list of types of jobs you are willing to start at. Perhaps there is a company that has a good sized web development staff, but no openings right now. But that same company may need customer service reps for their service department, or they have an entry-level position for functional testers. If you can get one of those jobs, you now gain three advantages:
    1. You start gaining actual job experience for the job history portion of your resume.
    2. You now have an inside track on any openings in the development department of that company, especially if you do a good job of impressing people with your work ethic and abilities.
    3. You start developing a network with people actually working in the industry, some of whom will move on to other jobs, and may give you employee referrals or even be the ones doing the hiring when positions become available there.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by NogDog
    If you're really lucky, someone will hire you directly out of school with no professional experience in exactly the type of job you are looking for. But if you do not want to count on luck, you might want to broaden your list of types of jobs you are willing to start at. Perhaps there is a company that has a good sized web development staff, but no openings right now. But that same company may need customer service reps for their service department, or they have an entry-level position for functional testers. If you can get one of those jobs, you now gain three advantages:
    1. You start gaining actual job experience for the job history portion of your resume.
    2. You now have an inside track on any openings in the development department of that company, especially if you do a good job of impressing people with your work ethic and abilities.
    3. You start developing a network with people actually working in the industry, some of whom will move on to other jobs, and may give you employee referrals or even be the ones doing the hiring when positions become available there.
    I had two software engineering internship positions during college. I worked for IBM and General Electric (I found out I don't particularly like the cold corporate environment). Those positions seemed a lot easier to get than a full-time job oddly enough. I would like to think that would count for experience, but who's to say? I still haven't gotten any responses from employers.

    I also have been applying to many Junior/entry-level web development positions that "encourage" recent graduates to apply. I'm just trying to figure out what I'm missing that doesn't quite make me a top pick. I honestly don't want to go to a customer service position after 4 years of getting a bachelor's and two internships lol.

    One thing I've thought about is that I live on the East side of the US and I'm applying to jobs on the West side. Does that make me less attractive as a potential employee?

  6. #6
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    I'm certainly not saying to settle for some job you don't want for a long time. I'm just saying that working for a year at any generally related job can help lead you to your ideal job, while actually bringing in an income. But that's your choice based on how bad you need an income, how picky you want to be, etc.

    You might want to consider using an employment agency. Quite a few companies do much/most of their hiring through such agencies rather than posting job openings publicly, especially smaller companies that don't have their own full service HR department. And in addition to the access they have to employers, they often will provide help in tailoring your resume, give you tips on how to present yourself, etc. I'd look for one that has its fees paid by the employer, rather than one that you pay in any manner.

    Last suggestion: don't give up! Finding a good job can be harder than actually working at the job you get.
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  7. #7
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    Don't be afraid to work out of your element in order to get into it. All three of my web designer jobs have come from being in the right place at the right time. My hiring had nothing to do with my marketing myself; only being observed working really hard, providing creative insight into solving problems, and always being open to learn new things, even those not related to web development. My first two positions came from management-spurred promotions, and my current position was secured mostly by good references, a good reputation, and a desperate organization.

    KDLA

  8. #8
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    Reading between the lines it sounds that you are not sure about in which field of "web development" you want to work, are you ?

    If you intend to become a webdesigner (with focus on layout/advertising or client-side programming ?) I think it is better to find a job position inside an established company (maybe even an ad agency). It's hard to fight for such jobs, because there is always someone doing webdesign cheaper than you could (let's disregard the quality and that very likely the client wished later that he/she paid a few dollars more to get it done in a more professional way ;-)

    Should you think about working as a programmer (regardless server-side application development or "desktop app" programming), you may also think about becoming self-employed and working as a freelancer on a per project base. Sure, there is no steady income but it is quite interesting and you can learn about many facets of programming - I think this would also be good for your CV when searching later for a full-time employment. You may look at some freelancer portal sites (e.g. jobs.perl.org just to name one I regularly deal with) and see if it is something you can imagine.

    Anyway, finally it is your choice and everybody can just state its personal opinion. So let me wish good luck and success in your efforts :-)
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  9. #9
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    KDLA and NogDog: Thank you for the suggestions. I think I just might try the employment agency thing.

    tobiaseichner: Well I know I don't want to do design (layouts, color scheme, etc). I'm more of an engineer than anything, though I do understand the basic principals of design. Outside of wanting to code, I really don't have any particular area of web development I'm looking for.

    But I might consider the free lance stuff too Not having steady income is the only thing that scares me Thanks for the wishes!

    PS. What's CV?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Altriak
    PS. What's CV?
    curriculum vitŠ - a fancy name for resume.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%C3%A9sum%C3%A9

  11. #11
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    For the most part your first job in any new field will usually be one that's not particularly desirable. Just think of it as a stepping stone toward your ultimate goal.

  12. #12
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    And of course, there's no guarantee you'll find you actually like doing software engineering for the next 40-50 years of your life. Maybe not even the next 5! So like KDLA wrote, don't be afraid to try something different, especially if the it looks like the people you'll be working with are a good bunch: it's a lot more enjoyable working on almost any job with a good boss and compatible co-workers than a specific type of job with an @$$#0|3 boss and a bunch of co-irkers.

    BTW, I'm 51 now and still do not really know what I want to do when I grow up.
    "Well done....Consciousness to sarcasm in five seconds!" ~ Terry Pratchett, Night Watch

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Altriak
    Hello I'm a newbie to the board.

    I'm adamant about web development and am completing my bachelors in Computer Science this semester. I've been trying to get a job in web development for a couple of months now but nobody seems to want to hire me

    So, I wanted to ask how you guys, if any of you are professionals, managed to land that wonderful job of web development? Was it portfolios? Good connections? Resume? An inquiring mind wants to know!
    Hi, I recently just graduated with a CS degree this past December and now I work as a web developer coding php and mysql. I found a entry level php/mysql programming job in Austin (Austin has plenty of jobs for programmers) through craigslist.com. What was key for me in getting this job was that I had developed a fully functional database dependent website (with user accounts) with php/mysql while in my last semester of college. I think that played a huge factor in me getting this job. I never even had any computer related job experience before this too. Having a good interview also probably played a part in it.

    So my advice would be to volunteer to make a few small websites to build your portfolio. Look for friends who either work for or know someone that needs a website and tell them that you can build a small one for them for no cost. Just a thought.

    Also, there are plenty of companies out there looking for fresh college CS grads.
    Last edited by ss1289; 03-11-2008 at 12:29 PM.

  14. #14
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    When I first started web design (out of college - about 2 years ago), my portfolio wasn't strong. But it was okay.

    I used head-hunters to find me jobs and I hoped around between 5 two-month jobs. Some of them we're highly related to web design, but one of my first ones was working with Excel files, but it was at Morgan Stanley, so it looked good on my resume.

    Anyway, by the time I was done with the fifth job, I felt that my portfolio was a lot stronger, and I decided to search for a full-time perm job. With pure luck, I got a job rather quickly.

    The point is that my portfolio helped a lot.

    Also, your resume is very important. When using the recruiters, I had EVERY skill I've ever worked with (if only just once)... I had HTML, CSS, Photoshop, Illustrator, Premier and Final Cut Pro (for video), Flash, 3D Modeling, etc etc etc... And because of this, my resume would come up for almost any multimedia/design job my recruiters would search for.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by tobiaseichner
    Good connections... well, if you have some, you don't need a portfolio ;-) No, just a joke. I think these times have gone. In today's business you need to convince with your experience and work results.
    Actually this is how I got my job . The company I work for (I knew an executive) is a medical/avionic engineering company and needed a website for a project they were co-developing with Hitachi, and were so impressed they ended up hiring me full time.

    When I came in I only had worked with CSS/HTML and everything else I learned as I went (have learned PHP/JS/SQL/C++/Shell Scripting/Perl/Python/Batch/Config Files[.ini, .config] and managing Phone Systems all on the job) . I'm now in charge of a few servers, provide network support for one of our products, do graphic design work, and do programming (software and web). I spend most of my time creating manageable sites for various projects, as well as modernizing some aging systems we have (plus a little IT/Support work).

    Which brings up a question of my own. I was considering going back to school to get a degree in Computer Science, but thats alot of time and money to commit. If I end up back on the job market, how much does a degree weigh in the decision to hire developers (compared to a Portfolio)? Would it be worth the time and money to get a degree?
    Last edited by TJ111; 03-11-2008 at 01:12 PM.

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