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BSCS,SCJP, anything else?

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I have a few questions and any input would be greatly appreciated. I just entered my senior year at a 4 year university majoring in Computer Science. I am looking for any pointers you can give someone coming straight from school. I will have my BSCS within 2 semesters and have taken several java and c++ classes and will be taking a couple more. I recently started getting more serious about java and am planning to take the certification test when I feel I am ready. I know that just a 4 year CS degree and SCJP is not enough to land a decent programming job or is it? I am fairly versed in java but there is a lot of room for growth and improvement. Since I will lack much experience are there any pointers you can give to someone in my position to allow me to find a better job when I graduate in 10 months? Thanks in advance.
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I guess it depends what you mean by a decent programming job. My understanding from previous discussions on this forum is that you ought to be in very good shape to get a junior or starter position, particularly if you're anywhere near a hot market. But if by "decent job" you mean a $225 an hour contracting fee, well I think that will take experience too.
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- You should be in good shape - espceically if you have a 3.0
(B average) or better.
- Definitely hang out at your Career Placement service. Also,
talk to your comp.sci. professors. I know this sounds like
basic information, but you will be surprised how many students
fail to take these initial steps. By the way, start now - if
this is your senior year - you should be having interviews in
October. Basically, you should (realistically) have a job
offer or two by Jan/Feb of next year. These things take time - especially with the big Fortune 500 boys.
- Your resume' should be done - ready to go.
- Read Martin Yate's "Knock Em Dead" Interview Question book -
you will get hit with more generalized type of questions rather
that technical questions when you interview at college. Yate's
book has great answers to these types of questions.
- Get a suite and tie - and get a pair of black wing-tips.
Definitely do not wear army boots or those Buster Brown leather
things to interviews. I was at Lucent Interview and the
recruiter complained to me about how some guys wore those type
of shoes. One student even wore ear-rings to interviews -
it didn't make a good impression.
- Most (if not all) of the job offers will deal with customer
or product maintenance/support. There is a ton of COBOL out
there (EDS - Anderson Consulting) that needs maintained.
- OK. The important thing. For a BS-CompSci. You should get
around $40-$50K to start. For an MS-CompSci. I had 4 offers
for $65K here in PA/NJ. Unfortunately, I took the job with
Lucent ($65K + 20% yearly bonus) and was laid off in 6
- I took the Lucent job - providing product support for phone
line testing for Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Phone Company - even
though I had never been to that country (still haven't been
there). Lucent was going to support me for the Ph.D. program
at Lehigh University - which is why I was willing to do
customer support. Product was on HP-Unix / C++ / Oracle
Database platform.
- With the layoff, I am now hitting up the books for my SCJP2 and
will see what happens. The interviews in the real world seem
to be more technical focus. Lucent's on-campus interview was
very laid back - easy going. Basically read off my resume'
what I had done with EDS (Electronic Data Systems - Cobol) and
what I had done in undergraduate work at Univ of Pgh.
- Regarding the head hunters. I keep getting a lot of phone
calls from when I posted my resume' last year - but most seem
to want 2 or 3 years experience. As with anything, some are
good and some are pretty terrible. The good ones keep
following up every 2 or 3 weeks - and eventually provide some
decent leads.
- Hope this helps. It's a little long. Been stuck in house
with all the rain here in eastern Pa the past few days.
- Good luck - let us know how things turn out.
John Coxey
If you like strawberry rhubarb pie, try blueberry rhubarb (bluebarb) pie. And try this tiny ad:
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