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Credentials of Java Candidates

 
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All,
From reading many of the posts in this forum, things seem to be pretty tough out there. I was wondering what the credentials were of many of the candidates. Is it tough for recent BSCS graduates to break into Java? Is it tough for experienced individuals with the BSCS or MSCS? Is tough because hourly rates have gone down?
I appreciate any thoughtful responses.
Rich
 
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Rich:
I have: BS-Computer Science, BS-Applied Mathematics, MS-Computer Science, SJCP, and will have the IBM-UML exam under my belt in another 3 weeks.
I am currently employed (Hewlett-Packard) - but have been laid off twice in the past 2 yrs (Lucent & AMS/Qwest).
----
In the Java field - I found that the college degrees alone would not get me into the J2EE. Yes, they would get me into IT, but not into Java. I had to do an internship/Co-op while going for the master's degree before I was noticed by Java employers.
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Next question: Did the MS degree help me with getting a Java job?
I would say that it got my resume noticed. But other than the co-op, and one OOAD class - my graduate work had very little to do with the real world. More theoretical than anything - mostly AI and Graphics.
I just recently obtained my SCJP - so have not used it in the job search game.
Hope this helps.
John Coxey
(jpcoxey@aol.com)
 
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John,
I appreciate your response. I was trying to get a feel for where things are. If you have the experience, academic credentials and certifications, Java seems to hold a great deal of promise.
The real question is after you gather all of the above; will the hourly rates and salaries be worth the trouble? At this point, it seems like the companies are willing to pay $85,000-$120,000 for an experienced J2EE developer. The opportunities I found were not in the high cost of living areas (CA or NYC). Where these companies looking to fill actual positions or where they there to gather more resumes? That is another question.
Rich
 
John Coxey
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Rich:
I would say that companies are definitely hiring. I can't imagine just gathering resume's to fill a database. As volitile as the market is - with people personal lives changing all the time, plus moving around, etc. - I would believe the majority of resume's are outdated in 6 months or so.
If you look at Tom Hennigan's success story below, you will see that yes some companies are hiring. Seems he has received more than one offer - which is a nice position to be in.
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Regarding your question regarding hourly rates - and is it worth it?
I would say the rates are worth it. The market is in a slump right now and consequently salaries are down. Whether or not the US IT industry will address the H1B issue or not remains to be seen.
The toughest part of this game seems to be "breaking in". Once you get the magical 2-3 years experience with a few complete lifecycles/projects under your belt - the $$ will start flowing.
The other bad part of this J2EE technology - is that you need to keep studying. And employers do not provide study time.
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If you are looking at pay. I found the staring rate PA/NJ/CO for an MS-Computer Science degree was US$60-$65K/yr. In three job searces I've had 8 or 9 offers in this range.
Yes, I did have one $42K and another $45K offer in the same batch. Jobs ranged from C/C++ to Java.
One thing I did notice. Companies interviewing on-campus were not looking for Java skills. Most wanted C/C++ skills and were looking more for code maintainers than new development coders.
A good many of the companies I interviewed with on-campus had a 2 year program where they would send you to various customer sites for 6 months at a time. After 2 years you would then be an "associate programmer". Companies doing this included: Johnson&Johnson, Merk, Lucent, EDS, Aetna Insurance, and Procter&Gamble.
For some reason, I get a lot more "hits" with my job searches from the Fortune 500 than from the mom & pop shops.
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I think that in addition to compensation, you need to take a good look at quality of life.
Not to brag, but I get to pursue both of my hobbies (fly-fishing and railfanning) all over the USA at my companies expense. For example, this week I fished in PA and am currently headed back to CO to fish.
And yes, it's been an emotional rollercoaster - but I think it's been worth it. And yes, I gave up 8 yrs of my life going to college. But, it sure beats the heck out of truck-driving which I did for 5 yrs.
And speaking of driving - gotta leave NJ this afternoon for CO. Am driving this time as I gotta haul about 4 months worth of manuals, accumuluated fishing gear, and other assorted junk back to the apartment in Denver.
John Coxey
(jpcoxey@aol.com)



[This message has been edited by John Coxey (edited October 26, 2001).]
 
Don't get me started about those stupid light bulbs.
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