What is real? This Sunset? Or, other discussions?
*I suspect many college students today do use on-line web sites. However, to recruiters, this is simply an electronic newspaper, i.e. effectively the same type of channel. They still focus on college avenues to attract junior engineers.
In short, try to hang around colleges. Use your own college's career office if you can. If you're not near your own college, go on the campus of the other. You can usually walk into career services, or go to their website and see which companies are recruiting. Those are the ones hiring junior engineers.
If you go to a site like computerjobs.com, you may see an exciting number of positions advertised. Many of these are from placement firms. If you cross-match them against other ads of the same vintage, you'll notice a suspicious degree of similarity. That's because the same position is often offered by as many as 5 different placement agencies (or at least that's the typical count in this town). So you can collapse the actual number of open positions down by a fairly substantial percentage.
The next indicator is when you see a long list of MUST have skills. I've been told (by automated reply services) that 100-500 applicants are typical per position for many openings. Some of this is a bad job market, some of it is the Internet making it easy for people to apply for jobs that they're not even remotely qualified for. So the employer makes up a long list of must have skills such as 5+ years of Oracle, 5 years of MQSI, 5 years WebSphere, 5 years VAJ, 5 years RUP and then feeds the resumes into a really brain-dead filter program that gives no credit for equivalencies (e.g. DB2 for Oracle, WebLogic for WebSphere), then compounds the insult by being a one-strike-and-you're out bitwise-AND operation. There's usually one or two zingers in there, so at the end, you've demonstrated that you're either A) a statisitical anomaly or B) lying. Lying's OK - it gives them leverage on you, since then they have an excuse to can you.
Actually, I've had it whispered to me lately that one reason for these over-precise specs is that by setting up an impossible set of requirements, the hirer has an excuse to bring in H1-Bs, but I don't know how much credence to give that, since H1-B isn't what it used to be. On the other hand, in the last few years, the ethnic makeup up several large local companies' IT departments has been markedly disproportional to that of the city at large.
3-5 years is the "sweet spot" right now. They don't want to consider less, because they want you "hit the ground runnning". But if you've been "running" for more than 10 years, that counts against you too.
I'm rather biased against the traditional recruiting process, myself - I don't conform to the common mold, so almost all of my jobs have been hires through someone going "outside the box" to find me rather than my managing to get past the HR bouncers. However, in comparison to how recruiters and hirers acted in past recessions, this market has been markedly poorer.
At the moment, we're poised for an upswing - providing consumer sentiment doesn't cause the whole thing to get cancelled. Mark feels secure, but recent polls say one out of 3 American workers (ALL workers - not just IT) aren't sure they'll still have a job 365 days from now, and that an awful thing to be thinking since bulk layoff in this country pretty well stopped months ago. Only one person in 10 is confident that jobs are plentiful right now. In the last few months I've seen an uptick in new jobs created, but almost all of them are offshore. Time will tell.
But if you've been "running" for more than 10 years, that counts against you too.
Sadly true in a lot of cases, but not all. Believe it or not, there are still employers out there who value experience. Luckily for me, since I've been "running" now for 24 years. The trick is to be sure that you've been running in a direction that employers want.
I count myself as extremely fortunate in this job climate as I have a job that I like, at a level appropriate to my experience, for a company without its head up its ass, and that was actively recruiting for someone with my level of experience.
I certainly don't mean to hi-jack this thread into another "age-ism in IT employment" thread, but my advice to all us "aging" IT workers is to make sure that you are not stagnating in your current position -- make sure you are working in an area of future growth, and always keep yourself abreast of the latest technologies. After all, finding employers who value experienced workers and CICS programmers will just get harder and harder.
I still find the impossibly precise job descriptions a mystery. I understand that some non-trival percent of job postings are for positions they have already decided on the person who will fill it and they are mere smoke screens to comply with the company policy on hiring. Nevertheless, they seem odd. Personally, I quickly stopped applying for anything that I did not match up to at least 90% and have started customizing my resume and cover letter for each opening. I only find about 10/month to apply to but I am getting calls on about 10% of those with one interview in 15 applications. It is not good but not so bad that I feel it is hopeless.
When I got into the business (18 years ago but don't tell anyone) it was also very hard to get a first job. I was only able to becuase of a family connection. However, once I had that one it has been a great career. In all that time, this is the first time I have been out of work for more than one month. What is clear to me is that without either Java, SAP, Data Warehouseing or .NET no one has much job security, so although learning Java does little to guarantee getting a job it appears to be essential for keeping one. So, for me, I'll keep studying and keep looking and keep hoping until my wife tells me get me ass out of the house and bring in some money or I die of a heart attack in the gym becuase I have way too much time on my hands.
Thanks for your posting. I have seen your other postings also. You are young, and I want to ask you, "What is your career goal?" The reason is that many certifications that you have acquired do not seem to be compatible with one another. I mean how MCP, MCDBA, MCSA etc. match with SCJP AND SCWCD.
Could you please explain?
Originally posted by Tim Holloway:
myself - I don't conform to the common mold, so almost all of my jobs have been hires through someone going "outside the box" to find me rather than my managing to get past the HR bouncers.
hehehe, HR Bouncers....
They constitute an evil empire, don't they.