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Advice for landing a first job.

 
Ranch Hand
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Howdy.
Any advice for someone trying to get their foot in the door with their first Java job? I'm a recent college graduate with a degree in computer science and physics. It's difficult for me to show my experience to employers since I haven't had a real job yet and don't have a github account full of Java work (should I fix this?). Instead, I studied for and recently obtained the Oracle Programmer I Certification and have my eyes set on Programmer II.

I'd like to move towards the realm of mathematics/engineering software but I know I probably can't start there immediately. I just don't know what positions are best suited for newbies like me. Any and all advice would be truly great.
 
lowercase baba
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I've read something that says getting an internship is the best way to get your foot in the door.

Another option is to get involved in some opensource projects, so you have an actual portfolio of code you can show potential employers.
 
Edward Nunez
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Good advice Fred. It just seems as though internships are being reserved for current students rather than recent graduates. I'll keep looking though.
 
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Ted Nunez wrote:Good advice Fred. It just seems as though internships are being reserved for current students rather than recent graduates. I'll keep looking though.



That is because the purpose of internships (or one of the big purposes of them) is for companies to get early access to the top candidates. Basically, companies hire them for the summer; they get to evaluate them; and when they graduate, they have really good understanding of who they want. For the intern, they get to learn some of the business, and hopefully, for the really good interns, has probably been woo'ed a bit too.

Unfortunately, if the candidate doesn't understand that they are being reviewed, it will be a wasted internship. BTW, I am *not* a fan of internships for graduates. Some companies offer them, but to me, it just feels weird. If the candidate is hired with a probation period, that's okay -- but an internship? The candidate has already graduated, there is no early access -- it feels more like cheap access.

Henry
 
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Henry Wong wrote:...it feels more like cheap access.


Indeed. The chicken egg problem of no job for non experienced people and no experience without a job, has resulted in a mushrooming industry (at least in India)
Are you a fresher looking for experience? Great news! I am a "real company" and I got a "real life" project.
I will be your project manager and help you learn the ropes. You write the code and complete the project. In return I will give you an experience certificate.
Oh! And did I mention you need to pay me for that?

@Ted,
Besides the excellent advise already given, you can also possibly consider some freelancing. In your locality, you can possibly find some small businesses whom you can help solve their business problem. Inventory system? Billing system? Website? This just might result in you getting real experience, learning how to think from the customer's perspective, interact with people and maybe even make some money.
I did exactly the same when I started off.
 
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Another source of gaining valuable experience is by contributing to some open source projects. It takes some good amount of time to become a commiter to one of those open source projects, but the experience you get is invaluable. Take a look at the Apache Software Foundation for some interesting projects.
 
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Experience, really? How is that even possible before you have worked at your first job.

I've heard of employers asking for experience but in college/universities we all work on projects or don't we? Like those brick game and all? Don't they count as projects?

I mean you could choose an area that interests you and acquire skills in it and then come up with something ( anything ) that you can sell yourself on. Why does it have to be a set defined way.. Highlight that in the resume so it can overshadow the experience part.. You have no control over the experience part.

For instance, in core Java not many people ( I am also one of them ) are adept at basics and advanced topics.. like multi threading, file input output, socket programming, regular expressions, and such things. It's always nice to acquire any of those skills. Even designing the exception handling and error logging part of an application needs study ( when I say study it includes reading about it, discussing about it, writing real code, testing it, and analyzing it, and writing it again till you get it right ). This will also give you an idea of small fun applications you might want to create for yourself... And if it turns out to be a nice one, you can even mention it in your resume. If not, you acquired a skill and mention that in your resume. Tell them you've never been in a professional setting but that never was an issue for you. If you like, you can even write a short write up about it-- your own theory on the subject-- you could attach it as an annexure or something. I mean it doesn't have to be just this.. you could do things differently.

A lot of people hold negative opinion of those who have acquired a skill through book reading. I disagree with that cause different people have different styles of reading a book. If you're coding and testing and reading and coding and testing and thinking of scenarios where something might apply, I think that's good reading. And there are many good books out there, thanks to the wonderful authors who write these books.

Some skills are currently the hot skills... like groovy/scala/javascript... a lot of people are asking for those things and they don't mind even if you've acquired those skills through reading. If you like, you may even want to acquire the basic knowledge about at least one such hot skill.

 
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