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Can't find work with no experience, even within my own consulting company

 
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I got hired for a consulting firm at full salary when I was just weeks away from finishing my master's degree, which I did, and I was a campus hire, so that means we have a one year no-timeline on the bench, and then after a year, it converted to 35 days, which I only have 2 weeks left until being laid off.

So, the issue is we had absolutely no training other than some guy reading us power point slides on how to do things like make a constructor or create a to-do list.   Nothing agile.  Nothing dev-ops.  No messaging or deployment skills.  No skills like SonarQube, etc.  

When we approached them asking why we didn't get trained in any of these necessary skills, we were told we'd learn them on our first project.   However, the problem is, we can't get projects because we have no experience with these skills.  

Our consultant at the office told us we have no clients left.  Pepsi just pulled out due to not being satisfied with our company's services.  She said the problem is the calls she fields from potential clients all want developers with only five years experience or more, and she tells them she cannot meet those demands as all of those in the company with that experience are not available for new projects.  So, they're going elsewhere or hiring internally instead.  

They told us just to keep updating our profile, keep doing new courses on Udemy, and it'll eventually happen, and I have dozens of Udemy certificates and have created my own applications and deployed some and the rest are on GitHub, and me along with everyone else aren't getting squat because we simply have no experience on a project, but we have to be put on a project without experience to get project experience.

Even the interviews where I get all the questions right, there is always one other person who is slightly better or more experienced, but most of the project interviews are extremely hard questions not related to coding, but related to topics like multi-stack testing, deployment in containerized services of thousands of microservices, etc...  We have to keep reminding them during the interview we've never been on a project before, so we don't know any of this stuff yet, but it almost appears as if they are deliberately asking questions that they know we won't be able to answer, because they see on our resume and company profile the experience we have.

Honestly, if people's advice is going to be look at other companies, I've been doing that for 4 months now.  I've opened my criteria to the lowest paying least experienced jobs, and even the jobs that state they are perfect for people out of college without experience, I still get rejected due to lack of experience, which I don't understand how that makes sense.

I'm kind of out of options here.  I've had every interview, applied for nearly every job, and I've been rejected from about everything, even the ones I had more than the experience listed in the requirements.  

The problem is some of the places I interview with see a year with my current company, and they assume I have relevant experience I can take to their company, and I really don't.  I have taken people's advice of trying to spin the conversation to my own projects when they start asking about projects we did at my job, but then they start grilling me with more questions about what my role on the team was and how many people until I tell them it was just me, and they ask more specifically agile projects until I end up having to come clean and tell them in the most professional way I can that I've essentially been paid to watch Udemy for the entire year and have done nothing productive for the company.  


The problem is the search for key words like Junior, Entry-Level, Campus Cohort, etc all come up nearly empty and everything I see out there is for senior level, and the ones I do get interviewed for in junior level, they're still asking me senior level questions.

I honestly just don't know what else to do.

Any ideas that can be achieved in less than 2 weeks time?
 
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Yeah, people want "junior" employees at junior salaries with senior skills. And Nobody Wants To Work Anymore.

It has always been a pain in my lifetime and never gotten better and I have no idea of how to fix it, short of replacing management and HR with AIs that can make logical decisions based on scientific measurements in place of simply demanding the unreasonable.

Failing that, what geographic area are you looking in? In the end, networking is often the only thing that really works, even though as fundamentally asocial people, computer geeks are at  major disadvantage there. But if we know where you are hoping to get employed, perhaps someone here on the Ranch can help out.
 
Nathan Milota
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I don't know if networking is gonna be possible for me.

I live in the Dallas, TX area.   In some of the groups, mostly what we've been getting is someone linking an opening they found which helps if we hadn't seen or overlooked it.  

However,  out of over 1000 jobs applied to,  I've had only 5 interviews.  

Each time I got rejected for one reason,  I've worked on that and fixed for the next interview, and then they found a new reason I wasn't a good fit.  

It more or less seems they're reaching for reasons to not hire you instead of reasons to hire you.
 
Nathan Milota
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In general, it is seeming like the old metrics of hiring and training new software engineers is no longer effective.  

Since we are consulting, we are similar to the companies that require an early termination fee to quit within 2 years, except we don't have that part of it.

Revature is a company that our company contracts with, and they send their undeployable candidates to our bench for 35 days to try to get them work.   There were a ton of them back in January that came, none of them found work the same as the rest of us, they got sent back to Revature, and then since Revature which once guaranteed you'd get a project if you were willing to relocate anywhere and finished the training program was unable to offer that guarantee as all their clients also wanted only people with over 5 years experience which the new employees didn't have.   They released all of them that they couldn't allocate without making them pay the buyout fee because they were not going to have any other option but to keep paying them minimum wage to do nothing until the market picked up, and they had no work for any of them anymore the way they used to be able to quickly map them to a project to get more hands on training after completing their training program.  

Our company really has no training at all.  It's just a consulting firm where you get on a bench and look for work based on your skills and experience, and then you get allocated to a project and get your experience on that project that is willing to take new people, but none of the clients the company has is willing to take new people anymore, so we are all being laid off unless something changes in the next 2 weeks.
 
Tim Holloway
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Dallas/Forth Worth is a larger job market than the one I live in, although I'll admit I have had to go through multiple lean times to remain here. Still...

There ought to be something, even though it's not going to be Radio Shack HQ. I'll admit that offhand I don't know who has a major presence there.

One thing that has made things worse is that the bottom rungs of the career ladder have been sawed off and outsourced. One possibility would be to see if any of the offshoring companies such as Accenture, InfoSys, et. al. are hiring. I'm a little cautious on that --- there are American companies here in my town I would hesitate to apply to because they nowadays have so much Indian staff that I worry about being discriminated against as an American, but it's a possibility at least, and I might be overly pessimistic.
 
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Nathan Milota wrote:However,  out of over 1000 jobs applied to,  I've had only 5 interviews.


IT market is struggling a bit these days, not just in US, but all over in Europe as well. You can tell solely from LinkedIn. What it used to be ~5 messages a day from recruiters, now you get 5 messages in a quarter. That was the main job search engine really, where you had to just reply to few messages and then you had an overwhelm of phone calls so you could start working on the following Monday or at your earliest convenience. As you probably hear now, big companies are laying off people at a high rate, and you hear just from those big players, there is much more what you don't hear. So imagine where all those people are, they come to competition. So it is more difficult now as you already noticed.

What comes to my attention really, is the ratio of applications sent and interviews held, whether it is an initial phone chat or technical exercise or similar.

Perhaps you need to revise your CV? Because I was part of several recruitment processes myself, and really the very first thing what you do is go over the CVs within the team. And given companies receive a lot of them, you really pick first those, that stand out from others, i.e. nice formatting, no obvious grammar mistakes, includes LinkedIn profile, includes GitHub repositories, potentially some personal worked on projects and similar. So try to iterate over this again and see if you can improve it.

 
Nathan Milota
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Two of the interviews I had were from staffing companies who ended up telling me the client didn't fill the positions in the end because they didn't get the level of experience they wanted from the interested applicants.   The pay they disclosed was in the bottom 10% of the range in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and both were asking very high level questions.  

One of them, I was the last remaining candidate and the staffing company had me submit a background check and make a fingerprinting appointment as they under the impression from the client that it was more of a formality final interview, and I was told it was mostly a behavioral interview with maybe some light technical questions, as it was not a technical interview.   However, all they asked me were very senior level questions that I didn't know the answers to, but near the end we had a good conversation and they said it was mostly just to see where I was at to see the best place for me in the company.   I called back the recruiter and he was shocked at the questions they asked me when I reported back to him as they were told it was not a technical interview, and that the position was junior and no experience beyond a CS related degree was required.   However, they ended up passing on me due to not having enough experience even though they said my attitude was positive and I had a high willingness to learn, that they weren't going to hire for the position because they didn't produce the level of quality of candidates they wanted, regardless of them disclosing the pay rate was very low and the benefits for the first 6-12 months were minimal healthcare coverage, yet they were disappointed in the staffing company for not getting highly experienced candidates.

The last interview that was a client interview within my own company, the lead told me she was sending me to them anyway as the rate they were wanting to pay the company for the labor was at an entry level rate, but were asking for senior level experience, so she was telling them if they were willing to compromise, she had someone newer, but ambitious and with a lot of skills for a campus hire that can learn quickly, but I still haven't heard back and I'm not sure they're gonna budge.  She told me she is not going to seek a senior level candidate for them with the rate they are willing to pay, so she was guessing they'd either onboard someone with my level of experience, or they simply won't fill the position, which happens.
 
Nathan Milota
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Liutauras Vilda wrote:
IT market is struggling a bit these days, not just in US, but all over in Europe as well. You can tell solely from LinkedIn. What it used to be ~5 messages a day from recruiters, now you get 5 messages in a quarter. That was the main job search engine really, where you had to just reply to few messages and then you had an overwhelm of phone calls so you could start working on the following Monday or at your earliest convenience.



The issue is, I get calls from recruiters every day.  However, 99% of them end up ghosting me after I send them my resume and then they submit it to the client.   I had to put a voicemail greeting set to where it asked recruiters that were not employed the company they were recruiter for to please send me an email with the details instead of asking me to call back due to the overwhelming volume of calls.  

The problem wasn't getting too many calls.  The problem is that only one every few weeks out of the several per day led to a follow up call with another screening or an interview appointment.

One recruiter got me an interview, and then I went to the interview and they told me they'd get back to the recruiter with the next steps.   Less than one minute after leaving the building, the hiring manager sent out a reply all that he probably forgot I was included on saying I was no good and told them to pass on me.  
 
Nathan Milota
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Tim Holloway wrote:Dallas/Forth Worth is a larger job market than the one I live in, although I'll admit I have had to go through multiple lean times to remain here. Still...

There ought to be something, even though it's not going to be Radio Shack HQ. I'll admit that offhand I don't know who has a major presence there.
.



The companies here are Chase, Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, AT&T.  

I've applied to all of them numerous times.   Chase all I ever got was coding challenges, and even ones that passed all the tests, I still got rejected without an interview.   Southwest Airlines I never got any further than an auto-rejection, even on an internship that was for IT workers on the autism spectrum and had several references saying I meet that criteria, they still never even as much as gave me a phone screening or virtual interview.  American Airlines I got an interview with a staffing company for a contract to hire position.  The position was paying near the bottom salary and the health benefits available were terrible, and I still didn't get it even though it was entry level with no experience required, but I got turned down due to lack of experience and they ended up not hiring anybody.  With AT&T, same as Southwest.  Never further than the auto-rejection.  

The problem with all the internal interviews I get within my own company, is that all the clients want the best employees for the lowest cost they can get, so they end up going to other places to get people for their projects because when anyone at our company gets hired as a senior developer, they usually get a project right away and are unavailable, and when they go back to the bench, they often leave because our company reduced its bench time from 90 days to 35 days meaning you get fired if you can't get a project in 35 days, but some hiring managers take half that time just to get to the final interview before the allocation.   Our company consists mostly of junior level associates needing a project to learn hands on skills to grow with that client instead of being an expert from day one, but they all wants experts from day one now and don't want to have to train any of us, even when they are only wanting to pay the minimum still.  
 
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I am just so grateful to the experienced people here who are telling the truth: hiring in the IT business is dead, dead like in 'will not come back'. Given the enormous effort you have to put in to get a CS degree, only to then land in this, it's just game over. The IT business does not deserve our efforts. It can wither on the vine, or get taken over by offshoring and AI. Doesn't matter.

But what we should promise ourselves and each other is to do all we can to warn young people at a career-making stage of their lives: old truths about lucrative, safe IT jobs no longer hold. Point of fact, run away from the IT business at the top of your rate and keep running.
 
Merle Lodge
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Of course, there is another side to this. All of us who love the little quirks and subtleties of CS - inclusive of the many connections to discrete mathematics - are now free from doubt and worry as to whether we are doing the right thing, or whether we should focus more on some job market-related framework, technology or paradigm. The job market is dead as a door nail. It is not going to be a concern for us anymore.

We now instead have a rewarding and mind-expanding hobby, and we'll do what we damn well want, just work with the beautiful, rewarding problems, just as we choose them - just eat the candy and the potato chips, leave the carrots and broccoli, if you will.
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