Mike Chaffin

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since Sep 06, 2005
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Recent posts by Mike Chaffin

Thanks for the thought Rob but I'd guess I'm about 6000 miles away from Dallas across the wee pond.

That is unless there is a Dallas in Yorkshire or Lancashire anyway.
15 years ago
If it's all so easy then what exactly is difficult about a google search?
15 years ago
I thought I made it clear in my post Mark...

Firstly it is pretty obvious that the vast majority of jobs offered on websites such as jobserve, monster and jobsite are completely fictitious. Agents will generally refuse to tell you the company hiring until you have been accepted for interview so this is difficult to prove. Could be that I have been refused for 100s of positions in the last couple of years or so but it seems unlikely to me. However seeing the same agents post the same job details (generally all the latest techs with a huge salary) countless times leads to more than suspicion.



Maybe I should have made it clear that the above piece was about personal experiences as regards to UK based recruitment agents and not meant as a slur on recruitment agents or consultants worldwide.

Possibly being at the lower end of the market (in terms of experience and qualifications rather thn ability )has resulted in the better half of the agents not being within my realm of experience. However it is obvious that everyone has to start somewhere so I thought the information might be useful to some....
15 years ago
Are there any certs available which show competence in using and understanding Unix rather than for those who wish to become, or are, sysdmins?

In particular anything that covers various Unix flavours rather than the proprietary (and seemingly exhorbitant) distro certifications like RH?
15 years ago
One of my mates has 17 years in the industry, knows just about every technology you could shake a stick at, completed his full time MBA last year and has still been unemployed for quite a while....
15 years ago
I believe NI contributions (health and pensions) is 9% though I can't honestly remember whether it recently wen't up 1% to 9% or whether it is now 10%.

�26k isn't too bad depending on the living costs in the area, I'm not familiar with Sussex myself, if that is 2 years of commercial experience in total. If you have more commercial experience in total and 2 years in J2EE then it would be a little low I'd think.
15 years ago
I hold a Post Graduate Diploma in computer science but only have a couple of years experience in the IT industry since graduating in 2000. I'm working towards SCJP and SCJA certification to help boost my career prospects.
15 years ago
Sorry Nicholas, I wasn't suggesting that the beta was easier or not the 'full' exam. Just wondering whether anyone on here had taken it since the free beta trials.
15 years ago
Started a thread on UK recruitment agents before reading his one...... :roll:

I've had my CV amended without my permission but would never allow the skullduggery that Bachi is appologising for. Not that I don't understand where he's coming from, though I suspect his confidence is somewhat misplaced.

Would it not be better just to tell employers how great you are without lying, or letting others lie, about your experience?
15 years ago
I'm surprised to see that there are few threads relating to the role of recruitment agents in IT on this forum (Searching back sevral months at least).

I live in the UK, where the market still seems to be rather depressed, and am currently unemployed so make of it what you will. Any commens, addendums or opinions are welcomed, especially from those with relevant certs who have either found it easy or hard to find a position.

Gaining qualifications and certifications is only half the battle, you still have to find a job after it all. In other words it seems like a highly relevant subject for discussion.

Firstly it is pretty obvious that the vast majority of jobs offered on websites such as jobserve, monster and jobsite are completely fictitious. Agents will generally refuse to tell you the company hiring until you have been accepted for interview so this is difficult to prove. Could be that I have been refused for 100s of positions in the last couple of years or so but it seems unlikely to me. However seeing the same agents post the same job details (generally all the latest techs with a huge salary) countless times leads to more than suspicion.

In short most of the adverts are simply there to get a copy of your CV to be stored on file.

Secondly I have received countless phone calls from agents supposedly looking to fill a role which have been very similar in content. I can't recall ever hearing back about any of these 'jobs' and I have worked in sales environments enoug to recognise a script when I hear one. Not to do with the 'jobs' themselves though; they always ask 2 questions.

a) Do you have anything else in the pipeline, have you been to any interviews lately?

and b) Do you have any friends or colleagues who are also looking for work?

In short my opinion is that these calls are purely about finding out which companies are recruiting and where they could get more CV's from.

Agents naturally have to compete with each other for each position that becomes available; I've received numerous phone calls from agents who have sent my Cv to a company only to find that another agent has already sent a copy. Generally they will try to nag you into specifying that they have the 'rights' to your CV although in business terms you have absolutley no idea which monkey on the end of the phone is looking for the least commission (which at the end of the day comes out of your salary) or which is most likely to represent you honestly and truthfully. Indeed I have attended interviews, both through direct contact and through agents; not been told the outcome but still received calls the same day from agents offering me the same job for several �k less.

Agent's fees are something which we do not have information about when sending our CVs in yet as companies will allocate a budget for such positions the agent's fee will almost always come out of your salary. Personally I would like to know in advance though I have few detils other than scuttlebutt. From personal experience one employer told me that he was glad I cme through x agency because y was asking for 25% of my salary to place me. More recently I've heard figures of between 9 and 15%. This for making a few phone calls, sending an email and (unfortunately) sometimes getting the details wrong (even of dates for interview in a couple of cases).

Even for jobs that actually exist your chances are not necessarily helped by an agent. I've heard agents nagging companies to give them exclusive rights to their recruitment, naturally as they are the only agency with the recources and staff to find the right candidates. However for basic positions requirng little more than a degree and some aptitude I find it unlikely that such agencies who probably have hundreds of developers CVs for every position cannot find more than a few candidates.

Suspicion is that they are deliberately choking the market in order to drive salaries, and therefore commission, up. If x company only uses a single agency and said agency only puts forward 3 candidates saying that there is a skills shortage then the company is in a difficult position. Imagine if 2 of the three or so candidates were clearly unsuitable and unemployed, and the third was employed. Naturally x would have to make the employed candidate an offer sufficiently greater than their current salary to temp them. However as the agent alo knows where the employed candidate works he can then contact that company offering to fill the position that has recently been vacated. Therefore making greater commission on the first position and also being in with a chance of filling the 2nd, etc etc ad infinatum.....

Cynical? Sour grapes? Possibly. However I was once told by an agent back in 2000 that I had been accepted for an interviewed position but that they would be waiting for a month or two before taking me on. Back in 2000 the market was very healthy though in decline and I turned down several positions in order to wait for said company. Naturally the position did not materialise (due to the market slowing down according to the agent) though the same agent placed me elsewhere. Two years later I saw a similar position advertised on their website and so enquired saying that I had been accepted previously only to be told (by the chap who had originally interviewed me) that no such offer was ever made or suggested......
15 years ago
Well I am unemployed so I hope you don't take this as sour grapes but that seems to be the way recruitment consultants (aka sharks or pimps) work....

If you leave a job for another job through an agency then they get a larger slice (percentage of salary tends to be higher for people moving jobs as they usually move to higher salaries) and, most importantly, they create a vacancy in your old position which they can then offer to fill.

From talking to other programmers it seems as though there is a lot of very sharp practise going on in that industry.
15 years ago
Is the SCJA exam still in Beta or can you now book a test at suitable centres around the world?

If it is now available then has anyone pased the full exam rather than the Beta?

Be interesting to see how many agents get a little confused between SCEA and SCJA. (wouldn't that be horrible... )
[ September 08, 2005: Message edited by: Mike Chaffin ]
15 years ago
Do you foresee Solaris being taken up more widely by firms in prefeence to the Linux flavours in the future now that it is open source? Sun's Suse based distro seemed to get a fairly lukewarm response from the posts I've seen on here and elsewhere so does Solaris have enough about it (Zones, DTrace etc) to recommend it above Linux or other Unix O/Ss amongst companies who were previously put off by the price tag?

Some of the posts seem rather sceptical due to the toolset offered though I assume that either the Nevada project or porting tools used in Linux distros would help this.

Solaris does seem intriguing in that it is a rare skillset which could give one a competitive advantage. Also the bootable JDS CD I've had a look at seemed to be rather a nice environment.

Question is I guess whether the lack of drivers and user base makes it a viable system for home development use and / or certification. Naturally I don't have access to a Sparc based machine so the questions on this architecture might be a real bummer.

There are books on Solaris certification, has anyone taken the trouble to certify themselves purely through this medium rather than through Sun's own internal courses or those of training agencies?

I've been out of the industry for a couple of years so obviously SCJP will come first and, as I mentioned, maybe I'm getting a little ahead of myself but I am interested to see what peeps think.
I was recently turned down for a job for not having enough experience on Solaris so did a bit of research on it. Now I offered to take the Solaris certification in order to prove my worth as it were though I'm not yet sure quite how much is involved. Has anyone taken the Solaris 10 certifications?

I note though that as of earlier this year Solaris has been made open source so should start popping up all over the place in projects which would previously have ruled it out on cost grounds(�50k a licence so I believe previously). Certainly some of the articles on it get rather excited.

Is this a skill which people are taking up? As an operating system do people use it theselves for development / study at home in preference to Win / Linux etc? Now I havn't even done my SCJP yet so maybe I'm jumping the gun a little but just interested to see what peeps think of Solaris in general and specifically as a skillset / OS / career move.