Sam Tilley

Ranch Hand
+ Follow
since Dec 05, 2001
Merit badge: grant badges
For More
Cows and Likes
Total received
In last 30 days
Total given
Total received
Received in last 30 days
Total given
Given in last 30 days
Forums and Threads
Scavenger Hunt
expand Ranch Hand Scavenger Hunt
expand Greenhorn Scavenger Hunt

Recent posts by Sam Tilley

Hi Tim,
I am also in the UK, out of interest what sites do you find useful? I have had a look at Monster and a couple of other sites and find they throw up the jobs but often they are old positions or ones posted just so they can get some CVs in
20 years ago
I agree with John, we have too many people doing Micky Mouse degrees which provide little benefit (you can get a degree in Star Trek for gods sake!!) or go to Uni for 3 years of getting piss#d up. I don't hold with the argument that you should get as many into higher education as possible as this leaves a skills shortage lower down (many plumbers in London are on �50k plus), and why do we need 80% of our population to have degrees? Nowadays having a degree is of little benefit, you need to have a Masters, MBA etc. before anyone takes notice.
By making it more expensive more people will think twice about it and may just go out and get a job instead, but those who do will be provided a higher quality education.
20 years ago
That looks like a great idea, do you mind if i tag along and meet up as well, and possibly bring along some Java colleagues?
How long have you been meeting up and how many of there are you?
20 years ago

Originally posted by Kevin Thompson:
Getting more education/degrees:
Do not get involved in this. Contrary to other people's opinions here, I can tell you that the vast vast majority of java developers do NOT have a degree in CS. If you get more than a bachelor's degree in anything, you will have to hide it from the HR department, because you will be over-educated.
Originally posted by Bela Bardark
It's true. The way to land a job is to convince someone that you can contribute a lot more than you cost, period. I'm not sure that a MSCS or MSE will actually hurt you but it won't be worth the cost in time and money unless you are very very fortunate.

I hope the latter is more true than the former, i am just halfway into a Masters degree in IT!! In London in particular they do ask for a degree of some sort, preferably in IT and from a red-brick university.

Lately I do one or two JUG (Java User Group) meetings a month. Usually over a few beers somewhere central in London. These are filled with good chaps and really a lot of fun. I probably landed my current position partly through my main JUG (a couple of guys in the JUG are also in my company). But this is a first for me.

Bela i am in London and am quite interested in going along to a JUG. Do you have a link that you can send me and details of when and where they are?
I found this one JUGs in London, is this what you use?
Networking is something that i haven't been able to do much of in the industry but something i would like to improve, and if its over a nice pint i it will mix my two favourite hobbies together.
The tuition aspect is a good idea for Keith, if you can't get a college job do some private tuition, perhaps aimed at helping them pass the SCJP, and create a tutor plan. Then when this is refined you can go to a college with it and prove you have the experience and plan. It seems like it can be quite a lucrative evening job.
This thread is throwing up all sorts of great tips, the best books to read recommendations interest me (sorry to hijack the thread a litle), so far i have
-Guerilla Tactics
-Knock em dead - great answers for over 200 tough interview questions
-How to win friends and influence people
-Power of positive thinking
Any more good recommendations. For my part i would recommend Brilliant CV by Jim Bright and Joanna Earl and Natural Born Winners by Robin Sieger.
I have also been told image is important. I recently recruited someone and one of my main points was their personality (it wasn't a programming job so skills were less important). I have to work closely with them so i had to get on with them, but you need a balance. One candidate was a great guy, but was 27 and had done nothing since university, which gave me the kind of impression that he was a little lazy and would spend too much time down the pub. I was always told that because i have a posh accent and am fairly fit (rugby type) it would prove an advantage for me in getting jobs. However my failure has been not having a good enough CV in the first place to get in the door, hence the Masters in IT. So its all about balance.
20 years ago

Originally posted by Keith Rosenfield:
I beg to differ. All my achievments have value. They have contributed to my technical abiltity as well as my confidence. My skill set has grown leaps and bounds through my post college schooling. I didn't just hang out in these courses but put 110% into them. I wanted to learn and to grow as much as possible in a short time. If an employer is too blind to see the value in my achievments they need to re-assess how they measure value.

Hi Keith,
Unfortunately you aren't in a position to question how an employer measures value. Its a tough game but you have to play by their rules, so if they see a potential employee as to having to do A,B,C & D for them to give you a job if you don't them they won't employ you. If an employer is recruiting for an entry level programming position you have to look at it from their point of view in that they don't want to employ someone who may be excellent but wants to climb the ladder too quickly. They often expect programmers to slug it out at the bottom for a while, so talking about your excellent results (and i hate to say it but knowing about your age) will often work against you. This is a fact of life, so other people saying this and talking about humility is all good advice, and is from people with real world experience.
Anyway i know you hate hearing that stuff so my constructive comments are as follows.
As mentioned before try and get some open source experience as mentioned by others. This improves your ability to work in a team and by project guidelines. Projects as part of a course don't cut the mustard although they do show ability. Getting great scores is great but as mentioned before it doesn't mean so much in the real world. Hell i have better scores and more certs than my project leader, but i can't touch him in actual real world programming skills.
Design a good website showing off some of your skills, including applets, J2EE. Think of some good ideas that you would like to design, build them and then put them up to show them off. When you go for interviews you can show people your work and it also has the effect that if people go to your site your name gets known more in the community.
Offer to develop small applets or applications for free for small companies that will help them. You can do this by just talking to any mates who work for a company and see if there is anything you could design that would help them. Look at their websites and offer for free anything you think will help them.
If this works set up a small company providing this service. Its cheap to set up and if you are as good as you say you are once you have done a few free ones and have experience and made a name for yourself you can charge for a few. It all shows commitment and a willingness to succeed, and it looks like you have enough courses to be going on with so you should have the spare time to do it.
Post applets you have designed up onto places like
Hire a good CV (resume) writing service or get a couple friends in recruitment to look over it. If you can't go in the front door then you will have to look at ways of going around the back. As you already know your main problem is getting experience, so by fair means or foul this what you need to focus on, getting business experience that helps people on a day to day basis. Any of the above options should help you.
Hope this is of help
Cheers and good luck
20 years ago

Originally posted by Tony Collins:
I finished a Postgrad course at Liverpool University in March, it was very good.
Career prospects in Liverpool aren't though, I had to move out of the city I'd lived in for 10 years.

Thats the good thing about doing the online Masters, i can take it 100% from my living room in London along with class mates from China, Canada, US, South Africa, Europe etc. and have a tutor from the US or wherever. They still make you work as dang hard though, its a loooonnng 2-years
20 years ago

Originally posted by Tim Baker:

A lot of them also stipulate that you muts have at least a 2:1 from a 'red brick' university. Those stupid strict academic requirements are blatant social discrimination

I hear ya Tim, i am in the same position, my first degree was at a farming college doing a degree in Agricultural Business Management, i got a 2:1 but because it was not red-brick, and my A'levels sucked i found it hard to get a decent job. Hence why i am doing an online masters at the University of Liverpool, which so far is fantastic but hard work. Only another year go to, then i will hopefully be in a better position in terms of academics to match my peers. I also find that there is no allowing for the dumbing down of school exams. My dog could get a pass in A'levels nowadays and almost everyone has several A grades. Back in my day (10 years ago) only the brightest of the bright got an A, but its treated as the norm by employers.
Viva la revolution
20 years ago

Originally posted by Jon McDonald:

A buddy of mine once made this analogy:
" Employers treat experience and education in an employee the way women treat a good personality and good looks in a man. They all say they the former is most important, but the later is an implicit prerequisite .

I like it I would agree with this in both senses. Mark well done for getting off your bum and deciding to do something about it, often thats the hardest part. It is often the case, certainly in the City in London, that while several years experience are necessecary and are very important often the first thing employers look at is your education level, and use this as a benchmark by which to rid themselves of plenty of their CV's, regardless of the skill level and experience of the potential employees. In London because of the relentless dumbing down of A'levels and GSCE's you are almost expected to have straight A's and a 2:1 or a 1st at University before they will even consider you. I know good developers with lots of experience being knocked back because of a poor education background.
This was the same reason that i decided to take an online Masters degree which i am halfway through, so that i could add some beef to the academic side of my degree as well as still getting experience, and i haven't regretted it once. I think you need a healthly blend of both to succeed in the ruthless job market. You might find if you can get a job somewhere else they also might help you with your education, even if it means taking a step back it may well benefit you in the long term.
As Jon said there are various interest-free loans available and the investment of time and money is probably worth it in the long term. Have a good look at online degrees, they are growing in popularity, are relatively cheap and still work you very hard, and in time i think they will become a more popular and even more respected way of getting an education.
At least i hope so anyway
20 years ago
A quite interesting table although not something that you could base much on. For example it has a SCJP in 2002 earning 63,292 and a SCJD only earning 59,000! Despite the fact that its the next level up. With this sort of table its useless if there are only a couple of respondents as one may earn 150,000 and the other 25,000 based on experience. I would imagine that only categories with at least 10 answers can even be looked at as being slightly realistic.
Out of interest is BrainBench really valued that much?
20 years ago
Personally i would say that certs are definetly worth while, especially if you are in your position where you want your CV to stand out more than other similar candidates, because you can bet many others competing for the same job have them. I am always interested by the "cert-haters" approach that you can have experience or have a cert, like they are mutually exclusive and you cannot get one while also getting another!
Surely you can get experience and take a cert at the same time, many do, and you will probably impress your employer all the more. I would say that Michael's idea of studying for but not taking the exam would actually be counterproductive and fairly pointless as some of the exam stuff isn't that important to know for day-to-day work. I am sure that Craig McClanahan does know his stuff but if he also had certs would this be a advantage or disadvantage to him? I am guessing the former. But the way it is phrased makes it seem that if Craig had studied for certs he would'nt have the great experience (Michael i am not picking on you but this is a common assertion bandied about that makes no sense).
On a personal note i studied Java in a different role at work, and it was only when i passed the SCJP that i was allowed onto the development team. While i got a better score than the project leader who took it years before its obvious that i am nowhere near him in terms of ability but it showed i was keen and willing to learn and was serious about being a Java developer.
So i would say do them, obviously experience is more important and they shouldn't take precedence but if you can do both or if you are not employed then its worth it. Anything you can do to stand out is worth the effort.
Also the SCJP is OK, although it does help your knowledge i have found the developers is ten times better and much more interesting and in itself well-worth taking.
20 years ago
Hi guys,
I agree with your ideas to make a CV stand out in the pile but over here (UK) at least most people want your CV emailed to them in Word format and very few seem to want it posted to them (or provide an address for it to be sent to). Many agencies actually even retype the CV up to send out so they are all on their headed paper.
In these situations are there any other tips that you could use?
20 years ago
Ash nazg durbatul�k
Ash nazg gimbatul
Ash nazg thrakatul�k
Agh burzum-ishi krimpatul

God i hope this doesn't mean you are a trekkie or something!!
Hi y'all,
Long time no see. I have been out of the saddle for a fair few months now but was thinking about getting back in and finishing off where i started.
Only problem is that since then and now i have forgotten where i was up to (i think its about Servlets 4a or 4b) and also since then lost some of my past work (don't ask ) so i was wondering if at all possible i could get sent my last assignment by email to if any nitpicker has it on record so i can see my last nitpicks or indeed work out where i am.
Then i hope to get back in the saddle and ride down the last few. Since i last saw you i have passed my SCWCD (thinking about doing the SCJD, can anyone tell me how long it takes if they have any experience?) and currently doing an online Masters in IT, so as you can also see i like the pain of learning. Still in the same job though, but doing more Java which is always good.
20 years ago
Hi guys,
Given normal work hours how long would you expect (or took if you have taken it) to take to complete the assignment? And how long have people taken in the past to study for the exam?
Sorry to put such a vague question but i have looked around the links and checked past messages but couldn't find an estimate on time. I know its a bit of a vague question but any help would be great.
I am currently studying an online Masters in IT but crazily was thinking about running the SCJD alongside it and doing it in my breaks and quiet weeks, so that when i have finished my masters of i take a break i can finish the SCJD (i really need to buff up my Java knowledge and figure this is a good way of doing so). So if i could get an idea of how long it takes people who are just doing the SCJD i can work out if i can fit it in or not. What is the shortest length of time anywone has taken in?
I was also going to buy Max's book, i would buy Kathy's but already have SCJP.
Thanks for any help, it is much appreciated
Hi Simon,
I am in week 6 of my third module, so only 5 more to go ;-( , Software Engineering.
In theory yes. Each module is 8 weeks long and there is 2 weeks between each one but i think you can only do 4 in your first year because the initial module is set at a different time. Then you can easily do the next 4 in 40 weeks. The last bit which i might not have mentioned above is the dissertation that you have to take after the 8 modules, but if you start planning for that a couple of modules ahead you could do it in 24 months. I am allowing 27 months to do mine but that includes a module break i plan to take next year.
If you are out of work or seriously bright and have lots of time you can even do 2 modules at once but i have seen bright guys with 20 years experience struggle with one so i wouldn't recommend it unless you aren't working.
They are also talking about staggering modules so that you can take modules straight after each other, so no 2-week break, if you want which would shorten the time it takes, but that could mean a minimum of 68 weeks (have to stop for xmas & new year) of relentless slog which you can have. ;-)
20 years ago