John Fontana

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since Feb 28, 2002
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Recent posts by John Fontana

It does matter -- each server comes with its own set of tag libraries, each has it's own method of deploying EJBs. There are other important differences that I'm not qualified to explain in an informative way. But it could take several costly weeks to ramp up a JBoss-experienced programmer to what is available on WebSphere/Weblogic, especially if they are leveraging those products' proprietary features...
15 years ago
It's advisable to never sit at a computer monitor for more than an hour. In some companies you are asked to take a stretch at least that often. It's important to look at something far away so you don't ruin your eyes, and stretch so you don't get blood clots in your legs.

It's very possible that they wanted to make sure you don't burn-out, or make other developers burn out. It's also possible to solve a problem faster by thinking about it while having a stretch, you can often find creative ways around problems this way.
15 years ago
Anyone American who develops animosity towards Indians because of outsourcing, is someone who is bound to have useless prejudices anyway.
16 years ago
Did you write a thank you note? When there's more than one qualified candidate, don't be surprised if it's the thank you notes they make their call-backs from.
16 years ago
NYC is even hotter on .NET than Java, and the requirements are not so intense. Java is being used almost entirely by financial companies in NYC, as Mark pointed ut, and they are very reluctant to hire anyone without very heavy financial experience.
I think it's good advice to be flexible about what technology you will use in general, especially since C# is so similar to Java, your skills are transferable.
16 years ago
There are employers who deserve this honesty, and would not abuse it. Others are greedy and cannot be trusted.
I have worked for one company where I got along with them so well, but no longer enjoyed the job. They understood and even helped provide referrals and flexible schedule to accomodate my job search. Another employer fired me as soon as I mentioned that I was looking for another job.
It's usually pretty easy to tell which type of employer you have.
16 years ago
Most companies I have worked for use the term 'I.T.' when they are referring to network admins, repair, and tech support.
16 years ago
I started out doing websites, which is how I got into programming. If you build data-driven websites freelance you can make great money. It carried me through between programming contracts.
At my job now I code both websites and desktop software, set up servers, administrate databases. It all involves the same skillsets IMHO: problem solving, broad computer knowledge, etc...
I think it's a great way to go. Some websites I've done involved far more complex programming than desktop software I've written. I also think that companies who need websites will be less inclined to send it overseas. I definitely recommend this path...
16 years ago
In NYC, you will have no problem if you have some substantial financial-industry experience. Otherwise, you would do better in NYC if you know other web programming (PHP, Cold Fusion, ASP), and use your Java knowledge to sell yourself as Senior in that area, instead of as a Junior in financial or EJB...
16 years ago

Originally posted by Colere Aufgebracht:
My, what you a thoughtful reply you posted. The profundity of your insight is truly stunning.


You're new to the board -- others here know my sense of humor. But seriously, I know people who went into law. It's quite a long road to take only to realize that it has it's own frustrations. Do it because you love it, not because it makes any more sense than programming. Because it makes far less sense to someone who is frustrated by nonsense than nearly any other field.
That's what I'm trying to say...and I think it's pretty darned worth pointing out. Apologies if my tongue-in-cheek version struck you as pretentious.
16 years ago
So, by going into the field of law, you may have better luck finding fairness and rationality?
Irony waits quietly on the sidelines...
16 years ago
Recently got hired and also now getting at least two calls/emails each day...and that's in NYC...salaries not as high as before, but I think that will also come in a little more time.
16 years ago
I believe that RAD tools will just change what is possible in a given applications scope. Java programmers can enjoy not having to deal with pointers and the low-level memory management that C++ programmers must deal with. Does creating a GUI in a drag and drop IDE mean that we no longer need people who know Swing? To an extent...but experience in using JBuilder or Visual Age combined with enough Swing to know how to incorporate business logic/data layer will help...
Focus of skills may shift...just don't think of RAD as "cheating"...programmers are more valuable who acknowledge what tools are best to get the job done quicker...
16 years ago
Thanks to all for your great advice, kind wishes, and kudos...
I got this job off of www.craigslist.org, where it was advertised directly by the employer. Typically the jobs posted there are for very short-term, low-paying contracts. This one was a fluke.

Originally posted by Sam Walker:

...I was limited to software that I could download and install for free. That means, no Oracle, weblogic or Microsoft products. How can I get my hands on those and how can I convince a potential employer that my freelance project is as good as a commercially developed one?


You can download Oracle 9i free from Oracle (free registration required)...you only pay when using it commercially - it's free for developers to use educationally. IIS/.NET Framework are free with Windows, and there is also a free developer version of Weblogic. Add the code to your portfolio if you can't deploy working examples commercially.
Search Google for Microsoft Web Matrix for a great free .NET IDE..it's a very stripped-down VisualStudio.net...Many great e-books available through Kazaa and e-Mule for all of the above...
16 years ago
Hi all -
Thanks all for your comments...(and of course encouragement during this long time of unemployment)...
As for how I landed the job, I believe that my website had a lot to do with it (link as always in my signature), which generated much more interest after getting rid of the Flash approach, and changed it to demonstrate an MVC-pattern data-driven site (Cold Fusion Fusebox). My new boss said that a major deciding factor is that he could tell that I genuinely enjoy what I do.
As for the initial screw-ups, I mention them with a sense of humor and irony...I told my colleagues that everything happens for a reason, and a good thing that the folder deletion happened with work that can be easily replaced. Now I will initiate a backup plan (yes, I am a 'one-man-IT-dept' here!), which means that a much worse accident has been averted...I will also probably try to introduce version control..
Yes, they are a small company, and I think that's ideal for me...much less politics and dogma, more chances to make a difference and wear many hats...almost more like being in a band than a corporation...
16 years ago