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 Post subject: Career Crisis!
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 8:47 am 
8086
8086

Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2006 8:10 am
Posts: 38
I hope this post isn’t too long, but I’ve been meaning to write this out for some time now. I would really appreciate any help in regards to my problem and hope the replies will help people in similar situations. These are some things that counselors can’t always address. The people in these forums have a lot more experience.

I'm 18 years old and in college. I've been working with computers since I was very young and have always thought that's what my future held for me. My ability to understand programming has always been fantastic. From teaching myself HTML at 11 years old to becoming a teachers aid in Java at 16. I’m also familiar with other languages of course (and general PC knowledge like building/repairing/etc). I've just always been a quick learner and knew I wanted to program as a professional -- until now.

After reading some forums, I've come to understand that it's really hard to get a full-time position as a programmer, and that most programmers have a hard time even getting contract jobs. I've also read that there is higher demand for general ITs but pay a lot less. At least in California, from what I've seen, getting a job in computer-related fields is very competitive and sometimes even low-paying.

Getting paid big bucks really isn't too much of an issue for me, but I definitely need to get by. I don't want to invest a lot of money in college just to have to struggle to find an unreliable and low-paying job. That's really my biggest concern. But of course being a programmer (software, game, etc – what else is there?) is my dream.

I’d be happy working with computers nonetheless, even if I couldn’t be a full-time programmer. I just need to set out a plan before I waste any more time with general college courses instead of computer courses.

I have so many questions: What kind of education is needed for full-time programmers? Am I right in assuming it’s extremely hard to get one of these jobs? What exactly is the title of this professions and what kind of college majors/college classes are required? What are some jobs that are well-paying and easy to find? What kind of education and college major is required? Is the competitive job field just in California or in all other states as well? To be on the safe side, what kind of computer college courses can someone take in case they don’t want to specify their profession yet? For example, are programming courses required for other IT jobs and vice versa? What exactly do some college majors means (Ex: computer engineering)? What is a reasonable salary for the different computer professions out there? How long does one need to study for XXXX-degree and profession?

I know there is so much that I missed, and questions that I haven’t put up, but you guys can see where I’m going. I’m getting to the point where I need to start taking specific college courses and I will hate having to back-track because I didn’t have a solid plan. Thanks for any input and any help covering things I didn’t mention.
:)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 2:27 pm 
Little Foot
Little Foot
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Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 141
With a degree in computer science, you should be very competitive for a good job. After working a while, consider getting your Masters Degree, then you will rake in the dough. I'm not from California, so I cant address that job market. The specific college you go to, will often times determine how sought after you will be. In my state, GT or UGA is the route to go (GT for engineering and computer science, UGA for buisness etc ). If you can, try and get some grants and loans, and attend your states leading, accredited 4 year and graduate universities.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 2:31 pm 
Little Foot
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Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 141
Your advisors will be able to help you alot more, once you've picked your major. But I give you this warning from experience, listen to their advice, but dont take it for gold. Check and double check everything they tell with your handbook and graduation check list. Advisors mean well, but sometimes they are careless, and sometimes they are mo-tards.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2006 12:19 pm 
Klamath
Klamath

Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2006 9:13 am
Posts: 330
Location: San Francisco, CA
go to school...and get someone else to pay for it. for me for example, there was one grant that gave me $5000 just for having a parent that was gay (moms lesbian) and jewish. there was another one for being hispanic (were cuban)....there was another one that offered 6000 just for being jewish....basically there is tons of free money out there. do some searching and try signing up for a few. you will definitely (note that it is spelled correctly) find at least 2 or 3 categories you will qualify for and even though you wont necessarilly get all of the ones you apply for, 1 or 2 will be about $10,000 worth of money deferred from your loans after u get your degree


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2006 12:36 pm 
Moderator
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Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2005 10:17 am
Posts: 2518
Location: Zion
As far as programming, learn Unix. I know some consultants that I've worked with before that were making 100k+ doing Unix programming. This was in the Washington DC area.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2006 5:29 pm 
Northwood
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Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:48 am
Posts: 3168
Location: Rowing on the left side.
Unix is a great skillset in the current market. I'd concur with that.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2006 9:22 pm 
Team Member
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Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2005 7:10 am
Posts: 1167
Location: Virginia
edeloa,

What the other posters are saying is dead on. There are many factors that will determine how hard your job search is.

1) The school you attend. Many companies have a limited recruiting budget and will only focus on a few schools. The current department managers have alot of influence over that. I worked for one company and I am not kidding you; I think close to 80% of the department were Univ of Fl grads.

2) GPA. Many companies will set minimum requirements for GPA's. Smaller companies (in my experience) have a tendency to overlook a lower GPA if a student were working many hours to pay their way thru college, or if the candidate has some form of proven work experience in a related field.

3) Co-Op/Internship. As a former recruiter I feel this is the BIGGEST asset overlooked by undergrads. At a career fair, if a candidate walks up to me with his resume and he has a positive reccomendation from his direct supervisor from an internship/co-op, I am going to heavily weight that candidate over other candidates with a better GPA.

Does your school have a career resource center of some type? I would check with them to see which companies are actively offering internships (usually unpaid) or co-ops (1-2 semesters; paid) and then actively pursue it.

If they dont have a center, then I would talk to your academic advisor and/or professors. You would be suprised at the # of profs doing ad-hoc consulting work with private industry. They usually will have contacts with various area companies.

As for difficulty in finding a job. If you limit yourself to a particular region, I think you will find it harder to land a job. I can only speak to the VA/DC/MD region. People with solid linux skills are in very high demand.

If you love programming, that probably means you are skilled at it. You should not have a problem getting a job upon graduation.

The names of entry level positions varies from company to company. I have seen programmers called: Engineer I; Design Engineer I; Programmer I, Systems Analyst I (I think this is very common in edu/gov positions)

Go to this website: http://www.salary.com/home/layoutscript ... isplay.asp

under Job Title, click IT- Computer, Software

You will see many common position names.

As for compensation: Yes you need to live. But please dont make the mistake of chasing the money while sacrificing your job hapiness.
In my current position I took a 30% pay cut (I was a consultant before) to land this job and I have never been happier. I work with a dynamic group of intelligent, fun people.

Keep us up to date with how your search is going. If you dont mind, post the college you are attending.


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