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264 posts

Ultimate Geek
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# 34687 28-May-2009 09:02
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Now I'll start off by saying that this is not me looking for a job, more looking for advice.

I graduated from university last year where I completed 2 qualifications in Computer Science, specialising mostly in Networking/Communications and Operating Systems, but with studies in AI, Simulation and Graphics as well. I stayed right away from web development and databases etc as I figured it would be a good move to concentrate on the stuff that very few people were studying.

Since leaving university I found how near impossible it is to get a job as a graduate with zero commercial experience. After 6 months I was finally made a job offer, as a BA for a web software company, which I reluctantly took. I have been there for nearly 2 months now and besides learning how to develop web apps and use databases, the main thing I have learned is I dont want to be a web developer for the rest of my life.

Sorry about the long intro, just wanna make sure you have the facts.

My questions are these:

1. Will my experience here help translate into moving into a job in other programming areas later on?
2. If you were hiring for a position, what sort of things wold you be looking for that I could do to help get ahead?

If anyone can help me a little with this it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

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919 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 218571 28-May-2009 10:19
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Some experience in the industry always looks better than none. Have you tried talking to your employer, finding out what sort of future you can expect?

1. Yes I think any experience programming writing real applications helps, for me knowing how to program in a particular language is less important than understanding the underlying principles of program design
2. I almost always develop using open source tools and languages (Ruby and PHP at the moment, although I did 2 years of ASP.Net/C#), so for me I'd definitely look favourable on someone who's active in the community/written plugins/open source apps

Is there a particular aspect to your job you don't enjoy? I currently do web application development, it's internal CRM/sales type applications mostly for Australian companies (I love the $A's strength!) - not brochure sites where it's mostly straightforward tasks. Using the web for internal apps has become very popular, especially when a company has multiple locations. I'm also now working for myself from home, the flexibility of our industry is fantastic.

You might also enjoy the same sort of job working for someone different. I've worked for a few different companies and most I've stuck with for a couple of years, each had a completely different environment. The only bad experience I've had is one where I lasted only 2.5 weeks before I chucked it in - a "New Media" company in London, in the time I was there 3 other people out of 25 also quit, not a nice place.

264 posts

Ultimate Geek
Inactive user

  # 218633 28-May-2009 12:30
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I suppose part of the problem is not really the sort of job, more the job itself. Like every job it has it's up's and downs, but being a small company (and technically I am in a lead role considering there is only 2 of us working full time) there is a lot of stuff to deal with.

It is definately reassuring thou to find out that the experience here will help me move on to other things later in life. I am not sure why, probably a stupid uni thing, but it was sort of drilled into me that web programming was the developers version of working at McD's (I mean absolutely no offense to anyone with that, I am working at a web company now after all).

Thank you for the reply, I feel a lot less like I made a bad choice now.


919 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 218643 28-May-2009 12:51
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I wouldn't worry about a stigma attached with web development, for me personally it's interesting, frustrating, complex and enjoyable, just like any other programming work. It's been 10 years since I was at uni, there wasn't really a stigma back then so I had no idea there was now :) As long as you enjoy what you're doing and you're making decent money, they can think whatever they want (some could argue that they should get out of academia for a while and work in the industry, but I'd never say something so inflammatory).

I've worked for some very small companies so I can understand the sort of pressure you're under. A company I worked for in London was only 2 developers, and we worked hard. One month I only had 3 days off, for 5 months I averaged 65 hours a week (as did the other guy), and a couple of times we were in the office for over 24 hours straight (although the quality of the code got a little dodgy towards the end). But because they were very flexible about me travelling around Europe, no having to worry about booking leave months in advance, working my own hours etc. We loved it, the sense of achievement you get is great, we had a financial stake in the success of the company, and we knew we were appreciated (it was also for a very cool project for local government emergency training).

I've worked for larger companies (200 people), and my personal preference is for a smaller one, the amount of bureaucracy I had to go through to get things done took more time than I was actually spending coding - but there's more chance of promotion and possibly a little more job security (although that more varies company to company).

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Uber Geek


  # 218646 28-May-2009 12:55
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The market for junior level employee's seems to be very tight right now due to the global financial crisis. People with only a narrow specialty or low experience are finding it tough competing with more experienced people who are available do to redundancy etc.

Are you in Auckland, Wellington, elsewhere?
What recruitment agencies did you use or sign up with?

264 posts

Ultimate Geek
Inactive user

  # 218655 28-May-2009 13:09
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the amount of bureaucracy I had to go through to get things done took more time than I was actually spending coding

I can defiantely relate on that one. This company is starting to get into everything being filed and documented, and not just online, I have to print everything out and put it in physical files as well which is a little frustrating. It does have it's good moments thou where you can tell that the work you do is actually worthwhile in the sense that it is noticed.

264 posts

Ultimate Geek
Inactive user

  # 218656 28-May-2009 13:11
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Ragnor: The market for junior level employee's seems to be very tight right now due to the global financial crisis. People with only a narrow specialty or low experience are finding it tough competing with more experienced people who are available do to redundancy etc.

Are you in Auckland, Wellington, elsewhere?

What recruitment agencies have you signed up with?

You are definately right there. Out of the people who studied computers that I went to university with, I know of only 3 of us that have gotten programming jobs, and one of those was working for the company long before he graduated.

I'm located in Auckland currently, but I'm pretty much free to live anywhere. I have registered with a few different companies, but mostly its just been looking at TradeMe and Seek for job openings and going from there.

8033 posts

Uber Geek


  # 218665 28-May-2009 13:25
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Choosing 2 or 3 (no more than that or they will be tripping over each other) good recruitment agencies makes a world of difference in my experience.

Generally in a small firm (most NZ business are small), most people wear multiple hats. It simply isn't feasible to have a person who focuses on just one small area. Small companies need versatile people who are content and capable to step in and do whatever it takes to help the company succeed.  So I don't think your development experience will harm your desire to work in technical servies (networking, system administration etc).

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