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changing skill sets

I have around 2 years experience in Software development,but most of my experience is in Desktop apps and scientific computing.
When I graduated with a BCS,I got a job working in VC++,creating Scientific applications,so a lot of Maths(Vectors,3d geometry,etc) was involved, as well as a lot of C++ coding.I worked with proprietary API's, owned by the company.Now that I am layed off after 15 months,I have spent the last 4 months looking for a job,having moved to a big city(Toronto).My problem is that most companies are asking for enterprise app development experience,I don't have much of that.I am proficient in C++ and Java,Is their any way to increase skill sets for enterprise apps?
I can hardly find any jobs(scientific computation),where my previous experiences are in.

sroy
Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Wow...I feel your pain.  Same problem here, different skill set tho.  I'm getting the impression based on my searches over the last 4 months that unless you were laid off with an exact skill set match that somebody is looking for, it's a bad thing.  Most of the job postings I've seen lately are so over-defined to so as to preclude anybody except maybe someone who already works there.  With VC++ and Java tho, you stand a much better chance than many I would think.  I'm stuck with kernel development experience and my age and experience seems to have put me beyond my shelf life as a programmer.  Best of luck to you.

rcox
Wednesday, December 18, 2002

I just spent a couple of months looking for a job and began to despair if ever I would get one, it's natural to feel this way after a while. My advice is don't worry (I know this doesn't help pay the bills), with good skills you will get a job eventually, it just takes a bit longer these days. The main problem is the HR recruitment bork who is looking for exact buzzword matches on the resume, and who has no vision as to what anybodies real ability may be. When I realised this I buzzworded my resume so that all the stuff was on the front page right under the nose of the bork.

I put my actual achievements back further in the resume where they probably never got read.

With knowledge and good skills all you need is to get in front of the decision makers and things will start to happen.

I happen to think that the subject matter is a minor factor and that its the tech skills that are important.

Alberto
Wednesday, December 18, 2002

sroy,

1. buy a book on advanced finance...  something like http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0521497892/ref=br_lf_b_h__6/026-0297735-7090035

2. brush up on derivatives

3. work for an investment bank.

They are always looking for number crunchers who understand finance. If you can do advanced modelling on the computer, you are in biz

tapiwa
Thursday, December 19, 2002

sroy

check out this website...

http://www.wilmott.com

regards

tapiwa
Thursday, December 19, 2002

I have been in the same position myself too often over the last 2 years (4th job & doing OK for a change).

One thing I was struck by, was how much presentation brush-up on your CV you have to do. I mean, you have to get it buzzword-compliant, stress achievements/results and get the goods out in front. Don't put any faith in recruiters, they are possibly even worse than what they were like during the boom (hit rock bottom and then dug through rock).

Some strange advice: keep coding. You are out long enough for your confidence in your abilities to wane. i started revising old college notes, books & internet stuff this summer after my most recent layoff. I knew it would stand me in good favour to have it fresh, I was surprised by *how well*. I am not saying you should go to the light side and join the open-source community, but you should practice your skills and keep them fresh.

For a start, you completely ace screening interviews (phone ones are particularly stressful). Secondly, having correct definitions roll off your tongue (in your own words) is good and lastly you can use revision time to expand your skillset. People want j2ee? Theres some freebie EJB containers out there and lots of resources. Grab them and write software for them. Get knowledge of deploying beans, descriptors, thrreading, performance design first hand and talk about it in interviews.

You usually need something to do to kill time to keep yourself sane. Physical activity is really important. keep up any sports you do or join a gym - weights is better than fitness training IMO. Don't let yourself brood.

A final bit of advice: any job you get may not be great (my last one was the worst). I have no advice for how to cope, but accept the offer and cash the cheques. Bide your time and build up your finances. Circumstances may improve over time and permit you to get better work on your own terms.

Richard
Thursday, December 19, 2002

Tapiwa,
Get a clue.  Investment Banks have been laying off for about 2 years. 

Bella
Thursday, December 19, 2002

Bella, get a clue.

There isn't a sector that hasn't been laying off for the past two years. If he already has a math and scientific computation background, becoming a quant is a better idea than becoming "the IT guy."

Olestra
Thursday, December 19, 2002

Bella, get a clue.

IBs have been laying off, but only in certain fields.

Talking about banking is like talking about technology.

Investment Banking is hurting. Technology is hurting.

Talent is **still** being hired.

Bella is still clueless.

tapiwa
Friday, December 20, 2002

Have you opened a newspaper in the last 2 years?  Investment banks are probably the most endangered sector in existance.  Targeting your skills for that sector is nothing short of idiotic and/or oblivious to current events.  Wall St. is still overstaffed by 300%, at the least.

Bella
Friday, December 20, 2002

Bella, in the past, you have posted wierd comments. One liners. Somewhere in them though, there seemed to be some reason. Your posts here though, show a naiivety that really troubles me.

I really don't want to turn this into a mudslinging contest, but have you spoken to anyone in investment banking lately?

Your attitude is the same attitude that everyone and their mother wanting to work in IT "because there is money in IT". While they were at it, everyone was buying into dotCOM IPOs. In herds they went, blindly. And in herds they suffered.

Same thing happened in Investment Banking. Now the party is over. You read about doom and gloom, and the demise of the Investment Banker in the papers.

True, there is a lot of chaff. There is a lot of 'excess capacity'. The sector is not dead though... in the same way that the dotCON bust did not spell the end of the tech sector.

What you will find is that the swift will survive. Maybe not in the form we know it today. You might have purely analytical houses, purely trading houses ... who knows? Already we have specialist boutiques.

At the moment, more than ever, proper number crunchers are in demand. People will sufficient math, tech, and finance skills to develop software or modelling techniques that could give a banks traders or analysts that much of and edge over the competition will get rewarded well. sroy sounds smart enough to learn what it takes to fit the bill.

Reuters can't shift their screens. Bloomberg is thriving. You see, if you offer the product that the market requires, at a price they are willing to pay, you will thrive.

tapiwa
Saturday, December 21, 2002

Do you even work in America?  You show such a lack of ANY basic knowledge beyond what is printed in marketing brochures of local MBA programs.

You are calling ME naive?  Naive is giving advice like this:

1. buy a book on advanced finance...
2. brush up on derivatives
3. work for an investment bank.
  tapiwa
  Thursday, December 19, 2002


> have you spoken to anyone in investment banking lately?

I have consulted for investment banks for years.  I have friends and contacts at almost every major bank. 

> Reuters can't shift their screens.

I don't even know what you're saying here.  But, Reuters has been laying off consistently for over a year.  I have friends there as well. 

> There is a lot of 'excess capacity'. The sector is not dead though...

There are people with 5, 10, and 20 years of banking experience who are laid off.  You think some newbie who is good at calculus is going to be ANY competition to them?  I reiterate, telling someone to set their sites on Wall St. is simply foolhardy. 

> At the moment, more than ever, proper number crunchers are in demand.

Can you back up this claim with hard evidence? 

> People will sufficient math, tech, and finance skills to develop software or modelling techniques that could give a banks traders or analysts that much of and edge over the competition will get rewarded well

Did you get this rhetoric from some career counselling website?  You clearly have NEVER set foot inside an investment bank. 

Bella
Saturday, December 21, 2002

Whilst it is really cool (?) to dicksize about who knows the most about how fucked the investment banking employment situation is, it doesn't answer this guy's question.

What I've learned from this forum, is that if you are posting a question about anything important, like "how to get a job," you are probably fucked. It also seems like if you are dispensing advice on this forum, you are also really fucked (I know I am.)

My advice is to not get involved with "enterprise computing" or "investment banking." Both are fields where unless you get lucky and get rich, you end up with nothing but a lot of wasted life. Just my 2 cents.

old consultant
Sunday, December 22, 2002

I work for a small trading firm and we are always looking for smart people. As far as changing skill sets, if you know how to program in C/C++ and java then learning the buzzword technologies shouldn't be a problem. Besides most "enterprise" programmers suck.

bdw
Sunday, December 22, 2002

bdw,
I know several "quants" and tekkies with investment experience that are looking for work.  What positions are you currently trying to fill?

Bella
Sunday, December 22, 2002

<<bella>> - Do you even work in America?

NO. I work in the CITY in LONDON, UK

<<Tapiwa>> Reuters can't shift their screens. Bloomberg is thriving.

<<Bella>> I don't even know what you're saying here.  But, Reuters has been laying off consistently for over a year.  I have friends there as well.

My point exactly. While they are in the same industry, (financial information), Reuters is taking a beating.

<<Bella>> You clearly have NEVER set foot inside an investment bank.

Hey dude, keep believing whatever helps you sleep easier. Let's stick to facts heh?

<<bella>> I reiterate, telling someone to set their sites on Wall St. is simply foolhardy.

20 yrs experience and all, you will still get laid off if you do not add value to a business, (or at least any business I am running). Telling someone that because this is what has happened to so and so, so you greenhorn cannot make it is even more foolhardy.

In a lot of ways, I agree with "old consultant". If you are posting here, you are probably fucked. Having said that, all we can do is give pointers. Tell him what areas to look into, where he can get up to speed a lot easier, given his skills set.  He might read up on the stuff, and find it abhorent. He might find himself in nirvana. The only point is that he had looked into it and made his own decision and not followed POPULAR consensus.

I have two mates in 'quants'. One just started with a bank in the City, earning north of £100k. The other is on about 1/2 of that, but he is in South Africa ...

Your mates who cannot get jobs should realise (maybe they do) that one is not owed to them. They are selling a service, and if it is the wrong one, (ie not beneficial to the customer) then it is good that they do not get a job.

I will reduce it to its most basic. I hire because I believe you will make me money. Simple. The rest is HR/Marketing speak. If you want a job, you had better demonstrate that you will make me money. If I don't get it, then 3 things.
1. check your assumptions of cost/benefit. Increase benefit (more skills?) or reduce cost (salary?)
2. change the sales pitch - talk to me in a language I understand. (CV/interview skills etc)
3. If I still don't get it, then you don't want to work for me anyway. No hard feelings. Put your talents to use where they are appreciated, and where you can add the most value.

To get back to the original post.

sroy, my original post might have lacked meat, but check out the industry. Speak to people in it. If you decide you can add value, go for it. If not, then good luck with the quest for that holy grail, a job that you are happy at.

tapiwa
Monday, December 23, 2002

sroy,
Not to distract from the Bella baiting, but...
How is your resume? I am sure you think it is great, but try the acid test. Give it to a totally not technical friend, or even better, a stranger. Let them look for FIVE seconds or less, take the paper away from them and ask for three things you know how to do or have done in the past. If they can not name two or three, it ain't good enough.
Put a table at the top listing languages, packages and skills. Follow that with accomplishments. Put your work history and education after that, those details can slop over to the back page. Remember, be buzzword compliant.
Buy the "Knock em dead" book. There is a new one every year. It has great advice on interviewing and resume prep. You're unemployed, you should have time to read it =P

Doug Withau
Monday, December 23, 2002

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