Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




what does "hard time" mean?

A recruiter approached a company with my resume,
I was basically turned down for lack of experience, even though my skillset is the same area.
In the company site it says -

"High-level of skill a must: Masters Computer Science, 5 years hard time, or equivalent experience"
what does hard time mean? does he mean 5 years doing really complex projects and stuff?

Shaun
Friday, July 11, 2003

It means you have had to code in a prison cell for at least 5 years ;-)

On a serious note - recruiters have their pick of the litter at the moment.  Here's an example - I sent out my resume for a contract job out in Cleveland recently for some .NET position.  The recruiter seemed interested - she wanted to know my rate - $60/hr.  She thought that was pretty high for my experience level (5 years) and that she had a guy working for him for $40/hr who had 10 years experience.  I replied to her saying that she'd gotten one hell of a deal on that guy and she asked if I'd take $50/hr (sure).  So once we got over that, then she wanted technical references (kind of tough, been at the same place for 2+ years, no contacts left at previous employer (high turnover rate)...assuming we could have gotten over that issue, she wanted to meet me (meaning drive to Cleveland - 3.5 hours away)...  Could I have done it?  Sure - if I thought she was seriously interested in putting me in this position. 

If times weren't so tough, a couple of phone interviews might have done the trick.  Granted, I'm not whining about having to drive out there, but I'm really not interested in wasting my time jumping through hoops if there's not a good shot at me getting the job.  And unfortunately it's pretty tough these days to have a good shot when you don't have an 'in' at the company.

Heh Typical
Friday, July 11, 2003

Might be a typo - they could have meant "5 years hard real time" (meaning experience writing code that makes guarantees about it's resposiveness - a device driver that _must_ poll a device every 100ms for example).

Andrew Reid
Friday, July 11, 2003

I'm pretty sure it's not real-time systems, they don't work on that kind of stuff

Shaun
Friday, July 11, 2003

"In the company site it says ..."

Which company site are you referring to?  A recruiter's/headhunter's website or the company (client) website.  It seems to me like the job description you posted came from the former.

Is this a contract position where you are an employee of the recruiter or a full-time salary postion for the company in question?

"does he mean 5 years doing really complex projects and stuff?"

Nobody can really answer your question except the recruiter or the company looking for help.

I don't have a clue what type of company the recruiter sent your resume to. It could be (because of the Masters degree requirement) that the company is a large corporation (i.e. Insurance, Manufacturing, etc.) looking to hire a team lead type of person.

One Programmer's Opinion
Friday, July 11, 2003

It's on the companies site, not the recruiters,
And it's a small company doing graphics work.

Shaun
Friday, July 11, 2003

"High-level of skill a must: Masters Computer Science, 5 years hard time, or equivalent experience"

Sounds like an either-or situation.

Either

1. Masters in CS or
2. 5 Years "real world" experience, and not just some cushy office job or
3. Something equivelant to the above.

I think "hard time" is unfortunate wording because of the prison connotation.

www.marktaw.com
Friday, July 11, 2003

I could be unfortunate wording, or depressingly effective metaphor.  (Stares at blinds on window that look like bars)

Ged Byrne
Friday, July 11, 2003

Hard time means 5 years of time spent employed, not 5 years with holes of unemployment.

Or as a (truthful) cynic might say, 1 year of experience five times.

anon
Friday, July 11, 2003


1 year of experience five times... wouldn't that be easy time?

Joe AA
Friday, July 11, 2003

Hard time certainly does suggest that you shouldn't bend over to pick up the paperclips in your cubicle in whatever comapny that is. If the interviewer has lots of home made tats, run!


Friday, July 11, 2003

5 years hard time is 5 years of really developing something as opposed to 5 years of sitting in a cube from 9-5 fixing a line of code here or there.

Tom Vu
Friday, July 11, 2003

where do I get the 9-5 job fixing a line of code here or there?  sounds like it might beat working on weekends.

posted 3:00 PM Saturday
Saturday, July 12, 2003

posted 3:00 PM Saturday, these jobs are worse than you'd think. Being idle is worse than working hard, trust me, I've done both and I'd rather work hard than be idle, at least on the company's dime. In my spare time, a little idle never hurt anyone.

BTW, you need to list a time zone.

5:08pm EST, as I'm heading out the door.

www.marktaw.com
Saturday, July 12, 2003

I second the request for the 9-5 job fixing a few lines of code here or there.  Boss has mandated last week that everyone be here every day until final, about a month away.  Before that we were working at least 6 days/week anyway.

Help, apartment is a mess, bills unpaid, no social life.

Roose
Saturday, July 12, 2003

working at 3:00 PM on a saturday is bad no matter _what_ time zone you're talking about.


Sunday, July 13, 2003

Roose: you should tell your manager to go f*ck himself with a cream cheese dildo, and then quit on his ass.

Someone's gotta teach him:

* Employee turnover is costly.
* Quality of work drops off sharply after about 40 hours a week. 
* When you reach 80 hours a week, you're actually accomplishing LESS than if you worked 40 hours.

Alyosha`
Sunday, July 13, 2003

He is asking for real time / embedded experience.

Pablo
Sunday, July 13, 2003

Alyosha, thanks for kind words, or the mean words about the boss.  haha..

I totally agree, 80 hour work weeks are very counterproductive.  I know I haven't increased my productivity since I've been working longer hours.

I don't get it though.  Sometimes I think all my co-workers are brainwashed.  They CONSTANTLY complain about the hours, but some of them have been at the company for 5-10 years.  If I were complaining all the time, I would just quit.  This is my first full project cycle, and I plan to quit as soon as I can find another job.  However, unfortunately the unemployment rate is the highest it's been in a decade, and I am pretty entry level.  I think the entry level jobs have the most contention, from new grads to experienced people looking for *anything*.  We have a guy that's like 31 with years of experience and a degree as an INTERN.  What a job market.

It would be nice to teach them a lesson, since we only have 12 engineers, and if one of us quit during a critical period, it would be a disaster.  But I wouldn't want to do that to my co-workers, since they would probably bear the brunt of it rather than the manager.

Andy
Sunday, July 13, 2003

If you've ever been to graduate school, you know it amounts to hard time :-)

Rick Watson
Sunday, July 13, 2003

It is surprisingly easy to brainwash employees.  I saw people in non-work situations preferring the "hard work" solution to their problems rather than the obviously effective one.  As an example, they would carry one heavy thing N times rather than use the machine that was designed to effortlessly carry N things.  This was at a company that rewarded the appearance of work rather than the work itself, and it bled over into their personal lives.

sammy
Sunday, July 13, 2003

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home