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Is the job market still poor?

I can't seem to obtain a full-time position as a software engineer.  It seems unbelievable to me that after a couple of years all I have is an internship and a couple interviews under my belt.  It would be hard to get another internship because I'm not in school anymore.

I know experience counts for a lot and I have developed several applications on my own due to the lack of real work.  I mean real applications that I have on a website for people to download.  I'm talking 30k+ lines of code.  Commercial quality.  I have thought of starting my own software company, but that is a bit scary for me.

Is it still that bad of a market for entry level people?  I mean come on, I'm not a bad person or a bad programmer.  I just can't seem to land a darn job.  With so many applicants to each job that already have experience, I don't think I'll ever get to be a full time software engineer.

Any advice on how to go about landing a job?  I think I'm doing everything right, had my resume and cover letter reviewed by numerous people, it's just the job market that's holding me back?  Is it this way for other people?

I guess if you're in you're in and if you're not... well you're screwed.

anon
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

>>I think I'm doing everything right
You did not post a link to your code.

Tom Vu
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Short answer: yes.

Long answer:
Where do you live, anon?

Sassy
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

The job market probably depends a lot on where you're located and what your background is. I've talked to a couple of hiring managers recently who have told me that they're having trouble finding qualified people to fill their positions, so it's not completely an employer's market right now, as least for certain skill sets.

In my experience, the best way to find jobs (not necessarily sw dev) has always been via networking. Yes, if you send out resumes to Monster listings and so on, you risk getting lost among the hundreds of other applicants. But what about this company you interned with before -- do you still have contacts there? What about acquaintances from school? People who have downloaded the software you've developed?

John C.
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

My background and interests are C++/VB and Internet programming.  The company I interned with apparently went belly up a bit after the internship ended.  I have basically exhausted my resources, or what I believe are my resources.  I have used relatives and friends and whomever I know of to try and land a job.  Most of the time I get the, "Would you fix my hard drive or install this or that for me" type work.  Which is ok, I don't mind doing it, but it would be nice to be a full time software engineer.

I live in the upper midwest which is probably not the greatest location to try to obtain a position as a software engineer, but I don't have the money to move.

As for giving a link to my source code...?  I'm definitely not giving away source code and it would be fool hardy of me to provide a link to a website that would reveal my identity.

anon
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

John C,  out of curiousity, what skill sets are in shortage?

Anon
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

To John C.:

Yes, they complain about not finding the skill sets they want/need.  Boohoo.

I submit it's because, very often, they are WAY too narrow in what they ask for. How many different technologies/specializations/skillsets are there today in software development? If they want someone who has 5 years experience solving type X problem with technology Y, of course they're going to have a hard time finding the "ideal" candidate.

Maybe if they let people learn on the job a bit instead of wanting immediate ROI and expecting the applicant to solve their problem on a whiteboard during the interview...

In the mid-90s, you just had to be able to utter the letters of the "HTML" acronym in the right order to get a development job...

MediocreDev
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Anon -

"As for giving a link to my source code...?  I'm definitely not giving away source code and it would be fool hardy of me to provide a link to a website that would reveal my identity. "

As someone actively looking for an inexpensive programmer to work on a project, I'd be interested in browsing your code.

Unless you intend to sell a product based on the source code, you should reconsider your strategy in keeping the source code quiet. 

As for job-hunting, always set yourself up for good fortune.  Let people know who you are and that you are looking.  Make it easy for them to size you up and find a spot for you.  When I got out of school, I was in roughly the same unemployed position (and same economy) as you.  Get over the embarassment - no one else sees it as a black mark - and emotionally commit yourself to finding work.

bankstrong
Thursday, April 29, 2004

Hi anon,

In my opinion the American IT job market is ice cold and will remain that way for the foreseeable future. Believe it or not there are actually less Americans working in IT today then there was 10 years ago (the end of the last IT recession). Unfortunately, the second half of the 1990s was a fluke (dot-com mania, the Y2K crisis, euro conversion work, etc.) and not the norm. 

Given that you are currently unemployed/underemployed, I don't understand why you would want to remain anonymous.  Also, while I understand why you wouldn't want to share all of your source code with the rest of the world, I do think you should at least provide some code snippets so that people who visit your web site can download something.

One Programmer's Opinion
Thursday, April 29, 2004

anon, yes the job market is stuffed. It's got nothing to do with interviewing skills and the other puerile crap the little CS boys spout about.

Your profession has basically been screwed to hell by jerks who make sure they themselves are very well paid.


Thursday, April 29, 2004

Anon,
A least you should have provided you email with your post.  You never know where your next oppurtunity will come from.
Don't let your current cash flow trap you in your current location.  Companies still do pay for relocation, even for entry level people.  Money isn't the big obstacle to moving, never has for me, even with a family.

Bill Rushmore
Thursday, April 29, 2004

"I mean real applications that I have on a website for people to download.  I'm talking 30k+ lines of code.  Commercial quality.  I have thought of starting my own software company, but that is a bit scary for me."

Scarier than your current situation of not having a job?  Sell your applications through http://www.esellerate.net/ and see what happens (I'm not affiliated in any way).  Just don't make any major capital investments or anything until you have some actual revenue.

"As for giving a link to my source code...?  I'm definitely not giving away source code and it would be fool hardy of me to provide a link to a website that would reveal my identity."

On the other hand, if you are selling your applications it would make sense to post a link so people can consider buying them.

Jim Rankin
Thursday, April 29, 2004

>  but I don't have the money to move.

Work at mcdonalds. Get the money. Move.

son of parnas
Thursday, April 29, 2004

>As for giving a link to my source code...?  I'm definitely not
>giving away source code and it would be fool hardy of me
>to provide a link to a website that would reveal my
>identity.

ummm ... you can be sure if I were to consider hiring you I'd want to see your code and I wouldn't want to ask for permission.

And that attitude ... I dunno ... I learned from reading other people's code. It will be sorry day when I don't release my own source code. Back in the day my site was on the "cgi" sites to get examples of code, I had hundreds of simple cgi and more sophisticated apps.

Anyhow, personally I think the whole M$ is more popular than my field. I registered with RHT and they found me work. Have you registered with them? Or similar? They don't make money unless they find qualified people work.

For awhile I did freelance. I bought keywords at overture and google (about US$50.00 a  month's worth) and I answered every job which I felt qualified for. One time I got about 2 months work from a place that put out a request for employees .. this company got bought out.  I got work from people overseas (Bahamas who btw did not pay the last bill) and I got work internal in the U.S. and now and then the RHT people found me some short work (at good pay) until finally the RHT people got me my current gig that has lasted quite awhile.

I think you ought to release your source code. Honestly.

must remain anonymous
Thursday, April 29, 2004

Another perspective...

I just started seriously looking for a new job this month. I've applied for three jobs, gotten two offers, and I've got a backlog of email and voicemails to get back to on other possible jobs. On the other hand, I live in San Jose, and I've got 15 years of professional experience.

I know a fair number of other folks in this area that haven't found a job in the last year or so, but I suspect they're either too picky about what job they want, or not marketing themselves effectively.

Things are definitely looking up, but it's not 1998 again, by any means.

probably ought not to sign this with my real name
Thursday, April 29, 2004

Moving is *always* an option.  Moving a bunch of crap and a family might be harder.  If you're so young that you have no experience, moving better only cost the price of a bus ticket and the security deposit on a crummy studio.

You're in the upper midwest.  Sell all your crap, accumulate $1000 (for food and bad luck), catch a bus to a real city -- Chicago maybe -- (bring a suit, but no car), rent a studio, find another McJob to pay the rent.  Foodservice is good, 'cause you won't have to pay for all your meals.  Shop your resume around.  Maybe try the gargantuan consulting houses like AC -- at least you'll earn enough to get better situated and get some quasi-experience.  (Don't volunteer the fact that you don't have a car to an AC, as many of their clients are in suburb hell.)  Then start looking again from your new position of relative stability.

blaa
Thursday, April 29, 2004

I suppose my use of the term "skill sets" may have been unwise. I don't know enough about the positions in question to know what the hiring managers are looking for yet unable to find. These observations just came up during casual conversations with various people I know. Maybe they are being too picky about who they hire; I couldn't say.

John C.
Thursday, April 29, 2004

Been in this phase earlier..

Dont worry much..

this too shall pass..

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Wednesday, May 05, 2004

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