Just a question I'm curious to know the answer to by as many people as possible.
Now a lot of us here are web designers/developers/programmers... whatever, right? Other wise your here for some other reason... but who here actually works as one of the above mentioned titles? I'm talking getting up early, the three S' (shit, shower, shave - not necessarily in that order) and going to an office, or another place of work to get bossed around by... your boss and do all that you need to do to get paid, and be home for 6 to watch The Simpsons on channel 4 (or not, whatever). Is it a good job to have? More importantly, how did you get the job?...
I'm confident enough in myself to be able to build/code any applications that could be needed, as I have over two years of [self taught] experience under my belt. Earlier this year, while looking for work, all I did was apply for web development roles, but hardly heard anything, though a lot we're through agencies, who you can't rely on much. A lot of agencies have rang me up because they found my CV through Monster or Totaljobs... I swear, it's like listening to a broken record "Are you still currently looking for work? ... Great! well I have a client based in [Leeds] and he's looking for a PHP programmer, and from looking on your CV here, it appears that you can do that, am I right? ... Well I'll send you over a spec of the job and if you could get back in touch with me and let me know what you think and I can send of your CV to the client for you to look at" ... and yadda yadda yadda, never hear from them again.
If anyone has any stories or tips on how they first got into a job as a web programmer/developer, I'd be quite interested in reading it... just for kicks.
I worked as a PHP developer. Up at 8 in the morning (*yawn*), and cycled into work for 9. I suppose I hit lucky really, first I pulled up Google and then began searching for web development companies based in the Nottingham area. I then compiled a list of all their email addresses and mass emailed them using BCC. Sneaky!
Within a day or 2 I began to get the responses back. Quite a few companies were actually hiring, although I could have sworn I only saw 1 or 2 mention that fact on their website. One of the companies took my interest because they were currently working with big names such as the NHS for their presentations at symposiums. I did a lot of programming of their systems which were placed onto computer pods and allowed the attendees to interact with them, providing information on the NHS - both past, present and future.
Concerning the agencies, I never once approach an agency as I've been involved with agencies before - not for the programming, but from when I was 15-16 looking for slave-labour jobs such as miscellaneous office work. In fact, they still have my mobile number but not one has contacted me - even now. Absolutely useless so I would definitely avoid! Agencies seem to get everywhere though, when I was working at the web development companies, I used to take lots of calls from agencies looking to handle the company's employment woes. We turned down every single one, though!
If you want me to add anything else, just ask! I worked at the web development company when I didn't have anywhere close to the knowledge I have now, and looking back, even the developers they had there weren't up-to-scratch and they were about 27-28. So I say get in there! Don't be frightened be the so-called "big boys of programming" because they're not all they make themselves out to be.
The man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out.
The best piece of advice I can honestly give, is to have a good portfolio of previous work, outlining your skills. Not particularly something full of what you think is awesome, but rather, what you think a potential employer would look for. Remember, you're selling yourself to them, so you need to show them stuff that they would want to 'buy.'
Emails are always good, as Wildhoney stated above. But what's stopping you from landing on their doorstep? The worst they can do is turn you away - so technically nothing is lost.
Also, very important, don't over-sell yourself. You don't want to be pressured into saying, 'yes, I can do that,' when in fact, you have no idea what they were talking about. It'll come back to haunt you.
In regards to your CV, one thing I was told never to do was to list too many languages. A lot of people have a tendency to list every language they've ever used, this, unfortunately, can have a negative effect as it comes across as "jack of all, master of none". In other words, it comes across as if you can't decide which language to stick with, you've tried them all, but you've not mastered any.
In all honesty I don't know if that is true or not, but I always thought it made sense.
Any fool can write code that a computer can understand. Good programmers write code that humans can understand.
Last edited by Karl : 12-05-2007 at 01:45 PM.
Reason: Don't ask...
I used to have all the languages I know on my CV, and was also told it was not a great idea. I did what Wildhoney did earlier this year, but instead of e-mails, I sent out spec letters... only heard from two. I'll prob do the same again soon, but using e-mails.
I should consider freelancing, I'm confident enough in being able to do what was required by a client, but it's gaining the ability to do it on time, lol... I'm lazy, it's a common cause of being un-employed :P
Emails are really easy to get sent off, and if you BCC them all. I remember an article a year or so ago which said that a lot of the languages people put down on their CV, although they look impressive, many can't even write a simple count loop in those languages. It also went onto say many other things. It was a good article, I'll see if I can find it again!
The man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out.
I'm a web developer. Been with two companies now. The first company actually contacted me. I had a post on my blog saying I needed a job. The CEO of the company emailed me and I ended up getting that job. I got screwed over bad in that company. Very small and didn't treat employees very well. Well, the designers got treated well but me, the only programmer got the shaft.
The current company I work for I contacted them initially. I looked on craig's list and other local classified ads online. I sent out lots of emails. Got a couple replies and a few calls. I had two interviews which I probably could have had more but was offered a job and took it right away so I could get out of that hell hole I was currently in. This company is much bigger and knows how to treat their employees. I'm loving it.
I'd recommend looking on websites like craig's list for job postings. Send your resume/CV to everyone. The company I'm with now had a posting saying they were looking for a senior web developer but I'm only a junior (not enough experience) but I still applied. So even if you don't think you are fully qualified for the job, still apply. You should also have a portfolio somewhere that the people can look at your work easily.
I don't have a degree in Computer Science or anything like that and was hired right out of high school. I got very lucky and I doubt many can do this same thing. I know it's the quality of my work that has gotten me these jobs. Also my involvement in phpBB has helped out a lot. Another tip would be to get involved with open source projects or anything else that is available. That helps build experience.
I've also read articles that recommend companies hire experts in certain programming languages instead of people that can do a little of everything. In the long run it pays off to hire two or three experts for more than it is to hire 5 or 6 other people for less. So be an expert in the language you want to work in the most.
Im very lucky and grateful. Worked stable for almost two years as web designer in a local publicity agency doing websites for their clients till i got connected by a relative of mine with my current boss/company about three years ago. My actual occupation is project manager/team leader and I (thanks god) don't have to get up early since i work from home.
For school i had to do an internship (is that written correct? :p), since i im at a school based on IT i could work at a webdevelopment company. That was 1.5 years ago, i now work there 8 hours a week for a year already. :)
One tip for you guys, find a place where you can be challanged. I had long times that i had to clean up the mess of bad programmers.
I told my boss i really didn't like it so now i'm busy coding a big ebay-ish website, that's quite fun to do actually. :)
__________________ Nunchaku! Who doesn't like martial arts? =)
For the past 11 years I have worked in larger corporations (1800 persons+/country) in the internal IT departments (usually 30 people+ in size).
As much as I love the public facing stuff, the business applications are where the money is at, at least as a long term career path. IMHO
The key here is project management skils, good system design, and in the case of large companies, the flexibility to apply common concepts and practices (such as UML, OOP and system integration) to whatever language is placed in front of you ... even if you've never used it before. PHP today, C# tomorrow, Java on Friday and VB client-server for the week after next.
My employers have always been more concerned with my ability to design reliable, maintainable systems, rather than what language I am most proficient in.
Having said that, my current employer is a SQL 2005, C# .NET shop, period ... and for the interview I cracked the books to brush up. In the interview I was grilled on obscure C# syntax, OOP methods and stored procedure examples for about 40% of the interview, 50% was on-the-fly system design with a panel of business department heads, oh yeah and then a little chit-chat too.
In the end, they really just wanted to see if I could still be personable, as they have a huge emphasis on team environments ... the fact that I didn't fall flat on my face during the technical stuff didn't hurt a bit though.
Starting out ... just get as much experience as you can. Take free jobs for churches, schools, teachers, friends, etc.
Ask yourself how this web site, or web application can actually improve their business/activity.
Could they benefit from invoicing clients via email? What about providing daily/weekly/quarterly sales data to remote offices or sales staff via a mini-portal, that they could access via their mobile phones?!?!
Learn how to take flat file data (comma separated data, XML, EDI files) and import them to databases for slicker web based reporting ... this is the artery of most businesses' data. (true!)
Be creative, build your CV, get experience.
Hot graphics and slick scripts are great fun, and make and break many web sites, but if your application delivers real value a company will pay big, even if it looks ugly or doesn't have a web 2.0 feel.
If you can do both, you're even that farther ahead of the curve.