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Comment: Experience is more important than credentials (Score 1) 479

by PaperGeek (#47978455) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?
When I look at your resume ("you" meaning a potential candidate for a software engineer or EE position) the first thing I look for is experience: have you been recently doing the kind of stuff I expect you to do? Your education and other credentials are something I might expect you to list further down in your resume, not at the top; I disagree with those who suggest you hide the PhD, just don't put it at the top, otherwise I would think you're looking for a research position.

Some companies want a "scientist" type role with specialization in a particular area, say, physics or aerospace. But that never applies to computer science - CS doesn't really qualify you for a software engineering position, it just means you've studied the theory in depth.

In Europe a degree is a prerequisite for a high-end software engineering job, not so much in the US; I'd say perhaps 10% of companies in the private sector in the US actually require a degree, and most of those are in defense or in regulated industries such as medical devices or writing software for nuclear power plants. I'm aware of this because I lack even a bachelor's degree but have not had trouble finding well-paying software engineering jobs in the US.

Think about what the recruiter is looking for, assuming the recruiter is a technical manager or another software engineer; I want to know that you can do the job and hit the ground running. If it's an entry-level position with low salary, putting the PhD up there will indicate that your salary expectations are likely to be much higher. If it's not an entry-level position, the hiring manager will want to see in the first 5 seconds or so that you are already experienced in doing the job he or she is looking for.

Also job boards have become next to useless other than getting you on mailing lists for "URGENT JOB OPENING in Boise Idaho for person with 10+ years experience, pays up to $25/hr..." Some companies are still advertising jobs there but most good positions are hired through recruiters. Start with updating your resume and slant it toward experience rather than credentials. It's always good to spend time talking to recruiters once you've gotten the sense they're not the bottom-feeders who are looking for butts to fill seats. That's called networking...

The other thing that works against you is not being currently employed. It sounds really stupid but that's the reality: if you are already employed you are more desireable, if you are out of work some employers think it means there may be something wrong with you. Find a startup you'd like to work for then work on an open source project that requires the skills they want, then market your skills based on open source experience (with commits and projects on Github / SourceForge etc)

Comment: Re:Some requests should be ignored (Score 1) 478

by PaperGeek (#46281233) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Anti-Camera Device For Use In a Small Bus?
Why do bus owners and operators in the litigation-happy US of A need cameras mounted in buses? So when someone thinks they can profit from an injury lawsuit by having a shyster lawyer claim they were injured because the driver took a corner too fast, and typically these things are timed so that the letter from the ambulance-chasing lawyer comes 18 months or more after the alleged injury, the bus owner and/or operator has a leg to stand on and say, "see, the driver was not pulling donuts and nobody fell over so how could this person have broken his/her collarbone?" Cases like this are common - I used to work for a company that made such devices and this was one of the big reasons for having inside cameras. The other reason was having an outside camera that could exonerate (or lay blame) on the driver in an actual accident. This is not a big brother survellance issue or a "we want exclusive video cos we're greedy" issue, it's a safety and KYA issue... Ride on a bus and your picture is taken and if you don't like it, blame it on rampant sue-for-profit inflated lawsuits. Not wanting people to take pictures on the bus can be a privacy concern. Sounds like a dual standard on the face of it but not so much if you look at it in depth...

Comment: fslint? (Score 1) 243

If you are going stricly based on hashing (e.g. not trying to match images that may have different EXIF data embedded, thus making the hashes different) fslint works quite well. It will chug through a filesystem and basically wraps python commands to compare by hash and file size (using both md5 and sha256) and will give you a report of wasted space. You can then save a parseable plain text file. It can take a while - it's bandwidth-bound as you might expect - I just did this for a 2tb network share and it took over 12 hours. But it got the job done and all I had to do was sudo apt-get install fslint

Comment: Re:Is it really scam? (Score 3, Informative) 497

It sounds very much like a scam my wife experienced. I can't figure out what they mean to get out of it but it is not legitimate. We had these calls for weeks, at all hours of the day and night, asking for someone who's never had this number (not in the last few years). On several occasions I asked who are you trying to collect this debt for? And the answer was, The Lending Club. I contacted the Lending Club and was promptly answered by a guy in their fraud department, who was very helpful, and told me they do not employ any debt collection services operating out of India using spoofed caller ID. He said this is fairly common and gave me contact numbers for the FCC and FBI. Unfortunately there's not much that can be done. She ended up changing her Vonage number. I strongly suspect that had I ever asked the question "what do I have to do to make these calls stop?" the answer would be something like "just give us your credit card information and we'll put a one-time charge for (fill in some two-figure number)" It's robodialling with operators who get put on the line when someone appears to answer and they are probably getting paid next to nothing. I can't come up with any other conclusion given the facts in my case. It's possible this is the same..

Comment: Companies don't give references, coworkers do (Score 1) 892

by PaperGeek (#44578489) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: When Is It OK To Not Give Notice?
2 weeks is customary even if the company might end up acting badly. I have not had a single job in the last 20 years where the company would give a reference other than "yes he worked here for these dates and his job title was such and such."
When the corporate world was taken over by lawyers and HR policy focused on not getting sued, most companies took the safe approach to references, because even a good reference becomes a "bad" reference when someone doesn't get the good reference they thought they deserved.
My coworkers, on the other hand, have always been the people I turn to for references. Companies never give references but they always want them from you, and they want them to talk about you in great detail. Nowadays everyone asks for multiple references even before the job is on the table (record number needed = 10!).
All that I have to offer those (usually) former coworkers, bosses and colleagues is to do the same favor for them, and to do them the courtesy of giving 2 weeks' notice when it's time to move on.

Comment: Leave education a non-issue; focus on achievements (Score 1) 472

by PaperGeek (#44107713) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Getting Hired As a Self-Taught Old Guy?
At least in the US, I've found that only a small minority of companies consider education a real requirement. Most listings require "Bachelor's / Master's degree or equivalent experience." I'm over 50 and still on an active technical track. My education is a GED. I don't have trouble getting in the door. My resume doesn't mention education; if an application asks for it I tell them. If I think it might be an issue because the listing says "degree required" and doesn't mention "or equivalent experience" I'll raise it up front and just ask if my thirty years of professional experience (I only keep the last 15 or so on my resume usually) counts for more than whether / if I have a degree. The companies that do consider education a requirement for someone with impressive accomplishments and skills are probably not places you'd want to work for. Headhunters and corporate recruiters can't do much more than match keywords usually, so if your skill set is up to date and you can leverage your experience by being a really good generalist I think it goes a long way. Europe and Asia are a different ballgame altogether, but in the US experience still counts for far more than anything else, especially in technology. Just look for the companies that want people who can do things and show them that's who you are...

Comment: ACS database (Score 3, Informative) 433

by PaperGeek (#37631874) Attached to: Civil Suit Filed, Involving the Time Zone Database
About 10 years ago I created a startup that used the ACS database. ACS used to stand for Astro Computing Services and they used to publish ephemera as well as several publications which allowed you to lookup timezone information. This is a fairly extensive set of data if you want to translate local time at a particular time in the past (say, someone's time of birth as recorded on a birth certificate) into UTC time. Time zones have changed, time change rules have changed (for example, double summer time was observed in England during WWII) and one of the books I used to have from ACS (published back in the 1980s) claimed that this information had been compiled from a wide variety of historical records. One possible scenario is that Olson had written permission to use some parts of the data but a troll has purchased the copyright and is trying to profit from it and pretending they don't know nothin' about no permission. That would be a crying shame since putting the data in such a compressed form that is used on countless *nix servers and devices was an immense task - the original database was an ugly conglomeration of flat files that needed quite a bit of spanking to get it into a useable format, and was certainly not within orders of magnitude of the compactness of the Olson database. Anyway, on the surface, if this is the same ACS database there is quite a lot of data involved, much of it covering historical edge conditions, but I haven't checked to see how many of the edge conditions prior to 1970 are reproduced in the Olson database. From what little I know of the way these things work, the plaintiff would have to show that there was willful infringement without permission and that some damages occurred, but there would not be any value in the ACS data unless you needed to know with great reliability whether daylight savings time was in effect, say, in some rural county in Indiana at 4:06 am on 21 October 1947 (and for that matter, what was the timezone).

Nobody's gonna believe that computers are intelligent until they start coming in late and lying about it.

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