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Comment: How I did it (MFA to Tech Support to Programming) (Score 5, Informative) 540

by h4ter (#25365027) Attached to: Getting Hired As an Entry-Level Programmer?

I got a non-technical post-graduate degree and now I'm a programmer. Only took a couple of years to get my first programming job. Here's how I did it.

First of all, I did as much programming as I could at my tech support jobs. Not all of it was company sponsored, but if I figured out something I could write that would help *me* do my job I would write it. I wrote all kinds of little things, and then I was able to truthfully add to my resume that I developed software.

I was also going to user group meetings for the language I was using most and meeting people there. I ended up getting my first job (and all subsequent jobs, actually) through people I met at those meetings. At least for the language, city, and time I happened to be in, the meetings were filled with people who knew about more work than they could take. And the recommendations you can get there are worth "2-5 years of experience" on a resume.

I'm currently helping my company's QA guy get some programming tasks so he can make the switch and give his job to some other poor CS grad. Is there anyone on the development team where you are that might help you out?

There's one more option: recruiters. I know they're not great, and the jobs you get through them aren't all perfect, but there are some recruiters who can help you market yourself without the exact "2-5 years of experience" someone's looking for.

One last thing: If you're any good at all you'll be way ahead of most people in this field. If you can get an interview, showing your abilities and desire to learn can be enough.

Good luck.

Advanced Rails 170

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
yukster writes "As Ruby on Rails rocketed into the development community's hearts and minds a few years ago, the number of books on the subject climbed with it. However, a lot of these books were introductory in nature (Agile Web Development with Rails, Beginning Rails, Build Your Own Rails Applications, etc.). What's a budding Rails-head to do once they've gotten the basics down? Books like Advanced Rails, which was released late last year by O'Reilly, aim to fill this void." Keep reading below for the rest of Ben's review.
Sci-Fi

Simon Pegg to Play Scotty 233

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the take-ship-go-to-mum's-kill-phil-sorry dept.
In response to yesterday's casting news about Chris Pine possibly taking the captain's chair for the new Star Trek movie, apparently Simon Pegg will be playing the role of Scotty. Simon Pegg is known for his role as Shaun in Shaun of the Dead and more recently for his leading role in Hot Fuzz. "Pegg joins Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Anton Yelchin as Chekov, John Cho as Sulu and Zachary Quinto as Spock in the film which reportedly, and logically, 'chronicles the early days of the Enterprise crew.' Leonard Nimoy will also put in an appearance, while Eric Bana signed up this week as the movie's villain, Nero."
Communications

iPhone To Allow 3rd-Party Development 215

Posted by kdawson
from the let-us-at-it dept.
Anarchysoft writes "In an exciting shift from previous statements, Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed at the D Conference that 3rd-party development will be supported on the iPhone. Questions remain as to whether the opening of the platform, slated for later this year, will be through Dashboard-like widgets or a separate SDK."
Security

WEP Broken Even Worse 393

Posted by kdawson
from the give-me-a-minute dept.
collin.m writes in with news of results out of Darmstadt. Erik Tews and others there have demonstrated how to recover a 104-bit WEP key in under a minute, requiring the capture of fewer than 10% the number of packets the previous best method called for. The paper is here (PDF). Quoting: "We were able to extend Klein's attack and optimize it for usage against WEP. Using our version, it is possible to recover a 104 bit WEP key with probability 50% using just 40,000 captured packets... for 85,000 data packets [the success probability is] about 95%... 40,000 packets can be captured in less than one minute under good condition. The actual computation takes about 3 seconds and 3 MB main memory on a Pentium-M 1.7 GHz..."
Hardware

Dell Laptop Burns House Down 405

Posted by kdawson
from the dude dept.
Nuclear Elephant writes "The Consumerist is running a story about a house burned down by a Dell laptop. 'My 130-year-old former farm house was engulfed in flames, with thick dark smoke pouring out of the windows and roof... Hours later, after investigation the fire marshal investigator took me aside asked me if I had a laptop computer. Yes — I told him I had a Dell Inspiron 1200.' It was determined that the laptop, battery, or cord malfunctioned after its owner left for work, leaving the fire to spread through the entire house. All attempts to contact Dell have failed. 'I have tried to call Dell to at least notify them of my problems, but each time I have called I get transferred into an endless loop of "Joe" or "Alan" all speaking a delectable version of English I presume emanates from Bangalore. I have been outright hung up on each time I get someone who speaks a reasonable version of English, or sounds like they might be in charge of something. Promises of call backs have gone, of course, unreturned.'"
Media (Apple)

iPods Becoming Entrenched In Major League Baseball 115

Posted by samzenpus
from the You-can-observe-a-lot-just-by-watching dept.
DreadfulGrape writes "ESPN.com reports on how video iPods are being used increasingly by baseball players to study opponents' game footage. In fact, Houston Astros' pitcher Jason Jennings credits the device with improving his game last summer." Jennings says, "Eventually, more than two-thirds of the roster had piled on and turned this team into baseball's official iSquad. Every player gets his own custom set of videos loaded onto his personal iPod, sorted by date, hitter, pitcher and opponent — and updated every week or so."
Google

Google's Sinister(?) Plans 287

Posted by Zonk
from the do-no-meh dept.
puppetman writes "This week, Robert X. Cringely makes some interesting observations as to what Google's up to next. He theorizes that Google is looking to create a bandwidth shortage that will drive ISP/cable/telephone customers into it's open arms (often with the blessing of the ISP/cable/telephone company). The evidence: leasing massive amounts of network capacity, and huge data centers in rural areas (close to power-generation facilities). The shortage will only occur if the average bandwidth consumption by individual consumers skyrockets; think mainstream BitTorrent, streaming moves from NetFlix, tv episodes from iTunes, video games on demand, etc, etc. Spooky and sinister, or sublime and smart?"

Virtual Fashion Thrives in Second Life 164

Posted by timothy
from the only-thing-weirder-than-real-life-fashion dept.
Carl Bialik from WSJ writes "The game Second Life — a simulated world with more than 700,000 'residents,' or players, who sometimes refer to their offline existence as their 'first life' — is breeding a virtual world of fashion design, with the same complications as the real world of fashion, the Wall Street Journal reports: 'A continuing headache for many designers is the ease with which others can copy their creations, and several have discovered boutiques that sell knockoffs of their clothes. A well-known Second Life designer was recently accused of stealing skin textures and withdrew from Second Life after receiving harassing messages. Linden says it investigates accusations of design theft, and repeat offenders can have their online accounts closed. Some designers, like DE Designs' Mr. Hester, have taken steps to copyright their work.'"

Dueling Network Neutrality Commentary on NPR 390

Posted by Roblimo
from the cue-the-banjo-soundtrack dept.
cube farmer writes Wednesday National Public Radio featured a commentary by telecom representative Scott Cleland in opposition to Network Neutrality legislation. Thursday Craig Newmark, the Craig behind craigslist, countered that Network Neutrality is essential for consumers. Who made the stronger case?

Labs Compete to Build New Nuclear Bomb 949

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the who-is-tha-bomb-at-makin'-bombs dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Yahoo! News is reporting that two labs are currently competing to design the first new nuclear bomb in twenty years. The new bomb was approved as a part of the 2006 defense spending bill. From the article: 'Proponents of the project say the U.S. would lose its so-called "strategic deterrent" unless it replaces its aging arsenal of about 6,000 bombs, which will become potentially unreliable within 15 years. A new, more reliable weapon, they say, would help the nation reduce its stockpile.'"

Sculpture to Reflect Campus Wireless Traffic 84

Posted by Zonk
from the six-kinds-of-cool dept.
prostoalex writes "Ball State University, the top unwired school in the nation according to Intel survey, is set to unveil a sculpture that will reflect the wireless traffic on the campus network. From the article: 'Beginning Tuesday night at 8 p.m., as people log onto the Internet via Ball State's network, their online activity will appear as sound, color, patterns and images projected onto giant screens set up around the base of Shafer Tower, located in the middle of campus on McKinley Avenue.'"

...this is an awesome sight. The entire rebel resistance buried under six million hardbound copies of "The Naked Lunch." - The Firesign Theater

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