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Comment: Re:That's not how the world works, thankfully. (Score 1) 466

by talldean (#46996651) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Minimum Programming Competence In Order To Get a Job?
If you're looking to get a software job, but can't get the interview, one thing that enormously helps is writing code for open source projects, or having sufficiently complex project work that you built yourself available to see online. If someone can read a short link on your resume, and then go see your actual code, you become *much* less of a wildcard and much more of a known quality; they then know you can do the job, if the code matches up well enough.

Alternatively, if you've done automated test scripts, look for QA Analyst positions as a bridge into most tech organizations.

What's your academic background? And are you located near a large city, and/or a tech hub?

Comment: That's not how the world works, thankfully. (Score 1) 466

Your scale implies one set of skills, and there's certainly more than that! As two important ones; the ability and desire to learn, and the tools you already know. I've worked with a lot of junior engineers who didn't know much, but were good at picking things up and moving with them. I've worked with a lot of senior engineers who knew lots of tools and theory, but weren't very good at picking up new things. (I've also worked with junior engineers who were terrible, and senior engineers who could pick up new things faster than me; it's a mix.) To get hired, you need to convince the hiring manager you can do the job, can do it better than the next guy, and can do it at a price they're willing to pay. Right now, there's simply not enough developers who can do the job, so even if you're not great but still get the job done and don't seem awful to work with, the determining factor is "did someone else better apply?"

Comment: Lunch. (Score 1) 361

by talldean (#45442449) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Communication Skills For Programmers?
Always go to lunch with coworkers, and chat with them about... anything, or just hang out while they chat if you can join a group doing so. If they want to talk work, ask them what they're working on; if something in what they say is actually interesting to you, ask 'em about it. If they don't want to talk work, where do they live? Where did they go to school? What do they think of both? What did they do this week? Ideally, they want to talk work at least part of the time, as that's likely more useful. :-) At lunch, if you find yourself talking more than a fair share, work on talking less. If you find yourself talking not at all, work on talking slightly more.

Comment: Show that it's your code, and get the new job. (Score 4, Insightful) 480

Much more useful than seeing code with someone's name on it is hearing that person describe the code. If someone calls you on it, offer to explain the design of the code, the decisions and tradeoffs made along the way, and what you'd improve next, or how you left the code in a state to be more easily maintained (by you or others) in the future. That would feel *much* more useful than seeing your name on it, and would take you a fraction of the time invested to get it done.

Comment: Get the hell away from VB (Score 1) 418

by talldean (#41563157) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Am I Too Old To Retrain?
Avoid technologies that don't easily transfer to other technologies; VB is hellishly rough for being a bit of a dead end, albeit terrifically useful at what it does. Leverage the .NET part of your resume, and spend a few months learning C#. It's not terrible, and will make you a better VB developer at the very least. At the most, you can pivot out, and do a wider variety of tasks - for better pay - in C# than in VB.

Comment: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Score 1) 999

by talldean (#40990501) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Place To Relocate?
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I moved here three years ago looking at staying 10-20 years. So far, so good. We have a thriving tech community, a low cost of living, and low crime. Due to this being the steel making capital of the world 100 years ago, we have a lot of old and awesome cultural institutions much larger than would be expected of a city of this size, but houses cost next to nothing compared to larger cities. We're in the middle of a natural resources boom; we export quite a bit of energy. We sit at the junction of three rivers, and west of a mountain range; we rarely have droughts. Winters are reasonably mild. Summers are reasonably mild. There's an enormous education center here. Healthcare is great. And we certainly have jobs, as well. Take a look at Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, the Software Engineering Institute, and the National Robotics Engineering Consortium; lists quite a bit more. Education, medicine, finance and software tend to be the dominant industries here, which are (not coincidentally) more recession-proof than most. Best small city I know.

Comment: This has come up before. (Score 1) 1165

by talldean (#40327503) Attached to: Blocking Gun Laws With Patents
The technology doesn't work. Five seconds win a nail file rendered it useless. 100 rounds at a practice range *also* render it useless. It simply does not work; it was proposed as a roundabout way of banning guns entirely. From the side, revolvers also don't leave casings at a crime scene. At best, it's going to alter gun sales, but not slow them.

Comment: Re:Green Card (Score 1) 357

Keeping up with your profession and keeping your skills recent doesn't take a whole lotta time; call it a five hour a week investment that's the difference between "having trouble finding work" and "can quickly find work in any major city in the world". If that's an hour a day after work, it's arguably a pretty good spend of an hour of time. On the managerial front, I've met very, very few managers who worked a 40-hour workweek; they're not doing managing outside the office, but they're certainly stuck *in* the office more than most. Or, for white collar jobs, the 40-hour workweek is often a myth; 45-50 seems the absolute norm in America.

Comment: Re:Green Card (Score 1) 357

I assumed you were talking about "glut of unemployed factory workers". My bad. Where is there a glut of unemployed software engineers? To be fair, "years of language X" isn't a great sign; "years of languages X, Y, and Z, with nonprofessional experience in A, B and C" is *much* more likely to find work.

Comment: Re:Green Card (Score 1) 357

The glut of people have the wrong skills, and can't always be retrained, and certainly can't finish training now. H1-B visas don't go to unskilled laborers; the temporary visas go to people who have the skills we need, and have them now, and are likely to gain *more* skills in the future.

Comment: Re:With unemployment where it is at, send them hom (Score 1) 357

Junk degrees in college are an issue here, and they aren't helping much of anyone. College loans are available to all, but they're not quite enough to pay for a top-tier engineering school. College loans are available to all, but they subsidize comparative medieval literature majors just the same as electrical engineers. We need more of certain professions, but we aren't actively helping people go into those professions any more than a random pick on a dartboard. We also explain to high school students "you can do anything!", when in the real world, some careers are *enormously* harder to pursue than others.

Comment: Green Card (Score 1) 357

Temporary, no. Permanent, yes. We should be stapling green cards to every engineering degree with a 3.0 average granted by an accredited US university. We don't have enough highly skilled folks to fill these jobs, and these jobs are leaving and not coming back. If a company in America wants to hire you to do work for more than the average *household* income in America, and it's not a profession with a lack of job openings, we should be doing our best to convince you to become a permanent citizen. Average household income is under $50k, FWIW.

Comment: Re:The premise seems failed. (Score 1) 828

by talldean (#40186575) Attached to: Venezuela Bans the Commercial Sale of Firearms and Ammunition
Gun control can be about control, but often, is about a kneejerk reaction to something people just aren't familiar with. I grew up (in America) in a fairly rural area. Long guns were commonplace. Pistols were a bit odd, but not a problem. I moved to a large city, and guns are viewed as a completely different thing there, some for good reasons, some not for good reasons. Dunno. Much like most problems, it's an issue of communication and spin, and not an actual issue. Much like most problems in America, I'd blame the media.

"Mr. Watson, come here, I want you." -- Alexander Graham Bell