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Comment Re:This just in... (Score 1) 279

Knowing how to code is easy. Being a decent software engineer isn't. 90+% of web developers fall into the first category.

And 90 % of developers think they are a part of that 10%. And they disagree on who else is in that category.

This is because of the Dunning-Kruger Effect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect), which has been studied.

The more you know.

Comment Summer internship and other thoughts (Score 1) 537

If you want experience, then you want something like a summer internship. Lots of companies hire college students for 10-12 weeks over the summer. You'll get a little bit of experience, and you'll get better pay than working at Starbucks.

Or you can work part-time during the school year. I did a part-time job 20 hours a week at a local research institute affiliated with the college I went to as an undergrad. It was nice enough pay to get some spending money on top of paying for the basics, and I got a lot of useful experience.

There's also open source experience, but I know nothing about that personally.

If you wanted to focus on a language, I suppose you could look into various certifications, like Sun Java certifications. Those cost money. The type of hiring we do, we don't care about those (we're a research institute, we want to see advanced degrees) but some others might have an idea if they're actually worth anything in the programming field. I'm skeptical, but maybe it's useful for a new grad.

Comment You can change your mind later, too (Score 1) 834

A Masters is not going to help you get a coding job. A Master is going to help you get a research job.

There are companies out there that do research in the field of computer science -- large companies that might have a dedicated research lab or two, or small and mid-size companies that can be fully dedicated to research.

So figure out what you're interested in:

1. Strictly coding? Go out there and grab job experience. Maybe look into some sort of applicable certification, by Sun or Microsoft or someone. Get OpenSource experience. Code recreationally.

2. Research? Look into a Masters or PhD. Wondering how to find companies that do research? Google around for institutions like NSA and DARPA that grant research contracts, and see what companies are winning them.

3. Academics? You'll want a PhD -- unless you're interested in teaching below the college level, in which case you'll need to get teaching certified.

4. Management? A Masters could help, but so could a MBA (try one with a specialty in IT). Or work you way up the food chain (you'll have to do that anyway) and look into some sort of program management certification. Google around for something like 'PMP certification' and you'll read about them.

The good thing is you don't have to decide now. The better thing is, you can change you mind. I thought I wanted to do academics, did a year of PhD program at Georgia Tech, decided it wasn't for me, then decided I wanted to do research, joined a small research organization, then 15 years later decided to go back and work on my Masters. Even better? Where I work is paying me to pick up my Masters part time. I might also work on picking up my PMP certification, since I seem to have most of the requirements anyway.

Just remember, you can change your mind later.

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