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Programming

Submission + - Breaking into the C++ software engineer field

An anonymous reader writes: I have been working for about 4 years (mostly with Microsoft SQL Server and some VB.NET) but it is my desire to get a job as a software engineer doing C++ or even C. The only interviews I seem to get are those for Microsoft Jobs, which of course do want to hire me. Once I did get an interview for a real software engineering job, when switching my last job, but by the time the company got back to me with a decision (over a month and a half) I had already accepted another job.

I have seen many posts saying specific language skills aren't important but it is important to get a candidate who can think. I have also seen that some interviewers will have candidates write sample code...but all of these assume you get the interview. How can I even get the interviews so that I will have a shot at proving my worth and being hired?

I do know both C and C++ very well (intermediate level), but since I have never worked at a job using them, recruiters and human resources do not seem to care. They only care about skills they read in the bulleted point of work experience. Also, I refuse to lie on my resume, so I will not say I did something for work experience when I did not.

Finally, I think that if I do want to be really good at development in C and C++, doing it in my own time (which is less and less) is nowhere near as effective as doing it in my daytime job for 8-10 hours a day.

So short of lying, how can I score the interview for C and C++ programming jobs (while most of them not only want work experience, they are citing 5+ years of C++ experience, plus usually other misc skills as well (XML, Oracle, Java, etc.). Most of the other misc skills (short of Oracle) are easy to learn (XML is relatively simple, Java is similar to C++/VB.NET [and I know an older version...so it is just learning the new stuff]). Oracle would take some doing, but SQL Server is somewhat similar (TSQL -> PL/SQL, SQL, relational database skills, PRO*C is just embedding SQL in the host program, etc.). I have seen some C/C++ jobs up for months, so it would make sense that the month or two I spend learning the additional technologies while putting a dent in the work they have to be done, is better than not filling the job and having the work undone, isn't it?

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