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Thread: A question about job recruitment

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    A question about job recruitment

    Hi, I would like to know (ideally from anyone that has been a recruiter for programming jobs) if there are specific criteria you would look for from a candidate.

    Basically I am considering applying for developer jobs having only ever programmed as a hobby for 20+ years. I have always used VB, but can read and convert C#, however all of the jobs in our area are C# specific so I would like to brush up on writing some code examples etc. that I can showcase at an interview and that will put me in good footing.

    I am confident once I have a job offer I will be able to learn on the go easily enough, but would like to make the best use of my time in preparation.

    Thanks,
    Jay

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    Superbly Moderated NeedSomeAnswers's Avatar
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    Re: A question about job recruitment

    I have recruited a number of developers over the years and honestly your going to find it hard going in the job market.

    Most of the C# jobs are either;

    1, Graduate level and then they expect you to know some concepts and have a bit of knowledge and be bright enough to learn. You will go into an entry level position and learn as you go.

    2, Programmers with varying levels of actual work experience. Not having an exact skills match is ok as long as some of your skills match and you have enough experience.

    Many recruiter aren't even going to short list your CV if they are looking for any sort of experience.

    3, Many recruiters nowadays are specifically looking for web or mobile skills, there are still desktop development jobs around (the Developer job market does vary depending on where you live) but much less than there used to be.

    That being said it is not impossible, first thing is if your applying for C# jobs then you need to be using it in anger and i would be doing all your current hobbyist work with it starting now.

    Secondly as you dont have any experience you need to be able to show your skills, so that means your code. If your doing web stuff that easier but if you have other apps you have written that you can show that is also good.

    You need to get in front of people, personally i would look for job at smaller companies and approach them directly rather than through agencies, there is no harm applying for jobs on the internet but if it where me i would be phoning them up direct and showing as much initiative as possible

    Good luck !
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    Re: A question about job recruitment

    Hi, Thanks for your reply,

    I have started to rewrite some of my projects in C# already and am wondering what would be beneficial to demonstrate as part of a portfolio.
    Are there specific concepts or problems I should focus on while developing code snippets that would be of more interest to an employer and give them a good idea of my capability?
    Last edited by jay20aiii; May 29th, 2018 at 04:03 PM.

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    Re: A question about job recruitment

    i would look for job at smaller companies and approach them directly rather than through agencies
    Upvoted!

    If you're not a graduate and don't have commercial experience agencies aren't going to give you the time of day. Even as a graduate I found it basically impossible to get agencies to put me forward for anything when I first left Uni.

    I got my first 2 roles by picking up the yellow pages for my area and those nearby and phoning every software house in there. It can be a little diss-heartening as many of the number will be one man bands who aren't going to be able to use them and a bunch of others are big enough so that you'll just get bogged down in the HR processes. You sweet spot is the small houses with maybe 2 to 12 developers and you want to speak to the development manager. If you get blocked by the receptionist be honest and just say you'd like to send in your CV and follow it up a week later - they're a lot more inclined to speak to you once they know it's not a cold call from an agency. If you're really getting blocked just take it on the chin and write that one off. DON'T get pushy.

    If you can get to the Dev manager you'll be surprised how encouraging most are. Even when they have nothing to offer you (and most won't - but it's a numbers game so keep plugging) many are ready to chat, talk about the market etc. And a few will have something to offer. Both my first 2 roles were actually created for me because the manager was impressed that I was showing hustle.

    Other than that, as NSA hinted, get some work done in a demonstrable form. A CV might get you through the door but an impressive portfolio will seal the deal. I set up a web page with a bunch of code snippets and discussion (this was before blogging had really taken off but a blog would be idea these days) that I referred people to. I'm pretty sure none of them ever actually looked at it but the fact that I'd created always seemed to grab their attention.

    Most of all, good luck.
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    Re: A question about job recruitment

    Are there specific concepts or problems I should focus on
    Thats difficult to answer as different places will covet different skills. You will need to be able to show the basics such as Coding against a database, some places for instance do a lot of Word & Excel integration, other will do none and are more interesting in reporting or something else.

    I could recommend more web & mobile skills to be honest as that is generally what i am working on. What i would advise is if your not already, dip you toe in the web world ASP.Net is a project type in Visual Studio (and by default it uses C# as the language) so you dont even need to use another tool-set or language.
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    Super Moderator FunkyDexter's Avatar
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    Re: A question about job recruitment

    I'd second the DB stuff. It's the one thing that's been absolutely constant in my career and seems to be a surprisingly niche skill which is always in demand.
    You can depend upon the Americans to do the right thing. But only after they have exhausted every other possibility - Winston Churchill

    Hadoop actually sounds more like the way they greet each other in Yorkshire - Inferrd

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    Re: A question about job recruitment

    If you're not a graduate and don't have commercial experience agencies aren't going to give you the time of day.
    I did find speaking to some agencies problematic, but I did happen across a good website that lists a range of jobs that I feel would be within my grasp.

    1, Graduate level and then they expect you to know some concepts and have a bit of knowledge and be bright enough to learn. You will go into an entry level position and learn as you go.
    You sweet spot is the small houses with maybe 2 to 12 developers
    Both of these niches seem to have a steady influx of jobs available in our area and is my primary focus. As you said, I am not a graduate, but I have worked with a University Tutor and around that setting so feel my portfolio can reflect a stronger passion, range and skillset than what I have seen many graduates walk away with in their tool-belts.

    show the basics such as Coding against a database
    I do have some good examples related to MySQL which has always been my flavour of choice due to it's opensource nature and the lower overheads when it comes to hosting.

    more web & mobile skills to be honest
    I have spent the past 9 years learning and working on websites and hosting platforms. I manage a dedicated server (with Plesk) and have made websites with PHP, MySQL, JQuery, HTML, CSS, Wordpress, Opencart, Joomla etc. I wouldn't claim to be an expert with any one of those specific languages/platforms but have learned enough to be able to present a strong enough understanding about implementation, optimization, design, marketing and overall management. Because I have opted for lower hosting costs by using Linux, MySQL etc. it has steered me away from using ASP.Net and MSSQL so it would be good to look more into those two fields. I did note a company that regularly recruits specifically for development with C# and ASP.NET.

    I suppose the key thing is that I would like my portfolio to show a mixed bag of skills and demonstrate that whilst I may not use specific languages day in, day out, if given an opportunity I would be able to learn quickly, unaided and have the ability and motivation to learn them and fit into a team without holding anybody back. Though I suppose this is the hardest thing to convey without getting face to face.

    My plan is to shortlist and develop a range of projects over the next 4-8 weeks (possibly a bit too ambitious) ready to present once I start approaching every company under the sun. Essentially I feel a strong portfolio will help me to show more confidence in myself and make my "sales pitch" to employers that much more comfortable.

    If you do have any other ideas, I welcome all the input I can get.

    Thanks for your comments so far.

    Jay
    Last edited by jay20aiii; May 30th, 2018 at 11:25 AM.

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    Re: A question about job recruitment

    I have spent the past 9 years learning and working on websites and hosting platforms. I manage a dedicated server (with Plesk) and have made websites with PHP, MySQL, JQuery, HTML, CSS, Wordpress, Opencart, Joomla etc. I wouldn't claim to be an expert with any one of those specific languages/platforms but have learned enough to be able to present a strong enough understanding about implementation, optimization, design, marketing and overall management. Because I have opted for lower hosting costs by using Linux, MySQL etc. it has steered me away from using ASP.Net and MSSQL so it would be good to look more into those two fields. I did note a company that regularly recruits specifically for development with C# and ASP.NET.
    Thats really good experience and you should definitely talk that up on your CV. It sounds like you have a fair amount of web experience already and if i were you i would concentrate on it.

    In the jobs market ASP.Net MVC and increasingly JavaScript React are two of the most wanted skills in the UK, both work alongside a lot of your current skills as well.

    ASP.Net MVC sounds like it maybe a good place to start for you, and there are a lot of tutorials on the web for it.

    JavaScript React is becoming increasingly popular though and is an alternative option especially if you really really like JavaScript

    You database skills will be transferable, and ASP.Net just like any other web language can be used against any database engine. If you go and work at a dev house many of them will be using MSSQL and with SQL Server Management Studio you will likely find it simpler to use than MYSQL.
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