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Wybiral
February 1st, 2007, 02:26 AM
I was wondering if anyone knew any companies that I should apply to... I'm looking for somewhere that is more likely to hire based off of assessment and experience, rather than a degree.

I know that I would definitely benefit from having a degree, and I want to continue college, but it's sort of a catch-22 for me because I need a better job in order to pay for college and get a degree, but it seems like I can't find a better job without a degree.

I have pretty good experience with math (especially 3d mathematics) and logic, C/C++/Python/assembly, I'm an incredibly fast learner and pretty adaptable with whatever project I am placed in.

I'm not looking for something that pays that great, mostly something to gain experience and get some cash flow to help me continue with college.

I would love to hear any tips anyone has or of any companies that are more likely to hire based off of assessment instead of just looking at my lack of professional degree and trashing my resume.

Any advice would be VERY must appreciated. Thanks!

phossal
February 1st, 2007, 02:33 AM
Wyb...

Stop saying you're not looking for something that "pays that great". You may think you're being modest, but it's the wrong approach. When you're selling anything, especially yourself, you shouldn't begin your pitch with concessions.

I noticed you're a young guy. You're way ahead of most of your peers.

Start thinking of the positions you would like to apply for, and then apply. The worst that can happen is you'll be told no, and find out what things you may need to improve.

I recommend you start working your *** off to appeal to low-end business owners for small projects, too. Send out flyers. Visit them. You'll be shocked how much of a response you'll get from SBO's who need things done. They write good reference letters, and enjoy helping to pay a kid's way through college. In that way, you're attacking the problem from both ends. Make money, build relationships, and keep an eye on where you're trying to go.

adssse
February 1st, 2007, 03:14 AM
I agree with phossal. You may have to start out at a smaller business. Apply for everything that you can and stay with it. Go to places in person when possible. I have seen more qualified people be passed over because of who the other guy knows. Try to build relationships. Whether you have a degree or not have a portfolio of the kind of programming you are capable of and have them look at it. Dont give up, get your foot in the door and you can work your way up.

phossal
February 1st, 2007, 03:36 AM
I agree with phossal.

lol Thanks. ;)

I forgot to mention the most important part. Unlike your programming buddies who enjoy discussing the intricacies of C-syntax languages, memory management, algorithms, neural networks, and probability, most people who run businesses couldn't care less about such topics. In fact, I find they're quite turned off by them. Most people have better things to do.

The average guy is in business to make money, and if you and your abilities don't do something practical, like solve a problem, provide better business information, increase productivity, or provide a point of purchase, you're not going to impress them. Calculators do math.

You're better off trying to draw attention to how you will be able to improve the business you're applying to, rather than how you learn fast. Everyone says they learn fast. Not everyone says, "I can do A. B. and C. for you!"

raul_
February 1st, 2007, 04:13 AM
it's not a job offer, but try working your people skills ( i'm not saying they're bad). Most of the times, it's all about the words that come out of your mouth, instead of what you're capable of doing on paper. Choose the words carefully, practice with someone more experienced, and try not to say things like "i don't have that much experience BUT..." -> that's just bad. It seems like you're apologizing. Again, talk about what you're good at, and don't add any bad things :) Just seem confident, with a straight face, not looking down, or shaking, or tapping your foot.

pmasiar
February 1st, 2007, 04:49 AM
You may want to study and learn how to get a job - it is easier that learn programming, and there are *many* *good* books about it. You can start in your closest public library. Pick the book "what color is your parachute" for start, and of course the "for Dummies" book. Library also has "job search" corner where all books (and video) are about how to get a job. They have books about writing resume, customizing cover letter (and yes cover letter needs be customized for every position you apply!), what to expect on interview (including tricky questions you may get). Plan to try your pitch couple times on "training companies" just to get better at making good impression in interview, before going to real company where you want to work. Plan to screw couple interview, you will anyway, so screw the less important ones.

Getting job requires dedication, but you can learn big part of it, so you will feel much more confident diving in.

And another tip: you may want to work for a IT recruiting company for couple of months. Tell them you will work 1-2 months for free, and then they can hire you if they want. You will learn what works and what not, get your people skills, and insiders view to industry. And they might be interested in someone with IT background, sometimes it is hard for them (liberal majors) to decide what these IT skills are all about. I know it firsthand - I worked for a recruiter myself... :-)

hod139
February 1st, 2007, 05:43 AM
I forgot to mention the most important part. Unlike your programming buddies who enjoy discussing the intricacies of C-syntax languages, memory management, algorithms, neural networks, and probability, most people who run businesses couldn't care less about such topics. In fact, I find they're quite turned off by them. Most people have better things to do.

Was that probability for me?? Even so, I agree with phossal's stance. I've been living the academia lifestyle for my entire life where writing papers and improving the schools ranking are the main motivators, not money. The "real world" is less interested in talk and more interested in results and money.



The average guy is in business to make money, and if you and your abilities don't do something practical, like solve a problem, provide better business information, increase productivity, or provide a point of purchase, you're not going to impress them. Calculators do math.
But who makes the calculators!! Seriously though, I imagine (can't speak from experience) that most of the math found in industry can be done by calculators. The math that I find interesting can't be done on a calculator, but how many companies use this math? I imagine not too many.



You're better off trying to draw attention to how you will be able to improve the business you're applying to, rather than how you learn fast. Everyone says they learn fast. Not everyone says, "I can do A. B. and C. for you!"Well said. Phossal's advice has been very good. You need to sell yourself to the company, not sell yourself short. Know your skill set, research the company you are applying to, and explain what you can do for the company with your skills.

phossal
February 1st, 2007, 06:18 AM
Was that probability for me??

No, but I am familiar with your posts. I respect you a great deal. I'm not qualified to engage you guys in a conversation about those topics, even though I enjoy them. I've read a few books on probability, but only so the poker players in my family don't run over me at holiday gatherings. I might be understating it a little, but not much.

Cheers!

pmasiar
February 1st, 2007, 02:51 PM
Couple more thoughts:

1) You need to understand how resume works. Recruiter has one position to fill and pile of 200 resumes to read through and is looking for "red flags" why he should stop reading the current one and move to next, hopefully better match. Really. Resumes are to elininate people out.

So you need to write custom resume for specific position. And even more customized cover letter, why they should bother to even read your resume (1 paragraph), so you have better chance your resume will be really read, and not only skimmed over for red flags to be eliminated. You obviously do not lie in customized resume: you just explain your life experience in terms relevant to a position you are aiming for, and skip over irrelevant parts.

Resume is the last step: you need to find position, and write resume matching what they are interested in. To prove that you have what they need, not too much (too much experience is also a red flag!), not too little, just fine.

Sending loads of generic resumes is waste of your time and money, and also recruiter's time. It's called "carpet-bombing" :-) and it doesn't work. Better send 5 customized resumes than 500 generic ones.

2) I bet you have some community college not too far. Basic education (first 2 years) is very cheap there (compared to private or even state university), and if your grades are A/B, credits should be transferable to your State University, with some luck. Or you can get certified with O'Reilly certification, for like 2K or so to prove you have credentials.

3) You don't need to start as programmer - maybe starting as computer support/help desk staff will give you more interesting (and better paid) job than you have now, where you get paid for learning about computers. And you always have possibilities to script something. Save money by using linux, etc.

hod139
February 1st, 2007, 03:37 PM
College is getting so expensive, but there are some options you can try if you want to stay; you can try and get scholarships and/or student loans. There are both merit and non-merit scholarships available (if you are a minority and female there is plenty of non-merit scholarship money available in the sciences for you). PM me if you want more help finding scholarships. As for student loans, they are generally easier to get and have a nice low interest rate that is deferrable as long as you are a student. I know loans suck, but I wouldn't have gotten my bachelor's degrees without them. I owe uncle Sam about $20,000 when I finish grad school :mad:. The two most popular student loans are the fafsa and perkins. There may also be State incentives. For example MA gave me $3,000 with the requirement that I work in MA for at least 3 years after graduation. If I don't work in MA, then that also becomes a loan!

I guess what I'm trying to say is that there are options available for you to try and get money. I know this is probably a very stressful time for you and I wish you the best of luck.

yaaarrrgg
February 1st, 2007, 07:03 PM
What I did was: apply for a job, present a portfolio of your best work, and then twist a prospective employers arm into giving you a few small projects which you do for free.

After they see you can do good work try to get freelance work or part time. Eventually after a bit they will probably hire you full time.

Although, I would add that a college degree is something worth getting in its own right, even if you get a good job without it. :)