When a programmer s in the midst of his design process, he s like an artist going to work on an empty canvas, or an architect when he takes a blank sheet of paper to design a new home.
When you are searching for a programming job, it is important to look at yourself through the eyes of a technical interviewer, because-technical topics are sure to be a part of your interview. What qualities do you have, or what qualities should you hone, that will make you one of the favored applicants ? Read on for the answer.
Sam Gottlieb, a full-time programming consultant in New York City, is one of the many college English majors I ve known who have built impressive programming careers. (Liberal-arts majors seem to doubt it, but you don t have to be a math whiz to become a splendid programmer.) For five years during the late nineties, Sam was manager of programming resources for a large software-consulting firm in New York City. He recruited programmers from around the world for assignments in the New York metropolitan area and was a technical manager involved in the design and coding of various projects. I asked him what impressed him most about the candidates whose credentials he was asked to judge.
Assuming the technical skills I was looking for were there, he says, I d next look for communication skills. Could the applicant express himself well, verbally and in writing?
Sam considered a candidate s knowledge of the particular business for which he was hiring another important credential. If you know when you re in school that you want to program in a specific field ”say, banking ”it certainly makes sense to do whatever you can to learn about the industry, he says. As to education, Sam notes, Most mature programmers I know never took any computer courses in school. It s just something they fell into. In the late nineties you could come out of school and get an entry-level job even with no programming or business experience. But, he acknowledges, the nineties were fat years for programmers. Now it s far different: The business cycle has turned, as it always does, and right now we happen to be at the bottom. Now, even with a computer science degree, you re going to have a tough time getting a job as a programmer. Luck, timing, and ” especially ”contacts are the biggest factors in landing a job. The thing to remember is that demand for everything is cyclical; you re going to have boom times and bust times. But the market for programmers will revive.
To get a job in this market, you have to satisfy every single requirement your prospective company has set. Today, in addition to good technical skills you are going to need business skills ”you need to be knowledgeable about how a company operates. A few years ago, when programmers could practically name their price and companies couldn t be choosy, they d bite the bullet and teach you about the business on the job. Now they hold out for exactly what they want ”and business knowledge is a high priority.