There are twosometimes threemain aspects to an entry-level programming job, Jason points out.
The first is program maintenance, which is making modifications to programs that were written by somebody else. The second is writing new programs, using specs provided by a systems analyst or programmer/analyst. And, third, a young programmer might get to work directly with a user , designing the specs for a new program.
Chances are that a lot of your work as a young programmer will be the maintenance of programs. This is the least desirable, because writing new programs and designing new programs will give you much more experience much faster. A programmer with a years experience writing brand-new programs will probably be more knowledgeable than someone who spent two years doing maintenance.
Still, even though a new programmer has to do a lot of maintenance, it is possible to get a job in which you can spend some time writing new programsor even working with end users, designing programs. The best way to do this is to go to work at a smaller company rather than a big one. You may make a little less money at first, but the experience will be excellent . The entry-level programmer who goes into a shop with two or three programmers will have more programming responsibility than someone in a company with a programming staff of 100, and therefore will learn more.
Do not take a job in which you will be maintaining programs for three years, or writing only print programs. In the interview, ask what your responsibilities will be. You want to be spending at least some of your time on new programs. Also, a job where you will get to work with users or clients is an excellent opportunity. It will be challenging but also rewarding .
Another thing to look for in your first job, Jason says, is a company that is using mainstream softwarea package used by other companies that are in the same type of business. Use the Internet, newspapers, or magazines to find out what kinds of software packages are in use by a lot of companies. Experience with a particular package can be more valuable than experience in a particular language.