Too old for software engineering

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Harold in Huntsville, Alabama

64 months ago

Software engineering and/or programming ain't what it used to be. I am in my 30's and I've been a professional developer now for about 3 years with a defense contractor at an engineering firm.

I realize that the BLS reports demand to be high and salaries to be in the 80's but this is not the case with me or anyone that I know of in the field. If you are just starting out, be prepared to make between 30K and 40K. If you have a lot of experience and you are a natural born programmer, than you may actually make the 80K that BLS talks about.

There are reasons for this. There is a LOT of foreign competition. Have you ever met an Indian computer programmer? They live and breath the stuff. They find nothing better than working 22 hours a day writing C++ code. (of course I may sound like I'm exaggerating, but I've met dozens of Indian programmers and I got the same impression from them all)

Also, you will be competing with people who have Software Engineering degrees, Electrical Engineering degrees, Aerospace engineering degrees, and kids who just graduated high school and are just kick-ass programmers who will work for date money while they live with their parents.

Degrees and Certifications do not matter at all - it only matters how good you are. And there are tons of people that are great.

If you are older, and you don't have a natural aptitude for mathematics, or you are having trouble grasping concepts of OOP - this may not be the field for you.

Of course, anything is possible - but you really have to ask yourself if you are able to do this type of work and compete with all the others who can.

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Jeff in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

59 months ago

If you MUST get into I.T. DO NOT BECOME A PROGRAMMER! The H1B's have taken over for the most part. Try networking,learn the Cisco IOS, the market for any I.T. sucks hard right now. If you wanna hear the unvarnished ruth hit the forums on the Dice board.
I think that may be the longest run on sentence ever!

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Dave in NY in Lagrangeville, New York

58 months ago

Been in IT for 20+ years.
Only suggestions I can offer from experience in trenches,and a few scars
- Get to know a particular field really, really well.
In technology, anything related to the web and mobile devices, hot. Networking, applications for mobile (Ipad,iphone) great.
On business side, anything related to health care, like claims processing, PAC systems, a particular healthcare product, like Sieman's technology, etc.
HL7 protocol knowledge is a BIG plus! The IT healthcare market will be very interesting the next few years. Any other business OK, i.e. insurance, retail,definitely finance,but get to know a growing sector in the particular area real well, you'll get known as an 'expert' and make a living if you stay on top by studying, upgrading skills in area, and letting specialized recriuters know who you are and want.
- Age: If you're a more 'senior' fellow (50+ like me), think, act and believe you're young during interview, showing energy, but let the years of wisdom shine through with professionalism and in depth knowledge reflected in answers to questions. The job world I have experienced SO FAR seems to respect that combination.
-Use professional recruiters who also have been in the trenches- Find SPECIFIC (very important for it to work) recruiters who specialize in a particular technology and/or business, stick with them. Especially ones who work on retainer,relize that tends to be 100K and up jobs. Everyone else on contigency, but check them out that they have been in field for awhile. One way of knowing by seeing if they have exclusive clients and can prove it. Ask them how they go about dealing with a client request. A few questions, you can have another great set of eyes,ears for you capturing opportunities EARLY. -Networking:GIVE, GIVE expecting NOTHING in return. Ask me at bellachcoaching at live dot com questions on resumes, cover letters, how to respond to ads, how to focus job search, etc. I'll try to get back ASAP.Paying it forward.

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andru in Lexington, Kentucky

47 months ago

meshhat in Media, Pennsylvania said: Hello, I have two questions:

I'm 31 years old (ugh) and living in the USA. I am thinking of becoming a software engineer, but I was wondering if I would be perceived as too old by companies. Do companies really hire new engineers in their 30's?

I currently work in a technical field as Director of Instructional Technology (Masters degree) so technology isn't new to me, it's just I would like to become more "technical." Let's assume a company WOULD hire a 30+ year old, what's the best way to get my foot in the door to become an SE?

Thanks

A simple job search on Simplyhired.com for "Software Engineer" turns up more than 500,000 results. There is a difference between Software Engineers and Programmers. Programming does not equal software engineering. It amazes me how experienced professionals don't understand this distinction.

People need to stop whining about outsourcing and instead upgrade thier skills. Simple, repetitive jobs are the ones that are outsourced. Highly skilled positioned are much more difficult to send away.

Tech fields require people who are willing to be constantly updating and improving to keep up. If you're still trying to do 90's level programming, don't be surprised if your job gets sent to India. And please everyone, stop moaning about "greedy" corporate America. It's not Microsoft's job to keep you employed. Innovation moves fast. Keep up or get out.

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Rob H in Wallingford, Pennsylvania

41 months ago

Great comments - very encouraging. After 4 years as a P/A and 4 years as a software engineer (no CS degree, mind you), the company I was with went bust at the height of the dot com-bubble debacle. So I went back to teaching - at first, just math, now math & CS. Looking to get back into the field at 54(!). Loved designing/programming education-related apps. Now want to focus on web programming (Javascript, PHP, Java). Strong OOP/C++ skills. Any advice?

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jeffreys in West Des Moines, Iowa

37 months ago

I'm glad you agree. To elaborate a little more on your point.. You can take classes all day and not accomplish or learn nearly as much as if your self directed with the desire to really get something down. I've your sitting in front of your computer, trying to solve a real world problem and you're searching for best practices (which may not always be the best way to go - depends on the situation - best practices are rules of thumb for specific situations) and alternative ways of doing things, you're digging and experimenting and developing something that is for real - NO CLASSROOM experience can equal that - I could not count the number of times in my career I've pulled 18 to 24 hour long sessions learning how best to apply a new technology or how to best design a new feature or module.

In defense of colleges and Universities. I remember my father asked me what I felt I learned after I finished my bachelors in Electrical Engineering - I replied, "I learned how to learn". They worked my ASS off and I learned how to bust it, and not be afraid of ANY challenge. Those are the basic tools you need to be able move ahead on your own - to self direct your learning. If you already have those basic skills by virtue of your desire - save yourself some money and learn on your own. If you're attending a school that is busting your chops to the point that you can't keep up, its seems like a waste of time because all you're doing is jumping from one exam to another and learning nothing - guess what - you're learning more than you have any idea. If on the other hand you're in a school that leaves you time for partying and goofing off, getting by with half hearted efforts - you are definitely wasting your time and money.

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Jon C. in Msida, Malta

37 months ago

I agree

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Wayne Farmer in Winona, Minnesota

37 months ago

Check out my profile and you'll find I've been programming embedded systems for about 25 years. I still enjoy it, and I can still find opportunities in the workforce; my experience has given me skills that employers value. But as others have said, you have to be prepared to relocate to take advantage of opportunities as they come along; I've taken jobs 1900 miles away on less than a week's notice.

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Wayne Farmer in Winona, Minnesota

37 months ago

Jungleboi, I suggest that if do choose a new direction, you make good use of your innate and acquired understanding of music, rhythm, and the recording industry. The application of technology toward entertainment is a growing trend; look at any smartphone. After establishing yourself with a solid foundation of understanding the principles of software development, you could market your skills as one who understands both the technology and the music. There are individual developers that possibly take a shortcut and directly begin to develop programs for Android or Apple smartphone platforms, but I think that understanding the concepts first will make you more productive. You might become a consultant in the entertainment industry, a position that could be more lucrative than a programmer. And, you already have the network in place to find those opportunities.

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darkfader in Minneapolis, Minnesota

36 months ago

hey guys came across this thread and figured I'd ask for some advice. In short, I'm 30, female, been in construction for 8 years and my hatred for it grows stronger everyday. I've been contemplating getting into software engineering (which I was supposed to do when I was in college) but I'm not sure where to start. I don't exactly have any experience but I'm pretty good with computers and I've been frequenting this site called codecademy.com and it's been going pretty well. I know writing code isn't everything and I know javascript isn't everything I should/could know. But on a positive note, I've been picking it up pretty quick. But I know it's NOTHING compared to what's out there. I kind of just wanted a taste of what the field is about. Anything I could do or any intro training classes I could take to see if it's really for me? I mean at this point I'd rather make balloon animals while riding a treadmill than have the job I have. I'm grateful to be working, don't get me wrong. I just need something more challenging, in the tech field, temperature-controlled...and involving a normal bathroom. Thanks for letting me vent!

LD

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Wayne Farmer in Winona, Minnesota

36 months ago

darkfader in Minneapolis, Minnesota said: hey guys came across this thread and figured I'd ask for some advice. In short, I'm 30, female, been in construction for 8 years and my hatred for it grows stronger everyday. I've been contemplating getting into software engineering (which I was supposed to do when I was in college) but I'm not sure where to start. I don't exactly have any experience but I'm pretty good with computers and I've been frequenting this site called codecademy.com and it's been going pretty well. I know writing code isn't everything and I know javascript isn't everything I should/could know. But on a positive note, I've been picking it up pretty quick. But I know it's NOTHING compared to what's out there. I kind of just wanted a taste of what the field is about. Anything I could do or any intro training classes I could take to see if it's really for me? I mean at this point I'd rather make balloon animals while riding a treadmill than have the job I have. I'm grateful to be working, don't get me wrong. I just need something more challenging, in the tech field, temperature-controlled...and involving a normal bathroom. Thanks for letting me vent!

LD

LD, I'd be happy to have a discussion with you to talk about the field. I work in the "embedded" branch of software engineering, which deals more closely with electronic circuits than does, for example, Web programming. Contact me, or just read my LinkedIn profile to see the types of work I've done over the years.

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Rick in Bradenton, Florida

36 months ago

Hi I am 34 years old and in my first year back in college. My major is computer science, but I am thinking of changing my major due to this message board. I do have a technology backround and have done computer repair, network admin, and DBA until they shipped my job overseas. I was wondering if I should change my major from computer science to something else? I wanted to become a software developer because I liked programing forms for my sql database when I had that job. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what to change my major to? Possibly MIS? Any suggestion would help me greatly. Thanks

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Token American in Santa Cruz, California

36 months ago

Rick in Bradenton, Florida said: Hi I am 34 years old and in my first year back in college. My major is computer science, but I am thinking of changing my major due to this message board. I do have a technology backround and have done computer repair, network admin, and DBA until they shipped my job overseas. I was wondering if I should change my major from computer science to something else? I wanted to become a software developer because I liked programing forms for my sql database when I had that job. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what to change my major to? Possibly MIS? Any suggestion would help me greatly. Thanks

You could go for Bioinformatics, get a CCIE Wireless, or just move to Bangalore.

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Rick in Bradenton, Florida

36 months ago

Token American in Santa Cruz, California said: You could go for Bioinformatics, get a CCIE Wireless, or just move to Bangalore.

Thanks Token Bangalore sounds great! I think I'll open a 7-11 over there. Free slurpies for all Americans at grand opening. LOL Thanks for the info I will look into the Bioinfomatics. That sounds cool. Do you know what degree path that is in? MIS or CS?

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Epoe in New York, New York

36 months ago

Rick in Bradenton, Florida said: Hi I am 34 years old and in my first year back in college. My major is computer science, but I am thinking of changing my major due to this message board. I do have a technology backround and have done computer repair, network admin, and DBA until they shipped my job overseas. I was wondering if I should change my major from computer science to something else? I wanted to become a software developer because I liked programing forms for my sql database when I had that job. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what to change my major to? Possibly MIS? Any suggestion would help me greatly. Thanks

Don't quit! Even if you don't make it as an engineer, you'll develop necessary analytic/computer skills. You can do so much more with a CS degree than just engineering.

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Rick in Bradenton, Florida

36 months ago

Epoe in New York, New York said: Don't quit! Even if you don't make it as an engineer, you'll develop necessary analytic/computer skills. You can do so much more with a CS degree than just engineering.

Thanks I am confussed. I have a friend that is a project manager at a company in Tampa Fl. He was trying to talk me out of CS too. He said the average person in his software department is 24. Epoe do you think 34 is too old? I will be 38 when I get out of school. Do you have any old timers in your department?

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Yosep Kim in Suwanee, Georgia

36 months ago

I've been doing SE stuff for more than 6 years now, and I cannot believe some of the posts here. I live in Atlanta, and software development is thriving, hiring many SEs. With 6 years of experience, I make 6 figures easy. IT IS AN AWESOME JOB, if you are OK with sitting down for a long time writing out code. But, it's more like playing games or solving puzzles. If you are good with math and science in general, I definitely recommend anyone to check software development out. Also, I am not sure why one would recommend someone to bid on Elance, when the person is just considering the field. If you are new to this field, the best way to take a peak is getting involved in Open Source projects. They are many projects out there that need help. Also, by helping them out, you will learn a lot because you actually get to see real code in real actions. And, also, open source developers are usually real hackers, meaning, they usually follow "good" practices.

Also, don't be afraid of H1 in-sourcing or outsourcing. Yes, there are many Indian or Chinese developers in US, but there are as equal amount of companies out there that hire US developers. Here is the deal. If you are an awesome developer, you will keep your job no matter how many non-US developers are around. You may be expensive to hire, but they will keep you.

I hope people would not get discouraged by reading some of negative comments here. It is not that bad, really.

And, for those of you who left somewhat depressing comments, if you don't like your boss, look for a new opportunity or pick up a book about Ruby on Rails or something and keep your knives sharp. I truly believe U.S.'s only hope of getting the "best" country to live for is through advanced technologies, patents, and "being innovative".

Go, Hackers!!!

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Yosep Kim in Suwanee, Georgia

36 months ago

Yosep Kim in Suwanee, Georgia said: With 6 years of experience, I make 6 figures easy.

6 figures from multiple projects, that is. Perhaps with two, three gigs at a time. Over weekends and whatnot.

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Yosep Kim in Suwanee, Georgia

36 months ago

We do have some old timers (early 40s+) at the current company I worked for. I also worked with a gentleman who was well over 50 before. He chose to stay as a software developer instead of climbing the ladder because that's what made him happy.

Rick, you are not too old. If you really want to do it and know that your brain can hold up, GO FOR IT. But, please, don't go in with an attitude of "I may not survive". I hope you don't quit, because that would hurt your ego more than anything else. And, let me tell you "ego" is something you must have in order to be a hacker. I truly believe that. If you don't believe in your game, you won't succeed.

Since you are starting kinda late, I would recommend you to pick up either .Net (Microsoft) or Ruby on Rails (for web development).

Go, Hackers!

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jungleboi in Hendersonville, Tennessee

36 months ago

Wayne Farmer in Winona, Minnesota said: Jungleboi, I suggest that if do choose a new direction, you make good use of your innate and acquired understanding of music, rhythm, and the recording industry. The application of technology toward entertainment is a growing trend; look at any smartphone...

Wayne... wow... wow! Thank you for that! how true! hmmm, may indeed just have to gear my thoughts in that direction! I've been a little apprehensive about the whole CS field, wheather or not just "doing that" change, either for the $, for the "fun of programming", or whatever reason, would indeed make the swap fulfilling in life to warrant it, especially at THIS stage of life for me. But ya know, I "feel" (and still SORTA look/act) 25 (yet maturely! lol), so why not try?! Yet, *sigh*, time IS ticking away in life. I just have SO much interest in life!! It's.. HUGE! Another passion of mine has become, over the past decade+, the whoooole God vs. evolution thing. I also somehow feel compelled toward looking at information sciences, which implies computing etc, and how that all plays into the discussion of "intelligent design", etc. (HUGE field of studies implied in all THAT!). But to me these days, there IS no bigger, more important issue in life than if God exists, and we are part of that "God plan", or if we're merely an insignificant, temporal blip in a universe vastly beyond (in MANY MANY ways) our comprehension. The implications to whichever side is "right" are STAGGERING!! It's a passion I have these days, deeply. Lots could be said.. no time/space on this site now. By the way.. we're both "Farmer"s! hey cuz!(?) :) (Steve Farmer here). Even though it's "just a name", it's one of those little "coincidences" that make me go hmmmm about "life things". Hope things are well in your (and everyone on here's!) life! :) ~Steve (GOTTA say... John 3:16-21)

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Epoe in New York, New York

36 months ago

hoapres in San Mateo, California said: Like what ??

CS degrees "type cast" the graduate. Try getting a NON CS job with a CS degree.

While moving out of CS is usually the best option due to the extremely grim job prospects, it is hard to do.

Well, I just hired a bunch of CS people to do Business Intelligence and Web Analytics. They have to know how to program, but they're definitely not software engineers. And, last time I checked analytics seemed to be a hot topic/field.

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Epoe in New York, New York

36 months ago

I hired 5 people total - 3 do BI and 2 do web analytics. None of them are from a top 10 school in CS...actually, probably not top 25 (although I have no idea what the top 10 schools are outside of CMU, MIT and Stanford).

2 are intro - relatively new out of college. One gentleman is in his 30's and received his CS degree years ago. One woman is in her late 20's has a degree in information systems with a minor in CS.

Right, i never said they had no experience. Their experience varies. Some of them have hands on BI/analytics experience at previous positions, but some of them volunteered and did things on their own to gain experience along with their degrees.

And, no I'm not a recruiter...I work for a media/digital company.

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Rick in Bradenton, Florida

36 months ago

Yosep Kim in Suwanee, Georgia said: We do have some old timers (early 40s+) at the current company I worked for. I also worked with a gentleman who was well over 50 before. He chose to stay as a software developer instead of climbing the ladder because that's what made him happy.

Rick, you are not too old. If you really want to do it and know that your brain can hold up, GO FOR IT. But, please, don't go in with an attitude of "I may not survive". I hope you don't quit, because that would hurt your ego more than anything else. And, let me tell you "ego" is something you must have in order to be a hacker. I truly believe that. If you don't believe in your game, you won't succeed.

Since you are starting kinda late, I would recommend you to pick up either .Net (Microsoft) or Ruby on Rails (for web development).

Go, Hackers!

Thanks for the advice, I'll do that. I know I'll be good at it. As I've been back in school I have been helping the math teachers teaching the math and suprise even myself at it. LOL

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Wayne Farmer in Winona, Minnesota

36 months ago

guest in San Jose, California said: Best of Luck

As you will need it.

Americans are prerejected for employment in software engineering due to H1B infestation and offshoring.

"guest", since you're in San Jose, I expect you're not seeing the whole picture. The Bay Area has a HUGE Asian presence; when I worked for Cisco Systems there in 2000, I was one of two older whites in a department of about 50 young (Asian) Indians, including my managers. That was 12 years ago, but I wouldn't expect the situation has changed much since.

Get out of the Bay Area and into the Midwest, where people say reg'-is-ter, not re-gis'-ter. You'll lower your cost of living, and you'll find the situation quite different. I do embedded software engineering for manufacturers, mostly C and Assembly in real-time systems, and have been able to find that employment in the South and Midwest for the last 25 years.

As I said in an earlier post in this thread, if you're willing to immediately relocate to a new job anywhere in the US, you greatly expand your job possibilities. Use Indeed.com and Dice.com where you can selectively target the opportunities that have the best matches for your education and experience. You'll still find competition; you need to be in the top 1% or 2% of applicants to get hired, but your resume will stand out if you are a great match for the job.

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Wayne Farmer in Winona, Minnesota

36 months ago

jungleboi in Hendersonville, Tennessee said: Wayne... wow... wow! Thank you for that! how true! hmmm, may indeed just have to gear my thoughts in that direction! I've been a little apprehensive about the whole CS field, wheather or not just "doing that" change, either for the $, for the "fun of programming", or whatever reason, would indeed make the swap fulfilling in life to warrant it, especially at THIS stage of life for me. But ya know, I "feel" (and still SORTA look/act) 25 (yet maturely! lol), so why not try?! Yet, *sigh*, time IS ticking away in life. I just have SO much interest in life!! It's.. HUGE! Another passion of mine has become, over the past decade+, the whoooole God vs. evolution thing. I also somehow feel compelled toward looking at information sciences, which implies computing etc, and how that all plays into the discussion of "intelligent design", etc. (HUGE field of studies implied in all THAT!). But to me these days, there IS no bigger, more important issue in life than if God exists, and we are part of that "God plan", or if we're merely an insignificant, temporal blip in a universe vastly beyond (in MANY MANY ways) our comprehension. The implications to whichever side is "right" are STAGGERING!! It's a passion I have these days, deeply. Lots could be said.. no time/space on this site now. By the way.. we're both "Farmer"s! hey cuz!(?) :) (Steve Farmer here). Even though it's "just a name", it's one of those little "coincidences" that make me go hmmmm about "life things". Hope things are well in your (and everyone on here's!) life! :) ~Steve (GOTTA say... John 3:16-21)

Steve, even with so much on your mind, you're surely aware that success in the direction you choose is more likely if you focus your thoughts and activities on that goal. Take some time off. Travel if you can. And while you do, form a plan for the next five years of your life. When you get home, put that plan into action, and keep working on it.

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Wayne Farmer in Winona, Minnesota

36 months ago

hoapres in San Mateo, California said: >> Steve, even with so much on your mind, you're surely aware that success in the direction you choose is more likely if you focus your thoughts and activities on that goal. Take some time off. Travel if you can. And while you do, form a plan for the next five years of your life. When you get home, put that plan into action, and keep working on it. <<

May not work.

Using your definition of "...need to be in the top 1%..." then what happens in the case that YOU are not in the top 1%. Just by definition then you have 99% that are NOT in the top 1%. Being optimistic and pursuing your goal is fine but a good healthy dose of realism never hurts.

That's why a job search can take months. You have to hit the right opportunity with the right skills, and then pass the phone interviews and the in-person interviews, and you have to score better on all those than the other applicants who have made it that far _at_that_time_. If you hit it right, the best and the brightest of your competition may be looking elsewhere then, preferring to work in California rather than a gritty town in the Rust Belt with lake-effect snow, for example.

Expect to have to take a contract or temporary position at first, and don't be greedy; know what is the minimum hourly rate that will buy you food and housing in your new location, and then accept anything that's not below that. If they ask you on Tuesday to start work next Monday in a city 2000 miles away, say YES, no problem, then pack your car and go. (Being single and a renter helps. You're mobile and available. If you're married and your wife doesn't want to move away from her family, so that you have to keep your job search local, then your job search will take much longer.)

And _network_! There are lots of recruiters out there looking to make money by getting you hired. Get them working for you.

Use LinkedIn heavily. Get connections and NETWORK.

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Wayne Farmer in Winona, Minnesota

36 months ago

hoapres in San Mateo, California said: >> ...You'll still find competition; you need to be in the top 1% or 2% of applicants to get hired, but your resume will stand out if you are a great match for the job. <<

Not everyone can just pack up and move. I also point out that Indeed dot com and Dice dot com job counts are bogus. It has been demonstrated that 90% of Dice job ads are fake.

You kind of prove my point with "...need to be in the top 1%...". Well how about the case that you are not a superbright genius. Then you won't be getting a job. The Midwest is a complete basketcase.

If the jobs really exist in the Midwest then why don't I see ads offering paid relocation. Unless you expect people to relocate before having a job.

Don't expect paid relocation. Take contract jobs in distant cities, even if the job may end in 6 months. You don't want to have gaps in your resume, and any recent experience make you look better and better. See my other post reply that talks about how to be in that top percentile.

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Wayne Farmer in Winona, Minnesota

36 months ago

hoapres in San Mateo, California said: Go to school for 4 years having $50K+ of student loan debt relocate across the country to start off at minimum wage.

Right

That makes sense

Maybe old fashioned but it is not totally unrealistic that one might want to enter a field such that one is not starving to get a job.

You're free to pick any field you want. Software Engineering is the one I chose as a teenager, and I still love it.

In our discussion, you've displayed bitterness, cynicism, and negativity. No employer wants to hire someone who feels that way. You'll have to change your attitude to be successful.

I've only told you what has worked for me over the past few years. Look at my LinkedIn profile and you'll see how it's turned out. Not much more I can say.

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saywhat in Columbus, Ohio

36 months ago

Getting into software at 31 should be fine. Though, you really should know by now, whether you're cut out for seriously technical work. One thing that many people have been exposed to is mathematics - so, if you were good at that (meaning, into the calculus level work), you probably have a chance at becoming a programmer. I'd say that for most jobs, programming is even a bit easier than math.

Key traits are focus and discipline. Raw talent is helpful but a methodical approach can even the playing field. Make sure you're able to concentrate for long periods and are willing to keep up with trends, even if it means spending an hour or so per day outside of work hours.

If you know you're good, a fast track approach could be getting in with a startup somewhere. They're less likely to auto-reject a resume for something petty (hopefully you interview well), though you may have to work insane hours for a few years.

You could also contribute to an open source project and use that recognition as a sort of reference.

FYI, my dad worked as a programmer up until age 63. He has some of the concerns others do about outsourcing & such - but really, at 31, I wouldn't worry about it. Starting after 40 might be questionable, but even then, it's not impossible I don't think.

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saywhat in Columbus, Ohio

36 months ago

hoapres in San Mateo, California said: It's not.

Americans are prerejected from the STEM fields due to H1B infestation and offshoring. And Yes, I really would be worried about trying to start software engineering at 31. If you have not made it by 30 then your chances for success are remote.

Your dad working as a programmer until 63 most likely started off in the 1970s. Well it is a different world today.

Eh, sorry, I just don't agree. It might be tough for someone who has never exhibited a strong left brain, but someone technical minded should be able to pull it off. 31 is not too young. Yeah, you might have to hustle for interviews - maybe a bunch of them - oh well. I started at 25 and am 33 now. Two guys I work with are physics PhD's who know what a -really- bad market is: it's called academia. I.T. is a paradise in comparison.

For someone who has never been identified as having an above-average academic ability, it could be risky. Otherwise, to give up at 31 is uncalled for.

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jen in Columbus, Ohio

36 months ago

My age is almost 50. I used to be a software engineer but was laid off 3 years ago. After 1+ years working on other stuff, I found my interest is still in software development. So I started to learn new language again, i got interviews but not land a job so far.
after each interview, I feel frustrated more. So I am shaking again, Shall I keep going or quit?
My little skill focus on c# and asp.net. Electrical Engineering background, master's degree, math tutor.
Please help me,thanks.

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Wayne Farmer in Winona, Minnesota

36 months ago

jen in Columbus, Ohio said: My age is almost 50. I used to be a software engineer but was laid off 3 years ago. After 1+ years working on other stuff, I found my interest is still in software development. So I started to learn new language again, i got interviews but not land a job so far.
after each interview, I feel frustrated more. So I am shaking again, Shall I keep going or quit?
My little skill focus on c# and asp.net. Electrical Engineering background, master's degree, math tutor.
Please help me,thanks.

Your EE and software skills would fit well into developing embedded systems; have you ever done that? Employers would be manufacturers looking to put smart sensors & controls into their products. Embedded gets into the web space too when it becomes an HTTP server and uses a PC's browser as its human interface. The master's degree is a plus.

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saywhat in Columbus, Ohio

36 months ago

IT jobs almost as tough to get as Physics jobs? LOL. Credibility = demolished. Hoapres, please find something better to do than peddle crappy advice on the internet. I had a feeling that you were full of it but now it's confirmed.

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jen in Columbus, Ohio

36 months ago

true. A friend just find a IT job after 4 years gap. but he is 30++.
My situation is different. Yes,I should do something else. My SE is finished. It is confirmed.

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Wayne Farmer in Winona, Minnesota

36 months ago

hoapres, please go away. You've more than expressed your point-of-view about "H1B infestation". I see a number of your posts have vanished from this forum, so perhaps the forum managers got tired of you, as well.

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Rick in Bradenton, Florida

36 months ago

Just wondering what everyone here thought of the MIS degree with a CS minor. I was thinking about getting in Project management. One of my friends does that and works for a good company. He said H1's don't get hired for that job because they are mostly kept grinding out code or stuck in a server room. I would like to program as I have done DBA stuff and liked programing forms, but I want a job after school. lol. Also, I cannot get a CS because of the amount of past credits I have so I have to settle for an MIS if I want a technical degree. (less credits required) Anyway any thoughts would be appreciated. If anyone can maybe give me any pointers. I do have a lot of technical backround. Network Admin, DBA, Wiring, computer repair, copier / printer repair, PLC controller repair etc.... I just want a change in career in the tech industry. I am also extremely good at math. Thanks

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Rick in Bradenton, Florida

36 months ago

hoapres in San Mateo, California said: I would abandon IT.

If you get an MIS degree then you probably should look at getting an MBA. The problem with CS is that it is EXTREMELY COMPETITIVE and while perhaps a SELECT FEW make good money the vast majority DO NOT.

So do you know anyone with an MIS degree? What kind of work do they do? My friend says he doesn't really do just IT projects he does engineering projects too. The reason I ask is because I want to know what eles is out there for this degree besides just managing projects. Abanoding IT, yes I thought of that but I have done it so long, its all I know how to do anymore. I thought of medical, but taking care of sick people is not really my thing. LOL

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Rick in Bradenton, Florida

36 months ago

hoapres in San Mateo, California said: The MIS people I know eventually winded up in management. An MIS degree in my humble opinion is pretty much worthless. You won't get a software engineering job with an MIS degree and the MIS degree won't be considered a "business" or "management" degree by corporate management. Those that say IT is great are those that don't realize the fact that trying to START OUT in IT is REAL GRIM.

The software development companies such as Microsoft, Facebook, Google, etc. almost ALWAYS insist that you have a degree from a TOP 10 SCHOOL. Google has a STRONG PREFERENCE for PhDs from a TOP 10 school.

A competitive applicant is EXPECTED to have SUBSTANTIAL WORK EXPERIENCE even PRIOR to graduation by perhaps being an open source committer, substantive internship experience, etc.

Yes, maybe management would be cool. What did those poeople start in? I have worked as a manager after my DBA job was moved. It wasn't IT related and wasn't really fun or challenging. It was mind numbing. I would like to work at Google and those others mentioned, but I don't think they would hire me. Way too far away, and way too out of my reach. LOL Who knows life's a gamble thanks for the input. I'll take it into consideration.

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saywhat in Columbus, Ohio

36 months ago

Starting in software right now is NOT extremely difficult if you have some talent. This is that last thing I'll post. Seriously, whoever says otherwise has NO idea. Don't listen to these people. Wow. There are NOT "legions of unemployed software engineers". You don't have to go to Harvard. Seriously, if you are smart, you can get a software job. Ugh. Idiots.

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Wayne Farmer in Winona, Minnesota

36 months ago

We need to hear this more reasonable appraisal of the current job market for Software Engineers.
news.dice.com/2012/03/08/job-hunt-software-engineer/

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Wayne Farmer in Winona, Minnesota

36 months ago

hoapres in San Mateo, California said: The MIS people I know eventually winded up in management. An MIS degree in my humble opinion is pretty much worthless. You won't get a software engineering job with an MIS degree and the MIS degree won't be considered a "business" or "management" degree by corporate management. Those that say IT is great are those that don't realize the fact that trying to START OUT in IT is REAL GRIM.

The software development companies such as Microsoft, Facebook, Google, etc. almost ALWAYS insist that you have a degree from a TOP 10 SCHOOL. Google has a STRONG PREFERENCE for PhDs from a TOP 10 school.

A competitive applicant is EXPECTED to have SUBSTANTIAL WORK EXPERIENCE even PRIOR to graduation by perhaps being an open source committer, substantive internship experience, etc.

Not sure about that. I graduated from the University of California in 1972, and from a no-name college in 1984. In the 2nd half of 2010 I received two invitations from members of the "Engineering Staffing Team at Google". They were interested in me based on my experience, not what college I attended.

hoapres, thanks for admitting that your statements are your opinion only, and that we shouldn't take your advice as definitive. As far as anonymity goes, why are you hiding? A link to your LinkedIn page (You DO have one, don't you? Any IT job seeker should) would be helpful is letting us assess your background and offer helpful suggestions.

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jeffreys913 in Des Moines, Iowa

36 months ago

I agree - completely infested. In fact infested is a perfect word. They are hoards that for the most part refuse to assimilate into the culture and choose to band together. They are overwhelming and destroying the market. I'd call that an infestation.

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jeffreys913 in Des Moines, Iowa

36 months ago

jeffreys913 in Des Moines, Iowa said: I agree - completely infested. In fact infested is a perfect word. They are hoards that for the most part refuse to assimilate into the culture and choose to band together. They are overwhelming and destroying the market. I'd call that an infestation.

In my opinion - of course.

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saywhat in Columbus, Ohio

36 months ago

Hoapres is either a crappy programmer, a troll, or a paranoid. H1's are attractive to bloated corporations that have existing employees who are highly paid. They figure they can cut costs by replacing those employees with folks who are willing to work for less (because demotions generally don't sit well with people). Eventually salaries will stabilize, and at some point an American native will be just as attractive as an H1, but with better communication skills. The industry will thrive. We are in the information age. And yeah, you can start at 31.

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saywhat in Columbus, Ohio

36 months ago

Hoapres is either a crappy programmer, a troll, or a paranoid. H1's are attractive to bloated corporations that have existing employees who are highly paid. They figure they can cut costs by replacing those employees with folks who are willing to work for less (because demotions generally don't sit well with people). Eventually salaries will stabilize, and at some point an American native will be just as attractive as an H1, but with better communication skills. The industry will thrive. We are in the information age. And yeah, you can start at 31.

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Wayne Farmer in Winona, Minnesota

36 months ago

hoapres in San Mateo, California said: Tough Luck.

The field is H1B infested.

hoapres, if all you say is true, what are you going to do about it? Sit in your expensive San Mateo dwelling and complain how unfair it is that the world is changing and becoming a global economy? (The cost of living in your area is 80% higher than in mine.) If you were to live in a house that was "infested" with insects, would you sit and complain that the roaches crawling over your body keep you awake at night? Would you whine that the government should come in and get rid of them for you?

Face the facts. The world changes, and the successful animals are the ones who ADAPT to changes. Look at the birds; do they sit and shiver in the snow when winter comes? NO! They fly to where there is food and warmth. Are you less intelligent than a sparrow?

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Wayne Farmer in Winona, Minnesota

36 months ago

hoapres in San Mateo, California said: The cost of living is NOT 80% greater in San Mateo than in Minnesota.

For my location in Minnesota, this site says it's 88%. Try a few other cities yourself:
www.bestplaces.net/col/

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Wayne Farmer in Winona, Minnesota

36 months ago

hoapres in San Mateo, California said: What if your site is wrong ??

Then pick another site. The US Govt's General Services Administration gives these per diem (daily) rates for 2012:

Winona, MN: $77 lodging, $46 food = $123 total.
San Mateo, CA: $111 lodging, $61 food = $172 total, an increase of 39.8%.

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vivek in Hyderabad, India

36 months ago

Vampire in Lakeland, Florida said: My Boss who is 43 right now was in resturant business till 36, when he moved to computers by getting an associates degree in information systems. he is doing ok and is a senior analyst now.. so jump right in my friend,,

if u have good managerial skills, its all you need to climb up the ladder; programmers have their limits and only coding skills cannot take one to the top !


Yes u r absolutely right
There is a lot of difference between coding and managerial skills.i too believe a lot to succeed with the help of managerial skills but basically before going to that position u should have the skills of coding also ..i am an engineering student of computer science before i worked as a supervisor as for 2 years after completion of my intermediate i know the value of managerial skills where the person can go with his strategies.

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crypticsailor in Old Westbury, New York

36 months ago

There's tons you can do about it, you're just lazy. When you get out of work, study, learn, build projects. Be enthusiastic about what you do! Its the easiest way to get experience. Being a good software developer is about always learning, you should have known that when you got into the field. It isn't like a Homer Simpson career where you just get the job and sit on your ass and get paid. You clearly must suck at your job if you think H1B's who in general lack proper communication skills in English and have gotten through school with a group mentality(aka cheating) can replace competent programmers. The world is always falling for losers; grow up and take responsibility, the world doesn't owe you anything.

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