samantha sjatkins at mac.com
Fri Jun 4 20:29:55 UTC 2010

Adrian Tymes wrote:
> --- On Fri, 6/4/10, Tom Nowell <nebathenemi at yahoo.co.uk> wrote:
>> If these jobs do exist en
>> masse, they're not hiring anywhere near where I live
> Moving may sometimes help with finding new jobs.  For
> example, it is much easier to find work as a software
> engineer, or almost anything having to do with biotech,
> in Silicon Valley than in most rural areas in the US.
> (It is somewhat easier than many other urban areas,
> too, but most of the time if this advice applies, the
> one being advised is living in an area that does not
> have much employment at all - though often just enough
> to offer a slim, and often false, hope of maybe
> finding a job locally.)
> The relative ease of finding work in cities is a
> large part of why urbanization happened, and is
> continuing to happen.  ("Relative" must be emphasized,
> though: that can be 50% odds of finding a job vs. 15%,
> or 5% vs. 0%.  Either way, it's higher.)
>> Adrian also wrote in a different message on the same topic
>> that if people find themselves without marketable skills,
>> they will retrain themselves until they do have marketable
>> skills. Again, my reality shows this requires a lot of work
>> and no short-term prospects of a new job.
> This is true.  I was refuting the concept of permanent
> unemployment (as in, you'd never have a job again, not even
> in 10 or 20 or 100 years, no matter what you did).  While
> there is short term unemployment, people can and do
> eventually retrain themselves given a long enough drought of
> work.  Sorry if this was not clear.
>> For all you may
>> study subjects, there's no qualification employers like more
>> than recent experience in a similar role, so skills without
>> work experience will put you behind people with experience
>> in the interview shortlisting.
> Trick: claim recent experience doing X for a non-profit
> operation, that you've been doing on the side while looking
> for work.  As it happens, said non-profit is also a sole
> proprietorship, and you are your own supervisor.  (Without
> the corpspeak, this is "I've been doing X as a hobby".  The
> corpspeak shows that you can think of X as a formal,
> organized project, compatible with being done in a business
> environment.)

In software, create or join an Open Source and get a bit of a name as at 
least a contributor.   You hone skills, have references and build a 

>> Also, employers prefer formal qualifications to informal
>> study.
> Software engineering in the dot-com era - which, granted,
> was about 10 years ago.  But still, one can get into
> industries without formal study when there's a need.
Actually, employers prefer someone that can demonstrate some skill in an 
interview and have a reference or two.  They may not pay you as much as 
someone with more experience if you are new to the area but they will be 
delighted to have someone with half a demonstrable brain.    There are 
tons and tons of people with great formal credentials and years of 
experience who fail miserably in the interview to convince anyone they 
have what it takes for the job.   The only trick is getting to the 
interview for a newcomer.

>> Furthermore, qualifications that are
>> obviously commercially valuable tend to be priced more
>> highly - look at how much it costs for Microsoft's MCSE

Not worth the paper it is written on.  These things are not going to 
convince a savvy interview team you can do anything but collect credentials.

> MCSE, like most vendor-provided qualifications in the
> software industry, is bullshit and worthless.  Few
> employers I know care about it, except for low-wage jobs.
> The only "formal qualification" that counts is a college
> degree - BS or higher - in Computer Science or a
> relevant field.  Granted, that does cost money to get,
> though there exist scholarships and student loans for
> precisely this reason.
I don't even care about a college degree in software.  I care about 
experience of any kind including open source.  I care much more about a 
burning passion to create and demonstrable skill (in the interview) at 
software design and implementation.    I have interviewed countless MS 
and higher people who can't demonstrably think, design or code their way 
out of a paper bag and don't demonstrably know even the most fundamental 
of algorithms well enough to use it in a toy problem much less bend and 
mutilate it a bit.   I have interviewed countless experienced people who 
have done some good even great thinks in the past but are burned out and 
are only looking for a paycheck for investing as little of themselves as 
possible.   They are too bored or something usually to actually do well 
with interview questions.  If they do reasonably well but that spark is 
low then I may recommend them hoping it can be reignited. 

- samantha

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