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Career Advice

Bryce Verdier-2

Hello Fellow Bay Piggies,

I would really appreciate the help as I have an interesting situation that I can't seem to figure out.

My current job title is System Engineer. Although I do a fair amount of script writing (in python) I am performing a Systems Administrator job role. I took this job a little over a year ago because I had experience as such before I went back to school and I graduated during a pretty rough economy. I do not regret taking this job as I've learned some pretty cool things. However, I'm at the point where I realized I want my first programming job and I would really like it to be a python based job.

Somehow my resume looks good enough for me to get the occasional programming interview. But this is where the problem starts. While I do believe that scripting has helped me keep my programming skills from going completely dull, I don't spend forty plus hours a week doing it. Thus when I do enter an interview, the interviewer is asking me questions that I haven't seen or even thought about since I was in school. Or asking me about the esoteric aspects of a language that I don't get exposure to as scripting doesn't required them.

I realize that the economy still isn't great and that most companies aren't hiring junior level programmers right now, as there are enough mid-level programmers unemployed and willing to work for the same salary.

My question for the group is, what can I do to position myself better towards getting a junior developer job when those start to open up again? Or what should I prioritize in my studying to help me cross over from sys. admin. to developer? Are there any jobs that you guys are aware of that a hybrid job between these two roles that would help facilitate the cross over? I am aware of the option to program for an open source project, but I'm not sure which one. Though I am looking. ;)

Thanks in advance for your time and any thoughts you may share,
Bryce


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Re: Career Advice

Venkatraman S

On Tue, Feb 15, 2011 at 11:37 PM, Bryce Verdier <[hidden email]> wrote:
I am aware of the option to program for an open source project, but I'm not sure which one. Though I am looking. ;)


Why not try Python-core or Django or Pinax (check on the status of Pinax before you start though)?
Probably port a few apps over to Python 3?
Some experience with GAE would be an added icing to show that you can 'do' stuff?

Btw, you will learn hell a lot by just hanging around in #python or python-dev mailing list.
I have never committed anything in python, but did look at peephole optimization before the unladen
efforts took place - learnt hell a lot. Though i hardly touch that arena any more.

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Re: Career Advice

Bob Van Zant-4
In reply to this post by Bryce Verdier-2
As someone who has interviewed hundreds of developer candidates during
the past few years I can tell you that there are at least a few ways
to be a nice, smart guy or gal that doesn't get a job offer:

- No basic set of computer science fundamentals. Know the difference
in time and space complexity for various operations on lists, hash
tables and trees. You may never implement any of these data structures
but if you don't know how they work the likelihood of you choosing the
wrong one on the job is high. We're not looking for the next Knuth,
you just need the basics but most candidates seem to have never
learned them.

- Can't write good, clean, testable, maintainable code. There's no
faking this one. While you're writing code today focus on making it
better. How can it be more testable? How can you make it easier to
refactor in the future? More readable? Ask yourself these questions
every time you write code and eventually you'll start writing
beautiful stuff and you'll be able to speak intelligently about it
during an interview. Many open source projects have horrible code. Be
careful if you're using them as an example.

Probably every developer job I've ever interviewed for, on either side
of the table, has required these skills. On the interviewer side of
the table the majority of candidates fail on these two fronts.

By the way, eventbrite.com is hiring python people :-)

-Bob




On Tue, Feb 15, 2011 at 10:07 AM, Bryce Verdier <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hello Fellow Bay Piggies,
>
> I would really appreciate the help as I have an interesting situation that I
> can't seem to figure out.
>
> My current job title is System Engineer. Although I do a fair amount of
> script writing (in python) I am performing a Systems Administrator job role.
> I took this job a little over a year ago because I had experience as such
> before I went back to school and I graduated during a pretty rough economy.
> I do not regret taking this job as I've learned some pretty cool things.
> However, I'm at the point where I realized I want my first programming job
> and I would really like it to be a python based job.
>
> Somehow my resume looks good enough for me to get the occasional programming
> interview. But this is where the problem starts. While I do believe that
> scripting has helped me keep my programming skills from going completely
> dull, I don't spend forty plus hours a week doing it. Thus when I do enter
> an interview, the interviewer is asking me questions that I haven't seen or
> even thought about since I was in school. Or asking me about the esoteric
> aspects of a language that I don't get exposure to as scripting doesn't
> required them.
>
> I realize that the economy still isn't great and that most companies aren't
> hiring junior level programmers right now, as there are enough mid-level
> programmers unemployed and willing to work for the same salary.
>
> My question for the group is, what can I do to position myself better
> towards getting a junior developer job when those start to open up again? Or
> what should I prioritize in my studying to help me cross over from sys.
> admin. to developer? Are there any jobs that you guys are aware of that a
> hybrid job between these two roles that would help facilitate the cross
> over? I am aware of the option to program for an open source project, but
> I'm not sure which one. Though I am looking. ;)
>
> Thanks in advance for your time and any thoughts you may share,
> Bryce
>
> _______________________________________________
> Baypiggies mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To change your subscription options or unsubscribe:
> http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/baypiggies
>
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Re: Career Advice

jim-258
In reply to this post by Bryce Verdier-2

    seems like you're doing things right. keep doing.
get to know more python coders. take classes, teach
classes, join sprints (e.g. the PyPy sprint coming
up this March 5 and 6 at Noisebridge in SF) and join
hackerdojo, noisebridge, and superhappydev and other
such groups.
    as to open source projects, consider
http://openhatch.org/ 
which is a python-based open source project that
maps coders (and others) to needful projects.

    identify application areas you're interested in
and learn to use the available packages.
    be sure you know the tools for developing an app
from planning through coding and testing to build.
    Try to recall the questions you've been asked and
ensure you can answer them.



On Tue, 2011-02-15 at 10:07 -0800, Bryce Verdier wrote:

>
>
> Hello Fellow Bay Piggies,
>
>
> I would really appreciate the help as I have an interesting situation
> that I can't seem to figure out.
>
>
>
> My current job title is System Engineer. Although I do a fair amount
> of script writing (in python) I am performing a Systems Administrator
> job role. I took this job a little over a year ago because I had
> experience as such before I went back to school and I graduated during
> a pretty rough economy. I do not regret taking this job as I've
> learned some pretty cool things. However, I'm at the point where I
> realized I want my first programming job and I would really like it to
> be a python based job.
>
>
>
> Somehow my resume looks good enough for me to get the occasional
> programming interview. But this is where the problem starts. While I
> do believe that scripting has helped me keep my programming skills
> from going completely dull, I don't spend forty plus hours a week
> doing it. Thus when I do enter an interview, the interviewer is asking
> me questions that I haven't seen or even thought about since I was in
> school. Or asking me about the esoteric aspects of a language that I
> don't get exposure to as scripting doesn't required them.
>
>
>
> I realize that the economy still isn't great and that most companies
> aren't hiring junior level programmers right now, as there are enough
> mid-level programmers unemployed and willing to work for the same
> salary.
>
>
> My question for the group is, what can I do to position myself better
> towards getting a junior developer job when those start to open up
> again? Or what should I prioritize in my studying to help me cross
> over from sys. admin. to developer? Are there any jobs that you guys
> are aware of that a hybrid job between these two roles that would help
> facilitate the cross over? I am aware of the option to program for an
> open source project, but I'm not sure which one. Though I am
> looking. ;)
>
>
>
> Thanks in advance for your time and any thoughts you may share,
> Bryce
>
> _______________________________________________
> Baypiggies mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To change your subscription options or unsubscribe:
> http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/baypiggies

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Re: Career Advice

Glen Jarvis
In reply to this post by Venkatraman S
Bryce,

   I was in your shoes a few years ago. I felt so awkward at the interviews too because it felt like such a let-down after every interview. It was emotionally hard to go to an interview because I wanted to get the job, didn't, and I felt let down... disappointed.. and mostly discouraged....

   If you're in that situation now, it *does* get better :)  I promise :)  if you keep at it...  

   That isn't really the question that you asked though :(  

    So, for advice: I don't think it hurts to get a mentor. I found someone on BayPIGgies to be my Python mentor when I first started -- he gave me small assignments and we did code reviews -- although he started doing Ruby professionally and I didn't use that resource much at all the past few years (I really should have) :( 

    I also learned a lot by doing interviews. Painful or not, it was very educational. For example, I did a Python interview for a company stationed at Pivotal labs. It was the best interview in my life--so exciting. We had two screens: one on the left, and one on the right. The left had the beginning of a UnitTest. The one on the right was where we were to write Python. We implemented a small feature (just a lifo queue)... it was pair programming, so he started as we worked through issues and before the interview was over, I was doing real test-driven-development, driving and felt I "leveled up" (I'd been stuck on how to just "do" TDD for several years -- this was all I needed to get through it). That weekend I re-factored a good deal of my own code to have tests....

    I also took itty-bitty jobs on Elance and other sites until I improved my skills through practice. It didn't pay much, but it gave me real experience... 

    I personally don't have a silver bullet, I'm afraid....  But, if you can stick at it in your own time... you *will* eventually get there :)


Good luck, and keep at it! :)


Cheers,


Glen



On Tue, Feb 15, 2011 at 10:16 AM, Venkatraman S <[hidden email]> wrote:

On Tue, Feb 15, 2011 at 11:37 PM, Bryce Verdier <[hidden email]> wrote:
I am aware of the option to program for an open source project, but I'm not sure which one. Though I am looking. ;)


Why not try Python-core or Django or Pinax (check on the status of Pinax before you start though)?
Probably port a few apps over to Python 3?
Some experience with GAE would be an added icing to show that you can 'do' stuff?

Btw, you will learn hell a lot by just hanging around in #python or python-dev mailing list.
I have never committed anything in python, but did look at peephole optimization before the unladen
efforts took place - learnt hell a lot. Though i hardly touch that arena any more.

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To change your subscription options or unsubscribe:
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--
Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.

-- Goethe

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Re: Career Advice

Zachary Collins
  It's funny, because, I'm a software engineer who has little trouble
getting jobs, does really strongly in interviews, and have been at it
for years but... I don't really spend much time reviewing things like
algorithms and complexity.  Sure, I studied them in school, and it's
worth keeping them "on your mind", but I think recruiters and other
programmers kid themselves if they think that knowledge of that stuff
is decisive in their hiring habits.  You can know every algorithm in
the book and it won't necessarily make you a better or more attractive
hire.

  Because if it's useful and relevant, you'll learn it.  I know alot
about algorithmic complexity and algorithms only because they apply to
my work on a regular basis.  I say, if you're really looking for a way
to get up to speed on the relevant skills to make a good impression,
do it the same way you did it with learning your first language, how
you learned to ride your bike, or how you learnt to drive:  just do
it, alot.  Find anything, at all, that seems interesting and primarily
focuses in programming, and start doing it alot in your spare time.
My gateway drug (and to this day I still get my jollies from) was
programming video games, might be worth considering.

   The best programmers in the world are the ones who just have
buckled a certain amount of hours down.  Your code will be cleaner,
your knowledge of algorithms will be wider, and everything that is
relevant to your area will become clearer naturally as you explore
programming fully on your own.  Don't waste time with classes or books
unless they are interesting and motivate you to code more.  Don't
believe that there's a magic formula of smarts and advice that's going
to give you a secret edge.  The edge is experience.

  That's my feeling.  It's not remotely hard or worth worrying about.
Just do it.  Anyone can program well.

2011/2/15 Glen Jarvis <[hidden email]>:

> Bryce,
>    I was in your shoes a few years ago. I felt so awkward at the interviews
> too because it felt like such a let-down after every interview. It was
> emotionally hard to go to an interview because I wanted to get the job,
> didn't, and I felt let down... disappointed.. and mostly discouraged....
>    If you're in that situation now, it *does* get better :)  I promise :)
>  if you keep at it...
>    That isn't really the question that you asked though :(
>     So, for advice: I don't think it hurts to get a mentor. I found someone
> on BayPIGgies to be my Python mentor when I first started -- he gave me
> small assignments and we did code reviews -- although he started doing Ruby
> professionally and I didn't use that resource much at all the past few years
> (I really should have) :(
>     I also learned a lot by doing interviews. Painful or not, it was very
> educational. For example, I did a Python interview for a company stationed
> at Pivotal labs. It was the best interview in my life--so exciting. We had
> two screens: one on the left, and one on the right. The left had the
> beginning of a UnitTest. The one on the right was where we were to write
> Python. We implemented a small feature (just a lifo queue)... it was pair
> programming, so he started as we worked through issues and before the
> interview was over, I was doing real test-driven-development, driving and
> felt I "leveled up" (I'd been stuck on how to just "do" TDD for several
> years -- this was all I needed to get through it). That weekend
> I re-factored a good deal of my own code to have tests....
>     I also took itty-bitty jobs on Elance and other sites until I improved
> my skills through practice. It didn't pay much, but it gave me real
> experience...
>     I personally don't have a silver bullet, I'm afraid....  But, if you can
> stick at it in your own time... you *will* eventually get there :)
>
> Good luck, and keep at it! :)
>
> Cheers,
>
> Glen
>
>
> On Tue, Feb 15, 2011 at 10:16 AM, Venkatraman S <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> On Tue, Feb 15, 2011 at 11:37 PM, Bryce Verdier <[hidden email]>
>> wrote:
>>>
>>> I am aware of the option to program for an open source project, but I'm
>>> not sure which one. Though I am looking. ;)
>>>
>>
>> Why not try Python-core or Django or Pinax (check on the status of Pinax
>> before you start though)?
>> Probably port a few apps over to Python 3?
>> Some experience with GAE would be an added icing to show that you can 'do'
>> stuff?
>>
>> Btw, you will learn hell a lot by just hanging around in #python or
>> python-dev mailing list.
>> I have never committed anything in python, but did look at peephole
>> optimization before the unladen
>> efforts took place - learnt hell a lot. Though i hardly touch that arena
>> any more.
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> Baypiggies mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> To change your subscription options or unsubscribe:
>> http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/baypiggies
>
>
>
> --
> Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter
> least.
>
> -- Goethe
>
> _______________________________________________
> Baypiggies mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To change your subscription options or unsubscribe:
> http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/baypiggies
>
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Re: Career Advice

Nick Stinemates-2
In reply to this post by Bryce Verdier-2
You may want to look in to a QA Engineer role. Developing tools to aid testing is a good stepping stone for honing your understanding of delivering quality software and coding skills.

Good luck

Nick


On Tue, Feb 15, 2011 at 10:07 AM, Bryce Verdier <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hello Fellow Bay Piggies,

I would really appreciate the help as I have an interesting situation that I can't seem to figure out.

My current job title is System Engineer. Although I do a fair amount of script writing (in python) I am performing a Systems Administrator job role. I took this job a little over a year ago because I had experience as such before I went back to school and I graduated during a pretty rough economy. I do not regret taking this job as I've learned some pretty cool things. However, I'm at the point where I realized I want my first programming job and I would really like it to be a python based job.

Somehow my resume looks good enough for me to get the occasional programming interview. But this is where the problem starts. While I do believe that scripting has helped me keep my programming skills from going completely dull, I don't spend forty plus hours a week doing it. Thus when I do enter an interview, the interviewer is asking me questions that I haven't seen or even thought about since I was in school. Or asking me about the esoteric aspects of a language that I don't get exposure to as scripting doesn't required them.

I realize that the economy still isn't great and that most companies aren't hiring junior level programmers right now, as there are enough mid-level programmers unemployed and willing to work for the same salary.

My question for the group is, what can I do to position myself better towards getting a junior developer job when those start to open up again? Or what should I prioritize in my studying to help me cross over from sys. admin. to developer? Are there any jobs that you guys are aware of that a hybrid job between these two roles that would help facilitate the cross over? I am aware of the option to program for an open source project, but I'm not sure which one. Though I am looking. ;)

Thanks in advance for your time and any thoughts you may share,
Bryce


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Re: Career Advice

Steve Piercy
In reply to this post by Bryce Verdier-2
The best time to interview for a new career is when you have a
job.  If you don't get hired, you still have a job to fall back on.

But why limit yourself to a job?  Why not go down the path of
entrepreneur and create your own career?  While working
full-time, I moonlighted and started building up a client base
as a freelance web application developer.  After doing that for
a dozen years and building up a sufficient savings cushion, I
launched my own business.  I set aside my fears of not having
medical benefits, a retirement account or steady income and just
went for it.

I reckoned the worst that could happen would be that I would
have to get another job when my savings ran out.  I'm now
approaching my third year in business for myself, and my only
regret is that I didn't do it sooner.  I have greater
flexibility with retirement savings and investment, health care
is affordable, and although my income fluctuates on a monthly
basis, it levels out on a semi-annual basis.  And I love what I
do for a living.

Anyway, if you go the job route, in addition to what has already
been stated:

* Teaching, training and generally showing that you like to help
people to help themselves will take you very far.

* Go through a couple product development cycles as a project
manager.  Show that you can lead and get things done.

* Carve out a niche.  What do you enjoy doing beside programming
and geeking out?  Write an application that supports your
interest and fills a niche.  Deploy it and release it.

Best of luck!

--steve


On 2/15/11 at 10:07 AM, [hidden email] (Bryce Verdier) pronounced:

>Hello Fellow Bay Piggies,
>
>I would really appreciate the help as I have an interesting
>situation that I can't seem to figure out.
>
>My current job title is System Engineer. Although I do a fair
>amount of script writing (in python) I am performing a Systems
>Administrator job role. I took this job a little over a year
>ago because I had experience as such before I went back to
>school and I graduated during a pretty rough economy. I do not
>regret taking this job as I've learned some pretty cool things.
>However, I'm at the point where I realized I want my first
>programming job and I would really like it to be a python based job.
>
>Somehow my resume looks good enough for me to get the
>occasional programming interview. But this is where the problem
>starts. While I do believe that scripting has helped me keep my
>programming skills from going completely dull, I don't spend
>forty plus hours a week doing it. Thus when I do enter an
>interview, the interviewer is asking me questions that I
>haven't seen or even thought about since I was in school. Or
>asking me about the esoteric aspects of a language that I don't
>get exposure to as scripting doesn't required them.
>
>I realize that the economy still isn't great and that most
>companies aren't hiring junior level programmers right now, as
>there are enough mid-level programmers unemployed and willing
>to work for the same salary.
>
>My question for the group is, what can I do to position myself
>better towards getting a junior developer job when those start
>to open up again? Or what should I prioritize in my studying to
>help me cross over from sys. admin. to developer? Are there any
>jobs that you guys are aware of that a hybrid job between these
>two roles that would help facilitate the cross over? I am aware
>of the option to program for an open source project, but I'm
>not sure which one. Though I am looking. ;)
>
>Thanks in advance for your time and any thoughts you may share,
>Bryce
>
>
>
>-----
>_______________________________________________
>Baypiggies mailing list
>[hidden email]
>To change your subscription options or unsubscribe:
>http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/baypiggies

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
-- --
Steve Piercy               Web Site Builder              
Soquel, CA
<[hidden email]>                  <http://www.StevePiercy.com/>

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Re: Career Advice

Aahz
On Tue, Feb 15, 2011, Steve Piercy - Web Site Builder wrote:
>
> But why limit yourself to a job?  Why not go down the path of
> entrepreneur and create your own career?  While working full-time, I
> moonlighted and started building up a client base as a freelance web
> application developer.  After doing that for a dozen years and
> building up a sufficient savings cushion, I launched my own
> business.  I set aside my fears of not having medical benefits, a
> retirement account or steady income and just went for it.

Why not?  Because some of us just don't have the personality for it.
After painful experience, I've learned that I need to be part of a team,
and it's a lot easier to be part of a team doing a steady job.
--
Aahz ([hidden email])           <*>         http://www.pythoncraft.com/

"Programming language design is not a rational science. Most reasoning
about it is at best rationalization of gut feelings, and at worst plain
wrong."  --GvR, python-ideas, 2009-03-01
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Re: Career Advice

Steve Piercy
On 2/15/11 at 7:49 PM, [hidden email] (Aahz) pronounced:

>Why not?  Because some of us just don't have the personality for it.
>After painful experience, I've learned that I need to be part of a team,
>and it's a lot easier to be part of a team doing a steady job.

Agree on the personality traits.  Self-employment is not for all people.

Disagree strongly on the team aspect.  I have formed more and
better teams and professional relationships since going solo.  
It's hard to pin down the exact reason for that, but I would
attribute it mostly to these differences:

* I work on things for which I have a personal interest, whereas
while employed I seldom had a choice of what to work on.  My
teammates share that same interest (usually they are a small
business owner or organization) and the enthusiasm is contagious.

* I have the potential for earning a great deal more, whereas
while employed I was stuck at a salary level with little
opportunity for growth.  As part of my compensation, I can
negotiate a stake in projects.  My teammates usually have a
similar stake, and so are motivated as well.  For me the reward
has been worth taking the risk.

* My clients express their appreciation for my work and efforts,
whereas in a job I rarely got thanked or felt appreciated.

--steve

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
-- --
Steve Piercy               Web Site Builder              
Soquel, CA
<[hidden email]>                  <http://www.StevePiercy.com/>

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Re: Career Advice

Aahz
On Wed, Feb 16, 2011, Steve Piercy - Web Site Builder wrote:

> On 2/15/11 at 7:49 PM, [hidden email] (Aahz) pronounced:
>>
>>Why not?  Because some of us just don't have the personality for it.
>>After painful experience, I've learned that I need to be part of a team,
>>and it's a lot easier to be part of a team doing a steady job.
>
> Agree on the personality traits.  Self-employment is not for all people.
>
> Disagree strongly on the team aspect.  I have formed more and better
> teams and professional relationships since going solo.  It's hard to
> pin down the exact reason for that, but I would attribute it mostly
> to these differences:
>
> * I work on things for which I have a personal interest, whereas
> while employed I seldom had a choice of what to work on.  My
> teammates share that same interest (usually they are a small
> business owner or organization) and the enthusiasm is contagious.

Both of my two most recent jobs gave me lots of freedom.  Even in my
previous jobs at larger companies, I got a fair amount of freedom.  I
guess that's a perk of being skilled (combined with a personality that
refuses pigeon-holing).

> * I have the potential for earning a great deal more, whereas while
> employed I was stuck at a salary level with little opportunity for
> growth.  As part of my compensation, I can negotiate a stake in
> projects.  My teammates usually have a similar stake, and so are
> motivated as well.  For me the reward has been worth taking the
> risk.

Financial reward generally means little to me (past a "minimum wage" for
my skill level).  I could easily get more money, but at the cost of other
things that are important to me.

> * My clients express their appreciation for my work and efforts,
> whereas in a job I rarely got thanked or felt appreciated.

That has varied significantly for me.  In my current job, I always get
direct appreciation for my efforts on at least a weekly basis and
usually more frequently.  It's one of the best jobs I've ever had.
--
Aahz ([hidden email])           <*>         http://www.pythoncraft.com/

"Programming language design is not a rational science. Most reasoning
about it is at best rationalization of gut feelings, and at worst plain
wrong."  --GvR, python-ideas, 2009-03-01
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Re: Career Advice

Bryce Verdier-2
In reply to this post by Glen Jarvis
First off, thank you everyone who has commented. I really appreciate the time people took to try and help me out with this. Also, thank you Glen for adding the emotional content to the emails and for the words of encouragement. ;) The situation has been extremely frustrating. But I digress.

I honestly do like the idea of having a mentor. There are lots of things that one can learn on one's own, but I honestly feel that the whole learning process can be sped up with a mentor. Not only that, it's always good to have someone review your code. I think it keeps you in the habit of good programming practices. Instead of getting lazy with your "home" projects and then starting to develop bad habits.

So... would anyone who has been following this thread mind being my python programming mentor?

Bryce


On 02/15/2011 10:48 AM, Glen Jarvis wrote:
Bryce,

   I was in your shoes a few years ago. I felt so awkward at the interviews too because it felt like such a let-down after every interview. It was emotionally hard to go to an interview because I wanted to get the job, didn't, and I felt let down... disappointed.. and mostly discouraged....

   If you're in that situation now, it *does* get better :)  I promise :)  if you keep at it...  

   That isn't really the question that you asked though :(  

    So, for advice: I don't think it hurts to get a mentor. I found someone on BayPIGgies to be my Python mentor when I first started -- he gave me small assignments and we did code reviews -- although he started doing Ruby professionally and I didn't use that resource much at all the past few years (I really should have) :( 

    I also learned a lot by doing interviews. Painful or not, it was very educational. For example, I did a Python interview for a company stationed at Pivotal labs. It was the best interview in my life--so exciting. We had two screens: one on the left, and one on the right. The left had the beginning of a UnitTest. The one on the right was where we were to write Python. We implemented a small feature (just a lifo queue)... it was pair programming, so he started as we worked through issues and before the interview was over, I was doing real test-driven-development, driving and felt I "leveled up" (I'd been stuck on how to just "do" TDD for several years -- this was all I needed to get through it). That weekend I re-factored a good deal of my own code to have tests....

    I also took itty-bitty jobs on Elance and other sites until I improved my skills through practice. It didn't pay much, but it gave me real experience... 

    I personally don't have a silver bullet, I'm afraid....  But, if you can stick at it in your own time... you *will* eventually get there :)


Good luck, and keep at it! :)


Cheers,


Glen



On Tue, Feb 15, 2011 at 10:16 AM, Venkatraman S <[hidden email]> wrote:

On Tue, Feb 15, 2011 at 11:37 PM, Bryce Verdier <[hidden email]> wrote:
I am aware of the option to program for an open source project, but I'm not sure which one. Though I am looking. ;)


Why not try Python-core or Django or Pinax (check on the status of Pinax before you start though)?
Probably port a few apps over to Python 3?
Some experience with GAE would be an added icing to show that you can 'do' stuff?

Btw, you will learn hell a lot by just hanging around in #python or python-dev mailing list.
I have never committed anything in python, but did look at peephole optimization before the unladen
efforts took place - learnt hell a lot. Though i hardly touch that arena any more.

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