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Er, are there jobs?

By Fyndalf in Technology
Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 09:31:06 AM EST
Tags: Help! (Ask Kuro5hin) (all tags)
Help! (Ask Kuro5hin)

Looking around various headhunter type sites, I see there are still postings. I'm still a student, so I've not been following this closely. But it occurs to me that since I'm graduating soonish, I should be aware of the statistics involved here. How picky can a newly graduated programmer with some co-op experience afford to be when job shopping now? How about in a year and a half from now? I turned to the great oracle known as 'Google' for aid and was disappointed in what I found.

I was hoping to find historical statistics on monster.com or something to see the change in number of postings over time for different industries, or a site where someone had compiled similar numbers. No such luck. Any information I did manage to find is dated. I am not an HR person, but you'd think information on employment statistics for programmers wouldn't be very hard to find, and that it would be reasonably up to date. This does not appear to be the case. Am I just looking in the wrong places? Does anyone have some pointers?

The best site I found was a bit regional, but that's fine since it's the region I'm most interested in at the moment (Canada). Unfortunately, it was written in 1998 when the outlook for the IT industry was a wee bit different than in 2001. I found a lot of similar information on less comprehensive sites that was also similarly dated.

In fact, the information is sufficiently sparse and contradictory that I don't even know if there is are more coding jobs than unemployed programmers or more unemployed programmers than available jobs. I can't find this for the U.S. or the world in general, let alone my country specifically.

Or is the reason I can't find this information that it takes about 3 years to compile this type of statistic, hence the glut of 1998-1999ish vintage results?


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What is the programmer to job ratio
o > 1 too many coders 51%
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Er, are there jobs? | 42 comments (40 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
I Haven't tried but (4.00 / 3) (#1)
by Phage on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 12:18:39 AM EST

Many Universities keep track of who has a job and who does not by using exit interviews/questionaires. Then use it as a marketing tool to show that their graduates are more employable than equivalent institutions.
Well, they do in good ol' Oz anyway.

Another possibility would be the websites of the larger headhunters who sometimes publish this sort of material.

I don't find Heathens to be sexy, as a general rule.

Yep (4.00 / 1) (#5)
by KnightStalker on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 02:10:09 AM EST

Talk to your career services office. They may be clueless in many ways, but they probably have connections with at least a few major employers per major, and they can tell you the conditions there and what sort of people they're looking for.

[ Parent ]
There ARE still jobs... (4.50 / 2) (#2)
by daystar on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 12:19:16 AM EST

... just not as many.

The thing is, when 60% of the jobs go away, they're generally shaved off of the lesser-skilled end. If you're good, you can still get a job. I know companies that still turn people away because they can't find anyone qualified enough to do what they need done. They're ALWAYS looking for people. There is a bit more pressure to hold down salaries, but it's still better than most industries (I'm assuming IT here...).

It does get much harder to break into IT during lean times. When the dot-coms were flying high, they'ed hire ANYONE, and if you were smart, you could work that into experience and a "real" job. Now, noone can afford to take a chance on a less experienced person, so the field gets artificially tilted towards people with experience.

There is no God, and I am his prophet.

Well, according to the headhunters I'm working wit (4.83 / 6) (#3)
by SvnLyrBrto on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 12:28:39 AM EST

There are still plenty of jobs out there for real programmers, but everybody's much more pickey in this economy. If you're a webmonkey tho, forget it. The industry needs more e-commerce sites and portal wannabes like it needs swift kick in the teeth.

That said, those jobs are damn hard to get these days. And it's hard as hell even to jam your foot in the door too.

I've been out of college for three years now and the bulk of my recent experience has been as a QA engineer. Problem is, when companies tighten the belt, jobs that are seen as more of a "support" role (like mine), get cut first. QA, operations, systems, and IT feel it before the developers.

I leave it to the imagination of the reader as to what happens when developers are trusted to write bug-free code and the QA cycle goes away. That, and what happens to the development cluster when J. Random Engineer plays "admin for a day" because systems is gone. Suffice it to say, my ex-employer is not doing so well and has had a couple more rounds of layoffs.

And unless you're a "rock star" programmer, entry-level guys fresh out of school are probably going to feel the pain too.

Sure, Greenspan claims that the recession has bottomed out, and it only should get better from here. And the pundits point to a slow rise in the markets.

But I'm disinclined to look at the stock market as a sign of the economy. So I "lost" all of my paper gains. Whoop De Doo... I'm just selling off enough to "lose" 3K a year and taking mongo deductions until things return to normal. Hell, it's all fake anyway.

*I* think that a much better indication of the economy is the ease of finding a job. And from THAT perspective, things still stink. Two years ago, it was as easy as 1) put resume on internet, 2) take pick from any of a dozen offers. NOW, I've been unemployed for three months, and the job hunt is an annoying, grueling, fusterating exercise in paitence and perserverence.

Damn... I miss the Clinton economy. I can't wait for things to get back to normal. I just hope we don't have to wait four years till the shrub is out on its ass for the economy to crawl out of the toilet.


Imagine all the people...

Don't blame Bush here.. (4.75 / 4) (#4)
by BigZaphod on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 01:57:31 AM EST

"Damn... I miss the Clinton economy. I can't wait for things to get back to normal. I just hope we don't have to wait four years till the shrub is out on its ass for the economy to crawl out of the toilet."

Ok, this part is just uncalled for. I mean, I'm not a huge Bush supporter here (although I voted for him at the time I'm now not so sure that was a good idea). This economy is hardly his fault. Something that big and complex takes a long time for changes to ripple though it. Besides, how did Bush cause the massive overvaluation of stock that existed before this crash we're in right now? Clinton sure didn't do anything to make all that overvaluation somehow more "real" either. In fact, the president has nothing whatsoever to do with the economy. Alan Greenspan is still in office same as with Clinton and he probably has the most control of it of anyone. So if you want someone to blame, he's your guy. After all, he's the one who messes with that interest rate number all the time...

Of course that probably didn't cause it either. The real cause is more likely simply stupid investors pouring money into companies that just crashed and burned because they were dumb ideas to begin with. None of which anyone had much control over except the people with the money. And they were all having too much fun.

"We're all patients, there are no doctors, our meds ran out a long time ago and nobody loves us." - skyknight
[ Parent ]
Hmmm (3.00 / 2) (#11)
by Simon Kinahan on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 07:58:17 AM EST

OK, here's the conspiracy theory:

Its odd how there was absolutely no talk of a recession in the US until Bush got in. Immediately thereafter, and especially in the run-up to his trying to push the tax cut through congress, he started talking down the economy. Now, does that look like a tactic to disarm democratic opposition to the cut, or what ?


If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
*sigh* (4.50 / 4) (#13)
by finkployd on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 08:52:50 AM EST

There was talk of recession in the US long before the elections. In fact it was showing around the time of the primaries. If doesn't take someone with a doctorate in Economics to see why this happened. Every loser who could pound on a keyboard and pronounce the word "portal" got millions in VC money and IPO money. Clinton didn't preside over a successful economy, he took credit for a false one. All of my econ professors for the last few years talked about how fake the economic bubble was and how it was sure to burst. Hell, it needed to burst.

I don't blame Bush for talking down the economy, I blame Clinton for NOT talking it down when it could have corrected itself without hurting millions of people financially.

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
[ Parent ]
Irrational Exuberance (4.66 / 3) (#15)
by wiredog on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 09:20:33 AM EST

Greenspan said that in, what, 96? 98? And the NASDAQ began to tank in April of 2000. Bush and Clinton had nothing to do with either the bubble, or the bust. It's just the regular turning of the economic cycle. I've seen a few of the turns in my time.

Christ, I sound like an Old Fart. 36 is too young to be an Old Fart, isn't it?

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
[ Parent ]

Nah (4.00 / 1) (#25)
by jayfoo2 on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 11:15:20 PM EST

I'm becoming a G-d (notice the abbreviation, thanks gramps) old fart and I'm still on the sunny side of 30.

[ Parent ]
I wasn't being serious (4.50 / 2) (#16)
by Simon Kinahan on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 10:03:21 AM EST

It just looked kind of funny from over here. Thats all. One minute there's a boom, the next Bush gets in and *poof* there's a recession. I do suspect Bush overplayed the recession card to get that tax-cut passed, but you're right: there was one coming anyway.

However, the reason I'm bothering to reply is to point out that the boom that just ended did have genuine elements to it. There was a substantial increase in the productivity of labour, especially in computer manufacturing. There was also bit more to the irration exuberance than just the .coms: they were really a very small, but overhyped part of the total market. Telecoms firms and others were a bigger proportion of the lost stock market value, in spite of having been less overvalued, because they were bigger to begin with. For a spell the oil price was also unusually low due to a failure of the OPEC price management mechanisms.


If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
Bubble (none / 0) (#31)
by dennis on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 12:55:24 PM EST

In March 2000 I saw a graph of the overall price/earnings ratio of the Nasdaq. It was an exponential curve, and it was in the steep part. The stock bubble we just went through was more extreme than the peak in 1929. And it wasn't just stocks, it was consumer debt, all sorts of things. Of course it's all crashing around our ears.

[ Parent ]
Agreed (5.00 / 3) (#7)
by vrai on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 04:16:45 AM EST

Good programmers / software engineers will always be able to find work. The job market seems worse than 18 months ago because back then anyone with 8 minutes HTML experience could get a job as a 'web programmer'.

Here in London the downturn has been seen as a handy way to trim the deadwood (i.e. all the VB 'programmers') rather than an all out sack-fest.

Make sure you have strong c/c++ and java knowledge and you'll be fine.

[ Parent ]

Economics 101 (4.00 / 3) (#12)
by finkployd on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 08:46:53 AM EST

If an economy gets overinflated, like it did when every webmonkey who could bang on a keyboard got millions in VC money and IPO'd the next day, then it will eventually collapse. Clinton presided over a fake economy, one devoid of any real stability or long term gain. It made him look good but even he couldn't hold it up before he left (if you recall, it started collapsing before the recent election).

So to summerize, trust me, you do not want another Clinton economy, and it was nowhere near 'normal'. A slow, steady increase is normal, a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs is not.

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
[ Parent ]
Economics 102 (4.00 / 2) (#22)
by SeaCrazy on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 03:13:14 PM EST

There is nothing "normal" in economy.

[ Parent ]
Touche (none / 0) (#30)
by finkployd on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 09:24:18 AM EST

See title :)

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
[ Parent ]
Agreed. (5.00 / 1) (#6)
by fink on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 02:36:45 AM EST

There doesn't appear, to my mind, to be as many jobs for programming types as there was a year ago.

I'm (un)lucky enough to live in Brisbane, Australia, where things seem to be particularly bad. The few IT companies that are up here, aren't hiring - and often are firing! If they are hiring, they're after people with >3 years experience, *or* they're in Sydney or Melbourne (either of which I'm reluctant to move to, for various reasons).

I know of at least one IS-type student who had to apply for >100 jobs just to get one - and that was a 3 month contract, so they're back in the looking-for-work queue.

It seems marginally better than that for me (my interest lies with systems and networks administration, even though my degree is in software engineering), but it's still bad. This time last year, I turned away three jobs - this year I'm definitely regretting that act.

Good luck all the same - you might have to take something you "don't like" at first, but it's all experience - and the more experience you have, the better it looks for you.

A year is a long time - if there were "heaps" of jobs (anecdotal, maybe I was just lucky!) last year, there might be next year. Then again, there might not. Such is life in a reasonably fast moving field...


If you think Brisbane is bad... (4.66 / 3) (#35)
by kb575 on Tue Oct 23, 2001 at 02:46:28 AM EST

...try Canberra. I was lucky/stupid enough to land said 3 month contract out of uni, 2 years ago. It was a government run institution, but not a well funded department. I wasn't allowed near anything for 2.5 of the 3 months, and I didn't even get an email address fo rthe first 6 weeks. However, I did leave with 'experience in the field' and that helped me land a job at the company I'm at now. In 2 years, I've gone from the guy who gets the coffee, to the guy who orders the coffee...A little hard work and some initiative, and bingo 6 figures and a chance to do some work globally, with an expanding IT company. You never know with the 'bad' jobs unless you try them...

[ Parent ]
[Poll] Ratio (2.33 / 3) (#8)
by Vs on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 04:43:31 AM EST

I think(!= know) the industry needs programmers but can't afford them -- at least the software remains kinda crappy...
Where are the immoderate submissions?
Think != know (none / 0) (#17)
by Fyndalf on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 11:25:30 AM EST

I think(!= know) the industry needs programmers but can't afford them

That's my point! I want to know. I want statistics, numbers, unemployment rates, HR trends blah blah. Similar to that page I found. But newer than 1998.

They should be out there. It's not like the people that calculate all this stuff hoard it and don't put it on the web until it's so out of date as to be useless ... or is that their business model?

[ Parent ]
The first job... (4.28 / 7) (#14)
by wiredog on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 09:16:31 AM EST

Most companies insist that you have previous experience. But you can't get experience until you get a job. Or can you? Is the stuff you've done for the co-op on your resume? Are you working on any SourceForge or other open source projects? What the HR people are looking for is a track record. They want to know that you actually know what you are doing, not just that you have a pretty piece of paper to hang on the wall.

Take the first decent offer you get. Even if you don't like the company or its culture, take the job. Stick it out for at least a year. Microsoft needs a Third Assistant OK Button Bezel Edge Designer? And you have to wear a suit? Take it. A year later you can take a job for a company you like doing what you like to do.

An alternative that isn't often discussed in tech circles is the military. The Army needs tech people! So do the other services! The pay sucks, but the benefits are excellent. Lots of pluses to military service. You learn how to work with/for people who are assholes, know less about your job than you do, or both, without going nonlinear on them. This is very beneficial in the Real World. You work with people from completely different backgrounds (I know lots of middle class white kids from the burbs that would benefit from a couple years in the infantry.) Employers are generally impressed by seeing military service on the resume. The GI Bill can be used to pay for grad school, plus there are many scholarships for veterans, and you can get low-cost education while on active duty. Many tech jobs in the military require a security clearance (No felonies? No problem.) which makes you eminently employable. It takes a year to get a secret clearance as a civilian, so companies will take someone with a clearance and spend 6 months training them before they'll take the guy who can do the job right away, but lacks a clearance.

One big downside to military service is the off chance of dieing for your country. A friend of a friend was in the Navy, in a sys admin position, and thought they had gotten a nice safe job. They were stationed at the Pentagon. KIA on 09/11.

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle

Consulting maybe? (none / 0) (#21)
by jsather on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 02:07:56 PM EST

My first job out of college was working for Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) and it was a great place to get experience. You get to work on a ton of different projects at a variety of places. I'm not sure how the big consulting firms are doing right now, but it might be worth checking out. The benefit is that they expect you to need training and then they give it to you. If you have a good GPA from a good school it shouldn't be hard to get in. The downside is that the bulk of people there are complete morons when it comes to technology. When I was a project manager, I did the project plan and since my staff didn't know anything really useful I had to do almost all the code to keep things on time. That was when I quit. Still, I learned a lot and got a bunch of experience. I'm still a consultant but with a better choice of what to work on. Makes things more fun. Just IMHO. -J

[ Parent ]
Regarding Experience. (none / 0) (#36)
by mindstrm on Fri Oct 26, 2001 at 12:20:47 AM EST

What you say is very true, though. Usually, the best jobs want experience. With tech jobs, espe. with new technology, this becomes even more so after there ARE people with experience out there.

I remember when Java came out.. 2 years later, there were firms looking for people with 5 years Java experience. That's a laugh.. and you know it. Now, that's not so unrealistic.

Experience is more important than money when you start out.. unless you somehow feel you're going to retire in 12 months....
Experience is everything; and what ultimately leads you to the nice jobs.

[ Parent ]
It all depends... (4.00 / 1) (#18)
by TheophileEscargot on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 01:03:11 PM EST

...on a lot of different factors unfortunately. Some points.

There is always a turnover of jobs. People retire, move town, die, drop out, whatever; but there are always some vacancies somewhere.

Programming is hit much harder by a recession than adminning. A company can easily stop commissioning new software: they can't abandon their existing servers so easily.

The financial area has been hit very hard by the World Trade Center uncertainty.

As an entry-level programmer you're cheap. In this case, that is big advantage for you!

Usual rules still apply. The more fields you know, the more presentable you are, the better.

Forget about the religious wars: learn whatever technology is being used out there. Popular languages are probably a better bet than niche languages, even if you don't like them.

If I were in your shoes, I'd be concentrating on the I.T. departments of big companies that aren't in the badly hit sectors (airlines are probably a bad place to work right now!). Big companies often do a fair amount of development work in house, and there's always software maintenance to do, even in a recession.

Be prepared for it to take a while. It is possible to survive a recession, and the vast majority of companies and people do: the world does not shut down just because the economy is shrinking slightly. The only thing is that job hunting takes longer, and you might have to accept worse pay and conditions than otherwise.
Support the nascent Mad Open Science movement... when we talk about "hundreds of eyeballs," we really mean it. Lagged2Death

Mild disagreement (4.50 / 2) (#20)
by wiredog on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 01:47:34 PM EST

As an entry-level programmer you're cheap. In this case, that is big advantage for you!

The problem is that people with three years experience, and families, are willing to take entry level jobs at entry level pay. That's how I ended up working construction for a few months after I got my degree.

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
[ Parent ]

I'd be leary of statistics... (3.00 / 1) (#19)
by sqwudgy on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 01:35:03 PM EST

... of the postings per months, etc.

So many times I've seen more than one headhunter posting for the same position. The same is true in your newspaper job listing, too. If only there was some way of knowing how many unique positions were available then such statistics might be worth paying attention to. (Aside: I remember several years ago, having to play Twenty Questions with headhunters who didn't want to reveal the company that they were seaching for to avoid having my resume submitted multiple times -- a bad thing. After a while you could tell two minutes into the conversation that they were describing a position that another HH had already called me about. Something to watch out for.)

On the other hand, I've noticed a marked decline in the quantity of listings in my Sunday paper in the past few of months. Not very scientific, mind you, but seems to correlate with what I'm hearing from folks online, the news, etc. Sure... newspaper ads represent only a fraction of the jobs out there but, to me at least, it indicates that there's fewer of them now than there were only a few months ago.

So now a Master's Degree doesn't sound so bad, eh?

job sites are worthless now (5.00 / 2) (#23)
by treat on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 09:53:03 PM EST

Don't bother basing your judgement of how many jobs are out there on the major job sites (dice, headhunter, monster). They are now about 90% spam. I spent three months looking for a job, and it took that long to get one interview. I responded to a couple hundred postings from job sites, and most were from recruiting agencies who had put up fake job postings. Not once was I called back about the same job I had responded to, though I was sometimes called about other jobs. Usually they had nothing at all and were just looking for people to add to their contact database, so they'd be ready in case a real job showed up.

I got about 10 calls for one of the few real jobs that was out there. All different agencies.

hotjobs.com is better (none / 0) (#26)
by gps on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 04:18:09 AM EST

dice and monster are completely worthless, they just have "listings" for 50 different job descriptions all pointing to the same useless recruitment agency and their fake companies setup as fronts to collect job applicants.

hotjobs.com has a "exclude agencies" button and gives a much more realistic view of what is available.

Good luck getting any company to respond to your direct inquiry unless you can get your resume directly to the manager that would hire you without allowing it to be dropped on the floor by the company's HR department that decides you're not perfect.

As always, nepotism works best.

[ Parent ]
FlipDog is excellent (5.00 / 2) (#28)
by bruckie on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 02:14:30 PM EST

I was looking for a job about a year ago, and came across FlipDog. I found three interesting-looking jobs within 5 miles of where I lived, and got an offer on one within two days.

I found FlipDog to be much more relevant than other job sites. They crawl the web, finding companies' job pages on the companies' own web sites and have machine learning technology that extracts the relevant info (title, description, location, etc.). Very cool.

If you're in the market, I'd advise giving it a try.

[ Parent ]
Flipdog? (none / 0) (#38)
by jmeltzer on Mon Oct 29, 2001 at 01:45:22 PM EST

Many jobs on company websites are not real; they are posted to give outsiders the impression that the company is still growing and prospering.

Oh, and Flipdog is owned by Monster.

[ Parent ]
Nice Job Trends Graph for San Francisco Area (5.00 / 3) (#24)
by hillct on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 10:56:09 PM EST

Here are some nice job trend graphs developed, coincidently, by an unemployed guy who had some time on his hands.


--Got Lists? | Top 31 Signs Your Spouse Is A Spy
Bright side: rent should start sliding soon (3.00 / 2) (#29)
by kmself on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 07:51:07 AM EST

Apartment listings are way up. Need to talk to the ole' landlord about that rent increase a couple months back... Things for sale are climbing as well, while people looking for housing are relatively steady -- what I suspect we're seeing is housing consolidations happening after a lull over the summer.

Interesting that people vanished entirely after September, 1998. That would fit with my recollection of the whole dot-com boom out here...whatever they were, they weren't people.

Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

I hear that (none / 0) (#39)
by jcolter on Fri Nov 02, 2001 at 02:42:37 PM EST

I live in Brooklyn NY. Three months ago when my roommate and I moved into our current apartment, it was full (six units of graphic arts hipsters). As of Monday, we are the only tenants left.

Additionally, my roommate was home visiting the Bay Area last week. He tells me that the traffic problems one would encounter last year have cleared up substantially.

[ Parent ]
what you didn't ask (4.66 / 3) (#27)
by gregholmes on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 07:22:19 AM EST

I know you didn't ask for general job seeking advice, but I'm going to give it anyway. Why? Because you need to ignore statistics. Well, maybe not ignore them, but don't let them stop you.

I'm a tech writer, an IT (usually) position even more economy-sensitive than programmers. After all, the code must get written; "we'll just have the coders write the docs" <shudder>.

Even during the boom, if you believed the Monster postings, there were next-to-no tech writing positions where I live. So I didn't believe them. I contacted every employer or agency with a posting remotely like what I was looking for. I told recruiters to keep me in mind if they got a position in my area. I worked for a year about an hour's drive from where I wanted to be, to build experience.

It payed off. A recruiter did call me back with a great job 12 miles from my house. I competed for it and got it (it helped that I had a very sweet competing offer from the not-so-near metropolis as well). Then a year and a half later, another recruiter called with a lead on an even better job, 11 miles away!

The point is that the jobs are probably there, whether you see them or not. Get your resume out there. Get experience, even if it isn't exactly where and what you want. Get a quirky or interesting experience if you can - for the three civilian jobs I've had, the interviewers were always fascinated with my Navy experience (where I first started tech writing). Anything that helps you stand out or be intriguing.

Get and work multiple offers! Don't be arrogant or demanding, but it's OK to let someone know that you're considering a good offer from elsewhere, but you'd like to give them an opportunity to interview you first because you'd prefer to work there (it helps if this is true).

Also remember, the best paying jobs will probably not be the best working environments. Make that trade off whichever way you want, but be aware of it. Fortunately, what others find intolerable, you might find a challenge. They don't have to know that when they compensate you for the "tough conditions"!

Good luck!

Sorta (none / 0) (#32)
by EriKZ on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 09:43:26 PM EST

You'll have to get experience first. GET AN INERNSHIP!!!

Ok, you'll still have a hard time getting a job unless you happen to have a 4.0 GPA.

Your friends are your best resource when looking for a job. Use them.

Go to a temp employment agency and sign up. Actually, go to several.

Odds are that you won't get a tech job, but you WILL get something. Now you work your way up.

The era of 40k+ jobs (Average) out of college is over.

I just spent about a month doing 7$ an hour, working in a warehouse. Now I'm doing some Access in an office. They're very happy with me, but they are still going to let me go at the end of the month. They'll give me a nice recommendation though.

And I'm 29 with work experience. I'm staying with IT because I love IT. I can't imagine myself doing anything else. All the people who got into IT for the money will be bailing out and I'll be here.

eh? (none / 0) (#34)
by Kalani on Fri Oct 19, 2001 at 03:47:57 AM EST

I've got two friends who didn't graduate from college and who are making more than 40k (in fact, they were started at higher salaries than that).

I'm talking about some serious programming work though. One of my friends has been working on a RAD system for financial applications (it essentially allows people to very easily create applications within a very narrow spectrum). The other friend has been working on a proprietary source control system. For my part, I've just completed a networked compiler/interpreter (long story) for a rather special-purpose company. My next project looks like it's going to be a fairly complex image manipulation tool that can be integrated with a product we've already got running here.

So ... maybe it depends on the sort of work you're looking at?

"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
Of course there are. (4.75 / 4) (#33)
by gromm on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 05:29:49 PM EST

There are *always* jobs out there. While there may not be *as many* new jobs created in recessions as there are in economic booms, new jobs are indeed being created. Also, consider that there are X millions of jobs that already exist (substitute X for the number of working people in your country) and that a percentage of those jobs are becoming vacant at all times due to promotion, retirement, moving, quitting, injury and death. Any percentage of that X million jobs is still a very large number indeed, and that's not even including the number of new jobs.

Anyway, the success or failure of a job search almost always depends on the method of searching. If you were to get an unlisted phone number, and an old school chum of yours were to try looking you up, he wouldn't find you in the phone book and would assume that you don't live in the city he searched in. Most jobs are like this unfortunately, which means that searching in the newspaper or on monster.com will turn up nothing much of the time. So what are good search methods?

How about bad ones? Here's the top 5 worst ways to look for a job, according to the 1999 edition of "What Colour is Your Parachute" (invaluable reading in your current state of affairs, IMHO):

1) Using the internet. Even among techies, only about 10% of people using this search method alone find a job this way. If you aren't in high tech, engineering, finances, or health care, that number drops to 1%.

2) Carpet mailing employers at random, a la AOL. About 7%.

3) Answering ads in professional journals. (ie, Dr. Dobbs) About 7%.

4) newspaper ads. 5-24%.

5) Employment agencies. about 5-24% again.

The best methods:

1) "The Creative approach." This is described in detail in "What Colour is Your Parachute," and I won't go into it here. Get thee to a library. 86%

2 and 3) Take the route Marketing droids go for first and foremost - Cold calling people in the yellow pages. It works better in a group (84%) than it does alone (69%) but both are quite effective.

4) Knocking on the doors of employers whether they are known to have vacancies or not. This is actually more effective for blue collar workers than any other search method. But for everyone else, it's success rate is 47%.

5) Using your contacts in the world for job leads - friends, family, your dorm buddies, etc. 33%.

Hope that helps. And good luck!
Deus ex frigerifero
Craigs List (none / 0) (#37)
by gampid on Sat Oct 27, 2001 at 05:47:58 PM EST

I have a friend who works at Craigslist. He mentioned that they've had to start reorganizing their jobs listing categories because of the massive change in the number of postings. Basically combining categories that used to be filled together so the listings aren't so sparse.

I'm sure they have internally the data in the shift in the number of postings. But in a very superficial way you can see it just by going to the jobs listings pages. What used to have 20 or 30 listings a day now has 5.

I've also heard that listings that used to get 3 or 4 interviewees are now getting 20 or 30, which makes sense.

Protest.Net: Seizing the means of communication!

added a new category as well (none / 0) (#41)
by kellan on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 09:26:10 PM EST

and they added a category just dedicated to resumes. essentially a job seekers category, that is flooded.


[ Parent ]

Be a Generalist and a Mercenary. (none / 0) (#40)
by Fubar the Clown on Mon Nov 05, 2001 at 02:49:48 PM EST

Learn as much as you can, and don't be picky at all. Take any IT job that pays a decent salary. Keep building your skills off the job. If the job sucks, then put in a year, give your two weeks notice, and get another job. Green programmers can't ever afford to be picky, and recessions make matters worse.

Coming soon from Megafarce Records: Antipop Superstar by Fubar the Clown

ngos & non-profits (none / 0) (#42)
by kellan on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 09:36:11 PM EST

Well a recruiter I was talking to recently said she was seeing a large number of non-profits, and ngos who got left behind by the boom, but still have real needs for getting their content online and accessible. (as opposed to selling you petfood in your underwear)

A lot of un-saavy customers, with compartively modest budgets, and a unique distinct culture from corporate America but still a demand.

Perfect for small 2-5 person consulting houses.

Unfortunately everyone I know seems to be starting one of these as a way to keep busy since losing their job. (actually this is the 2nd wave, everyone I knew was quitting their job a year ago to start a small company to improve their quality of life.)


Er, are there jobs? | 42 comments (40 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
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