Worried student

plepamo

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Joined
Sep 24, 2013
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8
Hi all,

I just finished my first year at varsity majoring in Computer Science and Maths. I am a full time student, but I am worried that once I've completed my studies I'm going to struggle to get a job because I don't have any experience. How can I get experience while studying and a bit of exposure?
 

kefrens

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Sep 20, 2008
Messages
86
plepamo: Produce something that you can show at an interview. Making some opensource project that other people actually use can be extremely valuable interview wise. The main reason someone wouldn't hire you is if they think you can't get **** done, so prove them wrong up front.

krycor: Honours is worthless over Bsc once you have real exp. Even before, the pay diff is marginal to none.
 

noxibox

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Apr 6, 2005
Messages
22,065
Don't worry about experience. It is not required for your first job. But if you want it then you can look for contract work to do or a open project as part of a team. If you are going to do your own solo project then it needs to be something truly special.
 

MagicDude4Eva

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Apr 2, 2008
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6,479
Internship is the way to go. I am running 2 interns (and hiring another one this coming week) - all of which took the initiative to contact via LinkedIn with a detailed follow-up email about what they would like to get out of the internship and why I should hire them. Although it is a lot of effort for the employer and co-workers (on-the-job-training and upskilling) it will ultimately benefit both the candidate and the company.

My suggestion would be to pick an industry you are interested and a set of technology and then start shortlisting companies. Many should allow you to have an "open week" - i.e. you work at the company for a week or two to experience the environment, people etc.

Personally (that is my own opinion and is not really shared with most people in IT) I don't think qualifications/degree matter much provided that you have demonstrable skills and motivation.

TBH: I have had more success with interns than skilled/experienced IT-staff (most of which were in my opinion overpaid and underskilled in their field of expertise).
 

hyperian

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Apr 17, 2008
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1,927
Hi all,

I just finished my first year at varsity majoring in Computer Science and Maths. I am a full time student, but I am worried that once I've completed my studies I'm going to struggle to get a job because I don't have any experience. How can I get experience while studying and a bit of exposure?

Don't panic. I majored in Computer Science and had no trouble finding a job. In fact, the company I work for is hiring over a dozen graduates early next year who have no work experience.

If you're smart and work hard I don't think you'll have a problem. My only advise would be to do honours - it really does make a difference.
 

SauRoNZA

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Jul 6, 2010
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43,342
Don't have lofty expectations and even worse entitlement nonsense and you'll be fine.

Don't expect to be paid R15k a month "because I have a degree" and less decent enough opportunities pass you by because you "deserve" better.

Fact is you don't deserve anything and need to take what you can get. Any experience is good experience...even if not directly in your field for that matter.
 

Zewp

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Sep 3, 2009
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10,655
Volunteer somewhere. Scour the classifieds for IT job opportunities in your area and when you see something you should be capable of, send in your CV as well as a note that you're still studying and willing to do it for free.

Volunteering is the easiest way to build up experience, but most students completely ignore this avenue because they don't want to do anything for free.
 

cguy

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Jan 2, 2013
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7,905
My only advise would be to do honours - it really does make a difference.

Ditto. Honours also makes you more competitive due to the international market (so if you're considering going overseas, it's a really big help). Also, finish that maths major - it can definitely give you an edge over those with vanilla CS degrees.
 

phiber

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Dec 7, 2005
Messages
4,303
We always look for BSc Comp Sci students and HR struggle to find competent ones. Where are you studying?

On a separate note, my If you're keen for vacation work, my startup has a wordpress template and a site that needs to look professional, if you're keen to help us out drop me a pm.
 

ponder

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Jan 22, 2005
Messages
90,993
Hi all,

I just finished my first year at varsity majoring in Computer Science and Maths. I am a full time student, but I am worried that once I've completed my studies I'm going to struggle to get a job because I don't have any experience. How can I get experience while studying and a bit of exposure?

Volunteer with the local IT section, try and get holiday internships, do what you can to advance yourself.

But for now you might be worrying just a bit to much about the future, concentrate on the here and now to finish your degree and go for a masters if you can. All the best ;)
 

DA-LION-619

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Joined
Aug 22, 2009
Messages
13,777
Don't have lofty expectations and even worse entitlement nonsense and you'll be fine.

Don't expect to be paid R15k a month "because I have a degree" and less decent enough opportunities pass you by because you "deserve" better.

Fact is you don't deserve anything and need to take what you can get. Any experience is good experience...even if not directly in your field for that matter.

This!
 

krycor

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Aug 4, 2005
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18,546
I think the key with IT/Eng is doing. If you able to take an idea and develop it I can promise you now no matter how hard the market gets you will find employment. On the other hand if you more a theory person you may struggle. IT like most professions have a balance of the two and in a work environment the person who is able to efficiently produce the solutions required within a timeframe which is of acceptable standard and aligns with whatever standards or objectives the company has set out will win. As simple as that..

You have different managers who based on their own experience will look for differing educational and personality qualities but in the end the above objective is the same. So accept this, understand that not every interview/job is attainable due to the disposition of hiring(it's tough to accept but you have to) and make sure that you can deliver efficiently & effectively.


Side Notes:
Also remember while at varsity to get exposure to differing languages and techniques. Agility is what drives IT and lateral thinkers who aren't confined to a particular technology are the all rounders. Basically at some point, after years experience, a decision will be made on your part to be a specialist x language developer or not.. But never leave varsity with this because you instantly shrink the market.. Rather be wide skilled and then move based on experience gained.

Also if 1st few jobs aren't in language you don't like long term it's ok.. Provided you are adaptable with learning (everyone has a set number of years before this faded btw.. Some say its age based others say it's combo'd with life & personality) you can later change or do side projects to get experience. Point is this experience is experience while not specific, it still translate to capability and again based on hiring disposition the speciality may matter lesser.

Understand that IT involves more than just coding, there are different aspects to it and getting exposure to it/business experience in someways helps more than your code ability alone.
 
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ponder

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Jan 22, 2005
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What stops you from getting involved in some open source projects? get involved, might require teamwork, use of collaboration tools etc etc and at the end of the day you can add this to your CV while still studying.
 

zippy

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May 31, 2005
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10,179
Everyone starts out with no experience. Life is odd that way.
 

Bar0n

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Nov 12, 2010
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krycor: Honours is worthless over Bsc once you have real exp. Even before, the pay diff is marginal to none.

Not true. Honours makes you stand out from the run of the mill candidate and definitely pays more.

To the OP: Doing honours is a good idea. Also approach your lecturers; they're often involved with development companies as consultants (or own a company) and could put in a good word for you.

I started doing holiday jobs and temp work in my 2nd year already.
 

cguy

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Jan 2, 2013
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Not true. Honours makes you stand out from the run of the mill candidate and definitely pays more.

To the OP: Doing honours is a good idea. Also approach your lecturers; they're often involved with development companies as consultants (or own a company) and could put in a good word for you.

I started doing holiday jobs and temp work in my 2nd year already.

I suspect that kefren's comment probably came from some of the recent surveys:
http://www.itweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=65848&Itemid=2857#salvslvleduc

He makes a good point that once you have enough experience, having just hons vs. just a 3 year degree is not hugely beneficial in SA, which I agree with.

That said, there is definite bias in the way these numbers are represented, which is why I strongly suggest doing honours. There are broadly speaking 3 ways to go once honours is finished:
1) You go into the work force, and get counted against the salary numbers in the survey.
2) You go overseas (Honours is a much stronger qualification by international standards), and you don't get counted in the survey.
3) You do a masters degree, and you get counted in a different bin in the survey (MSc, or eventually PhD).

In general, the better honours students will opt for 2 or 3 (not always obviously), almost all of the top half of my honours year went either to various big overseas companies or went on to do MSc degrees - the point being that the number represented in the survey is biased towards the bottom of the honours class. Those who went on to do MSc and/or PhD degrees (and stayed in the country) in general do very well (38% and 69% higher salary respectively according to the survey).

In summary, the honours degree is a great piece of education - opening doors overseas, and for post-graduate education. One big reason a person should do it is to explore these options. If, however, for reasons unrelated to skill that person decides to stop at the honours level and stay in SA, his/her income will likely be much higher than the honours average in the survey (since the selection bias does not apply to you).
 
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