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tk
Dec 10, 2003



THE PLATFORM MASTER posted:

I'm struggling to decide between two internship offers where I really can't go wrong, and I'm wondering if anyone has any experience or suggestions for choosing.

One is at Microsoft as an SDET somewhere in Windows. My main reservations are related to it being a SDE in test job, but it seems like Microsoft is one of the few places where testing is actually a good job and the interviewers I asked all seemed genuinely fired up about it and made me excited about it. After googling it, it seems like how good of an experience it is totally depends on your team and I'm guessing that in the Windows team it works as it's designed to. Also, if it turns out that I don't like it and I leave Microsoft, I'm assuming other companies won't sneer at my resume just because I was doing "testing"?

The other is at Google in a small group that sounds interesting. My main reservation about it is that with the Google interviews you only talk to your perspective host for thirty minutes on the phone and most of that is them asking technical questions. It sounded interesting on the phone, but it seems like a gamble to take a job where I've never met the team and know very little about the project. I'm going to get more details about the project, but it still seems like a big gamble whereas I've at least met some of the people at Microsoft and have a better feel for that culture.

Thanks!

I'm currently an SDET within the Windows org and I really really like it. I came here after being a dev elsewhere for a few years (and spending much of my life wanting to be a "computer programmer"), and I was definitely worried about test being engaging enough for me. Turns out that it is.

I can't tell you what an internship would be like, but I can take a stab at any general position questions you have.

tk fucked around with this message at Feb 4, 2012 around 06:38

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tk
Dec 10, 2003



Dijkstracula posted:

This may have simply been the offer I was given, but Amazon told me flat-out that the offer they made was set and not negotiable when I tried to weasel more vacation out of them. May you have better luck than me

Depends on the company, but vacation time can be much less negotiable than salary, singing bonus, options, etc.

tk
Dec 10, 2003



ManlyWeevil posted:

So, I'll be graduating I'm May with a CS degree. I have an on site interview coming up for Microsoft for a Program Manager position. I know its not strictly (at all) a programming position, but how different is it? My two concerns are: if i do get offered the position and i decide in a few years that I hate the design, coordination aspect, am I screwing myself over for a coding position in the future, and the second issue is how different is this from any of my formal training and what could I do to prepare?

As far as how different PM is from a programming position, I would have to say "very". It's still in the software development world though, and if for some reason I lost my ability to write code, PM would probably be my first career choice.

If you haven't found it yet, here is a post from Steven Sinofsky (now president of the Windows division) on PM. It's long, and a bit old, but worth a read: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/techtalk/ar.../16/504872.aspxi

I can't speak to how anybody in charge of hiring a dev would look at PM time. Personally, I think a couple years in PM would give you some valuable experience in areas that a lot of devs are terrible at. You would have to find a way to keep your coding skills up to snuff though.

tk fucked around with this message at Mar 4, 2012 around 08:16

tk
Dec 10, 2003



ManlyWeevil posted:

So overall, not a huge mistake in that it's impossible to get to coding if I dislike it? The recruiters I talked to seemed to think it was relatively easy to switch INTO PM, but not out, and but that may just be the way it's structured.

If you're dead set on wanting to code, it's would probably be best to let your recruiter know. They may be able to help you get a look at an SDE or SDET position.

If the PM role interests you, there's no harm in going through the process. Try to use your interviews to find out what things would be like. You can always turn down an offer if you decide you want to go another way.

It's probably true that it's easier to switch in to PM than out of. Most of the PMs I work with are ex-SDE(T)s that either realize they'll never be tops at their current role or just enjoy the work that the PMs are doing more.

tk fucked around with this message at Mar 4, 2012 around 16:34

tk
Dec 10, 2003



astr0man posted:

That does seem like the best way to go unless you are explicity told "you can wear x for this interview."

You can always ask.

tk
Dec 10, 2003



how!! posted:

BTW, all of my experience is with startups and I'm only every going to apply to startups, which I think are a much, much different world. Startups want people who will be disruptive, whereas corporations just want someone who will just do whatever they're told. (At least thats how I see it)

Put this in your cover letter.

tk
Dec 10, 2003



wolfman101 posted:

I would jizz my pants.
Add this to the list of things that would make me not want to work for a company.

tk
Dec 10, 2003



Goop posted:

I'm not deep into anything yet, but I would imagine the work would be much more gratifying for me. It seems clear that if done right, the results are worth worth long hours.

This is why they can treat you like poo poo.

tk
Dec 10, 2003



how!! posted:

So you're saying speed is all that matters? The advice is that I should not care about code being readable and elegant? A good programmer fixes everything in the quickest manner possible? If a problem can be fixed in 5 minutes, then spending 6 minutes is wasting time? I don't know, in my experience that line of thinking leads to really really complex code that becomes really unmaintainable really quickly. Its what I call "crap piled on top of crap, piled on top of crap, piled on top of crap"

elegant code == fun to work with (because you can easily run the code in your head)
complex code == not fun to work on (because you have no idea what the gently caress is going on)

not fun work == programmers procrastinate, get frustrated and make excuses for not getting the work done

There's often a solution that's somewhere between directly hex editing an existing binary and what you seem to feel is necessary.

tk
Dec 10, 2003



Sab669 posted:

Generally speaking, how strict are companies when they say "a 3.0 or higher" for candidates? I think I've got like a 2.8 or something really lovely.

I had a similarly lovely GPA and I don't think any company even asked me what it was. If they did, they apparently didn't care too much about it because I got offers from everybody. Of course, I applied mostly at banks, insurance companies, and other places around Ohio, so YMMV.

Also, this is not an excuse to do lovely in school.

tk
Dec 10, 2003



Lenin Stimpy posted:

So I was just offered a contract position to do some software developer work at Company A through a recruiting agency, and I accepted the position over email yesterday. But today I was offered a position at Company B and it is a higher salary AND it is full time.

How legal is it for me to tell Company A that I was offered a better package and will no longer be accepting the position? How much of a dick move would it be?

No matter how much of a dick move it is, this is your career, not the last piece of pizza. Take the better job. They'll get over it.

Also, if possible, negotiate your salary higher.

tk
Dec 10, 2003



Sab669 posted:

but I should expect about a 10% raise at the end of the year. Roughly a $500 quarterly bonus

Never count on any money that you don't already have. Bonuses and raises have a habit of not materializing for one reason or another.

tk
Dec 10, 2003



KNITS MY FEEDS posted:

Can someone tell me what exactly happens at an "interview prep session?" Is this going to be a quiz or something?

In what context? My guess would be that it's an interview with a recruiter where they go over general company/position/organization stuff and tell you what to expect from the technical interviews.

Remember that recruiters get input into whether or not you get hired, so it's not just the technical interviews that count.

tk
Dec 10, 2003



KNITS MY FEEDS posted:

I just got invited to do an on-site interview. Apparently it'll be 3 to 5 1 hour interviews. I've never done anything like that before, what kind of things or questions should I expect??

If this is still Microsoft: you'll go around to different people's offices and they'll each interview you. Probably a little chit-chat then a programming question or two to solve on the whiteboard. About an hour a pop.

Outside of technical stuff, it can be a surprisingly long and tiring day. Make sure to sleep and eat. You don't want to get tired and have a bad interview because you didn't eat breakfast.

tk fucked around with this message at Oct 9, 2012 around 04:52

tk
Dec 10, 2003



Analytic Engine posted:

Are testing jobs considered to be boring or undercomped compared to developer positions? What if you have zero industry experience?

Depends on the company. Some other places treat test as normal humans and involve them in the entire development process. Other places treat "heh, QA" a courtesy inspection that needs to get completed in the one day between development being "complete" and when deployment is scheduled.

I'm current an SDET (that's "Software Development Engineer in Test") at Microsoft and it's fantastic. I also make a poo poo-ton of money.

tk fucked around with this message at Oct 30, 2012 around 04:12

tk
Dec 10, 2003



FamDav posted:

Honestly we only do a 24 hour coding problem and an on-site. The coding problem usually takes people about 8-10 hours to do (so they say) and is of sufficiently complexity that we can tell if someone is smart or not. After that on site is mostly getting a feel for the person and figuring out what their values are.

What kind of people are you looking to attract that have 8-10 hours free for the first stage of an interview process? Even if you give me advanced notice, I have poo poo to do.

tk
Dec 10, 2003



Sab669 posted:

I'm not defending nor promoting it, I even said that in my post. I've been in a three hour interview and a four hour one and those both sucked. I'm simply saying in response to his, "I have poo poo to do" reason.

Employer: "Hey, it's a long process so plan to make a day of it."
Job Seeker: "Can I confirm this tomorrow? I'll need to request the day off from work."

I've taken off work for multiple days and flown across the country before for full day on-site interviews. But that was after multiple phone interviews and technical screenings, and it was for positions that I definitely wanted and I was pretty sure I had a good chance at getting.

Perhaps I misunderstood the interview process in question, but to me it sounds something like:
1) Somehow get in touch
2) 24 hour coding problem
3) Courtesy on-site meet and greet, make sure person showers (for interviews, at least).

In stage 1, you'll have to try pretty hard to convince me that I'm applying for my dream job if you want me to pay attention to stage 2. It's just too much too fast.

tk
Dec 10, 2003



FamDav posted:

Can you afford to give up a Saturday afternoon to work on this? Great. If not, well too bad. We aren't really in need of a ton of new people coming in every year.

I guess I don't have any experience running a business, but this seems like a good attitude to have if you have no desire to attract talent.

tk
Dec 10, 2003



how!! posted:

I know how to code. Look at my github. I have over 20,000 lines of code that I've written over the past few years. Over 200,000 lines if you add up all the plusses and minuses across all commits. I just can't code over the phone. He asked me the question, I gave my initial solution after 3 or 4 seconds of thought. From the time he first asked the question until the interview moved on, was about 20 or 30 seconds. The problem is that I don't quite think verbally. My thinking process is more visual. Look up Rich Hickey's "Hammock Driven Development" talk. He pretty much describes my thinking process to a T. When I first saw that presentation I wanted to give Rick Hickey a hug.

There are some people that just don't do well in interviews. They can be fantastic programmers, awesome at problem solving, great interpersonal skills, spectacular hair, and everything else that you would want in an employee. But they have a hard time in interviews. It's a real thing.

You are not one of these people.

tk
Dec 10, 2003



gucci void main posted:

Double post, but I'd rather update. Got a reply and was told they would like to keep it as scheduled, and are not comfortable with speeding up the process (how getting both things done at once makes much difference I'm unsure). I was also told they will "make sure it is worth [my] time and keep [my] in mind as we make a decision about inviting [me] for the final round." So I guess I can still go tomorrow, but I hate that "final round" term.

I suspect that whatever you're going to do in the first hour long interview could be accomplished over video chat with little issue. If so, it's a little inconsiderate of them to not consider your time (even ignoring a long drive), but also not really a big red flag that they would be a poor place of employment.

tk
Dec 10, 2003



lmao zebong posted:

Does anybody in this thread have any experiences working in a remote office? I just got off the phone with a company based in New York (I'm out in the SF Bay Area), and they're looking for people to either work in their established office in New York, or to start populating their remote office out here. The company and product seem really cool and something I wold be interested in working on, but I'm just curious if working on the opposite coast from the other developers would be detrimental. I'm not really in a position to move to NY as cool as it would be, but I would hate to potentially fly out, have the interview go well, I accept an offer and then find working remotely sucks. Do you feel it hinders communication with your team, or that you are so isolated it's hard to feel like you're a big contributor to the product?

I'm not sure how hard I would consider a job in which I would be the only one working remotely. I've never done the remote thing, but I have been on the other side of the situation, and about all I can say is that I can't even remember the names of the people who worked remotely. It's just too easy to forget, ignore, or dismiss the one person that nobody ever sees.

A team that was all/mostly remote I might consider. Or a complete team in a remote office, as long as they operate fairly independently of the mother ship.

tk fucked around with this message at Jan 22, 2013 around 04:48

tk
Dec 10, 2003



wide stance posted:

Is there any good way of getting a feel for the job market in different cities? I don't have the experience/credentials for companies to fly me out for interviews. I'm making a bit of a career change.

Most big tech companies will fly you out for an interview even with little to no experience. It may not be easy to get into the interview process without a referral, but it never hurt anybody to apply. They have to get entry level employees from somewhere.

tk
Dec 10, 2003



kitten smoothie posted:

Maybe this is me being older, but I'd actually choose B.

- You're working on a product that you feel is higher quality. You wouldn't believe the hit to your morale when you go in every day working on what you feel is a bad product, and trying to sell people on it with a straight face.
- You feel like you'd have more say in the design
- Better work/life balance and 401k.

The extra 30 minutes on the train does suck but it seems like it'd balance out. The 2 miles of walking to the BART stop and back is free exercise.

I personally could not give a poo poo about ping-pong in the office, because you're not getting paid to play ping-pong.

And a take-home company laptop just means an implicit expectation that you will take work home. In my mind it's bad form to mix business & personal stuff, so it's not like that take-home laptop is a no-strings-attached free laptop for home.

I pretty much agree with this perspective. Of course, work/life balance is hugely important to me. Sometimes I'm in the zone and end up staying until 10 because I'm excited and am so close to getting something to work. But more often, even when I'm working on something I love, I want to get out at normal human hours to meet up with friends or whatever real life thing I want to do.

tk
Dec 10, 2003



Sarcophallus posted:

Is it common for companies to require college transcripts during the application?

Specifically, I'm talking about Cerner in Kansas City, MO. I don't particularly mind - their GPA requirements were relatively low at 2.8, but it still caught me by surprise.
They apparently want unofficial transcripts [which are in plain-text online and easy to edit in the first place..], and an official one after hiring.

Seemed a bit odd to me. Would they be upset if I didn't bother to pay to send an official transcript after I've been hired?

I would operate under the assumption that they will fire you you if you don't provide them with an official transcript. It's probably part of a standard background check, and they will assume you lied about your qualifications if you don't provide one.

tk
Dec 10, 2003



Sarcophallus posted:

To my knowledge they don't do any sort of background check beyond the transcript and generic, 'have you ever committed a felony?' questions. It just seemed odd to me that this was the first non-government position I've seen ask for it - and it wasn't until I got to the phone interview that I found out. I already have a technical interview scheduled, so this was more to satisfy my curiosity than anything.
I can't speak generally, but in my experience it's not unusual.


Chasiubao posted:

I doubt they'd fire him. He'd probably get some HR nasty-gram about missing paperwork though.

Not immediately, no, but I've seen it happen before. I can only assume the person in question really was lying about something, because it's not like they just surprise you on the 7th day and walk you out of the building if you haven't done it yet.

tk
Dec 10, 2003



dingy dimples posted:

I've got an interview in the Bay area on Monday. Any last-minute advice? I fully intend to keep my big mouth shut about free food and salary.

If it is a full day affair, make sure you eat something for breakfast before you head out. It's easy to be nervous and skip, but it can be an long and exhausting day, and you don't want to crash because you didn't eat anything.

tk
Dec 10, 2003



wide stance posted:

Another salary negotiation post:
HR when introducing the offer: "Well...although your previous position was fairly high [admittedly due to generous travel and OT compensation] you're still pretty junior in the technology and applications we use so we're only offering [City median* + 3k]." Not an insult to say the least, perhaps perfectly fair. However the housing prices near walking distance (2 miles) would put me right around (and in some cases above) the 30% rent/income ratio for a one bedroom. Sure, I could spend $1000 a month and ride the packed train 40 min door-to-door. But I really want to loving walk to work. Not only for QoL but for my own productivity at work. I'd also save about $1000 a year on fares.

So basically I was hoping to swing a few more Gs so I could qualify renting a place within distance to work. So I'm definitely focused on the compensation aspect. Any ideas?

* 'Software Engineer' in Chicago, IL - glassdoor.com

Not that this is a personal finance advice thread, but before you negotiate anything with them, work out a budget for yourself. Try and figure out what you can afford on the current offer, then work up from there. Use your budget to inform your negotiation, but be realistic about it. If what they're offering you (after negotiation) is $20k less than what you need, but is otherwise completely fair, you're going to have to cut back somewhere.

Outside of salary negotiations: some employers offer incentives for "green" commuting and similar stuff. Probably not enough to offset the high rent, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

tk
Dec 10, 2003



shrughes posted:

What's green commuting?

The opposite of red commuting.

tk
Dec 10, 2003



evensevenone posted:

Honestly though, if the reason you want more money is so that you can live close to work, and you're asking for a specific and reasonable amount of money, your future employer would be an idiot not to make that happen.

I'm not really seeing why an employer should care that the extra money is intended to be used to live closer to work over, say, buying an unnecessarily expensive car.

tk
Dec 10, 2003



shrughes posted:

People with short commutes are happier and have more energy.

You could spew out similar benefits for any number of things that a person could spend their money on (not to mention that living within walking distance isn't the only way to have a short commute). Assuming an offer is otherwise completely fair, I'm not going to give somebody an extra $10,000/year so they can live next to the office for 6 months before they decide they want to move in with their significant other out in the suburbs.

tk fucked around with this message at Mar 20, 2013 around 17:49

tk
Dec 10, 2003



koolkal posted:

By that argument, anyone working in NYC could commute from Pennsylvania so they shouldn't earn more based on CoL for NYC.

I'm not sure how you got there. An "otherwise reasonable offer" is going to take into consideration the living cost of the area and the market rate for the position. But the general cost of living in the area doesn't necessarily include a Deluxe Apartment in the Sky right next to their swanky downtown office. Bhaal pretty well elaborated on why a desire specifically to walk to work may fall on deaf ears.

tk
Dec 10, 2003



Sang- posted:

Just had a phone screening interview with a fairly small development firm (about 200 employees). Their entire area is technical - making apps + websites - so they should have a decent number of developers etc, but the person who was screening me was completely non-technical.

I've not graduated yet, but I've got about 9/10 months of industrial experience, but the interviewer was clearly reading from a script and when I said that my industrial experience was almost entirely C (with a little bit of Perl) they didn't know what either of those language even were. They then asked what testing frameworks I'd used at the company and I said Check and Test::More, which they didn't really seem to *understand* as testing frameworks (presumably because they only knew about common Java testing frameworks).

Is it wrong to feel sort of turned off/insulted by this?

I would try not to judge until you start getting close to people that you'll actually be interacting with. Although this one does seem especially embarrassing for the company in question (not having heard of C or Perl?), you would probably never see or talk to them after you got hired (if they even work there).

tk fucked around with this message at Mar 21, 2013 around 21:10

tk
Dec 10, 2003



Knyteguy posted:

For the big tech companies like Google/Facebook/Amazon/Microsoft, is a previous internship pretty much required to get a job there?

If you're wondering whether or not you should try to get internships: You absolutely should.

If you're wondering whether or not you should bother applying even though you didn't intern at these places: You absolutely should. An internship helps, but it's far from required. The worst that can happen is that you don't get a job and you can apply again later.

I don't even have anecdotal evidence to support this, but in some respects I would guess that it's easier to get your foot in the door as fresh non-internship grad than as a random face in the crowd with 2-4 years of experience.

quote:

Would it be unwise to try to get in with these companies and stay there for the rest of your career?

It would not be a unwise to try and get a job at one of these companies, though whether you stay there for the rest of your life is a decision better left for the future.

tk
Dec 10, 2003



Mr. Crow posted:

So 2 months into this (predictably) suckfest corporate job on a 3 month contract; I ask and realize to myself as I hunt for new jobs, all corporate coding jobs are probably god awful from a programmer perspective? Are small (prosperous) companies developer paradise? How do you find these jobs though (what with them being small local companies)?

For starters, you're going to have to elaborate on what makes your current job a suckfest. People have different preferences. It's also hard to tell whether you have complaints that could generally be addressed by a different type of job, or if you're how!!ing out about having to work with other people and you'll just have to suck it up.

There are going to be some generalities that we can trot out here (e.g. corporate jobs have more bureaucracy to deal with), but all companies are different. Even within an otherwise fantastic company you could get stuck on a lovely team with a lovely manager doing lovely work sitting next to a guy that smells like poo poo. This applies for all companies, big and small.

tk
Dec 10, 2003



Don Mega posted:

Unless you are working on projects in your own time, you are just screwing your self over. Yes, free money is nice and not having to do work is wonderful. Unfortunately, what are you going to talk about when interviewing for your next position? Nothing.

Umm, haven't you seen his github? There are several 100+ line projects there.

tk
Dec 10, 2003



I wonder if that 3 hours/week includes the amount of time he spent in the shower trying to solve a problem while totally not trying to solve a problem.

tk
Dec 10, 2003



Mr. Crow posted:

Posting from my phone so I'll try to keep it short, but my biggest gripe is a "get it done" mentality and having to do hoola hoops around bureaucracy. There's no quality control; no peer review, we have one tester I know of, that basically verifies the feature works then we ship it off, no regression testing on and on... It's also a joy that designers, writers and any other job description related to developing a product have no direct interaction or "architecture". Designer gets done with a new page? Hands me a zip file with just a raw html f file and all the necessary folders /files structure in whatever dreamweaver decided that had nothing to do with the solution or actual website structure. Now I get to figure out what already exists, what's new, figure out where to put it, break the page apart into separate asp. Net components that are all over blah blah blah. Oh and the point of contact that assigns the ticket, "use all the existing tracking information". Wait what? Half of this doesn't make sense for this, go back and forth for a week trying to clarify the requirements with a guy that doesn't know anything about analytics or code. Finally go talk to one of the analytics guys directly. ."what? We've stopped using that entirely, ya just GA is fine for this page." Cool. Also good to know we stopped using that tracker cause its still everywhere in the code and website!

Also IT/Help desk bullshit. They hired an Internet manager a week after me and hosed up his laptop with no ide. He's harassed them weekly and still uses the free express versions (he can't open half the projects).

I have no doubt I was spoiled by my first job (small 40~ person software company), and that this company is just exemplary lovely, but I can see everything I hate about this job being much more likely to occur in any other corporate environment.

Edit: haha maybe not, guess you can tell how much I love this place! Apologize for the partial rant.

I'm going to go back and address this to give us a little break from how!!! chat. Most of the complaints you have may seem like large corporate environment problems, but in reality a lot of these things (unclear requirements, people not communicating) happen everywhere, all the time (though their root cause may be slightly different, or they may manifest themselves slightly differently).

If you really think a small company is where it's at for you, then go for it. Some people are just more happy with the idea of working for a small company. If you can find one of those jobs that suits you, all the better. Although I can't really give you advice on how to find these jobs, as most of the offers I have gotten for small-shop jobs have been through people that I have met at my big corporate jobs.

tk
Dec 10, 2003



ARACHNOTRON posted:

So I'm still in school, third year in Software Engineering major and I'm doing an internship right now. Nothing worrying except nobody wants to hire me for the summer (so I'll probably talk with these guys and see if I can get another block), but for post-school prospects:

What sort of positions are Master's degree-holders employed for? I've heard that a lot of companies really only look for people with Bachelor's degrees, but I applied to (and was accepted for) our new BS/MS program so I'll have a 6th (!!!) year of school and a BS + MS at the end.

So I guess my question is, what can I expect in the way of employment when I graduate come 2016?

Pretty much the same positions that are available to a BS holder. Sometimes with higher starting pay, sometimes not. There may be some extra opportunities available if you do highly applicable research.

Edit: Yes, obviously, this varies highly from company to company. There may be some different positions available, but in general holding a masters isn't going to unlock a whole new world of job listings that you couldn't see before.

tk fucked around with this message at Apr 9, 2013 around 14:56

tk
Dec 10, 2003



Knyteguy posted:

Ugh, I'll be applying because my wife may get a job in the area very soon, but the pay is extremely low tier: http://tinyurl.com/d3butfz (tinyurled to stay out of the search engines). I mean, I know it says junior, which I like to think I'm past that point, but $15.00/hr as a contractor? That's almost criminal, especially for a position in the SF bay area.

I almost want to put this in coding horrors.

I would not even bother applying.

But if you do, be sure to ask what their opinions are on red, orange, green, purple, yellow, or pretty much any color other than blue.

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tk
Dec 10, 2003



piratepilates posted:

Now what's wrong with working for them? Someone I know got a job there as a recentish grad in Toronto and apparently makes like 70-90k there doing software development, which to me makes my head hurt and my heart weep since I don't really want to work for one of the big firms, what in particular is so bad about working for them though?

I know a couple people that work at Amazon. I'll ask them what's so bad about it when they get out of work tonight.

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