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KevinM1

Career advice

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I'm working to get the skills needed to land a fulltime job, but I'm not exactly sure what employers are looking for.  I've brought this up in another forum and received good advice, but I'd like to get a few more ideas or points of view.

I went to my state's university to get a computer science degree.  I fizzled out at the assembly language stage, and decided to change majors to communication as bills were starting to pile up and I felt I had to get a degree.  I graduated with two minors -- music, and computer information and technology (the university's IT/web development stuff).  The latter I earned with the three C++ classes I passed and the introductory web design and IT design courses the school offered.  Unfortunately, I didn't really learn anything from either of them.

I have no real work experience, in the field or otherwise, as I didn't want to screw up the benefits I receive from the state (I'm physically disabled and confined to an electric wheelchair) for unstable employment.  I've been teaching myself what I feel are the technologies I need to know -- obviously XHTML and CSS, JavaScript, PHP and MySQL -- but I'm unsure as to what employers are looking for in terms of skill for an entry level position.  Are there any benchmarks I should know of?  Anything that I can do to make sure I don't look like a newbie in the interview process, outside of the obvious (wear a suit, be honest, etc.)?

I feel I can learn the technologies pretty quickly.  I can't memorize syntax or theory wholesale by reading something once, but if shown an example or two I can pretty much wrap my head around it, although I may have to remind myself of the syntax occassionally.  Do employers mind if someone has to learn a bit while on the job?

Basically, I'm just not sure if I'm really ready to put myself on the market, and I'd like to have some idea of what employers are expecting of new employees so I can compare that with where I'm at now.

Thanks. :)

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My advice would be to take on some freelance work and learn from that.  If you don't have any valid work experience, you won't have much luck in the "real world".  And if you don't have any experience to speak of, you need to at least have a piece of paper saying you can do what you do.  Comm with a I&T minor probably won't get you in the door at most places unless you've proven yourself worthy by taking on some clients and making them happy.

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well for one if you know c++ or something, then in a few months I will pay you fairly to teach me that language, that could give you some freelance work.

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.... how is teaching someone another language going to look good to a future employer?  Companies don't want instructors... they want people with real work experience.

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[quote author=businessman332211 link=topic=110604.msg447365#msg447365 date=1160071230]
well for one if you know c++ or something, then in a few months I will pay you fairly to teach me that language, that could give you some freelance work.
[/quote]

Sorry, man.  While I have my old C++ notes buried in my closet somewhere, it's been a few years since I've used that language for anything.  So no, I wouldn't be able to teach you the language.  I'd have to teach it to myself first.

To the others, I have gotten a tiny amount of experience freelancing.  The FAC site I posted in the Web Critique board, and the Star Trek site I've worked on ([url=http://www.startrekreborn.net/]http://www.startrekreborn.net/[/url]) -- to be fair, most of that site's work was with maintenance and adding the RSS feeds, as it's just a site built using PHP-Fusion, so it's not really a good example.  The fantasy hockey site I'm building will be my first PHP project.  Unfortunately, I live in an area of the country that is rather rural, so trying to find a decent amount of freelance work is difficult.  Looks like creating my own projects is the way to go.

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... we have a Freelance board here.  Just look at some of the posts by people posting work and contact them to see if you can work with them.

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