Your work environment...
Nov 22, 2008 at 9:14 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 15

SinnerG

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Right, so I went to an interview yesterday and, surprise surprise, it was a technical interview. Didn't see it coming thanks to my recruitment agency not giving me any details.

Holy crud... I felt pathetic after leaving.

I took my current job 2.5 years ago and have struggled to get them to purchase the software I need to build things. I run 5-7 projects at the same time. Focusing is a problem. For a long time now I've said that I am missing what is happening out there in my industry (I do software development, team of 1 :p) as I'm forced to "make do" with what's at hand. Heck, I found an awesome UI library for $199 which is an incredible time saver, but they won't even give me that kind of money. Ofcourse, we just bought the boss a new $2500 SONY Vaio. :p

Yesterday it hit like a ton of bricks that I've been going backwards in my knowledge.

My fellow "software engineers" don't even have any dev work behind them, they just kind of got into it working in the company. Most frustrating.

So what I've found is that I miss being around other people who work the same industry. An environment where you can talk about relevant ideas and happenings.

Yesterday I realised that because I've had to use layman's terms for common terms in my field, I've started to forget what certain simple terms mean. It was a horror of an interview.

Does anyone have this same issue? Do you work in an environment where you don't have other people of your same career choice where you find that you are slipping in keeping up with new stuff or find out that you are leaving even old knowledge behind? How do you deal with this?
 
Nov 22, 2008 at 9:49 AM Post #2 of 15

fordgtlover

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I nodded all the way through your post.

My opinion is quite simple. I believe that if you want to continue to improve what you do, you need to be challenged by peers with equal or greater skills than you already have.

If you aren't getting that peer support and challenge where you are currently working, then you might want to consider your career aspirations and how much your current job might limit them.
 
Nov 22, 2008 at 10:14 AM Post #3 of 15

SinnerG

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That's the way I'm thinking right now. That's why I have start interviews again.

I got back to the office yesterday cussing myself, but got right online to look up what was mentioned. Yeah, ok, so alot of it was stuff I already use but people refer to by another name, but still shows I need to be back in a place where, as you say, I can be challenged by my peers.

There was one question in the interview... I was happy as I could say I've done it. But then he asked for syntax example and I realised I last used it daily some 3 years ago. :p Doh!

Have decided now it's time to spend more time reading and catching up. At least I have decent headphones so I can pop on some music, sit back in the Herman Miller Aeron (chair-fi!!!) and do some technical reading.
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I find myself working on projects at the office, then in the evenings I continue and cover others I haven't dealt with. Then weekends I wind up doing some more. First step, going to cut out the weekend work. What doesn't get done, doesn't get done. I need the time to skill up and renew what I know.
 
Nov 22, 2008 at 12:53 PM Post #4 of 15

G-man

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What you say is not only true for jobs, but for any area. I find myself preparing for economics interviews, but due the fact that i have nobody to discuss them with, i often miss things out. And, once you are out of the loop, it is hard to get back in.

Quote:

Originally Posted by fordgtlover /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I nodded all the way through your post.

My opinion is quite simple. I believe that if you want to continue to improve what you do, you need to be challenged by peers with equal or greater skills than you already have.



Very true. You need people of equal abilities to challenge you, otherwise there is no incentive to improve.

Quote:

Originally Posted by SinnerG /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I find myself working on projects at the office, then in the evenings I continue and cover others I haven't dealt with. Then weekends I wind up doing some more. First step, going to cut out the weekend work. What doesn't get done, doesn't get done. I need the time to skill up and renew what I know.


You should only work in the time given. If they ask why your output has decreased, just say the resources are not available. Not your fault that they do not provide you with a 200 dollar piece of software, and expect you work during evenings and weekends (i am presuming for no extra pay?).

What you are talking about is a basic problem in most business. They will never focus on the long run (even though this is hardly long run). They want to save costs now, nevermind that the method they use will cost them a lot more in the near future.
 
Nov 22, 2008 at 1:00 PM Post #5 of 15

fault151

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Yeh i did do in my first job that i had. I'm a graphic designer who designs for the web. My first job was for an e learning company. I was very keen on modernising some of their work and keeping it looking fresh and providing new ideas. This is what they asked for in the interview. Whilst i was encouraged to be creative, i had the exact problem of having to use dated equipment and 'free' stuff off the net in my designs. It was a disaster trying to always come up with what they wanted for free. What also didn't help is that some of the people i worked with had no idea about modern programs and styles... It was like trying to teach an old dog new tricks. It didn't happen! Don't get me wrong,there a nice bunch of people, but i couldn't stand working there after a year, so i left.

I now work for a busy web design agency in Manchester. It was definitely a better move in terms of work.
 
Nov 22, 2008 at 5:03 PM Post #6 of 15

SinnerG

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Yeah, I want a busy environment with like-minded people.
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G-man: I understand that idea of work in the alotted time, but seems to be quite difficult given the work load. Actually, what kills it is the "priorities". Isn't it funny how everybody has a higher priority than the next person? So you look at the request and see how many people are affected by it and make it a higher priority... but this is wrong because the next person thinks their request has higher priority. Ofcourse, having a boss that sides with outside parties does not help one bit. :p
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Interviews are funny ... so much BS gets spoken. And here I thought being truthful is the way to go. Next person that interviews me, I want to know if they have a marketing background.
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I'm off to watch some DVDs... VPN can remain permanently off.
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Nov 22, 2008 at 5:20 PM Post #7 of 15

Al4x

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i did a science degree [which i now feel is a mistake] i have a job with a company in a small department that requires a degree, but the actual job doesnt require creative thinking, its more like cooking from a recipe sheet, following instructions, not what i thought my job would be

if you feel something can be improved its a real effort to get it through, i feel pretty unispired and have lost my drive, and definitly have lost alot of knowledge cause it isnt used

i now feel uni was a waste of my time [if it wasnt really fun and friends made id be gutted now, thats my consolation, if id had just worked constantly i would be devastated with the result now]

so as of now, im considering a completely different career, one that keeps me on my toes, and pays more, have a few ideas, its sortof making me feel that this job is yet another 'summer' or temp job.

science work isnt all its cracked up to be, i wish i knew before uni!

oh yeah, advce for people considering a science degree, i wouldnt bother
 
Nov 22, 2008 at 6:12 PM Post #8 of 15

illy2k

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Quote:

Originally Posted by SinnerG /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Yeah, I want a busy environment with like-minded people.
smily_headphones1.gif


Interviews are funny ... so much BS gets spoken. And here I thought being truthful is the way to go. Next person that interviews me, I want to know if they have a marketing background.
biggrin.gif


I'm off to watch some DVDs... VPN can remain permanently off.
biggrin.gif



I know what you mean I have B.S. in Comp Sci and I work in the industry. I have only been out of school for about 2 years, and have already had 2 full-time positions. I just always feel that I am never being used to my potential. I also get frustrated by the lack of meaningful conversation with employees because at the company I am at now I am a C++ developer and there is about only 3 of us. The rest are .NET developers, and seriously it is like working with people who picked up a .NET book and now think they are programmers. If you ask them what a bit is they'll be like huh? The problem is I find this to be the norm in the industry, a few good knowledgeable people and the rest have no idea what is going on.
 
Nov 22, 2008 at 8:57 PM Post #9 of 15

itsborken

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There's a whole internet of peers that one can discuss programming issues with. Start looking at open source and determine what features you could add that add value to the package. Convince your peers to incorporate your additions.

Once you get back up to speed finding that next job will be a lot simpler. Beware that what's sold at interviews isn't necessarily the peer quality you were told about. It's easy to find people who talk like they know technology, and quite another thing to find those who can/will do what they talk about.
 
Nov 23, 2008 at 1:22 AM Post #10 of 15

SinnerG

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Quote:

Originally Posted by illy2k /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I know what you mean I have B.S. in Comp Sci and I work in the industry. I have only been out of school for about 2 years, and have already had 2 full-time positions. I just always feel that I am never being used to my potential. I also get frustrated by the lack of meaningful conversation with employees because at the company I am at now I am a C++ developer and there is about only 3 of us. The rest are .NET developers, and seriously it is like working with people who picked up a .NET book and now think they are programmers. If you ask them what a bit is they'll be like huh? The problem is I find this to be the norm in the industry, a few good knowledgeable people and the rest have no idea what is going on.


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C++... that's my language. I had to switch to .NET fulltime about 4-5 years ago because of the industry. I think it's time I switch back, but it seems jobs for C++ is few and far between over here these days.

I get you on the bit thing.
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At the previous position our lead dev on the mobile division was most revered by the boss. I was out on the balcony one day having a nice discussion with another colleague and the architecture word "x86" got used. Lead dev says "what's x86?"
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In my opinion, such simple things is why we are seeing applications grow enormously in size, requiring heaps of space and performance resources. I love higher level development languages, but can't just assume that's all there is and that the dev environment is going to optimize everything for you.

But come to think of it, if I had to be doing the current workload in C++ right now I'd be at it more than I am at the moment. But I definitely need a refresher on that too.
 
Nov 23, 2008 at 1:34 AM Post #11 of 15

SinnerG

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Quote:

Originally Posted by itsborken /img/forum/go_quote.gif
There's a whole internet of peers that one can discuss programming issues with. Start looking at open source and determine what features you could add that add value to the package. Convince your peers to incorporate your additions.

Once you get back up to speed finding that next job will be a lot simpler. Beware that what's sold at interviews isn't necessarily the peer quality you were told about. It's easy to find people who talk like they know technology, and quite another thing to find those who can/will do what they talk about.



Right with you on that.

However, that convincing seems to be useless where I am. The opensource thing is cool, but unfortunately you find there is one opensource pundit who jumps onto every new opensource gimmick that comes out and you wind up with an environment tacked together with applications which never made it past version 0.1 beta. I have this in the Brisbane office and it complicates life a bit. There are some gems though that really work incredibly well, no hassles no worries 24/7.

Anyway, the next week is going to be interesting. I need to pull MS Office support out of my apps and try and integrate openoffice instead seeing as we're ditching that expensive requirement. I suspect this is going to make that part of dev much easier. I hope, actually.
 
Nov 23, 2008 at 2:52 AM Post #12 of 15

frank99

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working in software dev is not easy, since the tech is moving forward so fast. I feel for every 1-2 years if you are not learning a new language or framework, it will be hard for you to compete in the job market. So to prepare for the bad days, every developer should learn some new tech even it is not used in the current work.
 
Nov 23, 2008 at 2:56 AM Post #13 of 15

SinnerG

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Very true. I'm spending some time on refreshers right now. Loading up on some new stuff which I've had no need for on current projects, but seems like rudimentary knowledge I should have.
 
Nov 23, 2008 at 3:49 AM Post #14 of 15

songlian

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After reading through these posts, all I could think about is how fortunate I am. It's easy to forget and start to take things for granted. I work in a very technical enviornment in aerospace and defense, and am lucky enough to work in a layed back atmoshphere on night shift. It's easy to get a lot of work done without so many chiefs running around. But. I'm about to enter the Mech engineering world which will put me on day shift, at least for a while. I'm being promoted from Machinist and cad programming. I'll miss not being able crank up my music and work in peace, But I'm going to keep reminding myself that I'm very fortunate, at work anyway.
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Nov 25, 2008 at 9:26 PM Post #15 of 15

SinnerG

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Well, guess what? I got feedback on my disastrous technical interview.

I don't know how it happened, but apparently the interviewer liked me. I'm off for a 2nd interview with management next Thursday.

Should I be worried? If they going to be thinking of hiring me after that interview last week, is it a sign of the type of colleagues I will have?
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Just kidding.

Beginning to wonder if it perhaps was the level of honesty. I said "I don't know" when I just didn't know. I mean, I've done my fair share of interviewing of new candidates at previous jobs (which shows you how far I think I've sunk in the last 2 years) and I'm always more keen on someone admitting to not knowing something rather than sitting there uhm'ing and ah'ing trying to come up with an answer. And it always seems better to say you don't know and then enquire about the item in question.

Or perhaps this dude who interviewed me is wiser than I thought and could spot someone in a waste environment. It's pure pity, I tell you.
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Unless... he ran off to his colleagues and said "man, you gotta meet this guy. It's hilarious!"
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I think the next interview is for design and management, so could be they just want to try for something else given my obviously out-dated technical knowledge. :p
 

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