Building a High Tech Career

Join us for a panel hosted jointly by Agile Vancouver and the Vancouver Java User Group.

Networking starts at 6pm and the discussion will start at 6:30pm sharp.


So how do you get that first few years of experience to jump start your career after you graduate? What does the road ahead look like for developers, designers, architects, and others in the software engineering field? How can you transition into a high tech career from another field, or change your career focus (from developer to system architect, or from tester to developer, etc.)? What are some of the ways to keep building an excellent career, or to take your career to the next level?

We will discuss these and related issues that enquiring minds want to know the answers to. The panel members all have experience hiring people for their companies, and represent all different sizes of companies from small business to large corporations:

• Jim Tivy, Owner, Bluestream XML Content Solutions

• Vikram Ramchandran, Manager of Information Systems at TELUS

• Eugene Nizker, CIO, 364 Northern Development Corporation (BAMSAS)

• Philippe Kruchten, Professor of Software Engineering at UBC

• Noel Pullen, Director of Web at HootSuite


Check out our website at: www.agilevancouver.ca.


Please RSVP for this event at so that we can know how many people to expect.

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  • Susan P.

    We have published the poll for measuring interest in a one-day event to continue this discussion in more depth. Please vote and let us know if you are interested -- http://www.meetup.com/Agile-Vancouver/polls/940122/

    November 1, 2013

  • Jim T.

    Hi Folks
    Great session - was good to think about the career scenerios.
    I did, however, want to make sure people did not trivialize the art of programming. My physics Phd friend once used the term "code monkey" - I had to lecture him. Although perhaps not as lofty as considering the orgin of the universe, "programming", "writing code", "software engineering" is not to be taken lightly. Writing the right lines of code is an art form and partial team sport. I would tend to avoid any software development position that was purely "coding" - although in some industries such a military and nuclear power plant huge process may be in place that reduces the freedom of a programmer and rightly so.

    1 · October 30, 2013

  • Susan P.

    Wow -- this is so cool. I think this is the first time that we have had this much discussion, or that the discussion has continued after the event.

    Does this mean that people would be interested in a one-day event that continues this topic sometime next spring?

    We will put up a poll shortly so that people can vote on whether they are interested or not.

    Maybe at a longer event, we can find some volunteers to help people by answering specific questions that they have. It was difficult to answer those kinds of questions in a general discussion like this event. We will include a question about that in the poll and see what the response is.

    Thanks to everyone, both panel and audience, for participating in the event and in this discussion.

    3 · October 30, 2013

  • Martin F

    It's rather odd that the questions already raised here were never addressed by the panel -- except for Jim who did address them right here, thanks. My main learning/conclusion is to focus more on trying to determine what problems a potential employer has and then show how i can help solve them. Thanks, Vikram.

    Also, i'm clearer on the divide that generally separates larger and smaller organisations regarding specialists and generalists, although, as Noel said, there are exceptions.

    Well done, Susan.

    1 · October 30, 2013

  • Len W.

    Good discussion all around. I'll see if I can apply some of what I heard.

    October 29, 2013

  • Kenneth W.

    Thanks for putting up a great meetup Susan and the panel.

    October 29, 2013

  • Joe

    Quite a few interesting questions and also points of view presented today which could apply to other fields as well.

    October 28, 2013

  • Gordon W.

    In the end, I couldn't attend due to a graduation planning meeting for my daughter but I've learned so much just from the comments leading up to the meetup.

    October 28, 2013

  • Adam D.

    Here's the answer to the last question of the night: What's the one most important thing for an Agile career? It's Test Driven Development.

    October 28, 2013

  • Peter C.

    I learned a lot, and lots of great discussions, especially about working for large or small companies.

    October 28, 2013

  • Marius de B.

    Good event, good discussion, good panel. A worthwhile evening.

    October 28, 2013

  • Bernard C.

    It was great to participate in tonight's meet. Lots of awesome input from everyone!

    October 28, 2013

  • Eric l.

    One issue I found in IT field is that: When a job needs two-year Java experience, they don't count the guy who even has ten-year C++ experience; as like a guy who has ten-year Toyota car sale experience, but can not apply the job to sell Ford. what a weird logic.That's the one reason to have skill gap

    October 28, 2013

    • Martin F

      That's one of the biggest problems with letting HR get too involved in the hiring process: Robots or people who have little real understanding of job/knowledge/skills and their equivalencies. There needs to be a far better broker between those seeking workers and those seeking employers.

      October 28, 2013

  • Rupmeet S.

    Looking forward to this event

    October 28, 2013

  • Len W.

    1) Does anyone on the panel have any experience with a period of unemployment in the last 5 to 10 years regardless of the reason? Do you have gaps on your resume? Can you actually relate to people looking for work with gaps? 2) As we have read about the Trades industry in BC, the senior levels of government, Business and Labour all agree on more training to close the job gap. Especially apprentice training. Why, if there is such a need for skilled I.T. workers, there is no apprentice/paid intern process in place here? What is taught at BCIT or the Universities is far less than what is required in the job market. 3) I read an article, that with big data, companies are going to have to change their recruitment process. Instead of posting a job with 20 must have requirements, getting thousand of resumes and hoping to find the one match, companies will search the data bases for the match. Does the panel see this as something that will be happening in the near future?

    Thanks

    October 24, 2013

    • Chris M.

      Who's to say that you could have run your own business for a period (several months) and realized that it wasn't your cup of tea so went back to working for the man. Fill that time with your own company name so that it's at least off the radar.

      October 28, 2013

    • Chris M.

      just to clarify, I'm not suggesting you lie, but the truth is likely that you were doing stuff on the side for yourself during that downtime which is a job...just a unpaid venture.

      October 28, 2013

  • Martin F

    Some employers use recruiting agencies to find workers and some post their own ads. Many do both. When we see the same job announced by both an employer and a recruiter, what should we do? Maybe it doesn't matter, but i've heard of the "HR black hole" that suck in hundreds of applications that never get seen again.

    October 27, 2013

    • Len W.

      I agree with what Joe stated. I have had zero success with companies, probably for various reason, but probably like the ones listed above. If I see an ad listed for a company and I'm interested, I'll see if I can find that same posting on a recruiters job board. If you have a relationship with the recruiter, your odds go way up. I think some companies have to post for HR reasons when they know they are going to use a recruiter anyways. I think some companies post ads for research to see if they need to pay their workers more of less based on how easy they are to replace. Maybe Mr. Ramchandran can shed some light on how Telus hires. I have heard that Telus won't even look at your resume if you have worked for a big company before. I wonder if that is true or an urban legend.

      1 · October 27, 2013

    • Bradley C.

      I've worked as an internal recruiter who consultants and works with HR, as well as an agency recruiter, and sometimes a bit of a hybrid between the two. The HR black is real - but there are recruitment agency blackholes as well.

      If you have to apply via a website, direct or to an agency, make sure you have an amazing resume. Simple format, clearly explaining how you have the skills required as listed in the job posting. Most companies want hire someone who has done, rather than someone who could (learn how to) do. There are many reasons for this shift, which can be discussed later. One thing to keep in mind, most recruitment agencies don't share who their client is so knowing 100% this is the same posting is near impossible. I would suggest partnering with a few recruiters, and trying to be as honest about your skills and career goals, as possible - since they're the one who is 'selling you'.

      1 · October 27, 2013

  • Ammar

    What if a Techi-PM worked in this order:

    6 years as software Developer,
    2 years as System analyst/software designer,
    then 5 years as software PM,
    then now switched back again to Software developer. My question is: Will his/her resume be short listed again if he/she applied for PM role in future ? knowing that he/she is a PM and Developer Certified Professional.

    Thanks

    October 25, 2013

    • Jim T.

      Not sure what my attitude is - I am just trying to encapsulate my anecdotal experience into some opinion - but this process is helping me to collect my thoughts... I have expressed some ideas on age - I think you are wanting to hear about gaps. Very effective programmers have come from the hard sciences, math and engineering. As well, I think it healthy to have a life as well as your work. As well, my current job requires some understanding of linguistics - domain knowledge - so I applaud the generalist - but as my permaculture teacher said - "jack of all trades and master of one" might be the new way to deal with specialization. Also, the term software developer can mean many things - so on a chat medium like this we may be destined for definitional hell where we mean different things.

      October 26, 2013

    • Jim T.

      However, we should talk about attitude. And there is likely not just one attitude - I support diversity. But I do think you have to "bring it" - if that means anything to you. But people bring it in different ways. If you are arguing that you don't have to "bring it" then we do have a difference of opinion.

      1 · October 26, 2013

  • Martin F

    How do you avoid practicing ageism and gapism when considering applicants? Ageism: assuming older workers are incapable or expect too much money. Gapism (yes, i just made up the word): assuming someone with gaps in a resume is incapable.

    October 24, 2013

    • Jim T.

      If you read my note I said bring it every day - however I went on to say "it" varies with the individual. And the individual may be older or younger and that may change what "it" is. I have respect for those who can be a front line software developer when they are 60 - I like to think they are greats. Depends on the science on how age affects mental abilities - and there are likely large variations between individuals - so age categories are not sufficient. Physical abilities can be measured more easily.

      October 25, 2013

    • Jim T.

      But I do think it is great if you have developed your art by the time you are 55. As that skill and knowledge can help you compensate for the aging process. In truth I do not have the science on aging - mostly anecdotal - so I am happy to hear better researched facts. But I do know a few individuals that are in their 50s and 60s writing code.

      October 25, 2013

  • Susan P.

    If you have a specific question that you would like to ask, or a general question that you would like to discuss, please post it as a comment here.

    Also, here's a useful article to read -- even if you aren't a new developer: www.techrepublic.com/blog/software-engineer/the-top-three-tips-for-new-developers/

    October 24, 2013

    • Martin F

      NB: if i copy the techRepublich link and paste into chrome, the URL gets messed up and the article is not found! Make sure you edit it in the address bar so it looks just like what Susan posted above.

      October 24, 2013

  • Laura S.

    How do employers encourage life long learning in the team?

    October 24, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I'd suggest to hire good personalities that champion the idea. It would evolve the team's culture.

      1 · October 24, 2013

  • Randy W.

    Looking forward to it!

    October 22, 2013

  • Susan P.

    FYI - we expect the discussion to go on for an hour and a half to two hours. Our meetings usually wind up somewhere between 8:30pm and 9pm, but the time depends on how lively the discussion is and how engaged the audience is.

    October 17, 2013

  • tracebond

    Was meetup.com incompetently programmed?

    October 17, 2013

    • Susan P.

      I am not sure what you mean. Did you have a problem with it?

      October 17, 2013

  • E.T.

    What time will this end?

    October 16, 2013

  • RT

    How long do you expect the discussion part to be?

    October 7, 2013

  • Adam D.

    Sounds like a great topic!

    September 30, 2013

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