Career Advice (Solved)



  • I have been in and out of jobs for various reasons. I did really well at Gambling companies and I was doing quite well at Capita up in Sheffield until I decided to leave due to the fact that the commute at weekends was soul destroying (8 hours of driving every weekend), my recent contract was shit show.

    Now I have a bit of a problem other than the fact that I can't hide my feelings even why I try. I am a jack of all trades, in the web dev world.

    I am pretty much equally good at backend and frontend dev. I cannot do one without the other. My whole mental model in my head basically involves building a feature from database to the front end. Increasingly shops are now divided between the two which is pushing me out of the market because I look a bit shit compared to a pure front end dev and I look a bit shit compared to a back end dev. Responsive CSS from scratch is a major challenge since my mental model revolves around things like IE6 compatibility and and Fixed width websites.

    I come from a mechanical engineering background and moved into development because I ended up doing more Fortran / Java / Matlab than Applied Mathematics. I work fundamentally on principles, I learn a principle and then apply it, this makes me really shit when it comes to specifics. Recently I fluffed an interview because I couldn't remember some specifics about Sitecore, it the sort of thing I just google when I need to know it and forget it later.

    My last contract I wanted to start moving into a team lead role, I tend to spend a lot of time liaising with people outside of the dev team and I tended to be mentoring the juniors at my last few places I worked at i.e. I used to sit down with a Junior for half an hour that didn't know wtf they were doing and go through a job and how I thought they should build it. I quite like doing this depending on the Junior of course :). When I was at betfred I was pretty much the right hand man to my boss, I was trusted underling.

    Finding contracts is hard as I am not good enough at C# to get proper WCF / ASP.NET jobs, but if it is a say a ASP.NET job with lots of front end I usually rock the interview and I am in. I am not good enough at pure front end dev to get the higher rates in London (which is needed to make it economical) and they usually want some Adobe Tooling experience (using anything more complicated than MS Paint doesn't happen).

    I eventually want to work 100% freelance / consultancy stuff. But for the foreseeable future I am finding really difficult to get a role due to the fact that almost nothing is proper full-stack or cares about being able to solve problems.

    I dunno what to do.



  • @lucas1 There's no question here, it's all just cool story, bro.

    Are you asking how to get the team lead role you "started moving into"?



  • @blakeyrat No.

    It just an explanation of where I am.



  • @lucas1 Well ok then.

    Cool story, bro.


  • Impossible Mission Players - A

    @blakeyrat said in Career Advice:

    Cool story, bro.

    :thumbsup_tone1:



  • @blakeyrat Christ ... Look it is advice. I dunno what to do for a myriad of reasons I've said.

    I am expecting people to say shit like, but not limited to:

    • You need to specialised
    • Go freelance properly
    • Do something else.

    The question is in the thread title.



  • @lucas1 Ok, so your goal is you want to work 100% freelance, and your barrier is that you're a full-stack developer and full-stack is difficult to sell? Is that correct?

    Since you've already thought of "you need to specialize" and "do something else" and you posted here anyway, I guess the only advice I can give is to be selective about what companies you offer your services to.

    Look, quick and easy: what companies need a single full-stack developer for time-limited engagements? Web dev companies? Nah, they already have what they need. Big companies? Nah, they have enough staff to specialize back and front end.

    Restaurants making online menus? Possibly, but would the tediousness of that work melt your brain?

    Have you thought about taking your full-stack skills and pivoting into mobile development using something like Xamarin? That might open up the market a bit-- now you have a lot of companies that maybe are doing successful business but maybe want to add-on a mobile app to their marketing efforts. Or call up all the ad agencies you know, and ask if they need mobile app development for any of their ongoing campaigns. Or find companies that have iOS apps and quote them a price to port to Android, or vice-versa.

    No matter how you go, it's going to take a lot of legwork to find the right company.



  • @blakeyrat I've been doing high performance JS and Mobile apps since 2012.

    People aren't interested unless I have a the words Angular in that. They only seem to care if I know a framework, not that that I am basically expert level JS.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @lucas1 said in Career Advice:

    People aren't interested unless I have a the words Angular in that

    Is there a reason you don't just learn Angular, then?



  • @FrostCat Or Node.JS. Or both.



  • @FrostCat Which version, Angular JS 1.x is kinda wanted but lots of places want 2.x, some want react.

    I sell myself as being a expert JS programmer, but it more important you know a framework than actually knowing how the frameworks work.



  • @blakeyrat NodeJS is shit.



  • @lucas1 So's unemployment.



  • @blakeyrat There is also no want for it around here. Why don't you like do me a favour and shut-up if you have nothing helpful to add.



  • @lucas1 I apologize for not telepathically determining that Node.JS was not in demand where you live.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @lucas1 said in Career Advice:

    Which version

    Not to sound facetious, but whatever version you're seeing more ads for, first. Then the other one.



  • @blakeyrat said in Career Advice:

    @lucas1 So's unemployment.

    I don't think anyone who can do fullstack reasonably well will have problem to find jobs. It always have high demand in small companies.

    Because of manpower shortage, they actually expects you need to know everything. Just that most of them don't pay enough to justify their job requirements.

    Back to the topic. Lucas1, do you have friends who can refer you to a job? As you've mentioned that you moved in and out of jobs a few times, chances are there would be vacancies that they know which will fit you, provided you did well in the past and didn't burn the bridges. (This is also part of reason that why I said "anyone who can do fullstack reasonably well will have problem to find jobs", people in development positions working in team without enough manpower will want people with proved performance to shoulder the workload)


  • Impossible Mission Players - A

    So... @lucas1 is drunk again?



  • @FrostCat the problem is that they are a considerable time sink for not much benefit when I am already damn good at JS. A lot of it is basically reading the docs and getting on with it.

    It kinda like learning the laravel framework for PHP. If you already know PHP and understand you MVC framework you are fine building stuff in it.



  • @Tsaukpaetra no but the first two posts being "cool story bro" isn't conducive for friendly discussion.



  • @blakeyrat I didn't mention it.



  • @cheong said in Career Advice:

    Back to the topic. Lucas1, do you have friends who can refer you to a job? As you've mentioned that you moved in and out of jobs a few times, chances are there would be vacancies that they know which will fit you, provided you did well in the past and didn't burn the bridges. (This is also part of reason that why I said "anyone who can do fullstack reasonably well will have problem to find jobs", people in development positions working in team without enough manpower will want people with proved performance to shoulder the workload)

    I live effectively "out of town" and there is 2 or 3 cities with a few large companies. They all kinda suck to work for (proper cowboy places basically) or really small hipster web shops.


  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    @Tsaukpaetra said in Career Advice:

    So... @lucas1 is drunk again?

    Yeah, I saw the op and started thinking of solutions, then saw who it was :popcorn: .

    Lucas1, if you want help, maybe don't go on a rampage against people who are trying to help?


    Since this is General Help and I'm a sucker, I'll throw my hat in the ring anyway. In your post I see a lot of "I am this" "I am that", and a lot of "This no longer works for me". How flexible are you willing to be? If you're a Foo developer, and there's not a lot of demand for Foo, you can either

    • spend a lot of time chasing the demand for Foo, which might end up with you stuck in a job for the long haul instead of contracting because you might not be able to find more contract work. It might end up with you opening a webdev shop and marketing to small business near you, because that's where the work is even if it's more boring. In my area, not a lot of people want to outsource full-stack development because they want to trust the people they have doing their apps, but smaller businesses don't have a choice.
    • find a way to pivot into something with demand near you. You mention billing yourself as an expert at Javascript; can you learn to think front-end only? You mention not being good at C#; can you get better? You mention a demand for Adobe; can you learn that?
    • Pursue that management stuff you mentioned instead of doing the work. This will require proving yourself as a team lead; I don't know your area, but in mine, you don't get a lot of contractor team leads, so I'm not sure it can work out. What about project management? Can you pivot into that?

    I wouldn't worry about the interview you fluffed. Most people I've met in IT work the same way, using google for specifics. When they ask specifics questions, they usually are trying to gauge familiarity; some things you can just rattle off when you've been doing it long enough, like "what are all the HTTP verbs" (I didn't get them all but I was able to sound knowledgeable enough I passed).



  • @Yamikuronue said in Career Advice:

    Lucas1, if you want help, maybe don't go on a rampage against people who are trying to help?

    Don't you think it is quite frustrating when there are basically several comments that seem to me like he is deliberately mis-understanding?

    @Yamikuronue said in Career Advice:

    It might end up with you opening a webdev shop and marketing to small business near you, because that's where the work is even if it's more boring. In my area, not a lot of people want to outsource full-stack development because they want to trust the people they have doing their apps, but smaller businesses don't have a choice.

    This is what I am currently trying to do, If I can get a few good clients with a support contract, I am pretty much sorted. I have one client who is basically paying my rent.

    I do have the option of taking out a 20k business loan, but I rather not get myself in any debt. With contracts if I get the right one I can do about 3 months work and have 6 months trying to find freelance work before I have to worry too much.

    find a way to pivot into something with demand near you. You mention billing yourself as an expert at Javascript; can you learn to think front-end only? You mention not being good at C#; can you get better? You mention a demand for Adobe; can you learn that?

    What I was trying to get across is that almost all these frameworks whether they are client side or server side use all the same core principles, the code is structured in pretty much the same way and the specifics is usually just looking at the docs. What I am having problems is convincing people to hire me because I don't have industry experience in these frameworks, but have lots of experience in similar frameworks.

    I have one client I am working with and the project hasn't really kicked off yet. So it should be a good show case. But there isn't anything solid yet.


  • kills Dumbledore

    Get enough experience in each framework that you can answer the basic questions in an interview and not feel too bad about putting it on your CV. Unfortunately, you do need the buzzwords there to get to the interview stage, when you should be able to impress the technical guys if you're any good.


  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    @lucas1 said in Career Advice:

    deliberately mis-understanding?

    Dude, that's just how Blakey is. He offered you some advice once he figured out what you wanted.



  • If you're gonna be contracting, you need to be :

    • Actually good at what's on your CV, and not just in as far as what the contract description has on it. Buzzword compliance doesn't cut it.
    • Able to work within a team. Particularly a team where the leader is incompetent.
    • Aware that 90% of projects that have a bunch of contractors on them are that way because they are badly designed and run by assholes.
    • Able to accept that, although you were employed to do [insert buzzword stack here], you'll actually be doing perl and bash.
    • Able to hit the ground running.
    • Forget doing [insert buzzword stack here] until it's totally passé, and even then you'll be working on a completely out of date version tied to Windows 98 clients.
    • Able to work without whining "this is bullshit". It will be bullshit, that's why they're bringing in contractors to beat that impossible deadline.

    If you can do all that and keep a smile on your face, you'll have fun. If you can't, stay permanent.



  • It's weird the market is so different out there. We have almost no demand for anything that isn't C# or Java, and nobody hire contractors directly, they hire from contracting companies that pay you 50% of what they charge because fuck you.



  • @clippy Yeh I had a few of those, there is another thread on here where they basically wanted almost nothing to work abroad for 6 months, I knew the recruiter was taken loads of the top.



  • @tufty said in Career Advice:

    Actually good at what's on your CV, and not just in as far as what the contract description has on it. Buzzword compliance doesn't cut it.

    I pretty much just have languages, frameworks and work experience on my CV.

    @tufty said in Career Advice:

    Able to work without whining "this is bullshit". It will be bullshit, that's why they're bringing in contractors to beat that impossible deadline.

    I don't. That is why I complain on here so I don't complain at work.

    I am aware that as a contractor you are basically a gun for hire.



  • @lucas1 said in Career Advice:

    but it more important you know a framework than actually knowing how the frameworks work

    Duh, I could probably count on one hand the number of times I could use my knowledge of how .NET works, but I use the knowledge of how to use it every day.

    A taxi driver doesn't have to be a car mechanic.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @lucas1 said in Career Advice:

    a considerable time sink for not much benefit

    If it gets you a job you wouldn't otherwise be considered for because HR only looks for keywords, then obviously that's not true.

    I'm not saying become a guru. I'm saying learn enough about it that you can honestly put it on your CV. Then maybe you can get an interview you would've otherwise not even been considered for, and in that interview you can say "I know it, although I'm not an expert in it, but here's all the other stuff that demonstrates I pick stuff up really quick"


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @lucas1 said in Career Advice:

    I live effectively "out of town" and there is 2 or 3 cities with a few large companies.

    I know this isn't for everyone but I've moved to get a job a couple of times, especially one I thought would last.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @lucas1 said in Career Advice:

    he is deliberately mis-understanding?

    You are aware that's the entire basis of that persona, right?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Jaloopa said in Career Advice:

    Get enough experience in each framework that you can answer the basic questions in an interview and not feel too bad about putting it on your CV. Unfortunately, you do need the buzzwords there to get to the interview stage

    This.



  • @lucas1 said in Career Advice:

    @tufty said in Career Advice:

    Able to work without whining "this is bullshit". It will be bullshit, that's why they're bringing in contractors to beat that impossible deadline.

    I don't. That is why I complain on here so I don't complain at work.

    I'm not trying to pick a fight here, but I'm gonna be brutally honest. Take this as it stands, or ignore totally if you want to.

    I was under the impression that the reason you got canned from your last contract was that you were doing exactly that. I was also given the impression, given the fact that you came on here to let off steam about it, that you hadn't understood that the problem in that case was you and your attitude, and not your erstwhile employer. Because otherwise it would have been "I are an idiot, I got sacked" and not "I are an victim, I got sacked".

    Contracting is enormously different to working as an employee. It can be extremely rewarding (and not just in the fiscal sense), but you need to be in the right mindset. The benefits include an ability to totally detach yourself from office politics. If the politics are bullshit (and they will be), head down, do the job, go down the pub with the permies and enjoy their bitterness. But you need to be able to actively enjoy the shitness of the project, to revel in the crappy perl you're being required to write after having been brought in to do high level C++.

    My reading of the threads you've made on contracting is that you need to make a fairly serious mental gearshift before you are ready to do it full time without finding yourself sacked a lot or getting yourself a serious alcohol / substance abuse problem to divert from the awfulness of it all.



  • I get calls to contract in eclipse RCP at the end of every month when agents are desperate to make up their numbers. I sometimes think about it but I rather like my job at the moment. I can do the work and noone appears to care when I turn up hungover.

    Out of curiosity is contracting fun? I think there will come a time when I will think totally money but at the moment I live with naive defect that i must enjoy my job on some level.



  • @DogsB said in Career Advice:

    Out of curiosity is contracting fun?

    I found it enormous fun. The work's varied, you come in as "the troubleshooter", there's no office politics, and if a particular contract is horrible you know you only have to deal with 3 / 6 etc months of it. Until recently, the longest I'd ever held a job was a contract I had with $REDACTED where I spent 6 years, on and off over 10 years.

    On the downside, you have to deal with all your own training, I put aside a week for every 3 months (inbetween contracts) just to keep myself current. You've got no stability, if there's a market "hic" you're the first one out, and you need to worry about all the fiscal changes, your pension, pay when you're between contracts (I did motorcycle couriering from time to time), etc.

    You definitely need the right mindset, and it really helps if you're a "people person" or you'll find it enormously lonely .

    If you go in "just for the money", you're fucked. And you'll probably end up worse off, fiscally, than you were before.



  • @tufty

    I was under the impression that the reason you got canned from your last contract was that you were doing exactly that.

    No,

    I was interviewed to do a particular job. I wasn't doing that job, I spoke to the guy who manages my contract and asked him if he could find out why that wasn't the case (which is what you are supposed to do, it said that in the actual contract) my manager agreed that it wasn't right and offered me another position ... it wasn't what I was promised but it was fair offer so I accepted.

    I got booted because I upset some project manager because I said estimating something without any information was unrealistic and we had what I would call a minor disagreement.



  • @tufty said in Career Advice:

    The work's varied, you come in as "the troubleshooter", there's no office politics

    Not true. It depends where you work e.g. I contracting at one gaming company and they treat you like a permie. The Sheffield contract I was left alone. It depends what the culture is.

    The last place they treated contractors like permies.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @DogsB said in Career Advice:

    Out of curiosity is contracting fun?

    It can be. Depends on the job and the people. I had two long-term gigs where the work itself was moderately rewarding and I worked with people that were pretty cool.



  • @lucas1 Last bit of free advice. This is a thread where you're asking for advice, right?

    Learn to question yourself.



  • @tufty Like I don't. You keep on assuming the situation wasn't a bit fucked.

    0_1468357882029_Capture.PNG
    0_1468358182402_Capture2.PNG



  • @tufty said in Career Advice:

    getting yourself a serious alcohol / substance abuse problem

    I wouldn't mind ... that path would give us some hilarious threads



  • @lucas1 said in Career Advice:

    @tufty Like I don't.

    Going on your responses in this thread, you don't. You asked for advice, and then rejected all of the advice you've been given out of hand.

    You keep on assuming the situation wasn't a bit fucked.

    Of course it was fucked. It usually is. But you managed to get yourself canned. Perhaps unfairly, but if you can't drop into a situation like that and, as they say around here "gardez la langue dans la poche" enough to not get sacked, you aren't going to make it in contracting. The thing about being a contractor is that you have absolutely no security. They can kick you off site at 10AM and have somebody else in your seat before lunchtime. Having a "disagreement" with your boss that goes

    Seriously I am not going to give bullshit estimates

    … and then sulking in the corner for the rest of a meeting, even if you could only have given bullshit estimates, gets you marked as someone who cannot work within a team. "difficult". "A cocky arsehole". And not only by your direct management, but by the other guys in your team as well, who probably resent contractors at the best of times, especially "difficult" ones who subsequently get given juicy "new technology" posts that they'd quite like themselves to fatten up their CVs. You know those guys you were "starting to bond with"? They are almost certainly the ones who went and dropped a few hints to upper management over a pint.

    You have absolutely not questioned your behaviour on this. As far as you're concerned, you're a victim. So stay that way, but maybe remember this post the next time you get escorted off site. And the time after that.



  • @tufty said in Career Advice:

    The thing about being a contractor is that you have absolutely no security. They can kick you off site at 10AM and have somebody else in your seat before lunchtime.

    Actually there can be security as contractor. It's depending on how hard you negotiate the contract to work in your favor.

    They can kick you off site at 10AM if they like but they also have to pay you good money before you leave for doing so if that kind of "contract termination" arrangement is written on the contract. Sometime it's even protected by law if relevent clauses is not already written there if the court recognize the contract as employment contract but not service contract.

    I remember a case in non-U.S. court where the judge lists a few conditions to test whether a freelancer is eligible for protection granted by labour law, instead of be considered as self-employed with B2C relationship to the customer.



  • @tufty
    This is the problem with every-time I have spoken to you about anything. You think that everything is a dichotomy. I do agree with most of what you have said but here is the kicker ... not all of it.

    I have taken on board a lot of the advice on here ... but not all of it because not all of it is relevant.



  • @Maciejasjmj sorry maybe I am not explaining myself very well. What I mean is like the difference between ASP.NET MVC vs say another similar Framework like NancyFX.


  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    @lucas1 A pointer: try sprinkling phrases like "good idea" or "I'll try that" into your posts when you agree instead of only finding something to criticize. It sounds like you're rejecting everything when you just find things to disagree with.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @Yamikuronue said in Career Advice (Solved):

    "good idea"

    Little did @Yamikuronue know that "that sounds like a good idea" actually mean "fuck off" in British English.


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