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killakiwaski
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 6:48 am    Post subject: Career Advice Please Reply with quote

So for the last 10 years or more I have been installing custom gentoo (or funtoo) along side debian and win 10 (sorry but wine sucks for everquest on my dual core) on every computer I could get my hands on. See at first I didn't have the slightest idea how linux worked or even what it was, or was all about... Now in 2018 since I have dropped out of college (was majoring in physics just because i wanted to learn the material) I find myself in need of employment and I'll be damned if I am going to work hard labor forever when I can install a gentoo system with my eyes closed (no more handbook for me) In fact I have written scripts in bash to install my systems in the past. I know how logic gates are the basis of a binary number system that computers use to "compute" things, I know all the hardware, the software, how to compile it, how to enhance my gcc compile flags and make a dual core first gen desktop almost as fast as maybe the first samsung galaxy's.. actually those may still be faster im honestly not sure how to compare a quad core 2.4ghz S6 to a 10 year old desktop its like comparing apples and methamphetamine for energy gain potential... I digress, I have excelent bash skills, thorough knowledge of how to use man files when I need to figure out an unknown or find out how something works, I can compile in C, C++, and I know how to configure GCC to compile according to my system specifications. I can write Bash scripts, I am currently working on learning C, or C++ I haven't decided, though computer science I know teaches C so prolly C it is. I have systematically taught myself how to do kernel patches, compile kernels, build filesystems manually, edit config files with Vim, setup and make efficent my compiling by modifying my fstab and setting flags etc. I know how to pipe only what I choose and to use less when operating in a terminal only enviornment such as a tty so that I can actually read (if i choose) what usually just fly's past, in fact I can operate a system 100% from the terminal with lynx or w/e for web browsing. I don't anymore login as root but typically modify my user to be able to have the same permissions (I only do this b/c of all i've ever read about not loging in as root, i mean rm -R / whats that do? let me tell you in detail... mistakes and reinstalls/rebuilds are how I learned the command line, and since I don't like my computer telling me no, or not in fact removing my root filesystem if i so choose to (who is this machine to question me?) I hope this gives you guys an idea of my status and if so, can you please tell me first: What kind of position should i be looking to get, and two: what level expertise am I? I will add that i have half a BS in Physics, and i did Avionics Technician in the Navy for 4 years im a combat Veteran... any help or feedback on how I should proceed in my goal of being employed (eventualy my goal is to work in AI devolopment as a scientist who can write pappers and essays on important things and be taken serriously) Also almost all my physics knowledge came from using youtube to gain access to MIT lectures alongside pirated textbooks i have gotten a MIT education for free, thanks guys at berkley for making the internet i <3 you(just sayin)
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pjp
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you have any relevant work experience?

Why did you drop out instead of switching degree programs?
Not starting a degree program is one thing, but quitting is probably worse.

As for jobs, my experience points toward who you know rather than resume blasting. That said, what job do you believe you are qualified to do, or believe you could do starting tomorrow? Checking with some reputable recruiters would probably be a good next step.
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1clue
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How much college did you get? How many years?

I dropped out of college in my junior year. I quit and did house construction and odd jobs for 4 or 5 years. then oddly enough got a job in my major: Computer programming. I've been a programmer ever since and have never been unemployed for more than a week since.

I've studied job-related materials in books, online, through paywalls, and taken seminars that cost in the neighborhood of USD $3500 for a few days of study time. I never finished my degree. I've ignored people who told me to finish with SOMETHING.

If I could go back to visit my younger self and tell him one thing, it would be to get my stupid ass back into college. My intelligence tests were way above average, and I saw myself as a sort of lone wolf hero. So I avoided traditional routes to getting educated.

You CAN stay employed in computing-related fields without a degree. You can, possibly, get and maintain high-paying jobs without a degree. There is one more thing to consider: Most employers in the USA post jobs on an electronic board. They check off the boxes for requirements. For almost any permanent position in a larger organization, the checkbox for "degree" will be marked, and you will not even show up on their radar. It doesn't matter how skilled you are, they won't even see you.

For me, the practical difference hasn't been much. But I started college in 1984. It was a different world then. I certainly was frustrated to miss out on several job opportunities that I felt I would be an excellent match for, because the company had 1 position and 7500 resume's to go through. Back then they had 3 groups of people: Group 1 was the largest, they went through and tossed every (paper) application and resume that didn't look good, meaning it was on cheap paper, it was orange, it had a coffee stain, it was wrinkled or in a bad font, was double-sided or had skinny margins. Or it was 10 pages long. Group 2 filtered out everything that didn't have correct qualifications or, if you're lucky, they passed you for having on the job experience. Groups 1 and 2 are looking for ANY reason to throw your resume in the trash, because nobody goes through and reads 7500 resumes. Group 3 tries to choose the top 10 candidates out of what's left, and those you give interviews to.

In general, if I got an interview I got the job offer. There were a few exceptions. But the times when I really WANTED that job because it was a fantastic opportunity, I never got past group 2.
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1clue
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One thing I can say is that if you choose to go without the degree, then you'd better brush up on your communications skills. If you can't present yourself as a professional with good human-language communication that's easy to read and understand, nobody will care even slightly how well you can code. People with degrees will get further in the filtering process, and then perhaps the last group will cut you some slack on that.

Pjp's point of 'who you know' is true, but unrealistic today I think. You're likely to get that interview from 1000 miles away or more, if not in a different country altogether.
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John R. Graham
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Career Advice Please Reply with quote

killakiwaski wrote:
...eventualy my goal is to work in AI devolopment as a scientist who can write pappers and essays on important things and be taken serriously...
If this is truly an important goal, it's probably a compelling argument to go ahead & get your union card (degree).

- John
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pjp
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1clue wrote:
Pjp's point of 'who you know' is true, but unrealistic today I think. You're likely to get that interview from 1000 miles away or more, if not in a different country altogether.
Likely to get the interview how? I did say "reputable" recruiters, not bottom feeders. I have gotten zero jobs by sending out resumes, and only one through my "network." And that one was with unique circumstances.
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The Doctor
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd agree that how you sell yourself is probably more important than the degree itself, but don't undervalue the piece of paper. Even if you just get a few certificates from a junior college it will help open doors. Also accomplishment counts. If you can do something like write and sell an game or something like that it will prove you have the skills, not that you can just talk about it. Practical skills are what counts and you can use them to make up for a lack of formal training.

I have a complete BS in Physics and half of a masters (I left for several reasons) so I don't think you have any chance of being taken seriously as an AI researcher even if you have the skills. The problem is that academia is very much an elitist echo chamber.

A (slightly) extreme example is the peer reviewed study on HIV transmission where they took a group of African men, circumcised half of them and then tested them for HIV a year later. They then published the raw number and concluded that it was effective with no regard for the very painful operation, recovery period, or any other error analysis.

EDIT: it also should go without saying, but the people who will take a chance on you will be small operators, not big companies like Google who already have too many applicants with exceptional qualifications.
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John R. Graham
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My brother worked in aerospace. Defense contractor, in fact: liaised with the Pentagon brass and other defense contractors like Lockheed Martin. He always said that, although his PhD was useful in dealing with Washington, his BS was even more so.

- John
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1clue
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pjp wrote:
1clue wrote:
Pjp's point of 'who you know' is true, but unrealistic today I think. You're likely to get that interview from 1000 miles away or more, if not in a different country altogether.
Likely to get the interview how? I did say "reputable" recruiters, not bottom feeders. I have gotten zero jobs by sending out resumes, and only one through my "network." And that one was with unique circumstances.


Last time I sent out a resume it was year 2000. We used resume's back then, printed on paper. Now we use odesk or some other similar site. Many of our more recent "hires" (actually contractors mostly) have never been to the USA.

Back when I was writing resumes, the purpose of a resume was to get an interview. Once I had the interview the resume helped the interviewer remember interesting questions to ask me. It was important that it be readable, concise and no more than 2 pages. In my experience both creating resumes for myself and reading them to interview people, if the thing is more than 2 pages then pages 3 and onward were never looked at. If you can't do it in 2 pages you'd just as well not write it. Nobody needs more.

Edit: As far as "reputable" recruiters, AFAIK there is no such thing. We've done the whole range and found out that the recruiter only gives you what the applicant puts on the form. We have found zero acceptable new hires from traditional recruiters. All they do is call you every third day and try to foist off some person who has no qualifications.

We mostly stick with odesk because we're a small company with exactly one non-programmer. We hire a contractor with a good rating for a short-term job, and if they do well then we give them a long-term deal on terms that work for everyone. Many of those contractors don't want a long-term gig but some do.
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1clue
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To the OP as far as employment is concerned you may do well with something like odesk. A lot of people from all over the world thrive on that. It's oriented toward contractors who bid on short-term work.

However, you said you wanted to publish papers on AI and be respected. The only way a person without a degree gets respected in a research setting is if they already made their first few million dollars by setting up a business they designed and own. And maybe not then.
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pjp
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The odesk which became upwork (never heard of them until just now doing a search)?

Wow. If "freelance" is the future of employment, I need to "retire."
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Suicidal
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Freelance is the future of the race to the bottom IT world. I see several things on there that I already have a drop in solution for, but no way I'm giving it to them for the price they are offering.
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JWJones
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll tell you what I tell my kids:

Find what you're passionate about, learn how to run a successful business, and do your own thing. At the end of the day, being an employee, ANYWHERE, doing ANYTHING, sucks.

Having said that, if I had to do it all over again (I'm 51 now), I'd get into CS, probably involving network security, more specifically. I work in commercial printing instead, granted, on the tech side (prepress technician). I'm just a hobbyist when it comes to Linux and BSD.
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Ant P.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A relevant aside about "Upwork".
If all you look at is the numbers, you're going to suffer between the lines.
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Tony0945
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 1:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get a degree. No employer will take you seriously without one. It doesn't even have to be relevant. I got a permanent computing position just because the boss was impressed that my master's thesis in physics was about He-3 rich emissions from the Sun which has nothing to do with embedded programming. One of the best programmers I know has an M.A. in English Literature. Big companies will tell you flat out that they only hire people with Computer Science or Software Engineering degrees. Having an EE or physics degree isn't enough for them any more.

The college degree is today regarded as evidence of diligence besides being a resume filter. Go back. Learn the theoretical basis of languages and operating systems. If you can, minor in finance.

At least my physics degrees helped me in my first computer job which was building models of hydraulic systems and control systems in FORTRAN. This was at the dawn of the microprocessor era and soon anyone who knew what a computer was was drafted into embedded uP passembly language programming. But it was a different time. C was NEW language just invented at AT&T.

it's like the dawn of the automobile era, any blacksmith or bicycle mechanic got into designing cars. Today you need a degree in automotive engineering just to apply.

Go back to school!
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1clue
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pjp wrote:
The odesk which became upwork (never heard of them until just now doing a search)?

Wow. If "freelance" is the future of employment, I need to "retire."


Interesting. Go to odesk.com, it magically changes to upwork.com. My login still works. I noticed their website changed the look some time back but never noticed the domain change.

I get extra points for my superhuman observational powers?
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1clue
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Suicidal wrote:
Freelance is the future of the race to the bottom IT world. I see several things on there that I already have a drop in solution for, but no way I'm giving it to them for the price they are offering.


Then tell them what you have and what your price is. There is an appeal for a known-to-work solution. Companies who hire freelancers know that the job is never as small as they imagined and they know how much it's likely to cost to get what they want, even if they hope for better.

I know a lot of people who left salaried positions in order to pursue freelance. It's more interesting, the job is always changing and if you're good at it you can make more than you did on salary.

On top of that, it's a good way to have trial employment for both the employer and the employee. If you as an employer find a good worker, then you hire them. If you as an employee find a good employer with interesting work, you propose a more permanent arrangement.

Freelance is capitalism on an individual scale. There is no room for freeloaders and not much room for overpricing.
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1clue
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Few people get a job right out of college, especially if they want one in their field of study.

I worked day labor and construction for 4 years after I left college. It was probably one of the most educational and satisfactory times in my life.

If you get hired for day labor, which is about as 'bottom feeding' as you can get, you can either work for minimum wage or you can make a proposal to the guy who wants work done. My second day as day labor I was making those proposals, and many of them were accepted. They would hire me for a job, I'd ask them how long they expected it to take, and then offered to do the job to their satisfaction for the price they expected to pay based on the time they quoted and minimum wage. Then I'd get the job done faster, and make a better wage. Everyone was happy. I had a lot of repeat hires.

In that 4 years I was hired by individuals who needed help, and by businesses who didn't want to hire a permanent loser. Every business I worked with during that time offered me permanent employment or long-term employment. I generally didn't take those jobs but agreed to come back periodically to help with their high traffic times. During that 4 years I also had to specifically tell people when I wanted time off, because I worked 40 hours a week or more.

Freelance programming is no different. Getting paid by the hour is a sure fire way to become a slow coder. Getting paid a salary is conducive to laziness. Reading a job description, making a bid and setting up a contract is the opposite of all that. Having no long-term employment contract means you have to deliver consistently or look for new work.

The other side of that is that the freelancers who actually deliver are valuable commodities and if you as an employer are unwilling to be fair then those good freelancers will be working somewhere else next week.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I really didn't want to play the bad boy here, but with the recurring theme of
Quote:
Get a degree. No employer will take you seriously without one.

I think it's time to voice a second opinion
Quote:
in my first computer job which was building models of hydraulic systems and control systems in FORTRAN.
Fortran... Sure, it is still around, but it makes you sound quite old. The wind has changed. Where I live, it has changed somewhere along the past decade, people who developed their careers before that change seem to be only vaguely (or not at all) aware of that change.
I have myself dropped out of college. I know it was a suboptimal solution, but I also know it was better than sticking to my original decision to go there in the first place. And even though I'm making a pretty neat wage, my grandpa keeps telling me to go back to school and get my PhD. Seriously, a PhD. It's like 7-8 years just to _hopefully_ get a slightly better job in someone else's company. If I get my life right, I'm gonna be retired by that time.

Yes, I had a hard time getting my first job. No, I disagree that employers don't take me seriously. They didn't at first, but it changed with my experience... And my wage. It's funny how much people judge your skills by your price tag.
With a few years of working experience I work as senior linux admin (really doing much more than just linux), a core member of my team, and I often find myself guiding our juniors. This said, those juniors are actually really good. They just spent more time getting their degrees and less time hacking at that thing until it works so I'm a bigger bag of tricks. Don't worry, I don't tell them to use the ugly ones in production :lol:
What could I have done better? Definitely the part that our juniors got right: get a job before you're done with your school. Hell, The Kid isn't even done with highschool yet (or legally of age for that matter) and he's already on board.
You think anyone is going to ask him 'bout his degree?

If you're into AI, you will probably need a lot stronger background in math. Physics won't hurt either. Do your research. Buy some books on the topic. Give up your car and read on a bus. Note your ideas down and try them in the evening, the problems you encounter will tell you what you're missing. Lack of problems tells you to rise your bar.
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1clue
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@szatox,

I dropped out too, in my junior year. I made it and am making it. I still advise young people to finish the degree, especially if they want to be published and get respect from people they don't work with.

It's just easier getting that original recognition, and if you move to a different city it's hard to get trust when nobody at your new place knows anyone at your old place.

Over the years I have been advised to go back and finish, or talk to somebody about reworking what I have into some sort of degree. It always seemed like too much trouble at the time, and I frequently wish I had gone back to finish it.
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Tony0945
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

szatox wrote:

Quote:
in my first computer job which was building models of hydraulic systems and control systems in FORTRAN.
Fortran... Sure, it is still around, but it makes you sound quite old.

Yes, I AM quite old. Not even sure I can still write a FORTRAN program. The last time I did that was 37 years ago.

Point was in those days there very few if any programming curricula or degrees and very few people that could program. It was easy to get hired. Today the situation is the opposite and people with 20+ years experience are rejected out of hand as too expensive. I even say one ad that said that people with more than eight years experience need not apply.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I even say one ad that said that people with more than eight years experience need not apply.
That's kinda mean of them, but getting a degree doesn't make you cheaper. Doesn't seem a good way to join them. It's also yet another reason to start your own thing instead of working your ass off as a corpo drone. Yes, I know running your own business is not a picnic and many people either fail or get exhausted and give up. I like the idea of short-term gigs. You can think of it a neat launchpad to growing your business to a level higher than "it's not a job contract even though they pay me per working hour"

Quote:
It's just easier getting that original recognition, and if you move to a different city it's hard to get trust when nobody at your new place knows anyone at your old place.

Linked.in still does pretty good job bridging that gap. I'd risk a bet that odesk or upwork or whatever place that lets you set your offer and accept a task is even better. BTW, I grew up in the middle of nowhere and the available jobs are bad and underpaid on top of that.
Diplomas were very important 30 years ago, when the state owned everything, and you had a dozen of students competing for a single place in college. It was hard to get in, it was hard to graduate, and BS was your golden ticket.
Things started to change after we got the free market. Well, it's not really free, since it's all taxed, but at least it's not exclusively black market anymore.
Today everyone can get in (with exception of a few fields like law, where you need someone important to back you up), roughly every second student graduates, and basically nobody cares.
At least we don't graduate with a huge debt from student loans yet. I see it coming our way.

Alright, I doubt I'd have much more to say here. Cheers!
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