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C++/Career Opportunity


Hi Zlatko

I've almost finished my first year at university and I want to know if I should try find an apprenticeship in C++ or if I should rather wait till I am more experienced before I make that move. I currently have a good job working for an online website. I don't do any programming for them so it's not really what I want to be doing but I was thinking about offering up my skills for free on the weekends in exchange for the experience to a local developer. I would still continue to study, I was just unsure of the working environment, I really do want to be more hands on about this but I feel maybe I would just be in the way due to my lack of experience. Any feedback would be welcome.

Regards Chris

Hello Chris.

I think getting practical experience is an excellent idea. It gives you a chance to learn, and to make contacts for the future. It shows initiative, which employers like to see, and it will give you an advantage over your classmates.

However, there are risks. It is important not to be lured by money now and quit school before you are done. I have had some peers do that and regret it. One came to an employer on a work term and decided to quit school and continue working. When his employer no longer needed him, he had to quickly get a certificate at a community college. In Canada, a community college certificate is not regarded as highly as a university degree. Once you start making money, it's hard to go back to school and not having a degree can limit your future.

You must also be careful that your apprenticeship does not affect your grades. Many employers will not look at a new graduate if the grades are below a certain level.

Do not worry about being in the way. A good supervisor will find things appropriate for you level. Don't be inflexible about the type of work. You may be doing a lot of testing, maybe small bug fixes at first. As you gain experience, you should be given more challenging work.

Another option for experience is participating in an open source project. It will give you experience, and it may be enjoyable, but it may be hard to convince a prospective employer of what you really did. I've never done open source, so I cannot comment further.

I wish you well in your future.

Best regards.


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