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jagojago12
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« on: September 16, 2005, 03:57:24 AM »

What quantifies as "experience" to you?

Lately, I've been viewing tons of job apps, and this crossed my mind, What counts as experience?

Basically, what I'm saying is that if employers are asking for professional experience, which is most likely what most of them mean? Experience in general, or cold-hard professional experience only?

If it's the latter rather than the former, "technically" I am no  better off than a candidate who's *just* entering the field I'm focusing on. Professional work experience-wise, there is no difference (assuming each person had zero certs), but the employer would be seriously hard-pressed to not see a difference in quality of work between the two potential candidates in this fictitious example. (Just an example, I've been in the work force for a while)

The immediate answer that most would probably answer with: Professional experience.  Experience working in the "real world."

However, for up-and-comers, especially younger people, I wonder how much of personal experience can actually transfer as "experience"? Obviously, enjoying your hobby or training yourself is more RAW than actually going out in the work force, but that knowledge shouldn't be over looked. It obviously differs based on what sector you'll be working in, I doubt there are many people out there who have gained CCIE-level of experience casually. However, for some of the more intermediate jobs out there, having more-than-sufficient experience without formal experience should not be surprising.

It's kind of like a chicken and the egg type question.

Your thoughts?
« Last Edit: September 16, 2005, 04:01:58 AM by jagojago12 » Logged
Kasor
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« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2005, 09:29:09 PM »

Thing that you do specific for the job area.
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curiousgeorge
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« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2005, 09:55:59 PM »

I actually separate experience into different areas: personal experience, consulting experience, lab experience, production experience.

Experience in a production environment is COMPLETELY different than any other form. You actually deal with things not taught in a class and not working as they do in a perfect environment. Knowing how to deal with those situations is very valuable.

Consulting experience and lab experience are about the same: you work with things in theory and test them out, but if something goes wrong, that's where your job ends. You leave it up to the production people to fix it.

Personal experience is good, but if I have candidates with experience in a production environment, it just doesn't compare.

You have to gain your experience through the beginner level jobs- helpdesk, technician, or a computer repair shop. After that, you can start moving into better roles.

The other factor that I look at is the person's willingness to learn new things. And I look for expamles of a person taking initiative to take on new responsibilities without being told. That shows a lot about their ability to grow and adapt.

Just my opinion.
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jagojago12
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« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2005, 10:15:02 PM »

Quote
Originally posted by curiousgeorge
I actually separate experience into different areas: personal experience, consulting experience, lab experience, production experience.

Experience in a production environment is COMPLETELY different than any other form. You actually deal with things not taught in a class and not working as they do in a perfect environment. Knowing how to deal with those situations is very valuable.

Consulting experience and lab experience are about the same: you work with things in theory and test them out, but if something goes wrong, that's where your job ends. You leave it up to the production people to fix it.

Personal experience is good, but if I have candidates with experience in a production environment, it just doesn't compare.

You have to gain your experience through the beginner level jobs- helpdesk, technician, or a computer repair shop. After that, you can start moving into better roles.

The other factor that I look at is the person's willingness to learn new things. And I look for expamles of a person taking initiative to take on new responsibilities without being told. That shows a lot about their ability to grow and adapt.

Just my opinion.


I suppose in the future I can mention how much practical experience I have.  

In a black & white sense, it is frustrating that someone who can be certified with 6 IT Certifications, 15 years of personal experience, moderating on SharkyForums.com for years can be considered no better than someone who is transitioning from McDonalds in terms of "Professional Experience."

In the case that's how the employer views the world, then newcomers who try to apply for a job as-equipped-as-possible simply have no advantage.


I have been professionally employed for ~3 years now, and although production experience has personally helped me, I say about 80% of the time my personal experience is what has helped and pushed me to new levels, from low-level jobs such as repairing keyboard keys, or higher-level such as Cisco router config and all between.

The biggest help in production experience for me is the added knowledge of how to display my knowledge. It's how you present your knowledge that's important, and thus far that's been the biggest improvement from having "Pro experience," not so much technical knowledge improvement.
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jagojago12
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« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2005, 10:21:35 PM »

*My Point*

The point is, professional experience, although very important, should not be the end-all be-all all of experience.  John Carmack didn't professionally train to know how to code Doom.  Michael Dell didn't professionally train to know how to start-up Dell Corp., he started from his college dorm room.

I'm not suggesting that I'm 1 in a million, and am comparable to those people, but it is unfortunate that any practical experience that isn't conducted in the work environment is totally useless for most employers.  They don't care if you happen to qualify yourself as an expert COBOL programmar if you were self-taught in your own garage, the experience had to been from a cubicle at work.  

The truth to practical experience being worthless, is most likely because people are not honest. There are other reasons, but that's a big one. Thus, it is reasons similar to this as to why professional experience, is[/b] the end-all, be-all of experience.

e.g., "Excellent skills in Cisco Router Configuration"  means "I know what a router is, I have a $25 D-link 4 port router at home!"
« Last Edit: September 18, 2005, 10:28:15 PM by jagojago12 » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2005, 02:47:55 PM »

jagojago12, you really seem jaded / Piss#d to the fact of not getting a job you really wanted.

Sad truth is experience is the rule!  Meaning exactly what you can prove that you have done.  Living life just dosn't count in the eyes of employer's.

Just a thought let it go....Also if you are refering to people lying on the resume's....they will be found out very fast.  Most US states are @ will, meaning ...poof the employer says your gone.
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jagojago12
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« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2005, 05:11:43 PM »

Quote
Originally posted by monkeydish
jagojago12, you really seem jaded / Piss#d to the fact of not getting a job you really wanted.

Sad truth is experience is the rule!  Meaning exactly what you can prove that you have done.  Living life just dosn't count in the eyes of employer's.

Just a thought let it go....Also if you are refering to people lying on the resume's....they will be found out very fast.  Most US states are @ will, meaning ...poof the employer says your gone.


I have come to terms with the way the world works, it just may seem that I'm angry at the situation because I haven't ever expressed how I felt about it.  I thought I'd give an accurate feel of my perspective on the whole experience thing, but I do know there is very little that I can do. It's not much that I can do, but I was curious on what others had in mind.

As for referring that people lie on their resumes, I was only guessing the reasons why employers never trust practical experience. Like it was stated in my past post, I was speculating on the reasons, because I truthfully do not know the reasons 100%.

If I was an employer myself, I would be weary of people claiming a wealth of practical experience, but I wouldn't discount it altogether.  Time contraints may be another reason why employers go for strictly professional experience.
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