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The true story of how I got my first job

codingmindfully profile image Daragh Byrne ・2 min read

I was recounting this story to some folks in my office the other day - we were talking about our pathways into programming.

Even though I've written code for a long time, I didn't know I wanted to be a developer until I had to get my first job.

(In fact, it took me a while after getting the job to realise that it was something I wanted to do... but I digress).

Having given up on the idea of doing a Physics PhD (a decision I'm still happy about), I took a Master's in High Performance Computing that finished in 2001. It was kind of the middle of the dot-com crash, but people were still hiring anyone who could program like crazy.

As the end of my Masters approached, I started Googling around for software companies to approach (Google was maybe, like 3 years old back then? Linkedin was waaaaaay off).

I found my way on to a site that was kind of like a classified section for the software industry in Ireland. A random selection of ads for products, services and companies.

There appeared to be a Login button at the top. I clicked it, and was presented with a form.

In my naivete, I tried to log in.

Username: test
Password: test

....

well whatdy'a know! I'm in!

I was presented with an interface that allowed me to create an ad. So I did! I advertised myself as a graduate programmer available for hire.

Two days later I get a call. It's from the guys who ran the website wondering how I placed the ad...

They were pretty interested to find out! For some reason, they wanted to talk to me about offering me a job.

Perhaps, knowing what I did about their "security", I shouldn't have accepted. But that's another story...

How about you?

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Yeah, Sinclair ZX Spectrum... My first own computer I typed code on... After my uncle ones, which was a ZX 81 :-)

 

Me too! My dad bought me one for my tenth birthday. It literally changed my life!

 

Mine was ZX Spectrum+ – the good ol' days. :) My dad smuggled it into then communist-run Czechoslovakia on his way from a business trip to the UK.

 
 

Funny story! So did those guys turn out to be good employers?

 

Honestly one of the worst experiences of my life. Which actually turned out to be incredibly useful, as it allowed me to benchmark early on in my career what a bad job looks like, and to never accept it again!

 

That’s really funny! I’m glad you found a career that makes you happy.

 

Thanks! Stumbled into it!