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As you can probably guess from the title, I am a university student studying Computer Science. I'd consider myself a bit of a 'jack-of-all-trades, master of none' in my degree so I'm very open to all the different types of jobs that the tech industry has to offer. Currently, I'm applying for a year in industry and I'm generally steering away from programmer jobs as I feel there's people way more talented than me in that field in my year. However, I do enjoy programming. I just haven't been doing it as long as some of my peers.

So I guess my question is, what's the expectation of undergrad or grad software engineers? I mean for me, I know there's alot of things that I have to learn as I go. Recently, we've been making an Android app and I'm constantly referring to documentation and tutorials. It's going well, but in industry I just have an idea that it's a very different ball-game. I also know that some universities and students have a reputation of being great at CompSci theory but crap at programming.

Seconding the question above, what kind of programming roles to grads and interns do? Maintenance and testing? Pair programming? How long does it take a typical graduate to become productive? How much support and training to graduates receive?

I decided to post this as I'm aware many undergrads want to know this so hopefully your answers are of benefit to all of us. I know there's a tonne of questions up there and I expect other students have even more so if you can provide as much insight as possible, I'm sure all of us would appreciate it. Thanks.

closed as too broad by DarkCygnus, gnat, Dukeling, IDrinkandIKnowThings, Jim G. Nov 24 '17 at 21:39

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • I don't think you're going to get the answer you're expecting here. Your questions are very broad and the answer to most of them greatly differs based on role, company, job, individual, personality, and a long list of other things. – Russ Wilkie Nov 24 '17 at 19:44
  • Your studying Computer Science but are avoiding programming jobs? If you want a job in the fields that require your degree you will need to start applying to those jobs. If you understand the theory the programming typically follows, but a good chunk of programming, are skills that have nothing to do with Computer Science, but are skills you either have or done have (i.e problem solving skills). You can learn them, to a certain point, and be very successful but like being a musician or artist some people will always be better (so don’t worry about what other people can do) – Ramhound Nov 24 '17 at 22:52
  • @Ramhound just because I am now doesn't mean I don't intend to in the future, hence the question. I'm an undergrad so what I want to do is constantly changing, I asked this question to gain some insight. I feel very lucky to be studying a CompSci degree due to the wide range of opportunities it offers including programming. But yes, perhaps I should have more confidence in my skills. Just because there are a few that are better doesn't mean that I'm not good haha :P – Nathan Hoy Nov 25 '17 at 0:32
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Once you have about 20 years' experience ... you'll still be constantly checking the documentation and looking up tutorials. The software industry is constantly moving, unless you want to make a career of maintaining the same legacy systems.

So I guess my question is, what's the expectation of undergrad or grad software engineers?

It takes time to get up to speed, and good employers should know that. If you're willing and able to learn, that's a good thing.

Seconding the question above, what kind of programming roles to grads and interns do?

Anything and everything. R&D jobs that don't really matter if the code's a bit poor. Writing documentation. Maintaining old stuff. Doing new stuff, under close supervision. Testing stuff.

Maintenance and testing?

Could be.

Pair programming?

Maybe. But a lot of organizations don't do pair programming.

How long does it take a typical graduate to become productive?

About a year seems to be the accepted period. That takes into account the "negative productivity" of constantly asking questions of people who could be doing something else. But don't be afraid to ask questions - it's expected.

How much support and training to graduates receive?

With any luck lots - graduate training schemes and placement within established teams. That assumes it's a company that is used to training people rather than throwing them in at the deep end.

  • Thank you for taking to the time to construct a very useful answer, much appreciated :) – Nathan Hoy Nov 25 '17 at 0:29
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There is not correct answer because its not one question.

Generally, undergrad go in to the industry 3 major ways 1. No / low practical experience in the chosen field and aware of it 2. some / a lot of practical experience 3. No / low practical experience in the chosen field and big expectations due to the degree

In cases 1 and 2 there is always a possibility to get position in chosen field, perhaps with smaller company and lower salary, but experience is starting to build

3 however is not a particularly correct approach in getting in to chosen field

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