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I did job references for one of my former classmates 3 times within two weeks.
At that time, my old classmate was still a chemist, earning 55K annually. But she was nearing to success in changing her job.
Each time I got a call for her sake, I always told the following story: I myself was an independent consultant in Maryland. I was involved in an E-commerce system last year.
For some reasons, we need to migrate a DB from Oracle 7.3.4 to Oracle 8i. At the very beginning, our DBA guaranteed no problem.
Unfortunately, we got stuck very soon. In such a case, I recommended my friend to our project manager. At my insistance, we had my friend come in at weekend. She spent half a day with us. After some work, she pointed out the reason why our migration failed. 1) init.ora (for Initialization) file was not set up properly; 2) system tablespace was too small; 3) we forgot to delete Oracle 7 service before creating Oracle 8 service (We worked on Windows machine). Following my friend's prescription, we finished our DB migration because our project due date.
Let me remind you that I was telling lies. Of course, I told lies at my old friend's instruction. I was very happy to do that because I know she was so good. After 2 weeks, she called me and told me she accepted an offer of 60K. Though the new salary is not much higher than hers as a chemist, she was satisfied because she
understood she needed a transition time.
From this story, you may get a sense about what a good job reference should be. Some people like to get their closest friends as job referees. This is not always a good idea. The most important thing is that your referee should be quite technical. If your referee just say you are smart, you work very hard, you are easy-going, .... it does not make much sense.
Now let me tell my friend's story. How did she become an Oracle DBA? She thought she is not a very aggresive person. So she chose Oracle DBA as her direction. She spent about $5000 USD in taking various courses in some computer training center. She spent 1 year on this. At the same time, she bought 3 computers and established a network at home. She has one Linux invironment and one Windows invironment. She tried to do all things she though necessary. For instance, she though she needed to know Windows machine well, you learn to install Windows 95, 98, NT in the evening. As I talked her on the phone, I was astonished at her talking---her talking was so professional.
For instance, she could clearly explain Primary Domain Controller, NTFS, DHCP....
She could tell me what useful packages one can find in Red Hat Linux... She clearly told me Oracle Form is trivial... Knowing form is not enough for job hunting. She could systematically told me what Developer 2000 is for. To gather experieces, she really created a small DB using Oracle 7.3.4 and then migrated to Oracle 8i.
The point in this story is: No pain, no gain.
Some poeple always asked me: Can I got a Java job after I finish reading <<Thinking in Java>>? Frankly speaking, the answer is no
unless the employer is your friend.
Just FYH: my classmate's salary is now 75K.
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