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Q: how best to get Systems on my resume ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: how best to get Systems on my resume
Category: Computers > Operating Systems
Asked by: gremlin-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 07 Jan 2003 12:27 PST
Expires: 06 Feb 2003 12:27 PST
Question ID: 138909
I'm a CS major with lots of programming experience. I'll be trying to
get a job about a year from now, probably with some big software
company like Microsoft. In the mean time, a major weakness of my
resume is that I don't have very much Systems experience. What are
some easy ways to get Systems experience that'll look good?

Clarification of Question by gremlin-ga on 07 Jan 2003 17:01 PST
What do I mean by "Systems experience"? I'm not exactly sure myself.
The companies I'm trying to get a job with write large, complicated
pieces of software which require knowledge of how data bases,
operating systems, and networks work on a fairly low level. Figuring
out how to debug these large programs is also an issue. Imagine what a
nightmare debugging things like MS Office must be. I'm trying to get
experience in these areas.

I've got lots of experience in building interactive web pages, parsing
text files, and implementing data structures like red-black trees and
hash tables, so I'm not looking for more experience in those areas.

I might like to get some experience in Sys Admin (repairing people's
computers, making email work, etc), but it's not at the top of my
priority list.
Subject: Re: how best to get Systems on my resume
Answered By: hailstorm-ga on 07 Jan 2003 17:37 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

The best way I can think of to pick up systems experience is to join
an open source project.  There are lots of exciting, large scale
projects in all environments that are looking for developers, testers,
and other sorts of help that offer plenty of chances to beef up the
old resume and help out a worthy cause at the same time.  If you might
be interested in this, check out the SourceForge Help Wanted site at

If you are not going to be graduating this year, you should definitely
consider looking for a summer intern job in a field you are interested
in.  Your college's career services center can help you find
information on companies that will be recruiting at your school.  You
can also look for companies you might be interested such as Microsoft
on the Internet and contact them directly about an intern position. 
Be sure to check out this site from the Job Search section of as well:

Finally, there are many volunteer organizations looking for computer
administration help that can get you experience in this area.  To find
out about more of these in your area, try a Google search using these
terms, plus the city near where you are:

volunteer computer administration services "<city name>"

Sites cited:
    SourceForge Job Searching

    Microsoft College Job Site

Google search strategy:
    open source projects
    college student find internship CS
    volunteer computer administration services
gremlin-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: how best to get Systems on my resume
From: flajason-ga on 07 Jan 2003 14:09 PST

What do you mean by Systems experience? Different platforms, OS's?
I'll post this comment based on my assumption of your question. If I'm
off-base, please disregard:

If I may recommend, contact non-profit or charity orginizations in
your area or even somplace like a small local zoo. They often have
computer systems donated to them and are usually hodge-podged
together. Typically they don't have a dedicated computer specialist,
and often one or more members takes turns supporting their setup.

Volunteer some of your time helping them streamline their setups and
provide support when they need it. (Not 24/7 support, but maybe same
or next day) You probably won't get paid anything, although you may
get compensation for parts if anything needs to be bought.

That can put some good experience on your resume, and companies often
look very favorably on volunteer work. It shows community pride and
dedication. It might even give you the edge over an equally qualified
competitor. You'll also probably get a glowing reference letter. The
work you do may not be directly related to your chosen profession, but
if it'sin the same general field, I'm certain it will be well

I have volunteered some of my time to help set up computers at our
local zoo. It is run entirely by volunteers. While I have already
established my career, just helping out is satisfying in itself.

Subject: Re: how best to get Systems on my resume
From: luciaphile-ga on 08 Jan 2003 09:53 PST
A thought: is there something available at your school? A student
job/special project you could do at your college itself in their
Systems department?


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