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  1. #1
    silverglade is offline Senior Member
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    Default programming career advice question

    Hi, I have a programming career advice question. I have a college degree in art. I do not want to pursue that as a career, I would like to pursue a career in programming, mainly in Java. There are a few questions I have if anyone can help please.

    I keep hearing people telling me about outsourcing and that I shouldn't be a programmer. I am getting sick of hearing that and would like to know if outsourcing in the USA is a real threat or just an exaggeration from negative people.

    I might be able to go back to college for computer science and programming, but I wanted to learn on my own, and was told that if I become certified as a java programmer, that is enough. Or is it mandatory that I get a degree to get a job in an office locally (New Jersey USA).

    I was wondering, all the ads for java jobs on craigslist in my area ask for a few years experience, but I do not have this, and won't, for "a few years". LOL. So I was wondering, if you need experience to get a job, and a job to get experience, that is my dilemma.

    I guess that sums it up, basically, the outsourcing fear, the unqualified fear (no degree) , and the experience necessary problem. Any help greatly appreciated. Thank you. I won't be able to reply for a while as I am going to sleep now. Thank you.:D


    This has just been posted programming career advice question (Jobs Discussion forum at JavaRanch)
    Last edited by silverglade; 05-16-2011 at 05:15 PM. Reason: no answer

  2. #2
    silverglade is offline Senior Member
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    In the computer programming industry, experience is King.

    Real world, hands on, practical programming experience is valued more than computer programming certifications, software development diplomas or even programming job titles.

    What you know is much more important than how you obtained the knowledge!

    The next time you read a computer programming job description and you feel overwhelmed by the list of degrees or certifications required, just remember that the job market for computer programmers is not really that formal.
    How To Get Computer Programming Job Experience

    Now, you know that raw, hands on computer programming experience is valued above programming degrees, job titles or programming certifications, here are tips on how to increase your programming experience.

    Open Source Projects

    there are various open source projects that you can join and contribute code to. Before you join an open source project, take some time to learn the code, use the application, get to know the team members and become familiar with the code review or code commit processes.
    Non Profits

    you may get programming experience by helping a non-profit organization that needs with building a database, a website or a software application.

    Be sure to let the non-profit organization know that you are doing the job to get more programming experience.

    You need to be truthful and upfront about your level of expertise or you may run into problems by taking on more than you can handle.

    When you committee to working for a non-profit organization, you may be required to work at the pace of other senior, more experienced team members.

    Also, the non-profit may be racing towards meeting some important deadlines.

    So, even if you are offering free help, the non-profit organization needs to understand that you may introduce additional delays to the timetable.

    If this is not acceptable then you and the non-profit organization are not a good match.
    Personal Use Software Applications

    You may get computer programming experience by building a software application that provides some services or benefit to you.

    For example, an employee I managed built a price watching software applications in his spare time.

    The application was a web crawler that would go to specific websites and monitor the bids and prices of products he was interested in.

    You can get some really cool programming experience that way because you are your own customer, you are not going to stress yourself over deadlines and you understand the needs you are trying to meet.

    The downside is that software development managers do not rank this type of programming experience as high as that gained by working for non-profit organizations or open source projects
    Professional Computer Programming Experience

    You may get computer programming experience from a professional software development organization.

    This involves having a software development company assign programming projects to you, review your code and mentor, coach or train you on your weak spots.

    This method is preferred because hiring managers value programming experience derived from professional mentors above those from self study or non profits or other sources of programming experience.

    The reason is that a professional software developer can critique your code or database design while you or a non-profit may not review or critique your own code.

  3. #3
    codeAJ's Avatar
    codeAJ is offline Member
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    Fantastic, thanks for this post. I have been pondering these questions myself.

    I have just completed a uni unit in Java, and am now looking at Oracle Java certification & whatever experience I can gain.

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