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Thread: Advice on career direction

  1. #1
    Iru
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    Default Advice on career direction

    Hello everybody,


    I really need help deciding what path to go from now on. I have a degree in CS, but my first job opportunity was as a sysadmin. I took it as I really needed the money, etc. Unfortunately, I am not particularly fond of sysadmin-ing and would like to head my career to programming. I used to program a lot with Java some 5 years ago, but I only used Java awt...I am 32, and wonder if there are chances for me to enter Java programming. Feel at this age I am dinosaur... If so, can you please recommend specific certifications (Spring, JavaEE...?) that could help me in that direction and especially how to gain experience. Should I go for github or sourceforge?

    Thanks guys!

  2. #2
    gimbal2 is offline Just a guy
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    Default Re: Advice on career direction

    Oi! I'm nearly 33 and I'm not a dinosaur alright!

    With your background, sure why not but its a little tough because age without experience does impact a bit; it just means you'll have to do more job interviews before someone snags you. You won't find much work in client side Java programming anymore, perhaps in research environments such as hospitals there is still some to be found if you refresh your knowledge to be able to work with Swing and/or JavaFX.

    So you will have to dig into the wonderful world of the web and webservices; in this day and age you are lucky because we're at a crossroads right now. Old-style web application development is dying out and replaced with new-style web development which focuses more on the client again, which is where you know some stuff. Only in stead of Java, you use Javascript technologies. The server side component is mostly webservices. That is something you should have very little problem rolling yourself into, and that also opens up the path to jump to developing apps for mobiles and such. That should be right up your alley.

    I don't recommend certification at this point; certification comes much later and to be honest I put very little stock in them myself; you pay a good deal of money to get a paper that proves you can cram information in your head. It doesn't prove that you actually know how to effectively apply all that information. You may wow someone with it, but then you have to wonder that you want to work in a place where people are wowed by pieces of paper. I take a different strategy there: I get them and let my boss pay for them as part of the yearly educational budget.

    I don't get that last question. Github or Sourceforge? Why are you asking that?
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  3. #3
    Iru
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    Default Re: Advice on career direction

    Wow, what an amazing community, I already got an answer. Thanks so much, gimbal2, for the elaborate answer.

    I actually did some web development, and I used (a bit) some of the current technologies, like REST, AJAX, jQuery...the thing is that I would like to work with Java, and I've been told that I should try to get experience on Spring or some other currently used framework. Would you agree with that advice? If so, what framework should I try to get experience with? And do you think that trying to participate in some open source project is the way to do it? Or what other way is there?

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! for giving me some hope and optimism.

  4. #4
    gimbal2 is offline Just a guy
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    Default Re: Advice on career direction

    There is but one answer: check out your local job market and see what is in demand. Me myself I'm moving more in the direction which I described; Java only on the back-end and pure HTML+javascript for the front-end.

    That being said, Spring is usually in good demand so right now you'll find plenty of work in that and probably will for some years to come. Spring is a very big place though, be prepared to have to learn a mountain of information all at once. It might benefit you to start a little smaller. I can't really make any recommendations there, it is so incredibly personal. You might want to check out Play framework as of all the frameworks I personally played around with, it was the one that made the most sense and was the least cumbersome.

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    But I must stress: that would only be for learning purposes, I don't think you'll find much demand for people skilled with Play framework. But then again, never say never.

    Participating in an open source project is a good idea as then you can bind your name to something and have something to show. The trouble is attaching yourself to an open source project to begin with; they are chaotic to manage and thus most don't just allow you to join the team out of the blue. You rather have to prove yourself first, by doing smaller things such as submit patches, provide support in the forums and help to write documentation. That all is not going to help you through your initial learning phase though, you're better off to pick a personal project first and then go build that. I wouldn't try to be original, I'd rather just copycat something you know and like. That gives the benefit that you'll have a clear picture in your head what it is supposed to do and what it should look like. Just don't make it Facebook or Twitter ;)
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    Default Re: Advice on career direction

    I agree with everything gimbal said.

    You can certainly look into the server side of web development, a good portion of which is done using Java. Java EE and Spring are two options, but there is a whole world full of buzzwords out there. That does seem to be in much more demand than client side Java programming.
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    Tolls is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Advice on career direction

    Quote Originally Posted by Iru View Post
    I am 32, <snip> Feel at this age I am dinosaur...
    Quote Originally Posted by gimbal2 View Post
    Oi! I'm nearly 33 and I'm not a dinosaur alright!
    Bloody youth of today...

    I'm 48 next month. Grumble grumble.

    As an aside, I started with Java at about your age, after a few years in Ada (stop snickering at the back), a brief C++ stint, and a round with Oracle (PL/SQL).
    It's never too late to take on something else.
    :)
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    gimbal2 is offline Just a guy
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    Default Re: Advice on career direction

    I think I undersold mobile app development though: that is also a hot topic nowadays and more in-line with our new friend Iru's prior experience.
    "Syntactic sugar causes cancer of the semicolon." -- Alan Perlis

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    Default Re: Advice on career direction

    Quote Originally Posted by gimbal2 View Post
    Oi! I'm nearly 33 and I'm not a dinosaur alright!
    Let's check: do you have ridiculous large legs and silly little front paws? Do you have a tail? Giant jaws and do you look angry all the time? If you answered yes to to at least one question, you must be a dinosaur and you are extinct.

    kindest regards,

    Jos
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    Default Re: Advice on career direction

    Really JosAH's and Tolls u people are inspiration to do more.....................................
    Ramya:cool:

  10. #10
    Iru
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    Default Re: Advice on career direction

    Wow, you guys, you are the best!

    Look, I only said I feel like a dino, cuz' I always imagine the young(er) people around me have more time (in college) to brush up on the new technologies. I also think that people like some of you, Tolls, gimbal2, are really smart and that's why it is easy for you to switch. I needed optimism infusion.

    I am grateful for all the advice you guys gave me, but also for the fun side you have!
    Many thanks!

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