I am the General Manager of a manufacturing company and have been for several years. I am 36 and my whole professional career has been involved in Management for Mfg. companies. I have also been a programmer since I was 12. Basic, Quick Basic, Pascal, C, then in 1995 (and ever since) Java. I write programs that are used in a daily basis by every office personnel. These include client/server database applications, job cost programs that tie into ERP systems, and more recently JSP/Servlet/EJB/Taglib website utilities. I do not have a degree and spent only 1 year in college studying Pascal in 1984 (when I was a Junior in High School. Experimental AP program.). My question is this, what would be the likelihood of someone like me landing a web development position using J2EE, given my ability to provide working examples (through my corporate website)? How much would those chances improve with an SCWCD certificate? And my last question, I've taken both the WithMilk mock exam and the JavaRanch exams and passed them with anywhere from 82% to 92%. Are these good indications that I would pass the real exam? If it means anything, I passed the original J2SE exam on my first attempt. Thanks for your input.
Hi, Tom - Welcome to JavaRanch. Your experience will adequately make up for not having a degree with all but the most stuffy personnel folks. As far as the cert goes, I think having one helps you get your foot in the door; then, your experience, knowledge, and personality help get the rest of you in. I highly recommend making a small portfolio of code you've written, and, if possible, include color printed screenshots (easy to do in this day of cheap color inkjet printers), all in a small three-ring binder or binder-type folder. Doesn't have to be a lot, just enough of your best work to impress. Best wishes for success! The economy's still tight, but I'm happy to say that jobs are finally starting to appear.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for one day. Teach a man to fish, he'll drink all your beer.
Cheers, Jeff (SCJP 1.4, SCJD in progress, if you can call that progress...)
A G.M. without a degree is quite a testament to your ability, discipline and work-ethic. Your business process experience in Mfg is your greatest asset right now, followed by your exp. in developing IT solutions that enhance the business. However, I'd NOT try to jump ship right now and become a web developer even though you love it. Alot of these jobs are moving overseas and wont come back. With your portfolio work and a few more certifications, you might be able to start a contracting business and get some billable work for awhile, but it could easily dry up after a year. Alot of people who jump out to try contracting experience this... Once they deplete consulting opportunities in their sphere of origin, they find that they cant establish new sales leads. This happens to alot of people. I'd stick to running the business... I would get some certifications that define your level of skill and self-education just so that they are on your resume. If anything, they will look good to a CIO or a management team if your firm ever got sold off or bought out. The only morsel of security now, or in the future, is the ability to be able to guide the business through appropriate technology enhancements. This means being more of an analyst than a developer. Alot of the guts programming is disappearing - either through offshoring, or through componentization and encapsulation. Unfortunately, you have more hope with administration certifications than developer style certifications even though the developer certifications require more thoroughly developed thought processes. I think you should consider a tactical certification rather than a strategic one. An intermediate DBA certification might help your protect your job or be eligible to get another one in manufacturing. If you are that close to a SCWCD, then finish it and get it. It's nice to have something on your resume in lieu of college credits and these technical certifications are far more difficult than what is expected of most college classes these days. Here's some reality of why you should think carefully right now about taking such a risk: My background: Five years of software development, 3 years of advanced sys admin (multiplatform Unix and distributed computing). BS Chemistry/Physics. Bench skills in analog electronics and design. SCJP2, IBM DB2. SCWCD coming shortly but was doing JSP/Servlets in 2001. I know people with MSCS Cornell and 7 years SE experience at HP that have been out of work for 18 months. I get turned down for $45K/yr jobs because people more qualified than me are showing up for the interviews. People are willing to drive 3 hours to work to take a $45K/yr job because there are none in Boston or Hartford where they live. This is the reality right now. This is a bad time to consider leaving a management job to become a web developer, even though you might love working with this stuff. I am only surviving this because I decided not to take risks with my finances: put my stuff in a cheap storage locker and moved into a $250/mo student house. -- Jim