I am in the process of making a career change. I graduated from college in 1984 with a BA in Chemistery from Reed college. I spent the next 15 years in the Pharmasudical industery as a chemist and as a Production Supervisor and as a QA Manager. I quit in June on 2000. I was working helping out a friend as a receptionest at Rare Medium in Detroit. When I talked to the Director of Production/Programing & asked him what I would need to do to get hired as a entery level Java programmer, given that I was NOT willing to go back to school to get a 4 year computer degree. His responce was that a local HTML/WebDeveloper School would be good. He had several people who had come from there. All well & Good. RareMedium Detroit is closed. Any ideas on how I can get that citical first Job. I really appreciate you responses.
I completely disagree with his advice, and wonder if maybe his incorrecting thinking had something to do with the company shutting down. From their web site, looks like they were a combination VC/consulting firm for .coms; I'm surprised by his advice; although I don't know exactly what you asked or how he responded, so I may be misunderstanding. Web/HTML != Programming/Java I would even say Web/JSP != Programming. (!= means not equals in programmer speak.) What happened the last few years is that everyone started a .com and needed a web site. There were nowhere near enough programmers and/or web developers. Many people switched careers and become web developers. Building websites and writing HTML (circa 1997 - present) was not that difficult, so many people with little technical backgounds could pick it up. With today's tools you can even build full e-commerce web sites nearly right out of the box, with little programming ability, just some basic technical saavy. Now that the world has come to it's sense and realized .com does not imply IPO, web programmers are out of jobs. Application programmers, people who know how to code in Java and C/C++, are still in good demand. So if you only know web/HTML you're out of luck. Also, kids just out of school, even CS majors, are having trouble, because companies have hiring slow downs/freezes, and don't want people with no experience. Bottom line. I would be surprised if you can find a programming job in the next 6 months, even if you did learn full blown progamming, and not just HTML. No one will hire you without experience. Beyond 6 months, who knows? If the economy is like it is now, forget it. If it gets better, maybe.
Maybe I need to clarify. The class also did some HTML & other general Web Stuff. I have just completed a 5 mo course in Java programming. I am in the process of working my way through the Cattle drive. Thanks
If you already have some Java, how about some Oracle? Also consider working on getting you SCJP. I agree with Mark too; spending time and money learning HTML and web development probably isn't going to help you get a job in the current market.
Joined: Apr 19, 2001
Sure I do. If you already have a degree in one of the hard sciences (Chemistry in your case), then go for the Sun Certified Java Programmer Certification, to prove at least to you that you learned the fundamentals. It would be better than just mentioning the course you took in your resume. And get a near 100% score in it too, even though you can pass with a measly 61% (Don't Ask Me!). And while you study for the Sun Certification, get your own free Web site where you can place your student coding non-trivial self-assignments on the Web so that (in lieu of actual professional experience which would be better), you can show to prospective employers that you know what you are doing. Again, with a degree in a hard science, any knowledgeable (versus idiot) interviewer should pay you attention as a Junior Programmer. At least you know how to multiply! Ha ha! Oh, yes, I'm a Physics graduate who followed the recommendation I just gave you. With 110% success (don't ask!) OK! Ask! As soon as our links come alive again, you can "read all about it" in: Tony's Java Certification and Job-Related Stories (Not Bedtime)
Tony Alicea Senior Java Web Application Developer, SCPJ2, SCWCD
Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Hi Tony, I visited your home page , but unfortunately I was not able to any further than the home page of your site. Could you please look into as to why the links are not working. Ravindra Mohan.
Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Thanks for visiting my Java mini-site, Ravindra. The folks here at Javaranch are aware of the unavailable links which are ZIPped and hopefully soon will be unzipped. We had a major reorg here recently and old pages had to be archived to make room, but as I understand it, when the "dust settles" from the reorg, the pages will be available again.
Wait a minute, I'm trying to think of something clever to say...<p>Joel
Hi Ione, (Sorry, I got in late on this thread.) I work as a program manager for a software engineering division and I have definately hired individuals without technical degrees. I myself got my start being mentored by a developer who had an advanced degree in Oceanography; man could he sling code! When I interview someone who is obviously looking for a career change, I try to find out what it is that draws that individual to the software world. Sometimes folks are only in it for the money, and they typically wash out after a few minutes, but folks that truly have an aptitude for programming and are willing to learn, genuinely stand out. Don't discount your 20+ years of prior employment. Its part of what you bring to the table as a potential employee. You will find that a development job is much more than writing code eight hours a day. Your organization skills, your ability to communicate, time and resource management are all key attributes that managers look for in candidates. People have given you good advice. The SCJP certification is nice. However, in all honesty, I'd probably skim right past it looking for your college degree. What the certification does tell me about you is that you are serious about your profession and that you are willing to learn. That goes a long way. But more importantly, the certification should give you confidence in what you've learned. Best of luck to you. I am sure you will do well. randya
I like working with people that have experience outside of the traditional CS or Engineering background. Often they bring a creative approach to tackling projects. My advice is to look for opportunities that leverage your experience. If you have a teaching background try to find a software company that creates education-related software. If your a chemist or truck driver you'll find many companies like people to understand their business model that are working to fulfill their IT needs. Use your experience to your advantage. Michael