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next steps?

Elizabeth Lester
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 14, 2001
Posts: 129
Hi,
I am at a bit of a crossroads at the moment. I recently earned my SCJP, and I'm wondering what my next move should be. I am wanting to change jobs to one that will have me actively using Java, but I realize that the market is extremely bad right now and that might take awhile to occur, so I am trying to figure out what course of study I should pursue meanwhile.
I am considering UML and/or SCJD, and also considering starting on a graduate-level software engineering track. Anyone in a similar position or have any advice?
It would not be that easy for me to immediately take the SCJD because I have had (and continue to have) no Java work experience. While I try to study a lot on my own, at times it's difficult to completely make up for experience on the job.
I have been programming for a relatively short time (3+ years with Vignette StoryServer), and I do not have a computer science background, although I pick things up really quickly and I have access to whatever software/hardware I need right now at work (bonus). (In other words, even though I do not have Java projects here at work, there is nothing hindering me from creating one for myself.)
Any thoughts would be welcome. Thanks!
--liz
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Elizabeth Lester
Sun Certified Programmer for the Java� 2 Platform
manav kher
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 21, 2000
Posts: 98
go for a masters its valid as long as you live. these certificates have a very short life span on your resume, and who said you cannot do both. Plus you will be just in time for the next upswing...and going back to school can be so much fun sometimes.
if u need more reasons to head to grad school lemme know
-manav
Elizabeth Lester
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 14, 2001
Posts: 129
Hi Manav,
Excellent points. I think I am headed in that direction, although it may be a little optimistic considering I am working full time and have an ugly commute...btw, are you at Maryland?
--liz
Tom Hennigan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 25, 2001
Posts: 71
Definitely consider sifting in the Computer Science college degree. In my recent job-hunt experience, HRs, particularly those at Fortune 500-scale firms, look at any Bachelor's degree as minimum qualification, then a recent development experience - preferrably Web-based applications. Java definitely is playing a larger role. JSP and ASP development both loom large in the current needs categories, but server-side Java component development, maybe client/server (SCJD) some, and the J2EE are the really hot topics. Experience working any stage of the deveoplment and maintenance of multitiered "Web Services" oriented distributed business object architectures is where the hot action is. Brushing up on these topics alone (assuming recent success at SCJP) will keep you off the streets for 6 months at least.
In sum, I recommend trying to steer your current position toward more work on application development, continued Java learning and practice, and sift that Computer Science college degree in as you can afford. It takes much energy to keep up right now, but those who aren't will not be around too many more years.

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Tom Hennigan
Sun Certified Java 2 Platform Programmer


Tom Hennigan<P>Sun Certified Java 2 Platform Programmer
manav kher
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 21, 2000
Posts: 98
yeah how did u know that??
well i understand it can be really busy and once you are on your way (paychecks can be really addictive sometimes) but there are so many programs for working professionals now and a lot of companies will pay your tuition and even give you time off if you plan on attending grad school.
-manav
Elizabeth Lester
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 14, 2001
Posts: 129
Hi again,
I think my game plan is to scope out the job scene (with hopes of finding a more Java-enabled work environment) while working toward my SCWCD. I am familiar with Servlets and JSP, and perhaps I can get another Java credential under my belt before Discrete Math starts in January (prereq. for graduate work), with looking to potentially start a part-time graduate program next fall.
It does take energy to keep up--just starting down the programming path since college, I feel like I have been playing catch-up for the last several years. My experience preparing for the SCJP helped to round out a lot of basic programming knowledge for me, and now I think I am ready to tie it all together with a graduate degree.
Manav--I saw "umd" in your email address You are completely right about the benefits of working and studying at the same time. I have been taking class after class of continuing education stuff (programming, web development, etc.) for years, and most of it has been covered by my various employers. Tuition reimbursement is a wonderful benefit! I am looking at the UMUC MSWE program for next year (do you know anything about it or anyone in it?).
But just like the paycheck is tempting, so are certificates that take less than one year to complete--not to mention jobs closer to home!
Thanks for the feedback!
--liz
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Elizabeth Lester
Sun Certified Programmer for the Java� 2 Platform
 
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