Some real brief background: Most of my programming experience is from college, where I learned C, some C++, some Java,Cobol,JCL, and SQL. I decided to try to take the networking career path at the time, and have been stuck in tech support limbo now for quite some time. Over the past couple years I've found myself wishing I'd taken the programming career path, and have finally motivated myself to really go after that.
I'm working through an external vendor at a company right now that I know is hiring Websphere/J2EE folks. My goal is to try to get in there permanently, though I know I have a lot of work ahead of me. I'm about halfway through Head First Java right now, and need some advice.
How do I make myself, as a guy with a mostly tech support/networking background, look more appealing as a programmer as I move forward? Even if I self study for several months, am I going to be looked at seriously when I don't have on the job experience? Will a certfication help me there, and how realistic is getting a certification without that on the job experience? And most importanly, what book should I read next?
Thanks for any responses. I plan to do a lot of reading on this board over the next several days.
Joined: Jun 19, 2005
Originally posted by Craig Stambaugh:
I'm about halfway through Head First Java right now, and need some advice. How do I make myself, as a guy with a mostly tech support/networking background, look more appealing as a programmer as I move forward? Even if I self study for several months, am I going to be looked at seriously when I don't have on the job experience? Will a certfication help me there, and how realistic is getting a certification without that on the job experience? And most importanly, what book should I read next?
You have started with the right book. Certifications wont just decorate your CV but can also give you some relevant hands-on programming experience and solid background, if used properly. The following steps can be relevant for you:
What about making a move within the company you work for now? When I started in software, I didn't have a degree, but I did have a lot of end-user experience, and landed an entry level job in QA. I also took a few programming courses at night (which the company paid for - nice!) Eventually I got the powers that be in my company to trust me, and I got a job in Development within the same company.
I think getting certification is a good move. I also think taking a few night courses to update your skills might be a good thing to add to your resume. But don't rule out the possibility of getting another tech support position or possibly a QA position at a company you like, with the hopes that you can get a lateral transfer within the company once they get to know you. It might be a good idea to find out about the tuition reimbursement policies of any company you're interested in too.
It worked for me, and I've seen it work for other people at places where I've worked.
Good luck! Let us know how things turn out for you.
Joined: Feb 09, 2006
Originally posted by Mary McCartney: What about making a move within the company you work for now?
The problem with that is that I'm a contract employee at the company I work for. It helps because I can get a feel for what the demand is for, but I'm not eligible for any "transfers", I would have to apply for an "internal" job just the same as anyone off the street. It also means that my "training" benefit is for a pretty poor CBT training site that my contracting company has...no tuition reimbursement. If I get hired on at the company I'm contracted to though, they have all kinds of training available, so it's a matter of just getting in the door. I think it sounds like at least SCJP is probably going to be my goal. I've thought about night classes, but I've already missed Spring semester, and summer/fall is longer than I'm really wanting to wait to get the ball rolling.
I really appreciate both you and Ali for replying to this thread. More than anything it just kinda reassures me that I'm taking the right approach. Self-Study, certification, and possibly some outside classes if available.
Joined: Feb 11, 2006
I changed my career from mechanical engineering to Java/J2EE. Luckily I did it during the internet boom. Still for more details about my career progress check out career change