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I need opinions on career development project!

Glenn Timchishen
Greenhorn

Joined: Jun 20, 2004
Posts: 21
I need some professional opinions, how will the following project look on a resume.

I am not a self-taught programmer, I went to a 2 year community college program, and had 4 years PowerBuilder experience, but now I�m in java land. In order to get out of PowerBuilder I got 2 java certs and got a beginner java web position. In order to make up for lost time (after 4 years I shouldn't have to take a beginner's position) I am starting a self-taught project.

Basically it�s a suite of 3 java web apps. a web store, a maintenance app, and a cashier's app. (I�m not planning to sell the apps)

So i'm going to build the apps using incremental development. I"m going to gather a set of requirments build the webstore to a basic point, then repeat, each time adding more value to the webstore.

Once the webstore is at a point where I can show it to people, I'll focus on the maintence app. Once the maintance app is at a point where i can show it to people, i'll do side by side development on both the webstore and the maintence app until they are near complete. After that i'll work on the cashiers app. All three apps will be able to be run from the web.


So I�ve read allot of books and the apps will be java spring/springMVC/hibernate apps on a Linux mysql apache/tomcat box. The maintance app will be ajax/spring/springMVC/hibernate. (I've also read books on databases, analysis and design, ajax, etc)

But... I'm not just going to have this app. i'm also going to have a public repository. Its basically going to be a quick and dirty website (just plain html/css) that will have all of my requirements/Use cases/class diagrams/sequence diagrams) for all of the major builds, I will also have release notes and test plans.

Then for minor builds I'll just have release notes, test plans. I will also keep a list of bugs found and fixed, as well as a blog listing my thoughts. I won't put up source code but I will put up a API as well as code snippets detailing special features that I want to showcase, for example if I developed a cool sort algorithm or something.

I doubt anyone will look through it all.. But I don�t think they have to... I would just want them to look through it and see how much work I have put into this thing and see all the learning that�s going on.

So lets fast forward a year (all work is going to be done outside of my 8 hour a day job) the maintence app/webstore is at decent level and the repository is set up. What do you guys think? how do I repersent this on a resume? Is this project worth anything?
Jay Dilla
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 12, 2004
Posts: 201
If you have an online resume I'd just put a link to the sites on my resume and mention it to who ever interviews me.
by the way, what is wrong with you current job that you are trying to leave it?
Glenn Timchishen
Greenhorn

Joined: Jun 20, 2004
Posts: 21
Well its not so much that there is something "wrong" with my current job. Its just i've been struggling with: "how to do, meaningful career dev outside of work" for a while. certifications are great, but I got some of those, reading books are great but how does an employer know I know the content after reading the book. This kind of project proves I know the content, not just programming, but that I know software development.

Its not that i want to leave this job, its just as a programmer who is has been in the field for about 5 years, I am making low 40s. The company i'm with is small, and i'm not sure how much more i can make here without working here for 10 years. My job eval is comming up so i'll know more then as to what my future with this company is like after that. I hear about all of these people (even in my home city) that are making like 10, 20 grand more then me and they only have 2 more years experience then I do.

and for the record, i've been starting the analysis and design portion of the project and I enjoy it... not only is it career dev, but its a fun hobbie for me too.
Jay Dilla
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 12, 2004
Posts: 201
Aren't you doing J2EE development? How is that not real development? I agree as far as the money, that is way too low for someone with 5 years experience.
If you can do more then you are being assigned at your jobd volunteer to help on tougher projects or tell your boss this work is too easy for you. they might promote you and give you a raise,etc.
Jignesh Patel
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 03, 2001
Posts: 626

Glenn -- You are going in right direction.

Just Do It!!
[ June 22, 2007: Message edited by: Jignesh Patel ]
Glenn Timchishen
Greenhorn

Joined: Jun 20, 2004
Posts: 21
Thank you!

Sometimes its nice to get encouragement from your peers. Specailly when you doing things by yourself.
Glenn Timchishen
Greenhorn

Joined: Jun 20, 2004
Posts: 21
Jay,

Right now our apps are model 1 jsps.


jsps calling other jsps with some functionality in java class files.


although, there has been some talk of us rewriting our apps to use struts/spring which would be awesome!

but even then the project is still valid... when/where do you get do do ALL the different areas of developement? so many times, all the "good" stuff goes to the senior guys and such.


like I said... this project is also a fun hobbie i'm doing.

Yes.. I know... I need a life.
[ June 22, 2007: Message edited by: Glenn Timchishen ]
arulk pillai
Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 31, 2007
Posts: 3219
Good idea and it shows that you are passionate about what you do and a proactive learner. You can represent this in your CV in 3 places:


-- one is your skills section where you can say that you have used the popular and sought after technologies and frameworks such as Spring, Spring MVC, Hibernate,IoC, AOP, TDD etc. May be you can have a go at JSF as well for a portion of the Web functionality or instead of Spring MVC.]


-- Have an accomplishment or achievement section where you can list your achievements or achievements.


-- In the Employment section have a sub-heading for the after hour project.

you can look for more tips at http://java-success.blogspot.com. Good luck.


Java Interview Questions and Answers Blog | Amazon.com profile | Java Interview Books
Gabriel Claramunt
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 26, 2007
Posts: 375
I think one interesting point you'll want to make to you possible employers is that because you wanted to learn you build all that stuff with new technologies. More than the actual details of the code, I think they want to know how do you handle the challenge and what did you learn in the process.


Gabriel
Software Surgeon
Tejas Prathamesh
Greenhorn

Joined: Jun 21, 2007
Posts: 26
It's definitely a very good idea and it will help you a lot.In my opinion, you should put the project in your resume and tag it as a 'self skills development' project. The interviewers will definitely be curious about what that means and thats where you get your chance to pitch in and explain your efforts and the result in detail.

You have inspired me to plan for something similar! Thanks

All the best
Glenn Timchishen
Greenhorn

Joined: Jun 20, 2004
Posts: 21
Thanks for all of the replies. I think i'll keep track of the comments until i'm actually ready to update the old resume.

I really appreciate the encouragement, sometimes it makes all the difference.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
I have one question.... why are you building a web store? It's a solved problem. I like your initiative and am glad to see that you're taking on a project to improve your skills and provide sample work to future employers. But why not do something useful?

It seems like if you're going through this effort, why not put it towards something people will use. Second, it sounds much more impressive to say "used by hundreds of people" (or thousands or tens of thousands) than "no one uses it, it's not really useful."

--Mark
Glenn Timchishen
Greenhorn

Joined: Jun 20, 2004
Posts: 21
the reason why I choose this business solution is because so many people have that solution in place already. i've worked at 2 IT shops and both companies had some sort of in house purchacing/inventory managment system in place... so when they see this they can think, hey we do that here... he already has experence in doing that or something similar, maybe we should hire him?


And actually... This idea originally came from a business idea. The idea is to develop this suite to sell to... small businesses. There is a suite of three programs. A web store, a cashier app, and a inventory maintenance app. There are alot of programs out there that does this already but how many apps are there for small businesses to use? A guy who owns a mum and pop store can go into best buy, buy a prepackaged peice of software and set it up HIMSELF, no IT department required? (kinda like if they were setting up their accounting system themselves using quicken or simply accounting)

Would it fly? not sure, hense why i'm not planning on selling it. But I think if its done right, and its at the right place at the right time, it could be a hit!

Does that answer your question? Please let me know?
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
If you're not going to sell it, then it's useless, unless you think people will use it for free. Making something because "people already ahve something like this so I'll copy it" won't give you the focus you need. Either building something useful or don't build something at all. Useful doesn't mean it needs to be sold, but it does mean it needs to be used.

If you build something that is not intended to be used, it will look like a toy project and will miss key functionality that will make it seem professional as opposed to some class project (yes, people can tell the difference). So I would encourage you to think of this as something you actually want the company to use.

--Mark
Glenn Timchishen
Greenhorn

Joined: Jun 20, 2004
Posts: 21
I'm not planing on selling it or marketing it cause i'm not a salesman. I can't presade people to do things I want, its just something i'm not good at.

That being said, even though i'm not selling it, I am developing it as if I were. And If it works out well enough, I may try to sell it. And through incremental development, I will add more and more features. I doubt the apps will have much value for a few years but eventually they will.

But thats not the most important thing. The important thing is that they see the process i'm following. The process of gathering requirements, designing and implementing a solution, testing the product and documenting the result. I want them to see how over time, the value keeps growing.

Which is another reason why I picked the webstore. I can see myself adding functionality for years. Just on the weekend (i've already gathered most of my requirements) I've thought... parhaps these apps could eventually deal with customers and business customers. See? More functionality to include. This project can keep me busy for years. THATS what I want people to see.

The project is meant to be a foarm or mediem for continuous career development outside of work. I can keep reading books, and developing the apps almost indefentatly. I can even include things like themes (so that my clients can have webstores that look different from other clients that have my webstore) or parhaps I can include locales, eventually I could probably spend a year learning and incorporating first class security. I guess I want this to be one of those things where its, "Not about the destination so much as the journey itself".

Does that explain my purpose more? Do you understand more of what I want to accomplish now?
Glenn Timchishen
Greenhorn

Joined: Jun 20, 2004
Posts: 21
I'm not sure I answered your question mark, so I'll try to do that here..

Yes, from conception I designed my idea (as well as the project) to be something that companies could use. Even though people may never use it, it will be something that could be used.

Example? ok so if you have a web store... i'm not going to collect credit cards because most smaller sites use something like pay pal. I'm actually thinking of getting a pay pal corporate account for the sole purpose of developing my app to USE pay pal, or actually a payment collection method of their (the client who would purchase the apps) choice. (it will be configurable so it won't be tied to any one service)

Then when I deploy my app it won't use pay pal (seeing things like that might make people think i'm trying to con them out of money) but I'm going to develop a small app that I can direct my store from when they are in checkout. The small app will pretend to be pay pal (with disclaimers everywhere saying that this is for educational services) This can be accompished by learning what needs to be passed to the pay pal service then developing a simple jsp app to grab that info and simulate processing.

Even though I'm not going to sell this product I will develop it to be industrial strength. It will be good enough for people to use. I can do this because i've worked with production systems. In my last company (I wont name it) I worked on an invoicing system that, in the busy season, took in up to 20 million dollars a day in revenue. So I think I have the ability to do this.

Does that answer your concern/question? If not I�m very grateful for your point of view.
[ June 26, 2007: Message edited by: Glenn Timchishen ]
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
That does. Good luck with your project.

--Mark
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
 
subject: I need opinions on career development project!