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Career change to Java developer

Fritz Guerilus
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 20, 2009
Posts: 65
Hi,
Last year I decided to change careers and become a developer.
I have about 9 yrs experience in computer support, and the hours of support are too much for me anymore.
Since then I've been working hard at studying Java; bought books and plan to take the SCJP6 by the end of Sept09.
I'm sure you all know how tough learning Java can be, especially coming from a non-developer background.

I've spoken to a number of experienced developers and even to the head of the development dept at my job and they wont even consider giving me chance at joing their dept w/o a decent amt of real world experience.
Let's face it, they are 100% right.
No one is going to put their reputation/job on the line to train a very 'green' jr.developer, no matter how many certs I have.

I can only imagine what a potential employer will say to me. I don't even know how to begin a job search, especially in this job market.

I need advice on gaining the practical hands-on experience that I sorely lack, and get me hired. I've searched the forums and they repeatedly talk of the following:
-- Tutorials
-- Self-taught projects
-- Open-source contribution
-- Volunteer work

Where can I find exact examples of these topics?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance.


SCJP 6.0
arulk pillai
Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 31, 2007
Posts: 3223
--Tutorials

You can google for heaps of tutorials. For example

-- http://www.javapassion.com/
-- http://java.sun.com/docs/books/tutorial/



-- Self-taught projects

-- Start working on your own project. To get started, google for eclipse based java tutorials or Netbeans based java tutorials. Choose the IDE you like and expand your tutorial into a project.

-- Open-source contribution

once you are more comfortable and have hands-on experience, then

-- You can learn from and enhance your coding skills by looking at others’ code.
-- You can get feedback from others on your code.
-- You can enhance your ability to understand problems and develop effective solutions for it.
-- You can proudly mention your contribution on your resume.

If you are still not convinced, go to http://seeker.dice.com/jobsearch and search for "open source".


Where do I look for open source projects?

-- http://www.sourceforge.net/
-- http://dev.java.net/
-- http://jakarta.apache.org/
-- http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/views/java/projects.jsp
-- http://www.google.co.in/search?q=Apache+Java+projects
-- https://www.dev.java.net/servlets/ProjectList
-- https://openjdk.dev.java.net/
-- http://developers.sun.com/javadb/
-- http://www.netbeans.org/
-- https://glassfish.dev.java.net/public/devindex.html
-- http://www.ohloh.net/
-- http://www.freshmeat.net/
-- http://code.google.com/


-- Volunteer work

While working on all the above, approach organizations for volunteer work on a part-time basis.



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Suranga Nath Kasthurirathne
Greenhorn

Joined: Aug 11, 2009
Posts: 13
I konw just how you feel.. best of luck man.. and do that SCJP thing.. these days anyone without scjp is like the stuff the cow leaves behind... (grin)
Pushkar Choudhary
Rancher

Joined: May 21, 2006
Posts: 425

Suranga Nath Kasthurirathne wrote:these days anyone without scjp is like the stuff the cow leaves behind...


Now that's an overstatement...!!!
Suranga Nath Kasthurirathne
Greenhorn

Joined: Aug 11, 2009
Posts: 13
Yeah... I kinda relate to poor Fritz so i was trying to motivate him to pass the exam ... didn't mean any harm though...
Fritz Guerilus
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 20, 2009
Posts: 65
Suranga Nath Kasthurirathne wrote:Yeah... I kinda relate to poor Fritz so i was trying to motivate him to pass the exam ... didn't mean any harm though...


No harm done. It was funny.
I am plenty motivated enough but I need a direction to focus on.
Step1: pass the SCJP.
Step2: work on getting hands on experience.
Step3: figure out the next step...LOL

Thank you Arulk & Suranga for the support
Deepak Bala
Bartender

Joined: Feb 24, 2006
Posts: 6662
    
    5

Fritz Guerilus wrote:
Suranga Nath Kasthurirathne wrote:Yeah... I kinda relate to poor Fritz so i was trying to motivate him to pass the exam ... didn't mean any harm though...


No harm done. It was funny.
I am plenty motivated enough but I need a direction to focus on.
Step1: pass the SCJP.
Step2: work on getting hands on experience.
Step3: figure out the next step...LOL

Thank you Arulk & Suranga for the support


Good luck with your preparation


SCJP 6 articles - SCJP 5/6 mock exams - More SCJP Mocks
Andy Lester
Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 03, 2009
Posts: 61
The key to getting into open source isn't find a project to contribute to. What you want to do is contribute to a project you already use.

What open source projects do you take advantage of every day? I'm no Java expert, but it seems like half of what the Apache Foundation is driving these days is Java-based. Do you use Ant? Struts? Jakarta?

How about non-Java related projects that you still use? Do you use SpamAssassin? It's in Perl, so would give you a reason to also use Perl. Any Apache modules you use? You could learn some C.

How can you contribute to those projects? It doesn't have to be just contributing code at first. Hang out on the mailing lists and provide answers. Update support wikis or contribute documentation. I know that on the Parrot project, a large amount of contributor time goes just to maintaining the tickets in the bug system. Anything you can do to pitch in, do it.

Start with joining the appropriate mailing list for the project, or monitoring forums. Hang out in appropriate IRC channels. Listen to what people are saying. Make yourself known as being someone who is willing to pitch in.

Go into it with the goal of contributing to the project, and not of improving your career. When you take care of the first part, the second part will come naturally.

Good luck!


The Working Geek, a blog of job hunting and work life for techies. Author of Land The Tech Job You Love. Follow me at @theworkinggeek
roger wong
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 21, 2009
Posts: 31
Why not continue to get the SCWCD?

Fritz Guerilus
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 20, 2009
Posts: 65
roger wong wrote:Why not continue to get the SCWCD?


The SCWCD is a possibility.
But at this point, I plan on quantifying and building on the SCJP with hands-on experience.

The SCJP only proves to others you know the JAVA language, but applying the knowledge takes practice, practice, practice and more practice.

Once I have a solid enough foundation, I can accuarately plan a career path.

Everyone has different goals/plans. I don't only want to be a java programmer, but a software architect.

So that means JAVA is one of many languages I will have to learn and use.

Unfortunately I find that hiring managers don't think much of the SCJP cert (only my opinon).

They prefer hands-on experience and tangible examples.

But having the cert does help get your foot in the door.
roger wong
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 21, 2009
Posts: 31
Fritz Guerilus wrote:
roger wong wrote:Why not continue to get the SCWCD?


The SCWCD is a possibility.
But at this point, I plan on quantifying and building on the SCJP with hands-on experience.

The SCJP only proves to others you know the JAVA language, but applying the knowledge takes practice, practice, practice and more practice.

Once I have a solid enough foundation, I can accuarately plan a career path.

Everyone has different goals/plans. I don't only want to be a java programmer, but a software architect.

So that means JAVA is one of many languages I will have to learn and use.

Unfortunately I find that hiring managers don't think much of the SCJP cert (only my opinon).

They prefer hands-on experience and tangible examples.

But having the cert does help get your foot in the door.


SCJP is the entry cert and may be not enough. Whether you have SCWCD or not (nice to have), you'd better have the SCWCD related knowledge like servlet, jsp and etc.

Then you can start with a webapp project. That's the mainstream in java development.

FYI.



Fritz Guerilus
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 20, 2009
Posts: 65
That's good advice. I will look into servlets and jsp. I'll consider the SCWCD later on, becuase I can't commit to studying for another sun exam in the near future. The SCJP is literally draining me, and I need to take a break.
Victor Ramen
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 14, 2008
Posts: 56
arulk pillai wrote:--Tutorials

You can google for heaps of tutorials. For example

-- http://www.javapassion.com/
-- http://java.sun.com/docs/books/tutorial/



-- Self-taught projects

-- Start working on your own project. To get started, google for eclipse based java tutorials or Netbeans based java tutorials. Choose the IDE you like and expand your tutorial into a project.

-- Open-source contribution

once you are more comfortable and have hands-on experience, then

-- You can learn from and enhance your coding skills by looking at others’ code.
-- You can get feedback from others on your code.
-- You can enhance your ability to understand problems and develop effective solutions for it.
-- You can proudly mention your contribution on your resume.

If you are still not convinced, go to http://seeker.dice.com/jobsearch and search for "open source".


Where do I look for open source projects?

-- http://www.sourceforge.net/
-- http://dev.java.net/
-- http://jakarta.apache.org/
-- http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/views/java/projects.jsp
-- http://www.google.co.in/search?q=Apache+Java+projects
-- https://www.dev.java.net/servlets/ProjectList
-- https://openjdk.dev.java.net/
-- http://developers.sun.com/javadb/
-- http://www.netbeans.org/
-- https://glassfish.dev.java.net/public/devindex.html
-- http://www.ohloh.net/
-- http://www.freshmeat.net/
-- http://code.google.com/


-- Volunteer work

While working on all the above, approach organizations for volunteer work on a part-time basis.




Hi Arul,
You often talk about a passive income and investment. By passive income, do you mean an author? I know you are an author...on a forum have you shared any info about how you went from developer to author?
Your insights and experience are very valuable...so kindly share them at your leisure.

Thanks.
Ravi Tejaa
Greenhorn

Joined: Apr 15, 2012
Posts: 5
this is exactly what I was searching for... thanks a ton!
 
Don't get me started about those stupid light bulbs.
 
subject: Career change to Java developer