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Breaking free of the dreaded catch 22

Mark Freeman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 02, 2006
Posts: 40
Hi everyone. I recently asked some questions on here on what a good direction is for technologies to study in which stay current. I really appreciate the responses and how helpful the community is here. I'm one of those folks that is stuck in the dreaded catch 22, where you don't have the experience to get the job to get the experience. It's a tough position to be in, but there are definite suggestions for how to break free of this.

I've started a new personal project to use all of my motivation and passion to make this work. With enough effort, I believe getting the experience through open source and non-profit volunteer work, may be the direction needed. I've started a blog to document my journey and hopefully help some other folks along the way. If you are in this same position and have something that is working, or if you have suggestions for projects that need assistance, feel free to post it here or message me. I'm hoping my experience helps me, as well as the greater community of those stuck in this position.

http://breaking-catch22.com/

Mark
Kenny To
Greenhorn

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 2
I feel the same exact way. How does one enter the software development field requiring x years of experience, without any experience to start with? I come from an EE background, but decided to switch to software development because I later found this to be my true interest. My track seems similar to yours, but I am behind since I am currently still in a support position in my company. The current economy is cruel and trying to advance to a software development position or even one in QA proves to be difficult. Searching for a position outside of my company runs me into the dreaded catch 22.

I finished taking some classes at my local city college, but have lost the momentum due to lack of any luck in job hunting. I was recommended by a friend to read Head First: Java, so that's how I found this site. Your blog provides an inspiration and some helpful tips for me. Just really glad I'm not the only one out there with this problem. Looking forward to reading more.

Also, this is my first post. So hello everyone!


kenny to
blog.applejay.com
Mark Freeman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 02, 2006
Posts: 40
Hi Kenny. Welcome to JavaRanch. You will love it here. I've found everyone to be very helpful and this place was one of the key reasons for me passing my SCJP last year.

You are certainly not alone in being stuck. Even with my development experience at my current job, the economic situation of the company keeps me from moving forward. Now is a great time to build some chops. I hope you are able to get something out of my blog and you are always welcome to message me if you just want to chat about ways get some experience. I'm definitely up for hearing what other people are doing to get pas this situation.

In your current situation, do you work closely with your programmers? When I started picking up Java on the job, I got close to a couple of developers who were willing to help me learn some things and answer questions when I got stuck. I then asked to be able to set up an IDE so I could begin reading the code. Eventually I started making small mods and fixes for customers. Depending on your situation, maybe you can push a little and see what they will let you do?

Mark
Kenny To
Greenhorn

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 2
I do work with the programmers, but not very closely. I work a late shift, so whenever we escalate issues, our programmers are usually off site, so communication is via email and phone. Most of them are really friendly and I've been attending their monthly programming talks to learn what I can. We are mainly a Micro$oft shop, so I've been told to learn C# and ASP.NET as much as I can, until the economy turns around and they start hiring again. However, I still prefer Java and C++, since that's what I've been studying at the local city college.

I'm looking through JR and I like what I'm reading, so I'm glad I found this site. I am looking for ways to build up more experience, and from browsing around on this site, all signs point to open source projects and tinkering with existing open source code. Reading Head First Java is helping a lot already, and so my next goal is to find some open source projects I can work on. I will post here or comment on your blog if I make some progress.
arulk pillai
Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 31, 2007
Posts: 3216
My view is to offer your services for free and network with the right people to break the catch-22 situation.


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K. Tsang
Bartender

Joined: Sep 13, 2007
Posts: 1977
    
    7

Hello Mark, I like your catch-22 site. I do also have the same problem. The problem I see is that with limited or no Java experience, you can't get in. Second, recruiters then suggest totally new fields (maybe not even programming related) or your old fields (that you left cos dislike or some other reason).

@Kenny, given you are currently at a "MS shop", picking up Java then moving on to C# will ultimately be beneficial. With your EE background and C++ then Java shouldn't be that hard to pick up either.

As for getting more experience, I agree with Arulk. Doing is learning and only delivering through open source projects or freelancing, people then can notice your ability/contribution, giving you confidence to show to employers and stuff and have a software portfolio.

Talking a software portfolio, I'm starting to build my own too these days. I have a java trading website that I did last year for some java course and now kinda polishing it and picking up new more cool java stuff. If you guys interested, please let me know .


K. Tsang JavaRanch SCJP5 SCJD/OCM-JD OCPJP7
 
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