I have only been programming for several months but I enjoy it, and I want to find a job as a software developer. I am unsure on how to proceed though. Basically, is passing the SCJPtest a good first step on the path to landing a job somewhere? Or is it more for people who already have a job, and just want to further their careers? If it is a good idea, if I were to take and pass the test, what would the next step be? Where are the good resouces for these types of questions?
I have tons of experience in IT, but I want to jump the fence to software so I've asked similar questions here and there. The first and foremost suggestion I always receive is a Bachelor's in Computer Science from a real university. Not a tech school or business school and not a degree in IS or IT or whatever. That would be the surefire way to do it. Otherwise, you have to demonstrate real team programming experience which is hard to do without a connection to a university.
I've heard that a great way to build a resume in programming is to create popular open source software / modules / plugins / etc. Better still if they are team projects with working documentation and commented code. Doesn't matter if anyone uses them. It just matters that they do what they set out to do.
I don't think passing the SCJP could hurt you at all. I think cole is right that getting a CS degree can also help. But don't be scared to get an IS or IT degree, my degree is in Management Information Systems, and I've been working in software development since I graduated from college, about 11 years ago. If you are interested in java I would do as much coding as you can. Whether that be for an open source project or just stuff for yourself it doesn't matter. It is always a good start to get open source projects and at least start looking at the code and get an understanding for how enterprise projects work, they are free and some of them have very complex workings. Other than that I would start seeing about internships or entry level jobs.
Joined: Aug 02, 2011
What kind of math background do you have with your MIS degree? I worry about my IT degree because it means I don't have the discrete math / combinatorial / calculus skills a serious CS grad does. Besides that, even though I'm a capable programmer and my degree emphasis is software, I just don't have any depth of understanding in Compiler Design, Algorithm Analysis, Data Structures, etc...
Joined: Jul 29, 2011
Thanks for the replies. My current plan is pretty vague, but it goes something like this: 1.) Learn the language and important concepts (whatever they might be)well and 2.) do some things I can put on a resume. Passing the SCJP seems like it would be something I can put on a resume, which is why it seems interesting. The idea of working on an open source project or getting some entry level temp job sounds pretty good as well. I don't care if it doesn't pay or if it's the worst programming job ever, as long as I am working with or for some smart people I can learn from. I can't get an internship because I'm not in college, and getting a four year Computer Science degree is not an option for me. Do you happen to have any sugestions on where I should look for an entry level job or maybe find a good open source project, one which would be good for professonal development? And as for the thought of math background, you know I'm not sure how important it is to know calculus or any kind of advanced discrete math beyond, say, familiarity with recursion concepts and factorial type problems. I just can't see how the ability to take an integral of cosine squared X would help me to be a good everyday programmer. Although I have programmed a couple simple games where knowlege of algebra and trigonometry has come in handy!