This week's book giveaway is in the OO, Patterns, UML and Refactoring forum. We're giving away four copies of Refactoring for Software Design Smells: Managing Technical Debt and have Girish Suryanarayana, Ganesh Samarthyam & Tushar Sharma on-line! See this thread for details.
In may 2013 I will be graduating with a double major in social informatics(BA) and sociology(BA). I am worried currently that being an informatics major and not a CS major I am missing a lot of knowledge I should know so I would like advice for what I should focus on to beef up my skill set or make me a more desired applicant.
I first learned python in fall of 2010, and had 2 semesters of it. Was taught a little of the following: lists, sets, dictionaries, gui, sqlite and basic sort and search methods.
During the fall and spring semesters of 2011 and 2012 I enrolled in back to back sql classes where we spent the first 6 weeks learning about Relational databases and spent a lot of time working with the relational models. While we was working on these we also learned the first 3 normal forms. After that we started working with oracle SQL and was taught most of the basics.
The next semester of SQL we worked with pl/sql and worked on creating a database using an oracle website and produced a sample website that had various queries to display graphs, charts and tables (All we did was input the queries the oracle website did all the programing).
During the second semester of learning SQL I also was taking a java class where we was taught all about arrays, array lists, linked lists, interfaces, abstract classes, guis but hardly touched issues like using float vs double. Since this class I have maintained improving my knowledge of java in my free time and have spent about 150 hours working on a text document type application.
During the last summer I had an IT assistant internship where most of the time was spent repairing computers, providing assistance to users in a factory environment, installing Windows and working with my manager on a few network related projects. However towards the end I had about a month worth where I wrote and implement scripts in jython using a lot of mysql quires for data calling.
When I went back to school the final class of my major had us using php and html to create a websites where people could apply for teaching jobs at that university. We was assigned to learn php on our owns with the oversight of the professors when we needed some guidance and nothing more.
I am currently working on a few independent projects in my free time however any sort of guidance would be welcome as well as feedback on my general experience level from what I have provided above.
I'd recommend getting some sort of certification if you can. That is a way of showing you really do know how to program. Since you don't have a degree or any job experience that shows that, your resume may get filtered out. Once you get to the interview, you can of course show you know your stuff. Alternatively, you could put up a portfolio of "stuff you've build" online.
Look at your strengths too. Also, look for a way to work in what social informatics is. I had to google it. Based on reading one web page, it sounds like you have a leg up in usability and possibly SEO. These are keywords that an interviewer is likely to be more familiar with than informatics. And both are strong assets and differentiators for you. Sociology is as well if you are looking for a job developing software for that field. But the interviewer is going to know sociology is relevant without you spelling it out. For informatics, you may need to help the process along.