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Getting experience without having a job

Robert Lippens
Greenhorn

Joined: Jun 23, 2013
Posts: 27
Hi guys,

Ecstatic about getting my OCAJP certification yesterday, I updated my resume online and woke up to a missed call from a recruiter. Things looking better already! I called them back, no go on the job, they want (2+ years experience). Of course, this has forever been the problem, experience, experience, experience. I didn't go to school for Computer Science, I haven't worked an internship, and now I want to break into the field as a Java Developer. The cert is helping me get noticed, but it's still boiling down to experience. How can I best get experience without having a job as a programmer? Undersell myself as a freelancer for the time being? I need something to put on a resume that says "I know what I'm doing, see?"

Another question: the job I was contacted for did not simply say they wanted a guy with Java experience, but a whole host of other languages (JavaScript/JQuery, HTML, CSS, HTTP, REST, SOAP, SOA, SQL, etc.) Does anyone actually "know" all of these things when they are hired? I've worked with some of these before (as in: dabbled) but I have a hard time envisioning most candidates know much of anymore than a handful of these (unless they've been in the industry for years). I guess they're just posting up the ideal candidate, in case one exists? Help a newbie navigate this job market that has proven his bane for the last 2 years!
Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective
Marshal

Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 30919
    
158

Robert,
From your list, most entry level developers have used JavaScript, HTML, CSS and SQL. Not everything there is to know, but some. Employers often post skills that are nice to have or turn out to be mandatory though so don't worry about everything on the list.

As far as experience, yes employers want to see something. And even for an entry level job, your competitors have some experience. They might have an internship or a volunteer job. At the very least you should have a project that you can show you did on your own. Employers also like to see some sort of work experience. Maybe you babysat or worked at a golf store or ...

2+ years of experience is no longer considered entry level though.


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Billy Sclater
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 18, 2012
Posts: 141

Hi Robert,

Do you live in the UK? If you do, there are Java Programmer apprenticeships available. I'm not sure if they lead to permanent positions, and they tend to be salaried very low. But at the very least they offer paid work experience for people interested in a Java career who haven't yet worked in the field. Good luck!
Syed Islam
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 03, 2013
Posts: 117
Billy Sclater wrote:Hi Robert,

Do you live in the UK? If you do, there are Java Programmer apprenticeships available. I'm not sure if they lead to permanent positions, and they tend to be salaried very low. But at the very least they offer paid work experience for people interested in a Java career who haven't yet worked in the field. Good luck!


Hi Billy,

I live in the UK and was just curious which apprenticeships you meant?
arulk pillai
Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 31, 2007
Posts: 3254
It is a vicious cycle as you need to have at least 2 year hands-on experience to get a job, but without having a job, how will you get experience? To break this vicious cycle, you need to get some hands on experience via tutorials, self-taught projects, open-source contribution, and voluntary work. You need to do this while applying for the entry-level jobs. The new comers to Java often gets confused by the number of enterprise level technologies and tools. I have a simple strategy outlined for the entry level Java developers to get some hands-on experience.


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