What is the ECDL? This website implies it means you know how to use a computer. But that's can't be right.
It sounds like you have the very basics of programming. That might qualify you to get an internship or a volunteer position. Even an internship is tough. College interns have more knowledge than you at the moment. I think you r best is to try to volunteer as you learn more. Or do something for yourself. You might have more success in a smaller market. Like develop and app for the iPad, Android, etc so you have something you can point to.
ECDL is indeed a certification of use of the MS Office suite. Having no formal degree education, even this certification makes sense to show people that I am not computer illiterate.
You are very correct by saying that I have the very basics of programming but everybody starts from the basics. That's why I posted here to get some advice on how to proceed in order to secure some interviews in the near future.
The plan is to acquire the following within the next few months:
- XML Master Basic Certification
- Java SE 7 Oracle Certified Associate (OCA) Certification
- Oracle 11g - SQL Fundamental Exam or Java SE 7 Oracle Certified Professional (OCP) Certification
I have already looked at volunteering but doesn't seem to be a lot out there.
As you mentioned, internships usually require that you are studying towards or have completed a degree, so it is extremely difficult to even be considered for such roles.
Unfortunately my finances do not allow me to pursue a degree at the moment, therefore I am trying every other possible way.
Well, if you're in London you're better off than most other parts of the country, as there is a huge range of IT work around in London. Getting a job with little or no experience and no degree will be tough, but you (your friend) can explore various options e.g. networking, acquiring relatively low-end skills that you can exploit to get your foot in the door, and so on.
If you're looking at other languages/tools etc, do similar searches for those terms. And check your local college as you might find study opportunities there, possible careers advice on getting into IT, or at least some options for networking with other people interested in IT.
Go along to meetings, talk to people and - if the opportunity arises - offer to help out with any projects other people might be running in their own time. This will give you a chance to learn from more experienced people, and perhaps lead to other opportunities down the line.
Take a look at what you can offer right now, compared to what the job market seems to be demanding in your area e.g. look at tech job sites like Job Server. Although you probably won't see any entry-level jobs there, it will give you an idea of what skills are in demand locally.
All the noise about London's "Silicon Roundabout" is largely hype, but there are quite a few web-based businesses setting up there, so it might be worth trying them out for some internship work if you can offer them some basic IT skills and can afford to work for free/peanuts for a few months. Also maybe look at working up some simple demo projects - or websites - to illustrate the skills you've managed to acquire so far, as this may be a quick way to distinguish yourself from the people who simply say they can program but have no evidence for their abilities.
Incidentally, the public sector is always short of IT skills, even at a relatively low level, and these days there is a lot of pressure to reduce dependence on agency staff etc, so many organisations are recruiting entry-level staff instead. Talk to your local careers office to see if they can point you towards any suitable opportunities.
Your local college may teach IT evening classes/weekend classes, often towards industry certifications, although you're already acquiring these of course.
The Open University offers computing courses, many of which are excellent, although these are very expensive these days and they've cut the range of courses available following changes to government funding.
Coursera is a great place to find free online courses on a huge range of techie topics, including basic programming/web development. You might well find that some courses have local groups in London where you could learn more and esxchange ideas.
Also check out Udacity which offers fewer courses but may be more flexible as you can work at your own pace.