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Caught in the Java Job Catch-22?

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Howdy fellow ranchers,
Like many of you recent SCJPs I thought the entire Java world would open up when I obtained my certification.
Boy was I wrong. But with that said I went forward trying to transition from a Sr. Programmer Analyst(COBOL/DB2/CICS) into a Java Developer(JAVA,JSP,Servlets,JDBC).
I first started by creating a website: which has many projects demostrating my abilities in regards to JSP, Servlets, JDBC, Java Beans and Java Mail API. Along the way I learn that it is also important to learn HTML, XML, CSS and JavaScript. I have my own dedicated server running Apache w/ Tomcat.

The Catch-22 is I have my CS degress and 8 years of mainframe experience but only about 1 year of "Non-Commerical" Java experience. Most headhunters and employers only want Java developers with 2+ Years of "Commerical" experience.
The good news is I have convinced the company that I work for to let me develop a Claim status interface via the web using JSP, Servlets, EJB, JavaMail API, JDBC, ect. However I have to do it on my own time, which bites. But they will allow me to use it on my resume as "Commerical".
I had an interview setup with a company in the Bay Area but the the day of the interview they laid off half of their IT staff and imposed a hiring freeze. Talk about bad luck!!
Thanks for listening any advice anyone can give to help me in the jobsearch would be much appreciated.
Travis M. Gibson

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I second your opinion
Boy it sure is a tough world even amongst SCJP's !
and that in the new year a lot of people are being laid .
I wonder what will happen to the new h1 guys
is it a recesion ? any predictions
can we code a prediction prog in java ??
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I wouldn't be complaining if I were you   (Actually, I don't think you are!)
I was voluntarily unemployed for more than a year while I taught myself and in that order, HTML-4 w/CSS, JavaScript and then the crowning jewel, JAVA (SCPJ2 w/98% score). At the time I had been an Assembly/FORTRAN/C programmer for over two decades; no OOP!
You said that your present employer is letting you do Java work on your own time...
And I had to do that all by myself as personal work. I placed it on the Web and prospective employers looked at it.
"And It Was Good"
Or at least good enough to get me two interviews (and two job offers) in 6 days ...
Oh Well...
The stories (in case anyone is interested!) are in:
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Another great way to write commerical (but still on your own) is with not-for-profits. Most of these need web exposure without a huge amount of overhead.
My pie came with a little toothpic holding up this tiny ad:
Devious Experiments for a Truly Passive Greenhouse!
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