I am in IT industry for almost 4 years. But I have not done full-fledged development projects. I have been working on production support/maintenance projects. Nature of my job has been limited to resolve routine issues which doesn't involve coding(bug fixes some times). Sometimes I get to work on some enhancements tasks in the existing application.Though I have been working on java, j2ee(JSP, servlets) for 4 years although I have not done any development from scratch. I try to learn through books/foroums/sites to keep myself updated but still it makes me feel doubtful about my knowledge/experience and I don't feel much confident. I sometimes feel that I am heading nowhere and will have to face problems and how would my career grow...
Shall I try to get into development projects,Would professional certifications help?
Your words of advise may give me confidence and may help me shape my career.
Start small and build yourself up. Learn from books, forums, your own side projects, and try to find ways to learn or implement new things at work. Whether it's a small fix or a larger one, if you can find ways to improve the flow, speed, revenue, costs of a particular software system, people will usually listen. Take some classes, learn on your own.
The biggest thing is don't doubt yourself. As soon as you start doubting yourself, it starts to show and once your confidence level is low, thats when your career path starts to become more of a straight line rather than an walking up the ladder and so on. Confidence is a big factor in anything you do. If you go into something thinking you don't know enough to do it, you'll probably make yourself not be able to do it.
On the other hand if you go into a project thinking you can do it, many times you will find ways to get it done. Always learn new things and keep your knowledge up to date, but don't doubt yourself.