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looking for advice on how to make myself hireable for beginner programming job.

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I have a bachelor's degree in mathematics from 2002. Since then I have worked in the restaurant industry. Last fall I started reading "Thinking in Java". In May of this year I passed the SCJP exam with a score of 80. I have also read a book on SQL and am currently reading "Head First Servlets & JSP". I have never worked in the computer industry at all. I have never taken a programming class. I would like to enter the field of computer programming of something related to it. I am unsure how to get any experience that would be noteworthy on a resume without any college projects or work experience in this area. I have spoken with a few Computer Science majors who are graduating in the next year and it seems that my understanding and knowledge of Java and SQL is greater than theirs. However these Computer Science majors are lining up jobs easily because of their college projects and their major. I have spoken to a couple of companies in Massachusetts and they have told me that they cannot hire me for even an entry level position because of my total lack of experience. Any comments or advice on what I could or should be doing to put myself in a position to be hired for an entry level position would be appreciated.
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