About 10 days ago I passed the SUN Java 2Programmer exam with a score of 76%, which is of course most probably nothing exciting because a number of people pass that exam on a daily basis, and some even with impressive scores. My case, however, may be a bit unusual because I do not have any programming background, I never had C, C++, etc., and I never took one single class of programming. I bought a couple of books "The Complete Java Reference by H. Schildt" and "Java 2 Exam Cram by Bill Brogden". I also used the on-line Java Tutorial. I taught myself the necessary amount of Java to pass the exam. Of course, the great Java Mock Exams provided on-line by unselfish individuals were invaluable, and without them I could never have done it. Furthermore, I am 64 years old. I would not like for anyone to think that I am an excentric individual, trying foolishly to impress anyone. I am genuine in my desire to become a Programmer. I have many years ahead of me, which I want to make useful and productive. I realize that the people reading this note are much younger than I am, and I want to assure you that I am not trying to play a prank on anybody. I have too much respect for computer professionals, regardless of age. Provided I have been able so far to convince you of my seriousness in this matter, I want to ask for your help in the form of advice. Please let me know what you think my next steps should be to make myself marketable and be able to get a real job. I would like to do more study and learning in the direction of database application development and web design. By the way, I have some experience in network administration, although I mention this only for the sake of completeness, since I want to stay in programming. Thank you guys.
Well Fred, the best way to learn and to keep that knowledge growing, and keeping the knowledge you ahve is through experience. Writing your own applications, trying the SCJD Certification, learning Servlets and JSP and creating your own little web site. You could write simple Address Book type programs to help gain more confidence in your programming. And as always keep reading, and you can also post lots of questions here at JavaRanch in the various Forums we have here. Good Luck and have fun and congrats on passing the exam.
Originally posted by Fred A. Romani: ...I want to ask for your help in the form of advice. Please let me know what you think my next steps should be to make myself marketable and be able to get a real job. I would like to do more study and learning in the direction of database application development and web design.
-- If you're interested in Web Development, maybe look into the SCWCD (Sun Certified Web Components Developer). And imagine that... we even have a whole forum dedicated to it! [ June 17, 2002: Message edited by: Jessica Sant ]
I assume you live in the USA. Age descrimination is overwhelming and profound. It is not a "maybe" type of situation. It is much more prevalent in the information technology industry than any other industry because of the H1B visa laws. (Plentiful supply of cheap young people.) My advice would be to try to look as young as you possibly can when you contact other people in IT. Make sure everything about you is "young" - the things you talk about - the things you do - the clothes you wear. You can not be over weight. You have to be trim & fit.(aka young) Good luck. I wish I was not so negative - but I am telling you the truth. Your obstacle is not your inexperience. Your obstacle will be your age. I wish it was not so. P.S. Mark's advice looks good. Try to sell yourself based on your work that is available to be seen/reviewed on the internet (before they see you and descriminate against you.) [ June 17, 2002: Message edited by: Kevin Thompson ]
Kevin, I just can't believe that employers are really so concerned about youth and weight. I think that what is important is what you are capable of. About six years ago I was tired of mainframe COBOL programming and wanted to make a career change to web programming. I put together a web site of programming examples which I think really helped me find a job. It's a tougher job market now, but employers still need intelligent people to do programming work, not just young bodies.
Originally posted by Kevin Thompson: It is much more prevalent in the information technology industry than any other industry because of the H1B visa laws. (Plentiful supply of cheap young people.)
I am not taking your comment personaly. But why to blame H-1B visa laws for age discrimination? not to mention the benefits for the US economy due to H-1B visas especially for IT. After all most of the employers are American citizens and may be they are the people to blame for discrimination against H-1B visa holders and people like Fred. BTW, Fred, your achievement is awesome. You have to be very proud of it. Congratulations! [ June 18, 2002: Message edited by: Sai Prasad ]
Thanks very much guys for the encouraging responses. I even appreciate Kevin's comments because they are definitely true. I have experienced the rejection he talks about more than once. Fortunately, I have been able to fool a few people in the past. As recommended by Kevin I always try to look young. I live in Pasadena, California, and exercise regularly. I run as a minimum 600 miles a year. It used to be more than 1000 miles yearly, but in recent times I have grown a little lazy. I just run enough to maintain myself trim and fit. I have not had Health Insurance for the last 10 years at least, and I did not need it. I believe the main problem these days is not only the scarcity of jobs, but on top of that the fact that prospective employers seem to always ask for 3 to 15 years of experience, and capabilities in 15 different programming languages. In any event, if anybody has a job lead for which I could apply (entry level) please let me know. I hate the idea of retirement, specially if it is forced on me by the circumstances we are experiencing these days. Thanks again. Fred