Passed SCJP2 two weeks ago...been programming mainframe for 2 years. I "knocked on a few doors" of local web companies this past week. I have explicitly declared on my cover letter that I am looking for entry level, and I am honest about having only mainframe experience. I did get two phone calls based on having the SCJP2, but once they asked me about my experience, they were QUICK to say "Sorry, you need experience!" It's great that they have called me, but I feel like a hooked fish that is thrown back into the pond! "I can learn" doesn't seem to cut it! I am new to the Java job hunt, but ...yikes! I guess I will need a bullet proof vest.
-response to apollo: One bit of general job seeking advice, that was passed on to me and that I think is suitable to pass on here, is to approach job seeking with a door-to-door salesman attitude. You knock on the door, introduce your wares. If they aren't interested, nod good day and move on to the next house. By the time you knock on the next door the last one should be forgotten, unless there was some valuable nugget to draw from the experience that will help you in your next pitch. That you keep. Knock on enough doors in one day and you will make a few sales. Maybe you only need one sale every couple of days to get by. My point is if you send out enough resumes to suitable companies, and there are plenty in regard to java, you will hopefully get enough interviews. You will most likely find a company that will work in this way. This is the full-time job hunting scenerio though, but it would also work in combination with an evening job. One last bit in regard to getting experience--if you have the skills, use them to build some basic websites for some small businesses using your java, JSP and what not to get real experience on real projects, small though they may be. Best of luck to you.