"Those were the days my friend..." as the first song recorded by Apple Records (sung by Mary Hopkin) says.
Maybe now is a proper time to reminisce...
The 27th of his month will mark my two year anniversary as a professional Java Developer.
In March of 2000 the unemployment rate in the US was the lowest ever in my professional lifetime. The month before, I passed the SCPJ2 exam with 98% and got two offers in one week of looking for work. Both companies knew (of course!) that I had no professional Java programming experience although I had been a programmer (assembly language, FORTRAN and C) for a long time.
Placing various Java programs and applets on the public Web also helped, as my present employer has told me. Also he told me that passing the SCPJ2 with such a high score was also a motivation for them to call me for an interview.
See my interview in Certification Magazine about how Sun Certification helped me (near the bottom of the page).
The deal my current employer offered me was to come in as a contractor first and after three months they would consider hiring me as a "permanent" employee with all the benefits (as an aside, I didn't have medical insurance then).
Two and a half months later they offered (and I accepted) the position.
And last December I passed the SCWCD.
I turned 50 years old the month after I started that job. I am also hispanic (although in South Florida that may be an asset instead of a motive for discrimination! Really.) I can say that I have not felt any discernible discrimination against me (as in age, ethnic origin, rotten personality - JOKE!).
BTW, from day one my employer placed me on a Servlet/JSP project and I didn't know anything about those but I knew HTML well. They said "just get a book and learn" which I did, and successfully so
Tony Alicea Senior Java Web Application Developer, SCPJ2, SCWCD
Tony, I always appreciate your posts. I had a procedural background too before getting interested in Java. I'm not 50 (32), but my old career sure made me feel like I was 80 some days. It took me about 6 months of self learning to get comfortable with Java 2 and pass the SJCP last August. I know the 98% you scored is incredible, I got an 84% and wish I'd waited a few more months to nail down a better score. Like you I started contracting to get experience and used that to parley a full time position. It was a liberating experience that I wish I had done a few years ago. Thank you for your inspiration!