Hello, this is my situation... I have about a year of server-side java experience (J2EE), am a Sun Certified Programmer, and was laid off in January. I know I still have lots to learn but I'm not sure where to begin to help myself land another job. My only true marketable skills are java, SQL, HTML; we had Persistence PowerTier which is not widely used, and most companies seem to want Weblogic. I changed careers from finance, and since I don't have a CS degree and the computer training I paid for wasn't very good, I'm lacking the solid, broad-based foundation of knowledge most others have. So I'm asking for help in determing what topics to study (and in what order) to help me get another job. Some possibilites that come to mind are reading up on software design theory, XML/Java, pursuing the Sun developer or web developer certs, maybe the Weblogic cert, etc... Right now I'm not sure where to begin. Thanks for your help!
If you already have a background in finance, you'v got a strong advantage there. I have seen many ads on Dice looking for people with Cognos experience. EJB's, Weblogic and Oracle are all used by many financial companies. EJB's, Design patterns, UML, n-tier architecture are also among the hottest skills. These are harder to obtain through independent study because the finer points (and very important ones) don't really surface unless you are working on a real project. It would be interesting to get some programmers together on this board to participate in a demo application, for anyone who wants to boost their experience for their resumes.