Well, here's my sob story. I owe a ton of money to both my university and a student loan company, because my alcoholic father actually spent my student loan money instead of paying my tuition with it. The check came in his name. Sad, right?
I haven't been working while I've been going to school. I'm a 2nd semester junior, major CS. I've had some technical support jobs though.
Alright, so when this last semester ended, it was obvious that I was not going to be able to go to school for a very long time. I applied for a couple support jobs, but all of the offers I've got were terrible. I need to save money to go back to school, not live paycheck to paycheck for the rest of eternity. So, I put off the job search and devoted myself full time to getting some IT certs, Network+ and 3/4 of an MCSA. I figured that all of these certs would be easier (read: I wanted them ASAP) than a SCJP or SCJD. Well, I just began my support/networking job search again and I've gotten a lot better responses from submitting my resume and I get 2-3 calls a day from headhunters.
So, I plan on getting some kind of networking/sysad job to pay back what I owe and eventually get back to school. My goal is to get a development job before I enroll again, because a junior developer job pays better than a junior sysad or lowly help desk job (and because I love to code).
I have to say that I prefer .NET, but I like java as well. So here is my cert/job plan: SCJP, SCJD, MCPD: Windows Developer, then get a job as a .net or java programmer.
I haven't contributed to any open source projects, so I really don't have much code to show off, but I suppose I can do something during the 8-12 months I'll be studying for and taking these exams.
Would having all of these certs get me that coveted first programming job? Would the IT certs I have help at all? Should I leave them off of my resume? Would having these development certs and no actual paid programming experience look bad? Is getting a programming job without a degree hard to do (most job postings for junior developer positions indicate that they're looking for recent grads)?
What I want from these development certs is to get my foot in the door, just the same way that these IT certs seem to be doing for me. I also think that studying for them is a great way to learn the intracies of java and .net. Are these expectations reasonable?
I'm in the US, btw. [ August 25, 2008: Message edited by: Thomas Tatone ]
Remember while trying to get a job you are trying to sell yourself. So, it depends on how you showcase yourself with the certificates in place of your experience. Try to think honest answers to questions that you think the interviewer may ask w.r.t the certs and no work ex. Prepare answers which will show you in a good light, believe in what you say. You should be able to convince him that you can at least do as good a job as a 1 year experienced developer, if not do it better. (Yes, I realise all this is easier said than done. I have not been able to sell myself either inspite of having a good amount of experience behind my back.) Another advice I would give is - volunteer for some coding jobs (if you have time), they will add to your resume as real coding jobs. After the first 2 gigs try to charge a nominal amount and then take it from there. Keep the faith, don't get disheartened and keep trying till to succeed. Not easy to be in a tough situation but you have to try and find a silver lining and make the best of what you have.
He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever - Chinese proverb
Originally posted by Thomas Tatone: Well, here's my sob story. I owe a ton of money to both my university and a student loan company, because my alcoholic father actually spent my student loan money instead of paying my tuition with it. The check came in his name. Sad, right?
I'd check with a lawyer. It seems unusual that you take on the debt but the check is made to someone else. The debt may actually be his, or you may be able to shift the burden to him. There may also be an issue of fraud on his part in which case you are a fraud victim and may not have a debt obligation or some of it may be forgiven. (There's the usual disclaim of IANAL.)
Mark Herschberg, author of The Career Toolkit