I have been trying to learn EJB 3.0, Spring, and Struts2 in my spare time but I don't know if that's going to count for anything towards a job.
In India Spring,Struts & Hibernate are very hot technologies for securing a job. I do believe that happens in your country also.
What can I do in the next six months to increase my potential to get hired as a Java programmer or possibly even a j2ee developer?
First start preparing for SCJP
certification & simultaneusly buy a HeadFirst Servlets & JSP
book to learn servlets & JSP(J2EE).
I say this because
1) Sun Certification will give you a competitive niche in the market along with your experience(That's my personal experience after completing 3 sun certifications but with less experience than you)
2) Have a neat resume, highlighting your experience,prestigious clients you have worked for & focussing on the value you can provide to the company.
3)Highlight your experience & expertise on the domain
you have worked so far for the past 2 years.
4)Don't highlight too much on your lack of J2EE knowledge. Mention that you know servlets, JSP,Struts,Spring in your resume because that will land you many opportunities.
I have 2 years experience programming Java web apps--no j2ee experience though.
Remember in Interviews they will want only answers but they won't check your ability in the Technology.
Take for example Struts: Study the Struts interview questions, understand what is struts,its architecture, and lifecycle etc. That is enough.
I know of people who say that they've got good experience in Struts, but in Interviews they falter because they don't know what is struts or its architecture or how is different from servlets etc. So be confident .
5) Also learn one database oracle, sqlserver or mysql & put it in your resume.
5) Be prepared to answer about your roles & responsibilities in your current & previous projects, its architectures etc..
6) Also important thing is you should
be very confident in Interviews.
You should know what you are saying, whatever you say say it with much confidence that the Interviewer should believe it.
Remember technology is a ocean, nobody knows much & at the end of the day it's how you present your ideas or yourself with conviction that matters in getting a job( atleast with my limited experience in industry)
My questions are what types of jobs should I be looking for?
Simple & easy development jobs
What salary should I ask for?
I don't know in your country.
But in Bangalore,India for a geek with more than two years of experience they are prepared to give 2.7 lakhs per annum(INR)(atleast for me)
Is it a waste of my time?
If you are interested in technology , it's not a waste of time.
Ok david advanced congrats on getting a job of what you like!