I am currently the Supervisor of Computer Opertaions for a large heathcare company and am looking for a slight career change. I am looking to obtain a position as an Entry Level Software Engineer (preferrably Java, obviously). Now, I do have unofficial development/scripting experience (java, perl, shell) however i've never worked as an actual developer. I do not have a college degree either. I've been browsing monster for current job listings but there isnt much of anything for someone like myself with little to no experience as an actual developer. I figured I would have to go the extra mile to reach my goal. I've done some googling and the general consensus is that i should join the OpenSource community and work on some of the projects. This way i not only build out my development skills but i will also have proof of my skillset to show employeers. My question to you is, Do you have any other tips/tricks i should explore to help get my foot in the door? where should i being to look for OpenSource projects (SourceForge?)
i also think im going to skip using dev environments such as eclipse or netbeans at first so i can really get a grasp of what i am doing. I learn by doing something wrong 100 times before i do it right
A software engineer typically has significant experience with multiple technologies, e.g. programming languages, which spans at least 5+ years of professional work as (1) programmer or (2) developer. This experience is important if you are to effectively lead junior programmers and developers. It would be pretty hard for you to gain respect if you don't have a strong command of software development. And respect is an important ingredient in leading effectively and building trust. Good managers know this and would be taking a risk by hiring you. I suggest that you first look for professional entry-level programmer/developer position. If are good and can earn you keep, you can evolve naturally into leadership position. Good luck!
P.S. In addition to "populare programming language", you should also learn a SQL-based language, e.g. PL/SQL, Transact-SQL, and a shell language, e.g. Korn. And learn how to create your own XML-based markup languages.
Is there anything you can do at your current company. Maybe write a program in Java (or the language of your choice) that helps automated something? Even if you do it on your own time, it is corporate experience.
hey guys. thanks for the responses. i probably should have provided more/different info.
When i stated Software Engineer i guess i really mean programmer. Im still having a hard time figuring out the differences between programmer, developer, engineer. In my head they're all the same deal.
The following was performed before obtaining my SCJA cert:
I've only worked on 1 project at my job that was self-driven. It was a History Extract utility originally written in perl. Its basic function was to take in a bunch of unique id's (20k - 100k or s0), connect to an oracle DB, extract all the data, perform some post-extract manipulation, and then compress. The original script would take around 8 hours to complete for 100k id's (it was single threaded). I rewrote the app in java doing my best to make it truely Object Oriented. The app continuously runs monitoring a specific directory for files to appear. Once a file appears in the directory, the HistoryExtract class spawns a new HistoryExtractEngine thread which performs all the work. the working directories, # of threads, etc... are all contained in an xml properties file. The app has features such as DB interaction, multithreaded, custom logging, nested hashmaps (this was a nightmare). once it was ready for production use the turnaround time for 100k id history extract went from 8 hours down to 1 hour.
Other than that project I havent had the opportunity to really do anything else. thats the downside of working for a large healthcare company. Not only do you have the restraints of a large company but you are also shackled to SOX, SAS70, and HIPAA because of the healthcare factor which really restricts what i am allowed to do.
I think i am going to have the Java developers here review my code and grade it for me . I have put a bug in the App Dev managers ears that i am looking for opportunity however at the moment we are not hiring for entry level positions.
SCJA, ITIL V3 Foudation, Studying for SCJP6
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