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More details on getting experience

 
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From everything that I've read its obvious that obtaining experience that can be recognized by a recruiter is extremely important in landing a job. I'm just wondering if anyone could provide some more details on the common forms of experience one can obtain.

1) Internship - I graduated a while ago. So I'm not really sure if companies will take in interns that aren't still in school or if that's even legal. Should I even try to find somewhere to work for free or is that a lost cause?

2) Open source projects - I have a lot of unpolished pet projects that I could easily finish up and post to GitHub. These are mostly smallish programs that chart sports data, simulate card games, help with finances, etc.. I'm not however part of any big projects with lots of people. How important are such projects in the eyes of a recruiter? What exactly is the process of finding and getting on board with such projects?

3) Volunteer work - I've seen "develop a web site for a charity" or something along those lines a lot. If I'm using Java to do so, it probably means I would be using JEE which is something I'm just learning, and would be difficult for me to do at the moment, but if I don't use JEE then its like I'm not really using java and am just part of web-development like anyone else. So should I bite the bullet and try to learn JEE as much as I can, just develop sites using wordpress or whatever because something is better than nothing, or is there volunteer work I could find that's just core Java?

 
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Tyson,
1) Internships are usually for students.

2) The idea is to show something. Open source is good because it shows you can work with others. You own code shows you played with things which is good to. It depends on the complexity. Your own projects aren't what people mean by open source though.

3) Nothing against Wordpress, but Wordpress experience is unlikely to help you find a programming job. Also, don't limit yourself to web apps. Maybe someone needs an Android app? That uses Java. It's not core Java so you'd still need to learn something though.
 
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Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:3) Nothing against Wordpress, but Wordpress experience is unlikely to help you find a programming job...


True. But if somebody wants you to create a custom theme for their Wordpress website (which is often all many people require as their idea of a "web development" really just means "make it pretty"), then you get the chance to play with HTML, CSS and JavaScript, so you can still use this as an opportunity to learn some new web skills which are transferable back into Java-land.
 
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Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:Wordpress experience is unlikely to help you find a programming job.


I would alter that a bit to:

Wordpress experience is unlikely to help you find a Java programming job.


Tyson asked about "...develop sites using wordpress..." - It's not uncommon for Wordpress sites to run on slightly altered code, or to have additional PHP pages to achieve functionality not part of Wordpress itself; so there may well be some PHP development involved, especially if it is used as the basis for an entire site (as opposed to just being used for user/editor generated content).
 
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Ulf,
True. I took "develop" to mean create more than customize.
 
Tyson Lindner
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Thanks for the responses.

Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:Ulf,
True. I took "develop" to mean create more than customize.



Yeah I meant it as a means to showcase programming skills. It just seems that as far as web development goes applets are kinda dying while JEE is important but is a serious undertaking. As chris points out, and from what everything I've read, html, CSS, and javascript are all important (and relatively easy to learn) so I'll be practicing/showcasing those for sure.
 
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