As a beginner programmer I want to someday have a solid resume full of projects I've developed/helped develop. Other than projects assigned by the teacher, where else can I get Java experience especially on community project?
Practice. You can develop a website or Android app for fun. Or you can build a website for a local non-profit organization in your area. When I was in college, I made a website with the links i found useful. This was before my.del.icio.us, but the idea still stands. Make something useful for yourself and have code to show. Oh. And put everything you do on github.
...you can also read some questions here on CodeRanch (expecially on Beginners and Java in General forums, where it's more likely to read posts like "How can I do this", "How can I solve that") and try to solve them yourself.
Claude Moore wrote:...you can also read some questions here on CodeRanch (expecially on Beginners and Java in General forums, where it's more likely to read posts like "How can I do this", "How can I solve that") and try to solve them yourself.
This is good advice. I joined The Ranch back in 2002 in order to hone my skills and knowledge with Servlets and JSP. I tried to answer every question that was posted, and if I did not know the answer, I would research into that area until I understood the answer to the question.
That is why, people need to share their information and knowledge perhaps to transform information into knowledge by correcting misunderstood things after reading other's posts Or experiements. It is the best way to keep our knowledge and skills alive, just share It. IMHO, being volunteer people may not earn monetarily but in terms of knowledge yes indeed they earn, what else could there be important than knowledge and being the reason to spread It ...
Adding to what other's have said, there is alternative approach that I would suggest. Start making a site/desktop/app with all the knowledge that you already have. It could be something basic. Something even as simple as a two or three page site or a three screen application. But complete it religiously.
Once its done, take a step back and see what you have made. Show it to people. They will mostly respond with the most weird criticism. Take it positively. Now here comes the good part: you have already created a base. Your structure is ready, you either have to enhance it or rebuild it better. Even if you have to rebuild it, it's still a clearer picture in your mind. Be creative in your solution. Add enhancements. You will grow in both knowledge as well as experience while doing so.