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 ]