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Looking for some programming/career advice--Would you hire me?

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rightnow11
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Joined: 2006-04-26
Points: 0

Bit of background: I have a good paying, reasonably secure job in printing right now, but I’m looking to make a career change. I took some programming courses a few years ago and found that I had a knack for it, and found it intellectually stimulating, but stuck with my current job that is mostly unrelated to programming. I’m now looking to make a change into a field that has more possibilities. (If anyone knows about the printing industry you will know that it is not going anywhere and wages are falling.)

So here is where I am:

1. I enjoy using Linux and the open source community and want to help out.
2. After studying C++ and VB I find myself liking Java and wish to learn it.
3. Eventually I’d like to make a career change into programming with a focus on GUI and ease of use. I am good very good at communication, documentation and end user ease of use.

The problem is getting experience. My thought is to get involved in open source, Java development from sourceforge.net, java.net and javaforge.com. My company isn’t opposed to me writing some small Java apps if I can justify them.

My big question is: Is this enough? I have an associate’s degree related to printing/graphic arts.

If you are looking to hire a Java developer would you hire someone that has helped out on ½ a dozen open source projects with success, has a good understanding of the language, written one or two small applications for his current company, has a strong desire to be a great developer, and focuses on end user experience?

Thanks,

James

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billtw
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Joined: 2006-05-15
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James,
If you are still interested in some advise...

1)Start seeking out the companies where you want to work. Small companies may be better than larger ones.
2)Think in terms of the technical interview and what type of questions may be asked.
3)Try and setup informational interviews with companies that use or work with Java programmers.
4)You mentioned working with GUIs. Do you have examples of projects that you have completed? How well can you explain Swing to a perspective employer, etc.?
5)How well can you take someone elses code and read it/make sense of it?
6)Find a mentor. Either through a users group, school, friend.
These are questions that I am currently asking myself so I hope this helps you as well.
Bill St. Louis MO USA