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Thread: Starting a java programming career

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    Default Starting a java programming career

    Hello all,

    I'm after some advise on how to break into java programming. I have a computer science degree but struggled with programming at university, I told myself it was too hard and I'd never be able to do it. Fast forward 6 years and I've been working on an I.T. Helpdesk for the last 3 years tackling varied problems. I was asked to build a small payroll system with macros and spreadsheets for 40 or so of the wagon drivers we have working for us. I used Open Office Basic for the project and it made me realise I can do programming with a bit more determination so I set about learning java from a book. I am almost finish this book and feel I have a basic grounding in java, I want to take it further and I am contemplating doing the SCJP course from home with the ultimate aim of eventually securing a job as a java programmer.

    I would just like to know how best to go about finding a job in the java field. I'm under no illusions of the size of the task facing me, I have an average degree so can't gain employment by grades and I have no experience, there may be some projects coming my way at work but that is by no means guaranteed. I live in the north east of England where there are very few software houses as well. I just know programming's what I enjoy doing most in my job and programming's what I want to do.

    I was thinking about working on some projects off my own back and building an online portfolio of applications and games when I become more proficient, would this impress perspective employers? Also where is the best place to look for entry level jobs in the development market? Are the Sun Certification's worth doing? I realise they won't be enough on their own to gain employment but do employers value them? I know this will take a long time but I want to set myself off on the right path early. I can't see how I can fail if I get the right advise and put the work in.

    Sorry for being long winded I have alot of questions haha. I would appreciate any help. Thanks.


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    Default Re: Starting a java programming career

    Hello oss_2008.

    IT Helpdesk work is exactly where I started. I started by working on a helpdesk and about a year in I was asked to write command line applications to help make tasks easier & automate manual processes. This is when I started looking into Java. As I got into it I decided to take it to the next level and started an SCJP course. I definitely think it's worth doing the SCJP exam because you learn all the Java programming standards and cover all the fundamentals which will form the solid base of your future career.

    There wasn't a wide scope of projects for me to work on here so I started to write my own personal applications at home. I wrote programs that had a link to my interests outside of programming. For example, I collect vinyl records so I wrote an application to store & display my record collection. I wrote port scanners and other webmaster tools to use with my various websites. Working on little personal projects like this enabled me to learn a lot. Thats exactly how this website started too.. So I could learn more.

    With your degree & SCJP qualification, I believe you will find a Java programming job no problem. There are lots of Java positions out there. Have you looked at the banking sector? I went from working at a help desk to working for a large German bank in London. I found an entry level position and worked my way up from there. I went to college but do not have a degree. It was my SCJP qualification, and enthusiasm which landed me the position.

    If you work hard at building your knowledge and show employers that you have a genuine passion for programming, you will find someone to give you a chance.

    When I was looking for work these are the 2 sites I used:

    Jobsite UK - 1000s UK Jobs, Start your Recruitment Job Search Now

    Search for jobs in the UK. Online job search

    Have a browse around on those sites. Try searching for "junior programmer" positions. It will give you an idea of whats about.
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    Default Re: Starting a java programming career

    Excellent, thanks for the help. The way you went about it was exactley the way I was planning on going about it. I play piano/keyboard, love music, computer games and sport so I'll build applications around these themes.

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    Thumbs up Re: Starting a java programming career

    Quote Originally Posted by oss_2008 View Post
    Excellent, thanks for the help. The way you went about it was exactley the way I was planning on going about it. I play piano/keyboard, love music, computer games and sport so I'll build applications around these themes.
    You sound exactly like me oss_2008. I play a little keyboard and love producing computer music. Not sure if you know anything about sequencers and virtual instruments but I've been looking into writing a Java VSTi for a while now. This is when stuff starts to get really complicated though!!
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