Not Right For The Job

Written on 3:21 PM by Robert

I've been working at my old company for 14 years - first as a computer technician and network administrator, then as a Programmer. You would think with that much experience I could find a job easily after being laid off.

I have to admit, I hate being a network administrator because of being on-call 24/7. I hate being a technician for the same reason. That seems to limit my choices to programming, doesn't it? Well, they originally hired me 14 years ago because I was familiar with Visual Basic (I took a college course using version 3.0). Through the years (even as a network admin) the company kept upgrading VB until .NET 2005 and I've been learning every new version I received. I was always able to create any application I was told to create. I also learned RPG on their AS400 system, connecting to that system's DB2 databases, as well as modifying an ASP-based Intranet application. The applications I worked on were always low-level jobs and never required any complicated technologies. And then the position was eliminated.

For four months I've been on several interviews and going through all the jobs available and I've come up with a conclusion. It seems that most programming jobs available are senior-level jobs. Entry-level jobs are looking for people with a myriad of programming skills. I don't know if it's been like this for over a decade or if things changed with the deepening of the recession. Also, since I only have an Associate's Degree, it also hampers whatever possibilities I may find because a 4-year degree is also a requirement.

Right now I'm trying to finish my last 3 courses I need to get my Bachelor's degree, which I'll finish next semester. I'm also learning Java from an online continuing education course. Trying to stay current is hard work, but if you persevere, you will make it.

My suggestion to programmers having a hard time finding work is to take something you're good at (.NET, Java, etc) and learn it WELL. Get certified - it definitely helps. Then use it to accomplish a specific goal (Web 2.0, etc). You are setting yourself apart from the rest of the applicants with your specified skills.

I have a long way to go myself, but at least I can share my wisdom with others who can use it. Edit

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