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A few months from graduation and looking for advice

A few months from graduation and looking for advice

A few months from graduation and looking for advice

(OP)
After 5 years, I am finally only a 4 months from being done with my BS in Software Engineering. I am a 10 year Systems Administrator and I have worked with Windows, Unix, Linux, and Mainframes. I discovered that these days I'm more into troubleshooting code and making data do what I want rather than tweaking and maintaining hardware, networks, or support high level app functionality.

My question is this, I would like to find a way to transistion out of being an Admin and move over to a jr level development role. I'm not too picky about what kind of development, web or app. I've thought about pursuing certs in Java and maybe MS MCAD...would these be beneficial? I have no problem starting over in an entry level role, but I haven't seen many postings on Dice, CareerBuilder, or HotJobs looking for developers without 2-3 yrs experience. Is it the current economic mess or outsourcing that is reponsible for this?

Another concern I have is, what are managers looking for in a recent grad? I can read code and tell what its doing, troubleshoot it okay, but the solution doesn't always jump out at me. I find that I struggle with coming up a coding solution quickly and clearly and frankly I'm worried that I don't have the skills to get an entry level job. I don't remember being this nervous about my first Admin job.....

RE: A few months from graduation and looking for advice

In my mind your systems admin experience makes you better qualified than the other recent grads who just went straight to school. Also make sure your resume shows the experience you have troubleshooting code and making data do you want even if your job title wasn't a developer. You probably can get that to count as intial expereince. Also don't be too concerned about job qualifications as specified, most companies havea huge laundry list and no one meets the exact quals. Apply for jobs you want anyway, you'll get seen by some of them and HR will eliminate you for others, that's just how the game works. Your biggest problem may be that companies will not see you as willing to move down to an entry level job. You need to address this in any cover letter or phone interviews.

"NOTHING is more important in a database than integrity." ESquared
 

RE: A few months from graduation and looking for advice

(OP)
Good suggestion, I hadn't thought of that. Thanks

RE: A few months from graduation and looking for advice

One advantage you do have is in the smaller "Mom and Pop" shops. The pay usually isn't the best, the atmosphere is typically a lot more laid back and the senior devs will help guide you (just try not to step on their toes, it won't be pretty). Your experience as an Admin will greatly up your viability since they typically hand you a box of parts and tell you, "here's your computer. Put it together and set it up as you need." (has happened 4 times now). What that also means is they can get 2 jobs for the price of one.

Sounds tacky and cheap on their part, but makes for a great launching point to get your developing experience at. Worked for me 10 years ago, and I only had 3 years Admin and an Associates Degree.

And don't let the economy fool you. I got in just as the Dot.com bust was in progress and a year later, 9/11 hit. There are jobs out there. Just need to be persistent and apply to everything.

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Bluto: What? Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? No!
Otter: Germans?
Boon: Forget it, he's rolling.
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