How do I get a job in programming?

Should I keep searching for jobs or should I do a degree from Deakin University?

Dear Adviser,

I finished a Bachelor of Science (mathematics and information sciences) in 1997 at the age of 24. I taught computing and electronics at polytechnic for two years from when I was 19 and worked as a programmer (debugger) for three months. I then worked for Education and Training Consultants as a computer tutor and consultant for five years. I have been unemployed since the end of 1999. I really want to get back into programming industry but have had no luck.

I'm thinking about doing a Bachelor of Computing (networking technologies) from Deakin University (Australia) which starts with Com Tech's Career Programmes including MCSE and A+ MCP. I have taught myself software engineering, networking, programming methodology and AI programming technique. My only problem is that I have no qualification for these areas except second-year computer science papers.

I have knowledge of C, C+, C++, Visual C++, Visual Basic, Java, Delphi, SQL and Assembler; and teaching experience in Word, Excel, Access, Publisher, C++, Delphi and OOP programming.

Do you think I will ever get a job in the IT industry again? I believe I can handle to study programming and networking with no problem. Which one will earn more money? Should I keep searching for jobs or should I do that degree from Deakin University?

Confused

Lachlan Sloan of Protocol Personnel replies: From what I understand you seem to have experience in IT already but more in tutoring or training. I would suggest that the lack of commercial experience in programming is what is holding you back from finding your dream job.

You may need to look at some courses that solidify your experience with C, C+, C++, Visual C++, Visual Basic, Java, Delphi, SQL and Assembler. If you want to get into programming, an A+ and MCSE would be of little value as those are qualifications sort by engineers. You would be better suited to exploring some form of Oracle training or MCSD, MCDBA or Java certification.

Readers with career questions can have them answered in this column by IT recruitment specialists. Send questions via Computerworld journalist, Darren Greenwood, with "Dear Adviser" in the subject line.

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