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  1. #1
    New to the CF scene
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Question looking for advice on how to start my career

    I am looking for some advice on how I can get my foot in the door and get a career started in web development. I feel like I am in a tricky situation however. First of all, I graduated from college with an Associates in Computer Information Sciences back in 2003 and to make a long story short, certain life paths have since prevented me from putting the degree to any use. I have taught myself ASP.NET, VB.NET, SQL Server, Javascript, XHTML/HTML, CSS, IIS and more over the past few years and have a strong passion for web development. I am looking for any advice that anyone can offer me on how someone like me might get their foot in the door somewhere or build some experience. I do not have ANY actually employment experience in the web development field or any thing related, all I have to go by is what I have taught myself but I don't know how to prove what I know to an employer and get over the "no experience" hurdle. I currently live in northern NH and there are not many opportunities up here but I am fully able and willing to relocate to anywhere in the country to get my career going. If anyone has been in a similar situation or knows someone who has that has succeed, please let me know how they went about it. Even if you dont know anyone like me but have some ideas, any insight would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

  2. #2
    Mega-ultimate member
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Winona, MN - The land of 10,000 lakes
    Thanked 45 Times in 42 Posts
    I would start with some of the basics...

    Contact local small business owners and see if they need some basic maintenance. Little things like updating text, minor design changes, etc are always appreciated. Feel free to charge a nominal fee, just be fair about it.

    Work on a personal project. If there's some idea out there that you think you can improve upon, build it. Even if there's no interest initially, if the interface is cool, and functional, you can use it in your portfolio

    Volunteer at your church (or a non-profit).

    Once you get those steps under your belt, then you can move up to smaller projects. Full site design, application development, etc.

    Set targets for yourself. Something like "I want to make $500 this month ,ad $1500 in 3 months". Then you can track your progress against your goals.

    Don't forget to go back to your college employment placement department. If you've graduated, they should be there to help you find work as well.

    Hope this helps.

  3. #3
    Regular Coder
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Thanked 22 Times in 22 Posts
    Heres what I did (and worked well so far)...

    Do some personnal projects or work on open source projects.

    Try to get a job in any IT field. I started myself at support department and then upgraded to programmer when one left (I studyed to become a programmer)... Don't "fear" to get a "lower" job (like support or tech-related) if you really want to work for a given company.

    IMHO if you have storng programming skills in Win32 (or similar), knows C++ (or C#) and SQL, you won't have much trouble to work in Web development.

    I was a C++ programmer for 4 years and switched to PHP programmer without much trouble. I had no professionnal expereince in Web development, but had a strong IT background...

    Hope it helps and good luck!

  4. #4
    Senior Coder gnomeontherun's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Thanked 238 Times in 229 Posts
    First I'm a freelancer, and I my advice goes better towards someone who wants to work independently. About 75% of my business comes from people I know, who recommend me to someone or who are in a position to hire me. I have a few clients who have found me online, or through LinkedIn or other networking tools, but the best clients are local. I've done international work, but the best thing to do is like the others say, start with your local area, tell your friends you are doing this, heck give them a couple business cards to pass around. When people talk business these days, they often talk about the web. Put cards at local diners and places that allow you to do that. Try ads in the paper, but don't get too carried away. Mailings are good if you target your audience, but also not as high of a return rate.

    Working with a business...well you have credentials so practice them and make a portfolio of examples of what you can do. Apply to jobs, it can't hurt! I think that in a smaller business they want someone more for their personality and motivation than their actual skill level. Why? Because their needs aren't as great for top notch work in fields (usually, not always though) and if you work with your boss on a first name basis it is more important to get along than to have all of the skills. If you want a bigger business job, I think they tend to go more by your credentials and experience. So you may be expected to start on a lower rung there, depends on the needs of the business I guess.

    Above all, get a personal portfolio started. Do some non-for-profit work, maybe make an open source script that people need. This shows skill and your willingness to participate in the community of web developers, instead of just profit from it.
    jeremy - gnomeontherun
    Educated questions often get educated answers, and simple questions often get simple answers.


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