I received the following email a few weeks ago:
I graduated with an MIS degree while serving in the Military. I took some programming classes like JAVA, C++ etc… I am now back in Boston, MA and find it difficult to find employment where I can learn to become a better programmer. I don’t have the experience but I am willing to learn. Can you please provide me with some direction on what to say on my resume, to gain the experience in the civilian workforce so I can become a better programmer?
To begin, read the following posts on my blog and think seriously about following the steps I outline in each. It will take time, but I’ve been doing this for almost 10 years and can tell you from experience that they work:
Second, check out this article on programmer resumes.
Third, there are no magic words that you can put on your resume. The key is to have a good-looking resume that’s clean, free of typos, and that highlights your strong points (your education and military experience) at the top.
The tech economy, especially in the bay area and Boston, is healthy right now, so you should have no trouble finding an entry level position as a developer, especially if you are open to learning PHP or .NET. Also, start learning PHP or .NET in your spare time – build some sample web projects to show off (put them online so you can easily forward a link). This is the most impressive thing I’ve seen from young programmers, is when they’ve built something in their spare time and taken the time to put it online. Bonus points if you build something that people are actually using.
Lastly, read software blogs. Read Joel, Eric, Paul, Jeff and Scott, and now and again you can slum it on my blog. These sites will lead you to other good blogs. The closer you are to the community the more you’ll understand what people are talking about and looking for in their hiring.
[tags]programming, resumes, hiring[/tags]