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Ask Slashdot: Moving From Tech Support To Development? 133

An anonymous reader writes "My eastern European tech-support job will be outsourced in 6 months to a nearby country. I do not wish to move, having relationship and roots here, and as such I stand at a crossroads. I could take my current hobby more seriously and focus on Java development. I have no degree, no professional experience in the field, and as such, I do not hold much market value for an employer. However, I find joy in the creative problem solving that programming provides. Seeing the cogs finally turn after hours invested gives me pleasures my mundane work could never do. The second option is Linux system administration with a specialization in VMware virtualisation. I have no certificates, but I have been around enterprise environments (with limited support of VMware) for 21 months now, so at the end of my contract with 27 months under my belt, I could convince a company to hire me based on willingness to learn and improve. All the literature is freely available, and I've been playing with VDIs in Debian already.

My situation is as follows: all living expenses except food, luxuries and entertainment is covered by the wage of my girlfriend. That would leave me in a situation where we would be financially alright, but not well off, if I were to earn significantly less than I do now. I am convinced that I would be able to make it in system administration, however, that is not my passion. I am at an age where children are not a concern, and risks seem to be, at first sight, easier to take. I would like to hear the opinion and experience of fellow readers who might have been in a similar situation."
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Ask Slashdot: Moving From Tech Support To Development?

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  • Re:Java (Score:5, Insightful)

    Java is a fad.

    We're talking about a programming career here. Following fads is a major aspect of the industry.

  • Work for free (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aclarke ( 307017 ) <spam&clarke,ca> on Sunday March 23, 2014 @04:54PM (#46559091) Homepage
    Way back a long time ago I graduated from university with an engineering degree unrelated to programming. By that point, however, I had decided that I wanted to be a software developer. This was the mid '90s, and I took a job with an un-funded startup for equity and no pay. From there I worked at a friend's company doing Perl, again for no pay but I crashed with my friend and he paid for my food. So in that sense it's not that different from your situation.

    Things are different now, as there are plenty of sites where employers offer contracts for unreasonably low wages. You could start bidding on those, and take some smaller projects and complete them. There's also the option to put your time into some sort of labour of your own love. Write some sotware that demos well, and bootstrap yourself up from there. A lot of companies would be happy to hire an enthusiastic junior Java developer with demonstrated experience that they had the drive to accomplish themselves.

    Just do everything you can to pick up as much experience as you can. Keep a positive attitude, and work on all the "soft skills" like listening to your boss and coworkers, doing what you say you're going to do, communicating effectively, etc. With a year or so of this, you should find yourself very employable, assuming there are jobs where you're looking.
  • write some code (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 23, 2014 @04:58PM (#46559119)

    Write some code, make something cool, that will put you ahead of 90% of people with degrees and certifications. Look into DevOps, which is programmatic system administration. All the VMWare sites are doing this since VMWare is pushing Puppet after putting a bunch of money into it.

  • Re:Why not? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AF_Cheddar_Head ( 1186601 ) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @05:53PM (#46559421)

    Until you need to get a resume by HR.

    12 years as a successful network consultant and getting a resume by HR sucks because I don't have a master's degree and my certifications are old and outdated. I get the job because someone tells HR to stick it and goes around the system.

  • Re:Why not? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @06:46PM (#46559725)

    Bypassing HR by connecting directly with a project manager is ancient advice, but still valid today. I first used this ploy in 1970.

"Say yur prayers, yuh flea-pickin' varmint!" -- Yosemite Sam