In the computer programming industry, experience is King.
Real world, hands on, practical programming experience is valued more than computer programming certifications, software development diplomas or even programming job titles.
What you know is much more important than how you obtained the knowledge!
The next time you read a computer programming job description and you feel overwhelmed by the list of degrees or certifications required, just remember that the job market for computer programmers is not really that formal.
How To Get Computer Programming Job Experience
Now, you know that raw, hands on computer programming experience is valued above programming degrees, job titles or programming certifications, here are tips on how to increase your programming experience.
Open Source Projects
there are various open source projects that you can join and contribute code to. Before you join an open source project, take some time to learn the code, use the application, get to know the team members and become familiar with the code review or code commit processes.
you may get programming experience by helping a non-profit organization that needs with building a database, a website or a software application.
Be sure to let the non-profit organization know that you are doing the job to get more programming experience.
You need to be truthful and upfront about your level of expertise or you may run into problems by taking on more than you can handle.
When you committee to working for a non-profit organization, you may be required to work at the pace of other senior, more experienced team members.
Also, the non-profit may be racing towards meeting some important deadlines.
So, even if you are offering free help, the non-profit organization needs to understand that you may introduce additional delays to the timetable.
If this is not acceptable then you and the non-profit organization are not a good match.
Personal Use Software Applications
You may get computer programming experience by building a software application that provides some services or benefit to you.
For example, an employee I managed built a price watching software applications in his spare time.
The application was a web crawler that would go to specific websites and monitor the bids and prices of products he was interested in.
You can get some really cool programming experience that way because you are your own customer, you are not going to stress yourself over deadlines and you understand the needs you are trying to meet.
The downside is that software development managers do not rank this type of programming experience as high as that gained by working for non-profit organizations or open source projects
Professional Computer Programming Experience
You may get computer programming experience from a professional software development organization.
This involves having a software development company assign programming projects to you, review your code and mentor, coach or train you on your weak spots.
This method is preferred because hiring managers value programming experience derived from professional mentors above those from self study or non profits or other sources of programming experience.
The reason is that a professional software developer can critique your code or database design while you or a non-profit may not review or critique your own code.
How to get professional software development experience
The Software Developer Boot Camp provides you with professional software development experience.
You are given hands on, practical, real world projects to work on.
Your computer programming code or database design assignments are reviewed by course instructors and you are given feedback that helps you correct your weak spots.
You are assigned additional projects as you progress along the course and as you complete your training, you build up your portfolio and programming experience.
What Next After Getting Programming Experience?
If you don’t already have a programming job, you need to make the best efforts towards putting together a professional computer programmer resume, sending out your resume to hiring managers and preparing rigorously for your technical interviews.
If you gain relevant, real world programming experience, prepare a resume that highlights your programming experience and contact a lot of hiring managers, you will secure technical programming interviews.
All you need to at the technical interview is to put your best foot forward and get the job you want!
The Demand For Computer Programmers In A Recession
The demand for software development professionals is high inspite of the state of the economy.
I receive unsolicited job postings for SQL programmers, business analysts or computer programmers all the time.
Remember that computer programming skills are still in-demand even with the state of the job market.
So make sure you do not hesitate to improve your real world, hands on, computer programming experience.