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Ok so I've been out of university now for 7 years and in the same job as an application developer for a company that uses their own in house development languages/products. I've learnt a lot here but I should definitely be moving on now!

In my time here I've dealt with hands on support, on site installation, training of customers, development of POC's (having to use a mix of technologies including Java and Python) and many other tasks.

My main job however has NOT been Java oriented, although I'd say I do have a good deal of experience in it from my own personal projects.

I am aware that this might reflect badly on my CV so I have spent a number of months adding professional certs to my resume, these include.

  • Sun Certified Java Programmer 6
  • Oracle Certified Expert, Java EE 6 JSP and Servlets Developer
  • Oracle Certified Exper, Java EE 6 Enterprise JavaBeans Developer

I also plan to take the core spring training, shortly followed by taking the springsource certified spring professional exam.

I'm not entirely sure how to structure my CV? Restricting myself to two pages is quite difficult especially seeing as mentioning my career history is obviously a big part (I currently have 3/4 of a page which mentions, job title, brief description of company I work for, what my duties include and some of my achievements, Java has a brief mention).

Any advice for what I should do? Ideally if I get my foot in the door for an interview I'd be looking to start on a salary of about 35k (I'm in the UK) which is only a few k more than I'm earning currently.

I'm posting this as anon because I'm aware of leaving a trail for potential employers, plus I'm disappointed in myself for staying here so long.

EDIT: Forgot to mention I was in the UK, so that's £35k not $35k so in USD that's closer to $55k

Edit2: Not in London, Bristol

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"a company that uses their own in house development languages/products" > You mean they develop and use their own language? –  Matthieu Napoli Sep 21 '11 at 12:59
Are you based in London? –  Martijn Verburg Sep 21 '11 at 13:42

4 Answers 4

Certification is good, but experience is a lot better. I don't know where you come from, but here in Canada, newbies from University start at 45-50k now. At 35k, i can't imagine you won't find a place where you can actually code and get the experience. I suggest consulting firm, they can put you in different Companies who needs java resources badly. This way you learn a lot from different places.

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The certs may sway some people (not me); for someone with no visible practical experience it'd be important (for me) to see some actual code. But for getting in the door, having them will be a big plus, because it shows you at least know the syntax. Not everybody does :(

Write a meaningful cover letter. Reinforce that you know and enjoy Java and are chomping at the bit to do more. Say why you think the position is a good fit for you, and for them.

As for the resume: two pages for seven years... seems like a lot. I have a two-page short-form, and three-four page long form--and I've been developing for 25 years. If you haven't done much Java-at-work, have a section that lists personal projects, open-source efforts you're involved in, etc.

What you have done, however, is interact with people via training, and this is potentially a big win. Devs that can bridge gaps between users/devs are a precious commodity. If you can write, that's helpful--somewhat of a lost art.

Have some code readily available to show employers that the certs aren't just the meaningless pieces of paper they are--real-world use is different than the certs (although I head the certs are better now--I don't know).

(What market are you in where an entry-level Java dev would make $35k? Is that USD? That's really low, IMO.)

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Create, submit and maintain some personal java projects in a place with visibility, like Github. Right at the top of your CV post:

"Hey awesome potential employer, check out some of my awesome Java projects at http://github.com/myUserName".

Annotate the project(s) especially where you had to problem solve, or learned something new.

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Certifications are a waste of time. It would be more productive to learn from a book and produce a few pet projects to show example code to employers.

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