Best way for a senior programmer to switch languages/environments in next job?
I have about 15 years of IT experience in IT Security and Networking. I am looking for a career change and I really would like to take a stab at Java programming. I have a CS degree but it's been about 5 years since my last class. I have intermediate experience in Perl (that is still current) and I am also trying to learn Python (although it has taken a back seat to Java). I picked up Sam's Teach Yourself Java in 24 Hours as a refresher to my Java classes I took in school. I am half way through it and luckily it's all coming back to me. I also have HTML and some SQL experience.
The reason I chose Java and not Perl is because a.) I liked programming in Java in school and b.) Java seems to be in high demand these days. I wouldn't mind being a Perl programmer but it seems like all of the jobs have Perl listed as "nice to have" experience and not a requirement.
I guess my question is what kind of jobs should I be applying for? I am thinking I only have enough knowledge for a beginner/intern type jobs but it's going to be almost impossible for me (personally) to take a job that only makes 1/3 of what I'm making now ($90k). Will I be laughed at if I attempt to apply for "real" programming jobs or is there such a demand for Java programmers now that someone will be willing to give me a chance?
Thank you for any advice. I would really like to make this change within the next 6 months.