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I'm going to ask this question knowing that I risk it being closed for being like some other questions that have been asked in the past. I have read them, I promise. example here: Bridging the gap between learning language fundamentals and actually making useful software?

I'm teaching myself programming, using any resources I can get my hands on, though mostly through online tutorials, guides, and most importantly documentation. The problem I'm having is that there seems to be a very wide gap in available education (without paying more money than I have to go back to school for CS), between learning syntax/fundamentals in languages and being hirable as a developer.

Common suggestions to this problem from experienced devs are to get involved in open source and write some programs. Every open source project I've looked at still seems way over my head. The programs I can write are too small to be considered worthwhile or noteworthy. Taking on a big project has the same problem as getting involved in an open source project.

The most helpful advice I've seen in response to this question is get involved in a team so that you can learn from more experienced people and work together on things. This would be my holy grail. But the real question here is: how to do you become part of a dev team when you're not experienced enough to contribute. And if you were experienced enough, wouldn't you already have a job as a dev?

I know that my inexperience with programming in general makes my perspective perhaps naive, especially due to my not having a job in the field yet. So please, if you offer similar advice to the things I've listed already, can you explain in a little more detail how it fits in the path from noob to hirable.

Thanks in advance.

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Write some small projects. It doesn't matter if they're noteworthy. I have produces a huge pile of small programs nobody is or will ever be interested in. Most of them even abandoned before completion. –  CodesInChaos Mar 22 '13 at 20:01
    
you mention "other questions that have been asked in the past. I have read them..." - would you mind editing your question to list (some of) these? That would help answerers avoid repeating what was already covered in the questions you have read –  gnat Mar 22 '13 at 20:01
    
Added an example. I tried to list the most common answers in my post to avoid repeats too. –  ecline6 Mar 22 '13 at 20:04
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What languages do you work with? You can always start to get into an OSS project by helping to test, write documentation and fixing small bugs or add simple features. Sometimes it's as simple as adding a button at the right place. If the team sees you are seriously interested most will be very helpful to show you the next steps. –  thorsten müller Mar 22 '13 at 20:16
    
I started with Python so that's where I'm most comfortable, but I've done a little Java as well, which led me to Javascript and Jquery and webdev. I've done about 40 Euler problems, written two little arcade games and a little app launcher for myself. Currently toying with building a webapp to handle a customer db and invoice mailing for freelancers in any profession. –  ecline6 Mar 22 '13 at 20:23
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marked as duplicate by Robert Harvey, gnat, Telastyn, Martijn Pieters, chrisaycock Mar 23 '13 at 2:53

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1 Answer

The only way to grow is to try something that is currently above your head. People keep suggesting that you try contributing to an open source project, yet you keep turning that advice down. It's not as out of reach as you think it is, or we wouldn't keep suggesting it.

I'll plug bazaar as a good example of a newbie-friendly open source project written in python. I actually learned python so I could contribute some fixes to that project a few years ago. They have a page devoted to helping you get started. There's a list of easy bugs you can take your pick of. They are one of the nicest bunch of guys I've ever interacted with over the Internet. You don't have to understand the entire application at once. Just figure out the bare minimum you need to fix the bug.

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