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I have been browsing the questions here for advice on how to prepare and approach for going back to the job market. The Q&As have been a lot helpful but I would like to share some of the questions I and some others might still have in this market, and hope for responses.

Five years ago right after getting my BSCS, I got an internship as a system admin with a large sized company and got hired as a software support Engineer ( fixing defects) and then java/J2EE developer in the same company. Overall I had 4 years of experience but was not confident with my skills and could not have a good grasp of the product we were developing, so I left the company over a year ago in search of my dream job :). But now after analyzing many things I still want to go back, but this time try web development. Now the catch is I forgot many concepts and coding after a year. Here are some questions I am dealing with right now. Can you please help me find a way?

1- How can I start learning about the web development? what do you suggest to learn to be able to compete with the rest of the candidates? to what level of understanding I should get in this field to know I am ready to look for jobs and how long should my estimate be to reach that level?

2- My resume shows I have been out of the market for over a year and my skills are mostly in Java programming and debugging. I assume most roles won't consider me as a candidate due to this gap in my career. How can I compensate for that and get more interviews?

3- Now that I am planning to move to a new area of software engineering that I don't have any experience in, should I consider my 4 years of industry experience? or considering the break I had should I look for junior development jobs?

Thank you!

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1 Answer 1

  1. I really think the only way to learn correctly is practicing. So I would suggest you to buy a couple of books on the technologies you want to dive in and experiment by solving a problem you have today.

  2. You have to put "Junior Developer" on your CV again. I used to practice martial arts for years. When I stopped for too long (more than 6 months), and I came back with my white belt. Titles are nothing but titles. If you put "Senior Developer", you will fail the interviews.

  3. Of course you should consider your 4 years experience. But not like it was the last 4 years. Yes, take Junior Development Jobs first, delight your boss, then things will come naturaly.

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+1. Good advice. Just one question: with number 2, what do you think is the dividing line? Like, if you work for a solid 10 years, and then take 6-12 months off as a career break, it seems a bit harsh to have to start as a "junior developer" again? - or did you just say this for this specific case because he only has 4 years prior experience and is admitting to have low confidence? (I'm taking a break next year, so I'm also wondering about the perception of these career gaps myself) –  Bobby Tables Nov 18 '10 at 8:00
1  
@Guzica: of course, it's like the martial arts, you don't loose all your past trainings, but it takes time to get back to shape. If I continue with the analogy, my trainer usually let me put the white belt for some trainings, then ask to put my last belt. I think that putting "Junior Developer" (and get the salary of one), will be taken positively by employers and will incrase the chances to get a job. While putting "Senior Developer" will make him compete with people that don't have the gap he is talking about. –  user2567 Nov 18 '10 at 8:05
    
@pierre I'm in a similar position as the OP. I'm particularly interested in the second point: How can I compensate for that and get more interviews?. Any suggestions on that? –  greatwolf Jul 12 '11 at 1:00
    
@Victor T.: I would put Junior Developer as the title or Developer. If you are in .NET, put .NET Developer. The company will judge you level in the interview. If you put Senior Developer and can't answer basic questions about new technologies, you are screwed. –  user2567 Jul 12 '11 at 5:37

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