Why Breaking Catch 22?
I want to start by explaining my motivations and give you a little background on me. I’m starting this blog as a way to motivate me to do more to gain useful experience and hopefully help others along the way. Those of us who consider ourselves Jr Developers live in a strange world, dominated by the dreaded Catch 22.
Dictionary.com defines Catch 22 as “any illogical or paradoxical problem or situation; dilemma.”
In the software industry, this usually means that to move forward you need experience, but to get the experience, you need to move forward. You can see that puts those of us trying to learn and get experience in an extremely difficult position!
I have a plan. First, I will be starting with a subscription to Safari Books Online. I’ve been a subscriber for about a year and have found this to be invaluable to me for gaining knowledge without spending a fortune on books. Second, I’ll be finding and participating in Open Source projects to gain experience and make connections with experienced developers from whom I can gleam knowledge. I don’t know where this will lead, but hopefully this will result in me making connections and getting the experience needed to move my career forward.
Information about me:
I’m someone who came to software in their 20′s. I started my career in the military and with law enforcement. After a fairly serious on the job injury I decided a change of careers was necessary. I got into software by accident. A friend was working as a tech recruiter for a nationally known firm. He helped get me on board and I spent the next 10 months as the worst recruiter at the office. That’s right, I was terrible. What I did learn is that while I was bad at recruiting people, I was quite good at understanding the technologies for which I was recruiting. It make sense, I started on computers as a kid, programming with basic on a Commodore 64. This began a passion for technology that I now consider a large part of who I am.
I took my first job at a small company that made software for the propane industry. It’s a small market and the company did really well for itself. I worked in support and on the road as a trainer. I was there for 4 years and toward the end started learning a little Cobol. This got me really interested in programming, but I knew Cobol was not the future I wanted.
A co-worker had moved on to another company, a Java shop, and convinced me to come on board. I’m still at this company and have been for just over 4 years. I started in support and a little more than 2 years ago, moved into a Business Analyst role. Along the way, I taught myself Java and started doing odd custom programming changes and fixes. After a while, I started doing quite a bit and studied for, and passed, my SCJP 5 certification. At the time, it was my understanding that this was the last step I needed to accomplish before being allowed to move into a full time development position. Unfortunately, the current economic crisis began and layoffs started, which meant we lost developers. While I didn’t move forward, I was lucky to stay right where I was.
So, here I am. I’m a Business Analyst, Jr Developer, and knowledge nut trying to find my way toward a more full time career in development. Breaking free of the Catch 22 is going to be hard, but I hope to share my experiences with all of you, and maybe help you to break free too.