Why I'm Here: Part 2

When we left my life story last I had accepted a job in IT support for the local library. Economics downturns loomed unseen over the horizon and programming jobs were sparse and getting sparser. How did I weather the storm?

In retrospect it is easy to say I did poorly. I could have contributed to any number of open source projects for the requisite experience, but it felt like an impossible task. Open source still does in some ways, merging into an existing workflow with people you've never met in technologies you've never used.

Bounce your http request off this!

At the time the job search felt tremendously difficult. Programming jobs didn't land in my lap like IT support ones did. "Two years experience" were dreaded words. I tried a number of websites and technical recruiters. It took nearly a year and half to land my first interview. The job offer was made and within days was rescinded. The employer had lost a client who represented half their business.

Disappointed I left the recruiter and job websites. I spent the next year posting resumes directly to company and government listings. No bites, not even a nibble. Opportunities for promotion within my current employer appeared nonexistent.

I eventually got myself involved with my local Java Users Group. I began playing with Perl and Ruby during my free time. Concepts like Model, View, Controller that were barely covered in college crept into my understanding. Software testing tools came onto my radar, even if they still don't saturate my process. I put together a website to stretch my knowledge of PHP, javascript, HTML, AJAX, forms, and SQL. At work I got a chance to teach kids to use a introductory programming tool called Scratch. I wrote a novel, a personal life goal.

One day the recruiter who sponsored the Memphis JUG listed a entry level programming job with the group. I applied, my presence in the meetings sparked a recognition, my website feed their desire to know more. Those little things I had been doing the past year kindled my degree into a finally respectable application. I applied, interviewed, interviewed, and interviewed. Again I was offered a position, but this time with company whose client base was broad enough to survive any momentary lapse in funding.

I accepted and put in my two weeks notice. I felt so eager to be at my new job, I worried I was building it up to much. But so far it has been more than I hoped for and it doesn't look to be letting up anytime soon.