Java developer shifting gears

Discussion in 'MCSD' started by Evan Weeks, Nov 18, 2007.

  1. Evan Weeks

    Evan Weeks Guest

    Hi guys,

    My name's Evan Weeks, and I'm currently working for a small startup company
    as a video game developer using C# and XNA. This is a recent development, and
    I'm having a blast working in .Net and am seriously considering making this
    shift permanent.

    For the past six years previous, I've been a Java/J2EE developer working on
    enterprise web applications for the US Air Force, as an enlistedman. I
    separated from the military in 2006 and found it very difficult to get a job.
    While I had the experience and the knowledge, I did not, and still do not
    have a degree to back it up. Java shops, I have discovered, are very picky
    about the software engineering degree requirements for their positions, and
    most of the Java developers I have met tend to have a sort of Ivory Tower
    attitude about their chosen specialization in our profession.

    So, I'm examining the possibility of using this time while I'm gainfully
    employed as a developer in a video game shop to earn my MCSA/MCSD, with
    particular emphasis on .Net technologies. My question here would be how much
    more employable will this certification make me? I am also currently pursuing
    a bachelor's degree in software engineering from the University of Advancing
    Technology Online (, but that will take some time to complete,
    and I want to play the percentages, stack the deck, however you want to think
    of it, in my favor when it comes time to move from this job to another .Net
    position. Will Microsoft Certification be enough, in your opinion, to get my
    foot in the door for an interview and have an employer overlook the lack of a
    formal degree (though I am actively pursuing one)?

    I appreciate any responses I can get, guys, and look forward to reading what
    you have to say.
    Evan Weeks, Nov 18, 2007
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  2. Evan:
    First of all, thank you for your service to our country.

    Yes, having Microsoft certifications are enough to get your foot in the door
    in regards to interviews.
    I average about four calls per day from headhunters asking me if I am
    interested in a new position. (Although after I quote $110/hour, which is
    what it would take to move me out of Louisville, they balk).

    I have a Bachelors and Masters Degree in subjects other than Computer
    Science, and other than teaching positions at universities, no one looks at
    that fact now that I have multiple certifications.

    I have never heard of the university you are attending. It sounds like a
    diploma mill (I am not saying that it is), and if prospective employers think
    that it may be one, you may have problems. They won't do the investigation to
    see if it is legitimate or not -- to much work to do so -- so they may just
    pass you by based on that alone. There are online programs that are offered
    by recognized institutions that everyone has heard of that you may want to
    get your degree from. (If the classes that you've taken don't transfer, that
    should send up a red flag that you need to get out of that school.)
    Personally, I plan on taking online courses from either Kansas State
    University, Colorado State University, or Carnegie Mellon University
    (everyone's heard of them) once I find an employer that is willing to
    reimburse tuition.
    LarryWestMCSD, Nov 19, 2007
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  3. Evan Weeks

    Evan Weeks Guest

    Mr West,

    Thanks for your reply!

    I appreciate the advice about university name-recognition. The University of
    Advancing Technology is actually a physical campus in Tempe, AZ that focuses
    its educational efforts on career paths in the entertainment industry, from
    graphic arts to film production and interactive simulation (game)
    development. They're relatively new to the scene when compared to
    schoolhouses such as DigiPen or Full Sail, but their focus is slightly
    broader. Still, they are fully accredited (and proudly post the fact on their
    site), and boast a very healthy job-placement percentage for their graduates.

    As far as the certifications, I think my decision is definitely made to hit
    the books and earn an MCSD before my current project's cycle ends (and the
    employment ground therefore gets shaky). It can only help my chances of
    landing another .Net job I will enjoy.

    Thank you again for your reply!
    Evan Weeks, Nov 19, 2007
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