Just a little background before I get to the question:
Currently finishing a 2 year Higher Certificate in Computing-
Intermediate : Java, XML, XSLT, XSD, XHTML, CSS
Good understanding of networks and OS'
So My questions:
1) What is the java development / DBA entry level job odds like for me without completing the full degree (yet)?
2) Any thoughts on what other areas I should be looking into? Most job listings particularly, Java seem to include Spring/Hibernate/Struts frameworks?
3) Are there any ways I can get some small (voluntary or otherwise) projects within java to start building up a Portfolio?
Any suggestions, particularly from those within the sector would be appreciated.
Chances of getting a job are as good or bad as in most industries; it depends for 99% on how pro-active you are.
Yes, plenty of ways, millions of options. Decide what you want to do most, what your can do best. Construct/assemble an attractive proposition, and offer it to a decision taker, preferably local.
Great money and high demand for .NET and C# these days, if you're looking for another framework to study. Im starting that myself as soon as I can (college/day job is taking over at the moment)..
No disrespect to the other posters but I think they are wrong.
Without the degree you are going to find it hard to get called to interview let alone get a Job. A lot of Programming/IT jobs (rightly/wrongly) specific a degree and a degree is what you need to at least get to interview. Now when you have 10 years experience it might not matter so much but if a company is hiring and they have equal candidates they will nearly always go for the degree.
Even for yourself if you do get a job you may find you get paid less then someone with the degree.
Stay in College and do the Degree pref a Honours Degree.
Totally agree. Most companies won't even look at CVs for graduates (or people who graduated in the last year or two) if they don't have a degree on them. It might not be fair or right but it's what happens.
Maybe not a level 6 but they do look at a level 9 conversion, so that could be an option.
Just a quick question (Sorry OP), would an Ordinary Degree in Computing then an Advanced Diploma (from IBAT) and 5 months work experience not look better than an Honours Degree in Computing on a CV?
Hard to know, it depends on the company really. It wouldn't with many smaller companies but would with larger companies. An Honours degree is a very powerful entry on a C.V. when you are starting out. A fair few companies out there use it as a base filter when hiring.
Yes, that and the market.
The company in so far as who is doing the short-listing. Larger companies will have a HR manager or department to do this and thus you're more likely to get culled if you don't have the requisite qualifications. If it's the senior developers or CTO who does this, they're probably more likely to look between the lines and less likely to carry out the process in such a formulaic fashion.
And naturally the market is the other factor. If you've only got time to interview, say, five candidates for a role and you've received 300 CV's then you're going to be culling a lot of otherwise perfectly capable individuals and going through CV's you'll favour those with a degree (any) over those without. During the dotCom, you were lucky to get five CV's in.
I know, the latter point doesn't help anyone at present...
Go back to college for 2 years and get a degree. It will make getting a job so much easier. I worked with a couple of people without degrees and it has really held them back over the years. They were very good programmers and all ended up going back at some point to get a degree.