I realize that potential employers may Google me to learn more about me and my background. Despite this, I’m going to post what’s on my mind, rather than putting a front forward about how confident I feel about my job search.
I’m pretty proud of myself, sure. I joined one other co-worker to create a relational Access database that currently has over 150,000 records in its main table, with 20 users, and has only completely crashed and burned once in a year and a half of operation. I’ve recently redesigned two websites from the ground up (buzzword: full development lifecycle) using PHP and a custom database backend for content management.
But am I confident about my skills? That’s a deeper question…
I don’t have the skills that most IT employers are looking for. I haven’t programmed ASP, I don’t know .NET, I have no experience with SQL Server. I don’t know Oracle. I’ve never used Ruby on Rails or ColdFusion or [insert common server application here]. I’m not a Windows expert or a hardware guru. I’m not certified in anything (besides the apps I got certified in from NISDM). What programming I do know requires occasional Googling — except for the straight-up HTML, which I’ve been completely comfortable with for years now. I sometimes forget the exact property names for CSS stuff, or I don’t know the syntax for a given PHP function.
I thought maybe I could break into IT and programming with what I know… but I’m not sure. I don’t know if anyone will give me that chance, when they could potentially find someone in the job market who already knows all the languages and applications the company uses.
But what do I fall back on, if I don’t go into IT? Web design, another skill with which I’m not entirely confident? I don’t feel like I’m bleeding-edge enough to be accepted into web design, and my basic familiarity with Flash (NISDM-certified!) won’t get me anywhere in multimedia or interactive design. I wouldn’t feel comfortable going for an entry-level graphic design job, no matter how much my two Graphic Design profs praised my intro-level work back in the day. And I love editing video, but I haven’t done much of it in the past six years.
Any field I go into will require me to do some quick growth to get up to speed. I’m willing and eager to do that… but I’m doubtful that anyone will hire a 31-year-old who’s been out of college for six years at such an entry level.
I guess I’m just frustrated with myself for wasting six valuable years of professional growth just working for The Man. Doing gruntwork and getting paid. I’m grateful that I kept my hand in, so to speak, by doing volunteer web work and personal projects and taking some freelance work recently… but I don’t think it was enough.
I’ll find an appropriate job eventually. I have time, financially speaking, thanks to my severance pay and retention bonus.
But do I have time before I self-destruct mentally?
ETA: After talking to Sheryl, I’m feeling a little more confident about my ability to get into IT at a grunt level. I’m still feeling a little overwhelmed, but I know something will present itself that’s appropriate to my skillz and abilities.