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Mid-life career change to programming - help please?

tony23tony23 Posts: 2Member
Hi,

I'm hoping someone here may be able to offer some advice.

I have been a hobbyist programmer since 1978 (when I was 11) and I have done a little freelance web programming work, as well as some personal projects. I have practically no formal training, but I know the material decently.

I'm trying to get a job as a programmer - but at 38, I don't know how practical it may be.

For background: I started programming BASIC on the TRS-80 in 1978, then moved on to Apple Basic, and eventually Apple Monitor & Assembly Languge - about 1982. My first application was a "Zork" style adventure game, and a game-builder (where you could define your rooms & objects), and I also built a BBS system on my Apple that ran for a couple years. From 82-84 I also built a few Apple-based video games of the "Space Invaders" and "Defender" variety.

From 84-91 I didn't do a lot of programming, but I was a computer operator (p/t) in the Air National Guard, and did some programming of the Sperry System 11 mainframe there. I also picked up a little bit of FORTRAN.

I learned Pascal in 91 and got a basic introduction to C, and started writing some simple DOS-based applications, and got pretty heavily into web programming about 96-97 or so. I learned JavaScript and Perl to get started making dynamic sites - and added SQL to the mix in 2001.

I thought about going back to school, and enrolled at ITT Technical Institute (no jokes, please). But I quit in disgust after (A) their job-placement service proved to be a joke and (B) I surpassed the abilities and knowledge of their VB teacher after one week in the class.

Since then, I have written a couple small applications in VB, and I have learned PHP and a little ASP.NET programming. I am currently working on doing some simple games in C#.

Samples of my work are visible at http://www.dslextreme.com/~tony23/ which also has a link (at the bottom) to my current resume - in Word format. I have also recently gotten a BrainBench VB.NET certification, and Master-level BrainBench certifications in PHP, HTML, and JavaScript.

I have been applying for about 10-15 jobs a week on Dice.com and Computerjobs, and I haven't even gotten so much as an interview. I'm also registered with CyberCoders and KimTek (Kimco Technical Group).

So, what suggestions would you have for my next step in my attempt at a career change?
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