I am a guy living in United States currently working in health care field who has a great passion in web development.

I don't have any diploma in computer science, web development or any related courses in programming. But I teach myself to study website development you know like investing in books and a lot of time in practicing to code, etc.

I even built a social networking website by myself in asp.net and sql which has chatrooms, friendship, music, users can create their own playlist, users can upload photos and share w/ friends, open a chatbox if friend is online in c# and visual basic.

I mean I coded these features from scratch and not just plugins you know from other sites.

I created a mashup of google map, weather.com and MSN search.

In short, I think I can perform the job of a web developer. But when I try to apply for a position in web development for example a hiring in asp.net developer, I got denied immediately because of my lack in professional experience in web dev.

My question is what do you think I can do to gain these experiences these employers are asking if they don't give me a chance to prove what I know or am I just wasting my time here and needs to go to a programming school which I can't afford right now.

  1. Employers will not GIVE you a chance. You must EARN that chance.
  2. Keep a positive attitude. It shows in your contact with prospective employers.
  3. Put together a portfolio showcasing what you have done.
  4. Give them access to your real online community website (make sure it is "prosective employer-friendly")
  5. Proofread all communications. Then do it again.
  6. Think about why you want to change careers and why software development. What it is about web development? Is it the $$$ ? Do you absolutely love it? Is it the women? You don't have to answer these questions here. Just think about the answers. Make a list. Use the pros on that list compared to your qualifications and sell yourself.

This is a real problem. There are not a great deal of companies that want to hire inexperienced developers. The learning curve and cost are steep. But, there are things you can do:

1) Volunteer to create applications for small companies or non-profits. They would love to have you help them.

2) Create a commercial application centered perhaps around a hobby you have. I did this early on and was successful with it.

3) Intern somewhere on perhaps a part-time basis.

BTW, you don't need a degree in computer science to get a development position. Many many developers never took any sort of computer related courses in college (I never did).


Programming ain't brain surgery - you do not need 15 years of training to get started.

Build yourself a nice portfolio, and present that at a job interview. Alternatively, start your own online business.

Good luck. Get out of healthcare before it gets worse.


Well, if you believe that your work is up to standard, you should be able to show these interviewers the end result of your hard work, and maybe have them judge you on the portfolio, and not the paperwork.

If papers are all they are interested in, they might be missing that you have a portfolio displaying your personal experience.

Have the portfolio readily available, to show the interviewer what you can do, and be prepared for tech questions!


Get a low paying or intern position. The first year you will make little money, but will get awesome experience.

After the first year you'll be worth a good bit of money and more each year following.


Get some small consulting jobs from somewhere like rentacoder, scriptlance or eLance. Develop a few small websites that you can link to on a resume. You won't make much money, but it will give you some valuable real-world experience, and give you something that demonstrates your skills. Just try to only accept jobs that are within your skillset, and keep URLs or screenshots of what you do for your portfolio.


Maybe try to get involved into some open source project? This way you can get a lot of experience, find some contacts and you will be able to put something into your resume.


Keep looking for the right employer! The employer who likes your background is exactly the type of employer you want to work for anyway. See how I got my job, with less experience than you. It's very, very frustrating when you repeatedly don't get the job offer, but keep trying! The employers who are passing you by probably think of software developers as commodities.

"Let's see, you have a degree (3 points) or none (0 points), plus a point for each year of employed development . . . your worth as a developer equals . . .0 points! Sorry, no job for you!"

These people are often not the best employers. There are some (alas, too few) employers who would love your profile for a junior developer slot, and you do want to work for that type of company.

You'll definately need to take a junior developer position or a paid internship, in this economy. Definately be ready for low pay at first, but with your attitude, self-learning, and (yes) experience, this should change quickly.

Hmmm, if you're in western northern virginia, let me know.


Work for free!

Seriously, if you've identified a company that looks good that you want to work for, and you're financially able to support yourself for 3-4 weeks it could be worth considering. I did this when I had no commercial experience or web / programming qualifications and ended up with the job I wanted. It enables you to get your foot in the door.


You need to open source your work and contribute to others' work.

Github.com is a good place you can do this... and then showcase your Github profile in an interview. In the Dallas area, a lot of Ruby developers I know say that their Github profile was very helpful in getting a job.

There are other similar websites, but I am less familiar with them. I think BitBucket is a similar site.

Best of luck to you!


I'd say: Keep trying. Target startups more than established companies. Expect not to get paid much to start with, but you can fix that within a couple of years by proving yourself. If possible, get and show education in the field. Be active in places like StackOverflow and relevant discussion groups.

It's also worthwhile to make sure you communicate well in writing. For instance, your original post didn't have any spaces after the full stop at the end of each sentence, which didn't make you look good. Since then astander has edited your question, putting in paragraph breaks at the end of nearly every sentence (which is also wrong, but not your fault). It seems like a small thing, but impressions count for a lot. Learn the rules of typing (there are only a few; spaces after punctuation is a pretty important one), and buy a copy of the updated (1999+) version of The Elements of Style and read it (it's short). Communicating well in natural language is one way you can differentiate yourself.


All true professionals I know, didn't become such due to academic studies or some other framework. They became pros due to their passion to engineering, and "games" they play at home.

So, I suggest finding a reasonable company which will hire you based on your true skills. You don't want to work in a mediocre place anyway.


While there are a lot of good suggestions here already, one that seems to be missing is the networking aspect of just about any job.

Since you are coding in .Net, try to locate your local .Net User group and or Microsoft Developer Evangelists to help you get into contact with one if you're having trouble. Go to the meetings and some conferences and get to know people. It's possible that with very little experience that the best way to get an interview would be through a referral of someone who likes your work from one of these types of events.


The only lack you have - is a lack of knowledge in writing your resume. But you don't really need to go to high school to fix that. Just learn from friends or online.


Focus your applications on small businesses that are likely to read your cover letter before scanning your resume for acronyms & work history.

It's likely that nobody besides an HR rep even sees your resume at medium to big companies because it doesn't fit the minimum requirements. At a very small company the hiring manager is likely to read your very convincing and well written cover letter (or email).


Assuming you have a bachelors, You could change directions by simply getting a Masters in something programming related. It sounds like you have a good basis and (perhaps more importantly) passion1 for the work. A masters would allow you to network and further your skills while not bring you back to the undergrad level.

Best part of a masters, is you likely can continue to work while you work towards it. May not be 100% ideal but you might be more conformable with the efforts.

Best Regards, Frank

1 I wish my co-works had the passion for this work that you presented... ::Sigh::


I agree with the posted who suggested taking some freelance work. The more experience you have, or at the very least, the more experience you can make it look like you have, the better your chances.

It's an age-old job-seekers' conundrum: You can't get a job without experience, but you can't get experience without a job.

When I was in high school and college, before I was really "eligible" for real-world full-time dev work, I sharpened my skills by doing websites and computer work, often for free, wherever I could find it. For example, what about a church, a social group, an interest group, a book club, a friend who runs a small business? Any of these are examples of places you can offer to build a website for, or even improve an existing site. You're in the healthcare industry, maybe you know a doctor whose private practice could use a website?


The other thing is, you're not just a guy that started developing. You have other qualities that you should also highlight in your resume. What things can you bring from your Healthcare background that would help you with development - things like analysis skills, attention do details, etc, are kind of universal, and are very important for development.

Plus, I know you might be tired of Healthcare, but as a foot in the door, what about to target Healthcare software companies? They will definitely be interested in your Healthcare background (working on Healthcare IT here in NZ for some time, I can see how clinical/healthcare related background can be important while developing software).

In summary, don't focus so much on your "lack of experience" in IT. Focus on what you can bring to the game, and target the companies that might be interested in your other side as well.


Hi I was in the same type of position 10 years ago having been an accountant with a few IT classes at a university. What I ended up doing was going to school for a semester then getting a six Internship through the college. Near the end of the six months was doing well enough that the company kept me on full-time and been working now for almost 10 years in web development. If you had any college education enrolling at a college that has a computer science major and getting a Internship early on wouldn't be a bad idea. Then you can have the option to someday finish the degree.

Other options are to consider going become a free-lance worker. If you have a day job to pay the bills, you can do work on the side. Talk to local businesses that might be looking for a web presence.

Also if you don't have a website of your own get one. You can get a domain and hosting pretty cheap if you look around. Showcase some of your work for people to check out.

Finally keep on applying. Use job board sites find local businesses and get your resume out. Showing up in person sometimes leads to interviews right there on the spot. Fridays seem to work the best as well from personal experience, find there's not as many meetings that day. Just keep on trying if someone see's your work and likes it you'll get a job.


I'd only work or hire people with demonstrative skill sets. I don't care how you obtained your skills, only that you have what I need to do whatever it is I'm interested in having you do.

I'd take a chance and learn as much as you can. Traditional learning or not, being more skilled at something you love can only help you open doors.


You might want to try applying to smaller companies. The problem with big companies is that they're getting thousands and thousands of resumes at a time. Their HR department isn't going to be reading these carefully. In most cases, a first pass consists of looking for a mark of death, which could be something like not having a computer science degree. You might be the best candidate in the pile, but that's not what they're looking for. They're looking for the easiest way to get a very qualified candidate, which will often involve cutting people for superficial reasons.

At a smaller company, they might (I'm not making promises here) look closer at your resume. Here's where it will be important to have a compelling portfolio so that you'll have something to talk about during your interview.

Hope this helps! And no, doing something you're passionate about is NEVER a waste of time :-)


Freelance - work self-employed. Make pages for small firms, your average 5-10 people businesses that don't have any or have horrible ones. Count each of these as employment time, technically it is. Provide competetive pricing, because it's their credit and references you want, not money. Make sure to ask for these references, possibly ask to be enlisted as a contractor or whatever when you do.