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skillsets - how to expand into databases

Basically I am an out of work programmer, most of the work I have dne beofer has been Java and C++, but I never had to deal much with relational databases, as most of the stuff I have worked with has been scientific computing and desktop and networking apps without database backends.
I am finding without at least one job experience with a database backend(Oracle,MySql) whatever, it's a key disadvantage.I have taken courses and know most of the theory regarding relational db's, and have played around with them,but have no real world paid experience with them.It's the same cache 22 situation.How can I convince employers about my db skills?

sk
Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Developers can download Oracle for free here http://otn.oracle.com/software/products/oracle9i/content.html

You can also download a trial version of MS SQL Server here:
http://www.microsoft.com/sql/evaluation/trial/default.asp

Why not set up a small development webserver at home to practice with using Oracle and/or SQL server as the backend?

Then at an interview bring screenshots of what you've built or better still a laptop with it all running on and walk them through it.

Matthew Lock
Tuesday, January 28, 2003

I second what Matthew has to say.

Prakash S
Tuesday, January 28, 2003

I third what Matthew has to say. I know a small development company in Alaska that built a special really cool web connected Oracle database for a restaurant (I think it was a restaurant) they liked for free to use to demonstrate their business to customers (I think the database provided information about places to eat in Anchorage? Can’t remember.). You might do this to help you get a job.

Find a non-profit company that you like, build a solution to do something that helps them fill a need with the up-front understanding that you are going to use their name and a couple of screen-shots of your work to promote yourself. Make sure you’re 100% professional and produce your very best work. Make sure it solves their problems. Offer to help them in the future. Make some friends. It creates a great reference and does something good for the world at the same time. It’s a win/win proposition. You learn something, gain experience and help someone that’s doing something you like.

WNC
Tuesday, January 28, 2003

sk,

If you've got a solid understanding of relational database theory, the tough part is behind you.  SQL syntax is a little strange sometimes (the more advanced stuff) but it's not really difficult get a handle on (compared to, say, Assembler, for example).

Learning SQL syntax is much less difficult than learning advanced relational theory....If you blow the code in a stored procedure, you can rewrite/redeploy, but if you blow your data model, you're doomed to start over.

I'll "third" Matthew's suggestion.  There's a lot of time-limited database packages out there....A competitive market turns everyone into a crack dealer - the first hit is always free in hopes you'll get hooked.

Jeff MacDonald
Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Oops.  I guess I'll fourth what Matthew has to say.

Wow, four people in the same forum agreeing on something!!!  This has to be some kind of record!

Jeff MacDonald
Tuesday, January 28, 2003

I guess I'm the fifth in agreement here. The best way to learn something is to do it, and the best way to convince somebody of your skills is to show them what you've done. I'm doing well enough for a self-educated programmer and I think the biggest factor in getting the jobs I've had was showing working applications and code, whether it was done in my spare time at home or at a previous job.

Ryan Eibling
Tuesday, January 28, 2003

How do I show the working code which I did for my previous employer?
I have developed many corporate "intranet" applications, which is not accessible outside the corporate intranet.
I come across this problem, when some clients ask me to show the samples of my work.


Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Being proactive is key in that situation.  As I complete a project for a company, I'll build a personal portfolio, taking care not to use anything proprietary or expose anything the company wouldn't want out there.

If you've already left the company, source code might be out of the question, but if you left on good terms, someone might be able to email some screenshots of the work you've done.  Some employers would throw a fit over this, however, so be careful.

Even screenshots are better than nothing, IMO.

Jeff MacDonald
Tuesday, January 28, 2003

I'm in the same boat -- I don't own most of my prior work.  Screenshots are good if you can get them.  Even if you can't, you may be able to put together a simple 3-minute mini-presentation on what your application did, what problems it solved, and so on.  You don't get to show off source code, but you do get a chance to show off your superior communications skills.  (=

Sam Gray
Tuesday, January 28, 2003

seems that microsoft has retricted the download of ms sqlserver

sk
Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Not surprisingly "due to the recent 'Slammer' worm" as the trila version's can't be service-packed.

Duncan Smart
Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Doh... "trila"="trial",  "version's" = "versions"

Duncan Smart
Wednesday, January 29, 2003

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