I graduated 2009, Bachelors of Computer Information Systems, minor in Math, in western Canada. That's all my local University offered and I rationalized the minor helped even me out against Comp Sci grads. At the time I lived in a relatively small town (~50k) and had been advised by professors/department heads/career counselors that I should have good prospects finding the type of work I wanted (Junior Software Engineer/equivalent) without needing to move to a proper city, my experiences did not match up to that advice.
Obviously a lot of time has passed from then to now, I've moved into an actual city (Vancouver) with my spouse, but that hasn't improved my job hunting in any respect. I feel like the more the unemployment gap has widened the harder it will be, and that if I couldn't even land an interview as a fresh grad, my chances by now must be down right miniscule.
I'm looking for advice or direction on how to proceed. By this point I've applied to hundreds if not thousands of job postings, talked to a good number of recruiters and sought help from various local career counselors and tend to leave disappointed. I've heard plenty of advice in the past so I'll try to summarize my thoughts on them:
Contribute to Open Source. While I certainly enjoy using a wide variety of open source software, to the point that I run very few closed source applications, I've never had the strong pressing urge to fix or improve anything I use, so the times I've gone browsing through bug lists and mailing lists I tend to get lost and confused. I've tried looking at the actual code for a couple projects but every time I get depressed by not understanding the material or even the ins and outs of the fairly complicated code repositories. (Maybe a fault of my education, but I surely didn't have any coursework with version control, or much else helpful with going this route)
Make your own project/portfolio. I've heard conflicting pieces on this, some people have suggested solo projects are nearly worthless to an employer since the whole point is to show you can handle working on a team and doing all that version control/framework stuff I apparently don't know anything about, while some people seem to think the project needs to be on sale somewhere to count. All that would be well and good if I had some great ideas of projects, but as much as I enjoy programming I can never think of something that I want/need some code to do, particularly that I can do on my own with my limited skill set. I have picked up a fair bit of Python since graduating, found myself enjoying it more then the Java we were mainly taught, and started a couple silly projects on the side to learn what I can on my own. (couple of 2D games, not completed mostly due to lack of interest in the artwork side of things)
Start your own business. Mostly the same reasoning as above, except add on the complete lack of interest in trying to sell to clients and handle things like marketing, definitely not an area I have any motivation to go at all.
Go back to school. For one I would have to go into debt this time around, and for two the last time I graduated I came out with no job prospects either, so my confidence in the education system is a bit lacking. I also burned out pretty hard by the end last time, maintaining an A average through the upper level math courses left me planning to never go back to university again.
I was a good student, got Dean's list and full tuition waiver scholarships for having the top grade in my class two years in a row. I didn't participate in co-op since I focused on cramming as many free credits into those years as possible, and I didn't know how much more experience trumped paper, hindsight is 20/20 as they say.
Anyway, as the title says I'm in a rut, I've lost almost all motivation, my original "dream" job was something like, not a lot of commute time, maybe a bit under 40 hours a weak, Junior Software Engineer working up the chain, learning something at least mildly interesting along the way, and not really caring about the salary (honestly), but it feels like over the years every single one of my hopes for my starting job has been stripped away and now I'll be lucky answering the phone and asking people to reboot their modem.
I try to do some coding on my own, picked up an O'Reilly text for Python and try to at least fiddle around for a bit, but without any direction I quickly lose focus, I guess my spirit is broken by this point, I'm not trying to sound too depressing, I just don't know how to snap out of it.
Right now since the only time I get a call for work is when someone thinks there was a typo on my resume until I confirm the lack of actual work experience.
I was a lifeguard/instructor throughout University and for about a year after grad until the pool closed, I really didn't want to get stuck in a dead end minimum wage job so I tried focusing on the job hunt/moved shortly thereafter. But since then no, I kept thinking one more round of applications and surely I'll find some entry level position somewhere.
- How can I get past the 5 year gap on my resume for a technical field?