re: How to revive my career? VIEW POST

  • Do you have contacts within the industry to get a personal recommendation?
  • Have you got a portfolio of a couple of projects which use the languages you want to focus on?
  • Have you considered that due to FoxPro being discontinued, that this is holding you back and you should instead perhaps focus on actively used languages such as your Java/Ruby experience?
  • Are you open to learning new technologies, if so, which interest you currently? If not, why not?
  • What about languages like C# that are used in more banking/corporate businesses, much akin to Java and your C background which support learning a language like this?
  • Have you tried contacting agencies/recruiters via linkedIn or directly that can support you in finding work and send you relevant roles?

Just some things off of the top of my head, either way, good luck in your search!


Thank you. To answer your questions, some of which I forgot to cover in my post.

  • I don't really have any contacts. I'm very much an introvert and wasn't close to, and haven't kept in touch with, the people I knew in school.

  • Unfortunately no. I'm not that good at coming up with ideas for projects. I started a poker game in Java, mostly to see if I could code a hand evaluator, and basically stopped once I got that part finished.

  • I know that Foxpro is holding me back. Had I known at the time that it was outdated, I'm not sure I would have taken my current position. I have pretty much given up looking for Java positions, as I wasn't finding ones for which I felt even remotely qualified. So much has been added since I last took a course in 2004, and there was a lot that wasn't covered in that course. As for the Ruby, all I've done with it is go through a couple of tutorials.

  • I have looked at new tech/languages, but so far Ruby is the only one that's interested me.

  • There was some talk that I would need to back up one of my co-workers who uses C# for the programs he develops, but nothing ever came of it.

  • I've spoke with a lot of recruiters, but most have pretty much ghosted me after an initial conversation. A few have presented my resume for jobs, but nothing ever comes of it.


Hi again Herb, where do you see yourself going career path wise?

  • Web (frontend? backend? testing? etc)
  • Data (science? analytics? BI? etc)
  • Native (frontend? backend? testing? etc)
  • etc

That may help you figure what languages you need to learn, like them or not, just a thought there. What do you want to do in an ideal world?

Further to this, the work you have just now is at least stable, yes? What is it you do there that contrasts with where you want to be?

Thanks James.

I've always struggled with this question, which is why I've taken so long to reply. When I graduated from college, I assumed I would end up doing some sort of systems programming or application development. Most of my coursework was using C on Unix, so I figured I would end up with a job using that, but I haven't used much of anything from my college courses.

One of my hobbies is chess, and ideally, I'd like to work on something chess related, whether working on a chess engine, a database, or the backend or support for a chess web site. I also wouldn't mind working on a Linux or BSD distro.

Realistically, I'd probably be happy working on some sort of database programming, as I like some of the SQL I do in my current job.

Yes, my current job is stable, but the day to day work is sporadic, some days are very busy, but many, if not most, are not. There's very little actual programming, and no advancement opportunities.

Hi again Herb,

I appreciate your answer and the time you took to think over it, from what you say, you have an advantageous position: A stable job and time to curate the skills you require looking forward.

In saying that, I have the inkling that you are looking, as you said, at a data analytics/science role. Should my impression be correct, I would recommend you look up some of the following, especially python and SQL topics:

  • SQL
  • Python
  • Haskell
  • R

These, from my experience are the primary technologies used in data analytics/science roles from the data science people I have worked alongside in my career at least.

I would also recommend the following data/database focused courses on Udemy:

I have personally taken just over half of these courses and the other ones are from instructors I like to "go to". Udemy is generally cheap and yeah, you get out what you give in as it is a different kind of education than being in a classroom but for me, I like this way of learning.

I would also recommend this article: 8 Essential Tips for People starting a Career in Data Science

Lastly, let me say this: Always be learning, always challenge your biases and always push out of your comfort zone, with software being how it is nowadays, its always nice to push out of your 'niche' once in a while to be able to pivot if the worst comes to the worst. Stick with what you're doing, learn as much as you can in your free time and around work and push in the direction you want to go. Finally, try going to some meetups on topics that interest you, I personally use Meetup to find meetups near me, usually there is free food/drink and a chance to mingle with other people interested in the topic of the meetup and of course, presentations and talks in between.

All the best and hopefully this helped, however, if I have went off course or misunderstood your intentions with where you want to go, let me know, I am not infallible after all. Otherwise, I hope these courses/hints help you on your journey.

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