Ed Morgan, Cranston, R.I., 38, Developer, NetProspex, Waltham
Ed Morgan is a self-taught developer who started his career as a website administrator then developed applications for the U.S. Navy. He left there to build his own consultancy from the ground up, but when he decided ultimately to look for another full-time job, his lack of education didn’t hold him back.
I worked as a database administrator and application developer for a state agency for 14 years, but was really frustrated with the bureaucracy. I was nervous about moving on but posted my resume on Dice, which is a specialty job board for technology.
I was contacted by a recruiter who led me to NetProspex, where I’ve worked about six months with open source software and scripting languages. It’s been a bit of a culture shock, going from lots of paperwork and budgetary restrictions to a relaxed start-up where you need to regularly dart Nerf darts.
The biggest lesson I learned along the way was to be as honest as possible in the interviewing process and know all your strengths and weaknesses. My main fear is that I am self-taught and haven’t completed my bachelor’s degree in computer science. I was worried this would be an issue switching jobs, but I’ve discovered it’s best to be honest and don’t try to gloss over your shortcomings. I present myself as honestly as possible while making sure the depth of my experience is coming across.
Another tip I have for technology job hunters is to save the technical descriptions for the interviewing process and use laymen terms for the human resource people and recruiters, who don’t always understand the jargon. There are lots of opportunities in high-tech, but still, you have to put your best foot forward.