Self taught programmers, how did you learn?

Question by inkindulgence: Self taught programmers, how did you learn?
Ok so I have been teaching myself programming for about a year now (throughout the years I always played around with it as a hobby, but only very seriously for the last 12 months), and I feel really good about a how much I’ve learned. I’ve bought countless books, took many online courses for free and have done most if not all of the free courseware that stanford and mit offers online for computer science. Obviously after only a year I’m no expert, but I am very comfortable with most of the popular languages, and also know html, css, some sql and some vbscript.

I think about all of that and I go “yeah, I rock! I know a lot!” And then I look on a job site just to get an idea of what employers are looking for in their software developers as far as qualifications, and I’ll search something simple like, “Java jobs, Oklahoma” (java is my favorite lang) and all of the ads that pop up, have all of these things that I have absolutely no clue what they are, and my ego collapses. And I don’t even think they are things that you can just search google for a tutorial of. No two’s qualifications are alike. Here is a example of an ad I am talking about, and I have put the things I don’t recognize whatsoever in quotes:

Web GUI design & development utilizing JSP, HTML, “”Dojo””
Web service development experience with “”JAX-WS”” standard. Preferably “”CXF framework.””
“”Spring Framework/Spring-MVC””
“”RAD 7, WAS/d”” **I know what the definition of rapid application development is, but 7?
Basic DB2 skills
JAVA/J2EE, “”Hibernate and JPA””
Will develop program code, test and assist with system testing

So my question is, for the programmers out there who are self taught, when you got your first job, did you know everything in my examples and more already, or are there some things that you learn on the job? Or am I just way more at the beginning of the ladder than I think?

Thanks and be as harsh as you want, I just need some damn guidance, nice or not.

Best answer:

Answer by thebig_a_27
It’s good that your are learning on your own, and if you are enjoying it then you might have a fun and rewarding career in front of you.

However, very few businesses have any interest in a self taught programmer. The only exception may be a self taught programmer with many years of professional experience. Catch 22.

Your best option is to channel this interest into some form of higher education, even if it’s night school at a community college. Much of what you will do on the computers there will be boring or stuff you already know, but you will learn many important things that go along with the actual programming that businesses will expect you to know, and you’ll get a piece of paper that shows you know that stuff.

What do you think? Answer below!