Old Schooler needs Job in New School

Hi everyone.
I am an old school geek trying to get a foot in the door of the new school. I started programming in 1979. (yes you read that right). I majored in CS before the internet. I was a PC tech and LAN admin for 10 years from '94 to 2003. Spent 3 years doing some private IT work and managing a restaurant. I went back to Full-time IT (this time as a Full-stack developer) in 2006 Building a VB.NET database tool for a small company that also used extensive XML, SQL and was able to use and read SQLserever, Oracle, DB2, and MS Access. I did that for 6 years then rewrote the entire program (200,000+ lines) for the LAMP stack. However, being a lifelong windows guy I used WAMP server. So I spent 3 years learning and building the web version with JavaScript, PHP, HTML5, CSS, MySQL, XML, JSON, jQuery, AJAX and a little known suite of JS visual APIs called dHTMLx (for toolbars, trees, layouts, context menus, etc.). Then I got a job in a larger company working on a huge enterprise suite in VB.NET and learned Entity framework, Team foundation server, and the Agile/SCRUM method. I was laid off with 6 others after terrible sales last November.

Since then I have been retraining myself in ASP.NET MVC, C#, Bootstrap, more entity framework, Razor, etc. I now have a modern homepage in this technology hosted on Azure, as well as an apache website with my huge LAMP project. Check it out here: http://www.tomtekdev.com
All of that said, I still have no bites at all. I get phone interviews and do very well (recruiter’s feedback) but everyone wants 3-5 years ASP.NET/C# and I never get a second look.

So I guess I have 2 questions:

  1. Is there a new technology that is in demand, that I can getup to speed with and get a job, with only beginner experience as long as I can show those skills on a website.
  2. Would I be better off looking for individual gigs or contracts, because I also have my own computer consulting business, just no customers. If so, any good ideas as to how to go about getting customers, or where to look for individual contracts? (BTW freelancer sucks, everyone there is willing to do tons of work for essentially nothing.) I worked at home for 8 of the past 10 years, so my professional network is almost nothing.

As I said, I have 10 years Desktop, laptop, network support and Admin. and 10 years development in VB.NET windows Apps(7 years) and 3 years WAMP stack. (Also worked in SVN, Git, TFS and have a GitHub and an Azure cloud site).

Any and all advice is most appreciated.
Thanks in advance,

Hi Tom, you have a pretty good background and experience. I think ASP.NET MVC (C# with Razor syntax for View) is still in demand, so I would continue learning that.

But I think your resume needs some new buzzwords and you need to learn about modern frameworks and Javascript and JS libraries.

Here’s a job posting in my location

The environment you will work in is .Net and any expertise in Web UI development technologies and frameworks such as JavaScript, jQuery, HTML5, CSS3, LESS, Ajax, JSON, REST is preferred. Experience in MVC/MVVM-based Single Page Application (SPA) paradigm using at least one of the following: Backbone.js, Angular.js, Ember.js, Aurelia, and React.js is preferred. Experience in Client-side unit testing using Jasmine, QUnit or other JavaScript testing frameworks is preferred.

I think if you can become strong in Javascript, you can land a Front End or Back End job… just beef it up with some React or Angular experience.

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Thanks very much, owel. I am just starting doing some Angular and Node tutorials, so I will stick with it. Thanks!

I’m just going to chirp in with the input that since C# and Java are so very very similar, if you’re not specifically wanting to work in C#/.NET, then you should throw your hat in for positions that use Java on the backend.

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ArielLeslie, Thank you for your advice.
I have a question for you. I am a VB.NET expert and a newcomer to ASP.NET/C# (6 months) and a solid 3 years of JavaScript. Do you have any advice as to on-line free training or tutorials in Java?
My other question is, do you know of a good Windows IDE for java or even better, can I use Visual Studio, possibly with a plugin??
Thanks again,

Java is very often the language used in University “Intro to Programming” type classes, so I would browse around free MOOCs.

If you like Visual Studio, you would probably also like IntelliJ Idea. I’m not sure if VS Code has a Java plugin.

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