I'm just looking for some general advice. If the things that I mention strike you as at one time being the case for yourself, or if you are just knowledgable about such things, I would appreciate any comments.
Looking 9 months ahead, does it seem reasonable to expect to find a full-time development or maintenance job (making say 30-35k a year; enough to support myself independantly and make loan payments) having only a BA/BS in Computer Science, personal projects, and minimal and somewhat informal "contract" work to show for yourself?
If not, is an intership generally seen as a necessary prerequisite to being hired? Do potential employers value personal projects, or perhaps personally developed libraries/applications that are in use by others, those others having found them via the internet?
Is it reasonable to expect to be able to find a job of this sort without considerable experience with particular technologies (such as certain database technologies, or certain server-side technologies)? For example, is profeciency in C/C++, Java languages or perhaps in design desirable on its own? Will I see any benefit from investing as much of my free-time as is possible into becoming profecient with WinAPI programming or perhaps non-server-side Java application development?
For those who have recently graduated with 4-year degrees, what has been your experience with regard to these things? Can I reasonably expect to find a development or maintenance job sufficient to support myself, or in your experience is working the register at the local gas station an all too real possibility?
I am in the upper Mid-West if there are regional particularities to these considerations.
Thank you folks.