If i am asked to make job interviews with candidates, first thing I want to ask would be which are his/hers favourite books (+why) and which seminars or conferences he/she would like to attend if the opportunity is given. I frankly believe in the age of information, any one can reach the knowledge with few clicks and gain knowledge. However, passion is something which can not be injected in to your veins artificially. People who are passionate about software, would not wait to face the problem to start searching for the answer, in fact they do the research first so the problem actually is not a problem when they face it.
Anyone with a google powered browser can become a java developer even without a degree but developers who never thought of reading Effective Java, Thinking in Java, Design Patterns by GoF (also Head first)... I don't really consider as passionate developers.
Conferences and seminars are also important events, specially for passionate developers. Sadly the region I live in does not host that many alternatives but luckily Eclipsist also takes place in this region. This year I am again attending eclipsist as presenter(http://www.eclipsist.org/web/eclipsist2009/yener) and i am looking forward to listen all the talks i can. Just check www.eclipsist.org and attend if you live near İstanbul. Even meeting new people and having the networking is worth.
Except for eclipsist again in april Germany is hosting Eclipse Europe Forum which i would really want to attend but this year my choice will be JavaOne. This year as always JavaOne will take place in June and I think 2009 is a great year to attend with JavaEE6, JavaSE7 and JavaFX.
Never ever complain about being under paid or about your working conditions. Want to change? do it start reading books, blogs and attend events.
See you in Eclipsist...