I like Peter Norvig's essay Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years. Peter's an old-time Lisp and AI/language hacker who decries the abundance of "Teach Yourself (something hard) in (too few) Days" titles that somehow suggest there's a quick path to expertise. His bottom line: there isn't.
This by way of Workbench by Rogers Cadenhead, who hates "... the treatment of computer programming as a laborious skill that requires years of monastic devotion to attain." There's a middle ground between the two extremes, but i'm closer to Norvig's end. You can learn syntax quickly, but syntax alone doth not a programmer make. In particular, there are concepts, approaches, and disciplines that only come from experience. Norvig's quote of Samuel Johnson hits the mark, and applies far beyond programming:
"Excellence in any department can be attained only by the labor of a lifetime; it is not to be purchased at a lesser price."
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Here's Jon Udell's take on using RSS for job-hunting (with a lot of technical detail) ...
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