Edit: Oops. Sorry if this is in the wrong forum. I meant to post it in the general forums, yet somehow it ended up here. It kind of fits here as well I guess.
I am currently trying to move my career forward and am not having much luck. So I've come to see if any of you can offer some fresh advice to help me out.
Let me tell you first where I stand in my career to give you an idea of where I'm starting from. I am currently 26 years old and have recently graduated with a bachelors of computer science from university. I would call myself an average student, nothing special, nor anything horrible. Out of university this landed me an ok job as a PHP developer. However I dont want to stagnate in this position scripting junk all day and not ever challenge myself. not to mention i could certainly rant for a while on the things that fall short at my current position (read: being banned from object oriented programming because the boss cant understand it)
I'd like to find a job that
(1) challenges me just the right amount to help me learn and grow but not get overwhelmed in a language I enjoy (hopefully such as C/C++/Java or the like)
(2) is at a company with at least some software design process implemented (agile,xp,etc)
and if that is to much to ask, then I'd at least like to move in that direction.
So that is what I am looking towards and I would love any advice on how to achieve that. Maybe some of you were in my position 5 or 10 years ago and could shed some light on the subject.
I've scoured the internet for job postings that offer what I am looking for, but they are really hard to find. The postings are usually looking for senior or intermediate level programmers with at least 5+ years of experience, or looking for web development script monkeys to make "The next big facebook app" (the job I already have)
I've also considered attending conferences and such, but have never really been, and wouldn't know what to do, or where to even find out about them (I used to see postings every now and then at university, but now I live in a small town.)
Thanks for spending the time to read this, and thanks in advance for any advice you can give.