I was wondering, if by chance, anyone here might have some advice for someone that is not in the typical recent college graduate situation. I recently graduated from Eastern Washington University with a BS in Computer Science in March of this year. Due to family needs, I wasn't able to find any programming or computer internships that helped make enough for bills and family needs until last December. So, for six month's I was finally able to generate real world code as a job and loved it. The twist is when June hit, I was activated to deploy to Afghanistan, and the summer I spent training up for my current mission. I am now currently in Afghanistan with the laptop that I did most of my school programming on with the environments I used still set up, but I am banging my head on the keyboard trying to figure out what would be the best use of my limited spare time to continue growing my skills, trying to minimize the amount of skill degradation (use it or lose it), and trying to become marketable when I return to the states next fall. I noticed the hiccup in most Software Developer job posts for entry level usually go along the lines of a four-year degree plus three years industry experience. That's why I believe I really need to keep growing even in such a very odd location. I would really love to get into games, but any programming assignment would at least be a step in the right direction to achieve my dreams.
As I know there are many individuals out here in multiple computer industries and with as many different backgrounds, any advice you all have would be greatly appreciated.