I’ve been in so many situations where new programmer look up to me to tell them what to do after learning. To me, this is like going back to your parents after marriage to ask for what to do.
I try not to sound ridiculous in my answers so that they don’t get discouraged but then, i throw back the question at them: “What were you planning to do after u become a programmer ?” or “Why did you decide to become a programmer in the first place?”. Most of the time, i am able to look beyond the answer i get and i realise that all they want is to get a 9-5 programming job and live happily ever after. I am an optimist, but that doesnt stop me from addressing the reality. This is Africa! You would have to join the queue of unemployment if you dont have any other plan asides “get a 9-5 programming job and live happily ever after”.
My advice is to develop solutions, softwares, applications e.t.c that can add value to people, organisations and communities. Do something with what you have learnt. Do what programmers are meant to do: create programs! Who knows, you might develop the next big thing after facebook. Most people will give you jobs, contracts or even consult you not just because of what you have learnt, but more importantly, because of what your past jobs speak about you.
For all new programmers, i say there’s no better time to put your skill to use than now. There are unlimited applications that have not even been thought of or coded and that means you have unlimited chances to make a significant impact.
Make hay while the sun shines!