I have asked the question cited below in both 'The Workplace' and 'Programmers', but it keeps getting downvoted as not being on-topic in either. I understand the rules about career questions in Programmers, but I thought it generic enough to maybe apply as it pertains to experience that is marketable as a job-seeker.
I was then recommended to the Workplace where it was quickly shot down as well, but without any helpful advice as to where to go.
I was a math guy in college, and only took a few courses in C and Java towards the end of my college tenure, successfully landing a job in Quality Assurance and now in Software development. I want to build up my resume, being able to claim more marketable experience, but my current position at work does not afford me the opportunities to move in the direction that I'm interested in. While my own home time can be used to learn and broaden my knowledge of different subjects, what can I claim in terms of experience? I understand getting involved with open source projects is a great option, but are there other options, and how do all these stack up against a dedicated job in the field I am interested in?