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The Next Step (career related)

The Next Step (career related)

The Next Step (career related)

(OP)
Ok, I'm at a bit of a crossroads... trying to decide between moving forward in the IT world, or following a different path closely related to my current industry (non IT related). My main problem is that I don't have much expertise (or even moderate knowledge) with skills that employers need.

My biggest IT strength is using Crystal Reports to query databases and to design reports. I have some limited knowledge of the software development life-cycle gained by designing a few small databases in Access. I also have several years of (non IT) supervisory experience, but I'm not sure how beneficial supervisory experience is on my current resume. My education level is a B.S. in Information Systems, which I earned in 2002.

I was hopeful that my experience with Crystal would help to open a door with a company and allow me to find a position using that skill while also having the chance to gain experience in other areas, but that doesn't seem to be a reality.

Over the past 6 months I have taken a few intro level classes through the local community college to learn VB.NET, C#, and ASP.NET. I probably enjoyed the ASP class the most. Clearly, if I wanted to use these skills in the work place, I need to aim for an entry level position, except that those seem to require a certain amount of experience. I am also contemplating a position as a business analyst, as I enjoy talking to users and finding out their needs for a database, but again, very limited experience is an issue.

If anyone can give me some advice on how to proceed, please feel free to dispense your wisdom!

RE: The Next Step (career related)

Question number 1 should be "What do I really enjoy doing." If you enjoy and are passionate about what you do you will succed.  

I typically break work down into two main categories.

1) Jobs - These are what people do because they have to in order to survive.  

2) Careers - These are what many of us here on TT probably have. We enjoy it, are passionate about it.  

Yes you have a job within your career, but a job is not always your career.  In todays economy I am willing to bet that there are a lot of people who had careers simply looking for a job.

When it comes to what to do next other people can be a sounding board but the process is very personalized one.  I was in the same place a few years ago after being terminated from a company. I talked with a friend who was a chef and having an intrest and passion for cooking it sounded like a real option to me, but I then realised that the career I had already chosen was were it really was at for me.

Once you know and can communicate what your really enjoy or are passionate about then people may have ideas or positions that you may have never thought of.

RE: The Next Step (career related)

I agree with MDXer.

Also, from my own experience, if you're at a large company, you don't tend to have as much freedom to add to your skill set as you do at smaller companies.  You do more of the same thing instead of a variety of things.  So if you want to learn other skills and do something else, I would not recommend throwing your current experience away and finding an entry level position.  You might not even end up enjoying the work day in and day out.  Find a place that will let you add skills on the job, while adding value to the company.  Eventually, you'll learn what you do like and what you don't and you can move on and  specialize from there.  Just beware though, if you end up as "the programmer" or "the IT guy" at xyz small company, you might have a hard time obtaining a position as "back-end data access tier software engineer IV" at ABC Silicon Valley Company or DEF Fortune 500 Company--if that's your end goal.  In summary, I would personally be hesitant to start all over at entry level after several years of experience.  So if you really want to find something else to do, find a place that will bring you in based on your current skills, but allows you to add to them while helping the business.  Then, move on later if you so choose.    

RE: The Next Step (career related)

My 2 cents... (from my experience only)
Not sure if IT is a place to be.  My employer, a very large company, has outsourced a large portion of work to India.  Outsoured positions include Web Developers, DBA, Help Desk, Other Programmers and even HR Support.  IT employees with Project Management and Business Analyst skills appear to be secure for now.  The trend for outsourcing appears to be gaining momentum in my opinion.  I am not sure what the future holds, but I personally believe BA and PM skills will continue to be in demand into the future, since direct interaction with clients will still remain vital.  You may want to chart a path towards BA... htwh.   

Steve Medvid
IT Consultant & Web Master

http://www.saveourfarm.com
Chester County, PA Residents
Please Show Your Support...

RE: The Next Step (career related)

I'm not worried about outsourcing per se, because outsourcing can still be here in the states (or whatever your home country is).  It's offshoring that you should really be worried about.  It was a growing business that was en vogue a few years ago when IT salaries were growing at a rapid pace.  But what most companies began to realize is that while offshoring is initially cheaper, there are a lot of hidden costs that make it as costly, if not more costly, than keeping resources in the home country.

One of the biggest difficulties is lack of oversight and control, which can be issues any time that you outsource.  But in the offshoring model this is compounded by distance, especially in cases where there are frequently time differences of 10+ hours.  The people that you need to collaborate with may be sleeping while you're at work, and vice-versa.  Often times there is a language barrier or other cultural differences that can further complicate the effort.  These aren't typically dealbreakers, but by the time the extra hassle/cost/customer ill-will has been factored into the mix, most offshoring deals don't save anywhere near as much money as they initially appear to.  

Most businesses started to figure this out 4-5 years ago and started pulling back to the home country.  Then we got him with a global economic meltdown, and because penny-pinching is so critical these days people are considering offshoring again.  The only thing that offshoring has going for it is cost, and even that benefit can be eliminated if services are not carefully monitored.  But there are also a number of domestic companies that have recently started working with the "on shore offshoring" model, where they are able to use lower-cost domestic resources to meet offshoring demands, delivering a higher quality product at price points that are competitive with offshoring services.

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCTS:Hyper-V
MCTS:System Center Virtual Machine Manager
MCSE:Security 2003
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator  

RE: The Next Step (career related)

Thanks for the correction... Offshoring is what I meant.  smile

Excellent analysis made about work returning to home country, hidden costs and resource availability for collaboration.  Additionally, there was the news about one of the top IT shops in India overcharging... The name of the company escapes me at this moment...  

Steve Medvid
IT Consultant & Web Master

http://www.saveourfarm.com
Chester County, PA Residents
Please Show Your Support...

RE: The Next Step (career related)

I don't know about overcharging, but Satyam was a MAJOR vendor in the offshoring space that recently got caught fabricating financial statements.  It has to really make you wonder how secure your effort is when the largest offshoring vendor in India can go "poof" at the drop of a hat because nobody was watching the books.

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCTS:Hyper-V
MCTS:System Center Virtual Machine Manager
MCSE:Security 2003
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator  

RE: The Next Step (career related)

The number one way to make sure that your job does not get outsourced is to make sure that you are the best.  Programming and Web Devel jobs are always outsourced or sent overseas for one reason...They don't need to know anything about the business.  Most of the architecture and business rules are created at the company and sent to developers somewhere else (for outsourcing companies).

Get a job working for a government contractor that gives you a clearance, you can rest easy knowing that the job will probably not go away.  

Go to a big market where IT is booming.  i live in DC and get 10-20 phone calls a day trying to get me to leave my current company.

Bottom line, don't just be a bump on the log that knows how to only program and to only program in one language.  This will give you the title of Unemployed.

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