I am rather inexperienced in terms of coding in Java. I did some very small tasks for an online client using core Java and then helped in building two web sites using the Struts framework (of course, I used Servlets and JSPs) for about 9 months.
I did use the time constructively during the IT downturn to study the J2EE technology and obtained three Sun certifications and one WebLogic certification.
The recent economic recovery has benefited a poor guy like me. A company is willing to pick me up as a 'junior' J2EE developer and therefore I shall have a chance to practise coding and gain experience. Another company thinks of me differently - this company is willing to hire me as an architect (due to the demonstrated establishment in my previous other-than-IT career and my completion of the Sun Enterprise Architect, Part I examination).
I am in the U.S. and I fully understand the job losses to lower wage countries due to offshoring.
The Developer position is to work on a very long term army-related application. The project could last another decade. The company will support me to get a security clearance.
The Architect position is a large scale security clearance required Government project. The company will also support me to go through the clearance process. But, the scheduled length of the project is two years. After two years, my job security will depend on if the company has other contracts for me to work on. Of course, I can seek opportunities elsewhere provided those two years of experience will be valued by other IT companies.
Which career path is better and has more security? Can I be an architect without much Java coding experience (although the second company thinks that I can)? I highly value your assessments.
Both the positions seems to be good, however goin for an architect position without enough experience in coding could be a difficult task....
I had a similar situation earlier when i was leaving my last company, but i felt its more important to explore the in-depths of whatever technology you work on and work for a considerable number of projects (say 5-6)... and then take such positions...
Architects without coding experience are usually disasters. The few who are not know the limits of their experience and do little of anything because they know full well that the experienced coders know better how to do the job than them (the architects)...
Get coding and maybe over time shift towards an architect position.