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On the crossroads...

Paul Christian
Greenhorn

Joined: Feb 09, 2005
Posts: 14
hello,
I'm relatively new to this group. Really happy to see that many healthy dicuccsions are happening here. Would like to be a regualar "rancher"

I've read the intro from Jacquie Barker's "Taming the Technology Tidal Wave". Below is a quote that i found interesting...


In fact, I even have a chapter entitled "Climbing DOWN the Corporate Ladder" for folks who've made the transition into management some years ago, but who now long to move back into a technical career track.

One issue with making the switch from a technical to a management career track is that your technical skills quickly get rusty. If you love doing "techie" sorts of things, you may find yourself missing such a role within a few years' time, but then getting back into a technical track is tough. (It took me SIX YEARS to make such a transition!!! )


Now i'm again facing such a situation in my career. I've been coding php for quite some time and now the company wants me to take the role of a project assurance person[no coding ]. I would be able to setup some standards, policies and practices in the company [with the help of some experts]. I put my suggestion to the management that i have a desire to pursue j2ee - i had done a couple of projects in java[without knowing what is what].
Company suggested that as a managemnt staff i could learn j2ee or dotnet . There is a new project coming in dotnet using agile methodology - this will be a live project and i might get a chance to play some role once i learn. On the otherside i'm happy to see opensolaris and the possibility of j2ee gaining better enterprise market than dotnet. I have the option to do an attendence tracking system and project management system for our intranet[on my own or opensource if somebody else is interested].
I need to take a decision - whether to go for dotnet or j2ee. Could somebody shed some light from your experiance and industry knowhow.

Thanks a lot
Paul


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soniya saxena
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 18, 2004
Posts: 300
j2ee
Ilja Preuss
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Personally, I wouldn't base the decision on ".NET vs. J2EE". Both are probably here to stay for a while, and from what I know aren't that different at all. So I'd rather look for other criterea.


The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny - it is the light that guides your way. - Heraclitus
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
I agree with Ilja. Don't plan your career around technology, use technology as you execute on your career.

Where do you want to be in 5 years? 10? 20? What roles do you see yourself in? What industry? How do you spend your day and which parts of it excite you the most? Where are you living? Will you have a family? What type of hours will you work? How much travel? What type of corproate culture will there be?

Once you answer those questions, and know where you want to go, you can start to decide what is the best path to get there. That will narrow your choices down to one or more roles--which may require a certain technology component.

Now it's ok to say "I want to be in wireless" or "makeing smart cars" or "finance" in terms of the type of technology you use, but don't focus on Java, MS technologies, PHP, etc. Those are dependent choices (not independent).

--Mark
Paul Christian
Greenhorn

Joined: Feb 09, 2005
Posts: 14
Thank you Ilja and Mark for your time and consideration. Your insight in this matter is much helpful. Areas like Finiance is not an option as i don't have that background. I would like to work on some enterprise technology and don't have the resources to learn mobile/wireless stuff. Now since i prefer unix platform and like solaris [and don't have the money to buy visualstudio and windows to learn dotnet], i think i'll learn j2ee.
I would like to participate in some opensource projects. Is anybody here leading any project in which i can be a part of?
Arun Prasath
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 17, 2003
Posts: 192
Thanks Mark for your great insight. Helpful!!
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:
I agree with Ilja. Don't plan your career around technology, use technology as you execute on your career.

Where do you want to be in 5 years? 10? 20? What roles do you see yourself in? What industry? How do you spend your day and which parts of it excite you the most? Where are you living? Will you have a family? What type of hours will you work? How much travel? What type of corproate culture will there be?

Once you answer those questions, and know where you want to go, you can start to decide what is the best path to get there. That will narrow your choices down to one or more roles--which may require a certain technology component.

Now it's ok to say "I want to be in wireless" or "makeing smart cars" or "finance" in terms of the type of technology you use, but don't focus on Java, MS technologies, PHP, etc. Those are dependent choices (not independent).

--Mark


SCJP 1.4, SCDJWS , SCJA<br />I can do ALL things through CHRIST who strengthens me.
vasu maj
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 12, 2001
Posts: 395
Very insightful response Mark.


Vasu


What a wonderful world!
Linda Pan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 24, 2001
Posts: 96
That was a great response Mark. What are your thoughts on transitioning from technical to manager? I'd probably like to get into project management but have no clue on what employers are looking for, ie, a general techie in consulting for 5 years to transition to project management. From what I have seen from our clients, the job almost becomes non-technical. It seems mostly meetings between the technical consultants and business operations.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Paul Christian:
Thank you Ilja and Mark for your time and consideration. Your insight in this matter is much helpful. Areas like Finiance is not an option as i don't have that background. I would like to work on some enterprise technology and don't have the resources to learn mobile/wireless stuff. Now since i prefer unix platform and like solaris [and don't have the money to buy visualstudio and windows to learn dotnet], i think i'll learn j2ee.
I would like to participate in some opensource projects. Is anybody here leading any project in which i can be a part of?


You're welcome. BTW, don't be discouraged from areas like finance. Yes, it's an uphill battle, but if you want it you can get it--it may just mean taking night classes and starting at the bottom. You may or may not be willing to take the cost compared to other options.

As for J2EE projects, check out sourceforge.net for lots of open source projects. I recommend getting a piece of one that you can use as a demo on interviews.

--Mark
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Linda Pan:
That was a great response Mark. What are your thoughts on transitioning from technical to manager? I'd probably like to get into project management but have no clue on what employers are looking for, ie, a general techie in consulting for 5 years to transition to project management. From what I have seen from our clients, the job almost becomes non-technical. It seems mostly meetings between the technical consultants and business operations.


First, I highly recommend the book "Peopleware". (If you buy through that link, JavaRanch gets a kickback, but I recommend the book no matter how you buy it). It really helped me understand what the software engineering is about--a must if you want to manage it. Read it whether you want to be a manager or not.

Before you become a manager, you need to decide if that's what you want. Coders spend most of their time alone writing code in front of the computer. Managers spend a lot of their time in meetings and writing documents. My personality is such that I don't like solitary work in front of a computer, and I like spending 4 hours a day in meetings. Not everyone does. There are different types of managers, some run teams of 4-10 people and are very hands on. Some run teams of 8-30 and are not so hands on. Others run larger teams, with other managers reporting to them, who do you want to be?

With most managerial roles, you quickly lose your technical expertise. You don't have time to keep up with it all. You need to decide if that is what you want. You also need to have (or develop) very strong communication skills, and be able to interact not just with engineers, but also non-tech people (e.g. HR, sales, marketing, biz dev). Very importantly, you must learn how to hire and nurture good people.

To answer you question directly, employers want to see someone with technical skills, who can lead and/or manage people. Ask you current manager if you can start taking on some project management type responsibilities, maybe by helping set the scheduling, or requirements gathering, or monitoring the development process, etc. Start reading books on management--but only as an introduction; they won't tell you how to be manager/leader, only what the issues are. Once you get a sense of it, start watching others and adopting their best practices. I also recommend reading a few methodology books (try to read a few different ones, not just every book on XP). Most importantly, ask other managers what they do and what skills they need.

Good luck.


--Mark
Linda Pan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 24, 2001
Posts: 96
Mark, thank you again for your insight and book recommendation. I will definitely read up. Everyone in this field seems to think that by age 40+, your time is up in the field. I figure transitioning to a management position would be natural and also I would still be employed in the field. I am also researching for other possible avenues within our field.
 
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subject: On the crossroads...
 
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