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Where am I going ?

Akram Chotu
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Joined: Apr 18, 2006
Posts: 43
I have around 6 years of IT experience. During these 6 years I played a senior developer and technical lead roles working with various technology platforms like java, j2ee, websphere, web services, xml, oracle etc.
As with many people I suppose I used to update my technical skills working atleast 50 hrs per week. These days one thing ponders me always is the technical skills I am comfortable with say 3 years back are not the ones
I am comfortable now since over a period of time our memory is not fond of what we learned 3 years back and so I started thinking why not learn some skills that usually will not change over a period if time say 3 years down the line unlike technical skills which are may be obsolote down the line. For example the project management skills that you attain now are something that usually will not change down the line. There may be
changes even in project management track but the amount of labor we have put to update ourselves is not that much when compared to the labor we put to update our skills in technical track. All these ideas makes me think why not pursue a career in project management track rather than in technical track. So if I ask you which track I have to take then some of you can respond saying that listen to your inner passion and take that road but in reality I am not even sure where my passion lies.
Accidently or incidently I have gained 6 years of IT experience working on opportunities that came my way rather than I go for those opportunties and so I dont really find in me what my interests are. But if someone suggest with convincing facts that a project management track is worth considering than a technical track or vice versa then I may be conviced with the fact that why not I focus on energy there rather than working hard to upskill/downskill with my technical skills.

Please suggest.
Srikanth Raghavan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 31, 2005
Posts: 389
I don't have a lot of experience like you, but from your original post I see a little interest in you on Project Management. Even I like technology very much but down the like I would also like to become a Project Manager.

Your view on technologies becoming obsolete is absolutely true. I think you should pursue some Project Management course and take that as your career path from now onwards. It's a different ball game and all human like good changes and I think it will be a good change.

All the best!

-- Srikanth
william gates
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 21, 2007
Posts: 112
The older you get, the harder it becomes to keep up to date with all the technological changes... Families, deaths, life, kids, grandparents, parents, new college grads, outsourcing, and so on.. So while continuing to update your skills is a great thing, it really depends on what roles you fit into and what you want to do.

Management is a great path to move into, but its not for everybody. On the other hand chasing the technology is nice at 25 but by the time you are 40, it usually isn't a good thing.

Learn how systems are built, learn about different industries... In the long run, if you stay the tech path, you will be far more important if you know the ins and outs and complexities of bank systems, insurance systems, manfucaturing systems and so on over somebody who just knows java or C++ or so on.

Knowing syntax and how to program is great, but in this day and age, if a business can pay somebody half of what you are making, you are out of luck... Regardless if its outsourced or from some recent college grad. It happens all the time.

But if you come in knowing java, on top of being a near expert or expert in finance systems or whatever, it is something that might peek the hiring manager and so on's interest. You are needed not just because you can program or engineer, but you are needed because you know how specific systems were built, were fixed, were updated, redesigned, and so on.

learning new technologies is great, but in the long run, it's just icing on the cake and it won't really do much for you if that's all you do is learn the latest and greatest tech craze as you progress through your career.
Ramna Reddy
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 06, 2006
Posts: 96
Hi william,
I have 2+ years of experience as a developer worked on small time projectsand so on..
can you tell me what are the sources to know about the ins,outs and complexities of bank systems, insurance systems.
william gates
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 21, 2007
Posts: 112
It really depends on the industry, the company , and so on.

You have to get in and ask questions, look at the code, the designs, ask reasons why and why not certain things are done. The banking industry does certain things, manufacturing companies do certain things, and so on. Every one does something a little differenlty but banks have certain formulas, rates, calculations that become standard and the more you learn about it, the more in demand you'll be. Same goes for the other industries.

The only way you can really know the ins and outs of different systems is to get in, learn it, ask questions.. Basically experience and mentoring.

I've worked on systems that tracked dangerous materials. The system needed to track the material in real time down to less than a millisecond because if something was left out of a certain storage facility for a short time, there would be major major problems. If it were out for only so long, then it could be ok. There were calculations on time, dates, storage, temperatures, vehicle speeds and so on. Things were tracked using RFID, barcodes, and the web. It was a complex system but i learned alot from it, even though i was more involved in the web application and design then in building what backend of this system.

I worked on a government system that basically build the "highways in the sky". A system where everything had to go through a billion different approvals.

I worked on smaller inventory systems. I worked on various web applications.

Everything is different, but when you learn how systems are built, how certain industries do certain things, laws of certain industries, how to use certain formulas, calculaitons and so on you become somebody people need, rather than somebody who just knows technology.
Ramna Reddy
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 06, 2006
Posts: 96
Thank you william for your reply.
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