I have 5 years of experience in Java/J2ee technologies. I live in the US and I had to quit my precious job due to personal reasons. I haven't been working since mid-2007. Don't think will be able to start until early 2009. What damage am I doing to my career? I am trying to keep up to date by learning new stuff online and studying for certification exams, but I am still worried if I will be able to get back into the market easily. Any advice?
Doesn't seems you are doing too harm to yourself. I guess if you keep updated with the latest tech stuff you should be fine as a consultant on your comeback. You might have to face some questions incase of joining as fulltime employee, but even then you should be fine.
As quoted by the above people, it doesn't mean some great damage, provided the gap is in the middle. However, certain companies would like to cash in on this issue, if they would like to offer you lesser sum than you demand them.
It has happened for few of my pals, who had about 4 - 6 months of breaks.
If the break is at the beginning of our career, for whatever reasons, we fall prey to the HR of the organization, no matter what experience we carry and we tend to lose out on quite a few pennies!!!