Hi, I have been thinking about my job recently and then rediscovered this site. Hopefully you guys can advise me or at least provide me with some clarity so that I can think things through more clearly.
I have an MSc in Computer Science from the UK and then worked for two and a half years after graduating with building websites (ASP/SQL Server and PHP/MySQL). This was for a very small local company.
After that I got job with the local government extending / maintaining a large framework in Java/Oracle/Rational Rose/Websphere etc. I've been doing that for 5 years now. The initial development work was about 3 years and I see that as being the job that I should have had after graduating - ie strict code regulations, great senior software engineers etc - alot of guidance and probably much like an apprenticeship.
The last two years have been just maintenance really and I questioned this the other day... It seems like all I'll be doing for the next years is maintenance and upgrades to the framework... I am feeling frustrated by the lack of actual development work - this is what I enjoy.
A friend I used to work with (creative designer) is working for another small web site place and has headhunted me... It is all PHP/Ajax/JQuery. I.e frontend technology which I am not used to and backend which I am (I think that PHP 5 is now OO ? ).
At any rate I am tempted by this as I know that there will be alot more development work. Also it is a total change from the strictness of government work. i.e. if I want to use and explore a new technology then I can. So a fluid fun environment.
The only downside is the actual technology... I have a nagging feeling that I would be taking a step back technology wise. In fact I asked an old collegue (senior dev guy) whether this would be good idea and he said that it wasn't a normal course for a software engineer.
Then I thought that an alternative would be to really get to grips with Java (currently I use it but within the limits of the framework so I don't use 'full' Java if you know what I mean) and do the SCJP course. I can study for this at work as there are periods where the maintenance/upgrade is frozen for business reasons and no development occurs.
If I did well on that then I would be in a better position to find a job in Europe (Spain ? France ?) as a much better software engineer (with probably Java).
Any thoughts ? Go for a year of fun with web technology or stay where I am and study for SCJP for a year ?
Also any indication on a likely salary for someone with 5 years of Java/Oracle in the UK? (£20K ? £30k ? £40k?)
My salary is now capped as this is government - I can't get any more pay increments, just basic cost of living.
Does having SCJP cert increase salary or just mean a better chance at a job ?
What is the difference in salaries with this experience in say London and Barcelona (or anywhere in Spain).
Look, I'm a Web Java Developer with 3 years experience. In all my jobs I had amazing, exciting, boring, extremely boring moments. It dependes on the project, the team, the technology used, the client, etc..
I think you should not abandom java developing, basically because the better you are in sth, the better professional you are. You have Java expertise, dont waste it. Buuut, what you can do, an din fact is what i do, is get involved in freelance jobs (www.guru.com i.e.) when boring is near to kill me.