I am 35 years old and have a Bachelors Degree in mathematics. I have worked in the industry for 13 years and I am a systems manager for a small to medium-sized business.
I have experience administering NT4, Unix and VMS servers, Windows PCs, telecomms and installing and supporting ERP systems.
I have also had experience managing budgets, vendors and maintenance contracts and offering technical supporting to users.
I want to move into a consulting role; however, I do not have any industry qualifications to back up this experience.
I also would like to broaden my experience with new technologies and products, as I do not have any Java or Web development knowledge or experience.
I want to make myself more marketable. What is the best way to build on my experience and keep up with the trends?
Gybe Consulting replies:
Dear Trend Follower,
You certainly have many years experience, and from an employer's point of view this is always preferable to industry qualifications.
However, consultancies especially are keen to see a good academic track record.
Depending on your budget, you can either attend pertinent product training at private IT training houses, or try self-study; there are many excellent support materials available.
In terms of which direction to head, I note your background is in operations environments, but you mention Internet development as a possible route for learning.
Be aware that if you do move into development your years of experience won't count for much, and you will be starting back at the bottom of the ladder, which evidently is going to affect your earning potential.
You may prefer to build on your systems expertise and look at the growing infrastructure market for Internet-based systems; for example ISP, ASP.
With a little more networking hardware expertise this could be the ideal environment for you.
Look at beefing up your Cisco knowledge or similar.
These skills are in high demand and are a natural progression of your previous experience.
Readers with career questions can have them answered in this column by IT recruitment specialists. Send questions via Computerworld journalist, Darren Greenwood, with "Dear Adviser" in the subject line.