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Contemplating career shift

By nerovid ·
Hello,
I am considering a shift in my career away from system/network administration (have been doing this for two years, jack-of-all trades type position in a company with < 100 employees) towards application development/software engineering.

Since there are no development jobs at my present company, I would need to find a new position at a different company.

My background is pretty scattered, I have about 4 years experience overall, 2 in my present position, and 2 in a job testing routers and network nodes using various protocols (dealt mostly with TCP/IP/VLAN with minimal scripting/programming work). I actually have a liberal arts degree, although I was a CS major for a year.

I have been out of the programming scene for about 4 years now. I have a few questions:

1. What languages are good to learn, I have about a year of C++ experience from four years ago? And what I am asking is, what languages would my C++ experience lend itself to, and which of those are currently marketable?
2. How should I bring myself up to speed on a language to the point where I could get an entry level development job?
3. How do I break into an entry level position, most of which require at least a year of experience with whatever language I will be working with?

Thanks for your guidance.

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Get hold of whatever you can

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Contemplating career shif ...

Marketwise C# and .net is the darling of the moment. But the key thing is the four years off, with only a year in.

Get a free copy of Visual C++ or Borland C++ builder if you work on windows, start knocking together a few noddies (little applications).

Fault logging, asset tracking, just about anything to get you back into the swing of things. With a lot of effort, you might avoid the drop to junior.

A lot of admin types tend to be reasonable coders through knocking up little utilities.

Last one I worked with was using vb to collate info from his network, stick it in a database and then he produced a web based front end, to display various analyses.

He used to use us a hints and tips button, but even with something fairly basic at the start you can pick up a lot of useful knowledge.

His wee idea took off enough, they sent him on a training course, and he even managed to get a bit of our time allocated to his projects.

You've got to try to fill in the blank spot, I've been developing for twenty years commercially and HR types still think I could be in skills deficit cos I haven't used product x for 18 months.

I, of course am not suggesting you should falsify your cv, but if you get one of two wee apps done in your current job and you mention that on your cv, it will be good enough for the first HuRdle.
Oh, and when looking for a job, your experience as an admin is very valuable, if you target opportunities in something related.

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