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Promotion from Jack of all trades to Java/Portal Analyst

By mercado79 ·
I think this may be my first post after years of reading all of your posts, but I could think of no better website to post this question. I have an interesting "problem" which really is no problem at all, but rather quite an opportunity.

I've been in the IT world off and on for about 9 years. The vast majority of the time has been spent doing Tech Support, often hardware based but also Network troubleshooting and security. I have always had an interest in learning more, but never studied it in school other than a MCSE certification program a few years ago. I've also messed around with basic web development (mainly html but some CF as well) and helped a couple small businesses and non-profits set up a web presence. On my own time, I've used various distros of Linux over the last five years.

Last year I started working at a large company with over 16,000 employees as one of their Intranet Admins. Basically, I was doing a lot of content management and managing user access, but also responsible for creating reports via Crystal Reports. I've caught on to basic SQL commands by doing so. Basically, I'm a jack-of-all-trades. If someone can't figure something out, I'm often the first that's asked for help...whether it's our VP or one of the Network Admins.

The company just invested big into Oracle Application Server / Database / Portal running on several high-end Linux servers and they've decided that they'd be better served if I moved away from the administrative work I've been doing and started working as a "Portal Analyst".

What has been discussed thus far is that I'd be pushed into the role of part time Java programmer, part time Red Hat Linux administrator, and full time all-around Oracle portal developer.

I'm hoping you all might help advise me as to what I should push for. The company has agreed to start off by sending me to RedHat admin certification classes. I will be responsible for some Java development down the road (most of the major work will be done by outside consultants). Where do I start! If you were deciding to go into Java development, what would be the first thing you'd want to learn, especially as fundamentals go. I've been given the opportunity to learn just about whatever I want (including buying any books I feel would help me), but don't know where to start.

Anyway, that's more than enough to start this thread. I'm looking forward to your responses!

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Left field answer

by JamesRL In reply to Promotion from Jack of al ...

If you are going to to do some programming, but have analysis for everything - then I would look to some fundamentals of business analysis first.

Find a course on gathering requirements, or systems analysis and design(or both). Both of those skills are needed to be the go between who takes the ideas and makes them happen.

James

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Not at all "out of left field"

by mercado79 In reply to Left field answer

Thanks, James. I think you make a great point, actually. I had gotten stuck on thinking about the developer side of the equation (how to start or where to start) and forgotten that in the long run, the business side will help me move forward all around.

Based on your suggestions, I started poking around the net looking for classes. There seem to be quite a few available nearby, though they're more often 1 or 2 day workshops rather than a full-fledged course. Also, somewhere in these forums I found a link to "the International Institute of Business Analysis" www.iiba.com. I'll definitely look through that site as well.

Anyway, thanks again for the business minded suggestion. I truly appreciate it.

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Congratulations! What's Your First Project?

by Wayne M. In reply to Promotion from Jack of al ...

This sounds like a great opportunity. By all means, go for it! Your first order of business is to determine what your company's strategy is and what is the first short-term need in that strategy.

Once you have defined your first project in your new position, then you can focus on the training and skills you need for that project. I am a big fan of just-in-time training so that you can immediately apply what you know.

Also, try to identify anyone else with a similar role in your company (with 16,000 employees there are surely some others out there). Ask your boss or whoever offered the position for names of contacts. One good mentor is worth one hundred training classes.

Lastly, don't get overwhelmed by the new position. I'm sure your company saw some untapped ability when they offered you the new role. Good Luck!

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My two cents worth

by jslarochelle In reply to Promotion from Jack of al ...

You already got some good advice from JamesRL. People often jump too quickly into design and coding.
Once you have enough about requirements and analysis covered and your ready to go to the next steps take a look at the O'Reilly "Head First" serie. The "Head First Java" and "Head First Patterns" are really good and will teach you about those subject in such a way that the content really sticks in your memory. You migth also want to check the book in the same serie on OOP (I have not read that one).
"Code Complete 2nd Edition" by Steve McConnell is also a really good book about the construction phase. It also does a good job of teaching you about the fundamental (information hiding, encapsulation, loose coupling, etc...)

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RE: My two cents worth

by mercado79 In reply to My two cents worth

Another great suggestion. I went ahead and ordered the Head First Java book yesterday. I read up on the series and see that there were tons of positive reviews online. I've also added the books to my wishlist on Amazon so, if all goes well, I'll continue down the list you provided. Thank you!

As for the business analyst course, I'm getting some resistance from my direct supervisor...so I'll hold off for a little while. I'm going to see if I can't find an actual class instead of just a workshop. That way I can get some real credit and hopefully deeper insight into the topics covered.

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