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Will more training help my job search?

I am a programmer with experience of C++ and Java and have had six months of applying for jobs without success.

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The question
I am a programmer educated to MSc level with one year's experience of C++ and Java. After six months of applying for jobs and unsuccessful interviews, I have decided to invest more time in training. I plan to focus on Javascript, ASP, PHP, Solaris, SQL Server, Perl, UML, .net, Sun certified business component developer, Visual Basic and Visual C++. Do I need to know those technologies to find employment?



The solution
Business experience is vital for your CV

It is obvious that you have developed some important programming skills. It seems you have all the right things except experience.

Whether you are applying for jobs at IT firms or within the IT department of a company, employers are looking for staff with experience of technical and business skills.

Employers look to IT staff to ensure IT is used to improve the competitiveness and effectiveness of the business. However, the distinction between IT specialists and the business is fading, the boundaries are becoming harder to draw and skills that cross the boundary are increasingly high in demand.

I do not think investing in further technical training will do much to improve your chances. Instead, you need to show you can put your technical skills to a real business scenario using strategy, planning, management or administration.

The Skills Framework for the Information Age (www.sfia.org.uk) looks at IT skills with a technical and business perspective and provides a reference model for the identification of IT skills in a business sense. It may give you some idea of what words to use in your job applications.

Solution by Terry Watts, chief operating officer, E-Skills UK

The panel: MSB International, Spring Group, E-Skills UK, British Computer Society, Computer Futures, Hudson, Computer People, Elan, Reed Technology, Zarak Technology.

E-mail your career questions to: computerweekly@rbi.co.uk
This was first published in June 2004

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