I am currently contracting in a little known language/product known as Natstar (resembles the C language). My current contract is in VB for an e-commerce project (order fulfillment) and I may have the opportunity to do some Java. I am very interested in back-end programming (Java, C++) and databases (Oracle). What should I do to get into this and what training should I consider?
Focus entirely on Java, says Steve Lorde, UK sales director at Elan
First, the skills sets that you are interested in are currently in substantial demand. Natstar is a language that is not particularly well-known, and its use is in fact rather limited compared to other skills sets such as Java, C++ and so forth. However, the fact that you are working on an e-commerce project and may get some Java experience is very positive.
The market for Internet skills such as Java, HTML and C++ has increased significantly and permanent and contract staff with these Web skills are currently at a premium. However, both small and large companies from all over the UK face the same problems when recruiting Internet professionals.
Whilst there are many candidates, particularly graduates, who have HTML and Java skills, there are few who have actual commercial experience of implementing a company's Internet and e-business strategies.
I would recommend that you focus your efforts entirely on getting Java experience and if possible with your current employer. Commercial experience will have more value than external training courses that you may undertake.