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I am an analyst/programmer who writes in Dec Basic on a VMS platform. I have been doing this for two years now and would like to...

I am an analyst/programmer who writes in Dec Basic on a VMS platform. I have been doing this for two years now and would like to move on from my present employer. There doesn't seem to be any Dec Basic jobs advertised. Is this language obsolete now? Any ideas on my next course of action?

Improving skills is the only way Judy Freeman

b>Monarch Recruitment

Dec Basic has been largely obsolete for some years now, following the emergence of newer programming languages throughout the 1990s.

Firstly, investigate your current workplace and see if they can offer any cross training. If this is not possible, there are two options available. The better scenario would be for your employer to pay for you to update your skills.

Not only will this route be free of charge to you, but it may ultimately give your employer a chance to migrate their systems to a more modern platform. If your employer is not prepared to do this, your only real option is to enrol on a course in your own time.

This is not as demanding as it may sound because most courses are now available online - meaning you can do them any time - and many are available with government subsidies. With your technical background, you should find it relatively easy to cross into C/C++ or Java, for example.

Aside from your technical skills, and if none of these options is possible, you could consider cutting your losses and relaunching your career as a trainee with a new employer. If you decide to do this, look at what qualities you bring to the workplace aside from knowledge of Dec Basic.

Do not underestimate the value of your analytical skills. Look at what business sectors you have worked in (eg retail, manufacturing) and what experience you have interfacing with users. Considering these factors may allow you to look at other roles such as testing, PC support or training.

Your next step ,therefore, should be to investigate the training possibilities open to you.

The panel: Apex, MSB International, Best International Group, Computer Futures, Computer People, Elan, E-skills NTO, Monarch Recruitment, Reed Computing, Prince Training.

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