Getting back into the mainstream

I have a CDI diploma in microprocessor technology and have worked as a computer service and Cat 5 cabling project engineer. Since...

I have a CDI diploma in microprocessor technology and have worked as a computer service and Cat 5 cabling project engineer. Since 1997 I have taken on contracts as a project/site manager. However, I cannot seem to get back into the industry proper, despite being with agencies for years and applying to hundreds of companies. I also recently passed MS networking essentials. What should I do?

Define your objectives and retrain
You certainly have a wealth of experience, and the fact that you have taken on contracts as well as permanent positions shows that you are prepared to be flexible in your career. Unfortunately, the current telecoms market is turbulent to say the least, with virtually all the major players making redundancies. In such a climate, Cat 5 cabling is a skill which is not in such high demand.

With your experience, the best advice would be to identify your strengths, set your objectives in terms of the type of career you are looking for, and retrain based on these factors.

Whatever you decide will affect the type of training course you take. There are many resources on the Internet which provide information on training and many give an overview of the career options you will have upon completing a course. Government funding is usually available for IT and telecoms courses through the Learn Direct scheme.

Should you decide to stay on the engineering side, Cisco qualifications are still very much in demand and, with your background in Cat 5 cabling, you should not find this too difficult to pick up.

Whatever you decide, remain positive. Opportunities in the telecoms industry are still available, and the situation may not be as bleak as some sections of the media are suggesting.

Solution by David Reed, Monarch Recruitment

The panel:
MSB International, Best International Group,
Computer Futures, Computer People, Elan, E-Skills NTO,
Monarch Recruitment, Reed Computing, Netheads Consulting

Need career advice?
If you are an IT professional who is looking for advice on your next career move, put your question to our panel at cwxtra@rbi.co.uk. Regrettably, due to the volume of requests, we are unable to print solutions to every question.

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