How do I get into development?

For three years I worked at a large IT services provider, mainly with financial systems and databases. I found myself exposed to...

For three years I worked at a large IT services provider, mainly with financial systems and databases. I found myself exposed to various different technologies, but only gained a cursory knowledge of specific areas. I have just returned from a sabbatical year and now have a strong desire to get into more serious development work. This type of work tends to need C/C++ so I need to retrain. Should I go back to university to gain a recognised qualification in software design and development, embark upon evening classes or attempt to find a company willing to train me on the job?

You need to get back in the saddle
You have clearly made up your mind which industry sector is of interest to you. Your choice is not what to study but what type of commitment you must make to achieve your desired goal. Your financial circumstances will affect your decision.

Meanwhile, get back in the saddle, start working to earn some income and check what is available at colleges that run evening classes. Talk to commercial training companies about shorter, more intense courses that lead to certification. Make a start at part-time study to prove this is what you want to do. Showing initiative and commitment to investing in your own development will impress a potential employer.

Talk to specialist recruitment agencies, being sure to highlight skills gained from previous roles, and emphasise your desire to pursue further study. You can support this by talking about any courses you are now doing and what you have planned for developing your skill set in the immediate future. Write directly to companies and subscribe to online job searches, setting up your filters accordingly.

There is currently much talk of furthering skills and training staff within companies. By showing initiative, that elusive company offering on-the-job training may be just around the corner.

Solution by Madeleine Menzies, Netheads Consulting

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

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