Next Move: Moving from ERP to objects

I am a certified SAP Basis consultant with several years experience of Oracle DBA. I used to be an RPG programmer and following a...

I am a certified SAP Basis consultant with several years experience of Oracle DBA. I used to be an RPG programmer and following a recent XML course I want to return to a coding role. Is there a way I can find a role in which I can gain object-oriented development experience while still working and capitalising on my existing skills?

You are in a strong position
You appear to be in a stronger position than many. You have experience of two of the most in-demand skills in the UK - SAP and Oracle. SAP has undergone a renaissance in the past 12 months as a number of European and global implementations have kicked off.

Learning an object-oriented language will stand you in good stead in the future, but so will utilising your SAP and Oracle skills. Languages such as C++ and Java have dominated enterprise systems development in the past two years and the latest Microsoft toolkit, C#, looks set to dominate. If you can teach yourself any of the major object-oriented tools this will definitely help you in your search.

If your current employer is using any of these tools, this presents the best opportunity for you to learn new skills, while performing your core role for the company. In contrast, in current market conditions companies are being extremely stringent about potential employees having the skills they need - if you lack any of the skills on the job specification it is hard to get an interview.

However, you have in-demand skills and will be in a strong position to find a range of opportunities, some of which will allow you to train into new skills. Check at the interview stage what the technical plans are for the organisation, what skills are needed and what in-house training is given. It is always worth checking with existing developers in the company what their experiences have been regarding training - does the company actually deliver on its promises?

With perseverance and by presenting yourself in the right way you should be able to find a role offering training into an object-oriented development language, while the company gains from your core SAP and Oracle skills.

Solution by Michael Bennett, Best International
The panel:
MSB International, Best International, BCS, Computer Futures, Computer People, Elan, Reed Computing, Netheads Consulting, Zarak Technology, E-Skills UK
This was last published in July 2002

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