Next Move: Return to industry or stay in academia?

Since being made redundant from my job as a software developer, I have been working as a computer science lecturer, teaching at...

Since being made redundant from my job as a software developer, I have been working as a computer science lecturer, teaching at HND and BSc level.

I keep my skills up-to-date by incorporating relevant material into my courses, such as Microsoft .net, C#, XML/XSL and internet security.

I would like to focus on higher education but am at a crossroads: do I return to the IT industry or continue in academia?

What type of job could I get after being outside IT for more than two years? My programming skills are rather generic and I am also not sure that I could lecture at university level without an MSc/PhD, which would be both costly and time-consuming.

The solution

Compromise and study/work part-time

There has been much bullish commentary as to the upturn in the demand for IT professionals. More specifically, it is felt that investment in development will benefit those looking for jobs.

Projects on hold have now secured funding. Although your development experience is generic, in an active market, potential employers see principles as uniform, irrespective of the product or language.

Hence when your experience is supplemented with exposure to new technologies such as .net and C#, this can provide an adequate route back into IT. A course such as the Microsoft certified solution developer for .net would add further weight. Lecturing is also effective in bettering communication and interpersonal skills.

Perhaps you can find a compromise? If you choose the IT industry, there is the option to continue lecturing part-time. Alternatively, you could pursue an MSc part-time, thereby keeping both your options open.

Solution by Richard Herring, operations director, Reed Technology

The panel: MSB International, Spring Group, E-Skills UK, British Computer Society, Computer Futures, Computer People, Elan, Reed Technology, Zarak Technology.

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This was last published in January 2004

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