Next move: Do I have to take a step back to update skills?

Expert advice for readers' career problems

Do I have to take a step back to update skills?

Four years ago I traded a senior developer role at a failing company with a marketable skillset (Java, J2EE) for what I hoped was job security in a niche skill set (Ada 83/95 on a defence project).

I have not been exposed to contemporary J2EE technologies and it now seems I cannot gain the necessary hands-on experience to further my career without taking a step back into a junior role. What should I do?

The solution: You have skills, tailor your CV to win work

Considering your experience, it is surprising that you are finding it difficult to find a suitable job. The IT industry is facing a skills crisis and good, qualified staff are few and far between.

The fact agencies do not feel comfortable putting you forward for Java roles, considering your qualifications, suggests your CV could do with a makeover.

Your CV should focus on the skills you have. For each skill, identify an opportunity or job where the skill was exemplified. This will ensure that an employer can instantly see the benefits in hiring you. It might be worth assessing the industries that you have enjoyed working in the most and tailoring your CV accordingly.

Alternatively, you could steer your career in a new direction and take on a more managerial role where your experience will be rewarded. Have you considered project management? A Prince2 course would equip you with the managerial skills necessary to push your career on to the next level.

This could open the door to a wide range of employment opportunities that should provide you with the challenge you require.

Solution by Robert Chapman, chief executive and co-founder of The Training Camp

The panel: Hudson, Reed Technology, Wreay Group, No Limits Coaching, The Training Camp

Need advice on your IT career? E-mail your questions to: computer.weekly@rbi.co.uk


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