Next move: How do I become a software developer?

Having worked in IT for the past six years in a support role I would now like to move into software development. Sould I learrn .net or Java programming?

The question

Having worked in IT for the past six years in a support role I would now like to move into software development. I have a broad range of experience starting out in Windows client/server support before moving to Unix server and latterly Wan/Lan.

I would like a role where I am creating not just maintaining product. I am not sure if I should learn .net or Java programming.

The solution

Focus on developing your Java proficiency


This is a tough one - as you have a combination of both Unix and Windows experience you could, in fact, learn either. However, I would recommend developing your Java skills. There are a lot of applications on the Java platform that require support, giving you more opportunities to pursue.

I understand you want to move into a more development-focused role, but working in support could provide you with a useful stepping stone as most roles involve an element of development. Also, you would likely face less competition in this area, as there are few Java support candidates around.

In the current, highly competitive market, a move across into .net development could prove very difficult, particularly in light of your lack of previous development exposure. In the main, most candidates have moved into .net from either Visual Basic or C++ application development or have other relevant development experience. At the present time, I am not aware of any .net support roles available, due to the shortage of mature .net applications.

Focusing on developing your Java proficiency and gaining a support-focused role in the first instance gives you the best chance of progression into a development role, although you may have to be patient.

Solution by Darren Giddings, senior account executive, IT banking and financial services, Hudson

The panel: Plan-Net Services, Hudson, Zarak Technology, No Limits Coaching, The Training Camp, Reed Technology

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