I have been with the same company since graduating with an honours degree in computer science eight years ago. I am currently employed as a systems developer. I keep being promised that I will get training so I can do the MSCD (developer). But, due to moving software from one environment to another, it always gets put off. What advice would you give on making my next move?
Trade off current skills for training
As a graduate with eight years' commercial experience, you have a good range of skills. However, I understand your frustration with the current role you are in. I would advise you to have a serious discussion with your current employer in order to gain an understanding of their IT strategy. It may be that the direction is not decided yet. In this case, you will have to view the situation with the limited knowledge you have.
Training and experience on up-to-date products is crucial to advance your career in IT. The best all-round option is to always undergo training at your employer's expense and then put skills into practice. Bearing in mind that an employer is unlikely to fork out fees unless it can see commercial benefit. Microsoft courses are expensive, so if you are considering this yourself, it is wise to ensure you can use the new skills regularly. If moving on seems to be the only alternative, ensure you trade off some of your current skills for training and the opportunity to use new technology.
On a positive note, you do say your current company is "moving software from one environment to another". This indicates there is investment and a serious attempt to maintain a competitive edge to the business by the use of IT. This should be good news for you.
Solution by Judy Freeman, managing director, Monarch Recruitment
The panel: Apex, MSB International, Best International Group, Computer Futures, Computer People, Elan, E-skills NTO, Monarch Recruitment, Reed Computing, Prince Training