Next move: Shall I stick with Oracle or Microsoft?

I have recently been selected for redundancy and I am trying to decide what to do with my career.

I have recently been selected for redundancy and I am trying to decide what to do with my career. I have 14 years' experience in application development with 11 years in embedded and control applications, chiefly in C with some RTOS.

I switched to Microsoft with Visual C++/Com/ATL and Visual Basic for a few years but have spent the past five months on Oracle PL/SQL. Which would be better for stability and pay, Microsoft or Oracle?

The solution

Decide on the job, then the skills

Although congratulations is probably not you what want to hear at the moment, more and more job opportunities in IT have started to appear. If you are going to be made redundant, better now than last year.

Rather than make a decision on your technical direction, you need to decide what type of company you want to work for.

If you are looking at medium to large companies or even local government, stick with Oracle. It is a solid product that is well regarded and the work can be interesting and challenging.

On the downside, Oracle has not released any significant new software for a while and the need for people with these skills on both the contract and permanent front has eased off.

Microsoft, on the other hand, seem to be going from strength to strength. The introduction of .net has been a major boom to the marketplace and the need for people with Visual Basic and .net skills is increasing weekly, especially for contracts.

The work and the money is there, you just need to decide what you want. Safe and secure employment is more closely equated with Oracle; dashing and slightly flighty for Visual Basic and .net - the choice is yours.

Solution by Tracey Abbot, divisional director, Zarak Group

The panel: MSB International, Best International, BritishComputer Society, Computer Futures, Computer People, Elan, Reed Technology, Zarak Technology, E-Skills UK

E-mail your career questions to [email protected]

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