Next move: How do I move to a financial sector role?

Expert advice for readers' career problems

The question: How do I move to a financial sector role?

I have been working as a programmer for five years and I would like to spend a year in training to move into the financial services sector as a business analyst. Could you recommend the type of course I should take? I already have a good programming background, including Visual Basic, but I do not have a financial background. I also lack a graduate qualification.

The solution: Take contracts within the industry

First of all, training for a new industry should not mean having to take a whole year off from your career. It sounds as though you are looking for a course that will provide you with fairly basic background knowledge, rather than a course that will help you build on the skills that you have already acquired.

Rather than trying to learn about a new industry from a textbook, a real-life experience will be far more beneficial. By taking on programming projects within the financial services industry, you will be able to find out more about the inner workings of the different financial services markets.

By doing this, you will be able to work within your comfort zone. It should also provide you with a better salary than starting in a graduate or entry-level position.

Your Visual Basic skills are easily upgradeable to Visual Basic .net. There is a huge shortage of skilled people in .net development in all industries, so by taking a short course to attain this certification you will increase your potential.

Start with short-term contracts to test the water. Once you have built up a strong insider knowledge you will be able to tell whether the financial services industry is definitely for you, and you will be able to see first-hand what further qualifications are worth looking into.

Solution by Rob Chapman, chief executive, The Training Camp

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

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