Next move: Novell skills

Expert advice for readers' career problems

The question: what are the options for a Novell engineer?

I have been an IT support engineer for eight years and need a change. The problem is that I work with Novell and Lotus Domino, and jobs in these technologies are few and far between. I would really like to concentrate my efforts on e-mail and web security. I am also debating whether to move into Cisco and pay my way through training. What would you advise?

The solution: Cross-train in a dual-platform company

Novell and Lotus technologies are not as popular in the UK as they once were. However, because there are not many sites still using these technologies, people with your skills will be in demand with certain businesses. They will also tend to have higher salaries than their Microsoft counterparts.

The ideal situation for you would be to move to a company that operates both Novell and Microsoft technology and will allow you to cross-train. A good recruitment agent who knows your local IT infrastructure market well should know the sites in your area that operate Novell and Microsoft and can approach them on your behalf.

Before you specialise in e-mail security, you need to decide which technology you are going to stick with. Also, classroom qualifications without commensurate commercial experience, such as a CCNA, are not enough to persuade an employer to hire someone.

Alternatively, you could stay where you are and put a business proposal together to install Microsoft. Also, Novell is still very popular on the Continent if you fancy a change of scenery.

Solution by Alex Richardson, managing consultant, Hudson

The panel: Computer People, Hudson, No Limits Coaching, The Training Camp, Wreay Group

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