IT career advice needed

Dec 3, 2011
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Hi Guys,

Really sorry for long post but I need some help...

I have been working as a Software Developer for past 2 and half years now at a Bank (basically since I finished by BSc) in Canada. I am working as a web developer and I also code in SAS. I am also doing part-time MSc. in Computer Science.

Where I work, we use mainframes as our server and have our webserver on the mainframe.

Due to this, my skill-set (outside of University) is very unique (we use a mainframe specific language for server-side scripting and a rather cryptic, non-SQL based database). It gets the job done but all the latest, flashy technology is missing. Meanwhile the SAS reports we create/maintain are just static reports with nothing fancy about them.

Few months ago, my company has decided to replace the web product I support with a new one for which we won't have access to the source-code but we can 'customize' it in a code-less manner using the graphical front-end (almost in a Microsoft visio type of way - drag and drop). I have been given assurance that I will be retained and will be trained to 'customize' the new product.

I know if I stick around in my current role, I will be stuck with no programming to do (thus wasting my skills) and some skills which I won't be able to take elsewhere (due to product-specific skill set).

I currently have 2 choices:

(1) Train myself in JAVA/J2EE framework by taking series of courses on my own time in night classes at some University.

(2) Stick with current role and eventually train as a business analyst (with ITIL v3 framework) and then jump to a business analyst role.

Which one would you suggest and why? Please, please, only reply to this thread if you are already in IT.

The only concern I have with Java is the sheer number of skills to learn (J2EE, JSP, JSF, Servlets, Spring, Ant, etc.) just to be able to get a Java developer job - since I am doing my part-time Masters, by the time I finish my Java courses and my MSc, I will be around 28-29 and I don't want to spend more time after that being a student.
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