I need some advice. I am a very experienced (10 years) PeopleSoft developer. For those of you not familiar with PS, it is a large web-based ERP system. Being a PS developer means I am an expert in writing complicatd SQL and PL-SQL. I'm also an expert in SQR, PeopleCode, and App Engine, none of which means anything in the rest of the world. :-)
In my case, I have also used Java off and on through the years as needed to support PS at places where I have worked. I have created web apps with JSP and servlets. And most recently, I've been writing Java code to create custom connectors for PS's XML messaging based product, Integration Broker.
Here's where the question comes in. 5 years ago, we PS technical experts could basically name our price. I consulted for a couple years and made good money. I was lucky enough to land a corporate job with a good salary before the hiring freezes of 2001-2002. But I am starting to sense that my PS skills aren't going to serve me well in the coming years. In my company, there are rumors of outsourcing which has prompted me to take a look at the market, which has led me to the conclusion that if I want to stay in PS, I will have to either take a pay cut or get back on the road as a consultant, which isn't desirable (2 kids).
As a first step to potentially switching careers, I cleared the SCJP exam about 2 months ago. Now, I'm taking a look at my options and seeing what kind of lateral move I might be able to make into the Java development world with roughly the same income I have today.
How valuable are SCJD/SCBCD/SCWCD? How about SCEA? Do you think I could get hired as a senior Java developer and/or architect if I acquire all the above certs even though my background is not "100% pure Java"?
As a side-note, my company seems to have bought completely into .NET and so I must also consider MCSD. I've also thought about going back to school and getting a master's degree. (BS is in computer info systems)
As you can see, I've got a lot of options on my mind! What would you do?
Based on your skill level it seems you can handle any kind of work offered to you. Instead of focusing on technology try looking for a stable job (gov/federal) as a DBA/Admin/Developer which suites your profile in long run .
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IMHO, you would have to work for a couple years with J2EE before you could get hired at a senior level. J2EE is quite complicated and it takes a lot of time in the trenches before you can reasonably expect to be able to do a senior java developer's job. Most jobs ads for senior people require at least 5 years experience in Java.
I personally believe that the certs are helpful for getting you in the door or for differentiating yourself from others. Not only that, but you learn a lot about the apis while studying for certs. I personally don't think the SCEA is a good idea for you right now for two reasons: 1) It is aimed at architects and not developers 2) The current exam is based upon old J2EE technologies like EJB 1.0 and is outdated.