Win a copy of Five Lines of Code this week in the OO, Patterns, UML and Refactoring forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
programming forums Java Mobile Certification Databases Caching Books Engineering Micro Controllers OS Languages Paradigms IDEs Build Tools Frameworks Application Servers Open Source This Site Careers Other all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
Marshals:
  • Campbell Ritchie
  • Bear Bibeault
  • Ron McLeod
  • Jeanne Boyarsky
  • Paul Clapham
Sheriffs:
  • Tim Cooke
  • Liutauras Vilda
  • Junilu Lacar
Saloon Keepers:
  • Tim Moores
  • Stephan van Hulst
  • Tim Holloway
  • fred rosenberger
  • salvin francis
Bartenders:
  • Piet Souris
  • Frits Walraven
  • Carey Brown

Changing job to follow one's technology point of view?

 
Bartender
Posts: 1268
39
IBM DB2 Netbeans IDE Spring Java
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
After a long experience with Java and Java enterprise, company I work for will presumably change its core business revamping from scratch its own products, and moving towards another technology. Despite the fact I have a good position inside this company, I am really in doubt if I should follow this project or search for another job.From an engineer's point of view, a new challenge should be accepted with a lot of adrenaline and enthusiasm. Changing because one is a fan of X or Y language seems silly, but I strongly believe that Java's ecosystem is far from being dead, and there are still a lot of opportunities to work with it, without burying - and eventually loose - my knowledge and skills in Java.
I am really confused, and I would like to hear from you what you think about.
 
Marshal
Posts: 69806
277
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Start by asking the powers that be in your present company what they are planning to do and how your skills would fit into the new projects.
 
author & internet detective
Posts: 40035
809
Eclipse IDE VI Editor Java
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think it depends on the technology they are moving to. In most cases, I would say it is great they are willing to pay you while you gain experience with something new. However, it if is some closes/specialized technology, it is a risk.
 
Bartender
Posts: 2407
36
Scala Python Oracle Postgres Database Linux
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Do you need to decide right now?

As Jeanne says, it can be a good opportunity if your employer will pay you to acquire new skills. Many employers still prefer to poach experienced staff with those skills from their competitors, rather than invest in training their existing staff.

Of course, if you really feel the new technology is something you don't want to get involved in, then this opportunity is not so valuable for you personally. This might be because you prefer Java, or because the new stack is a proprietary product that might limit your career options in future, or whatever. Your career is your responsibility, so there's nothing wrong with making a decision to suit your own professional goals and interests.

But unless you're already certain you don't want to take this opportunity right now, I would suggest you consider trying it out for a while.

If you spend a few months working on the new technology, you will get a good idea what the pros/cons of the new platform might be, and you will be able to make a more informed decision about which direction you want to go. A few months away from Java will not significantly affect your Java skills, and spending some time working on a different platform may be useful in broadening your experience beyond your current Java environment, even if you ultimately decide to look for a job back in Java-land.

One other risk to consider is that if you seem reluctant to embrace these changes with your current employer, you could find yourself stuck with maintaining the legacy Java platform while all the interesting work is being done elsewhere.

Edit:
Wiser people than I have offered this advice many times on JavaRanch over the years: Don't see yourself as a "Java developer". You don't want to define your career in terms of a specific technology, because technologies change and disappear all the time. Unfortunately, I had to learn this the hard way - so don't make the same mistake that I did!
 
Claude Moore
Bartender
Posts: 1268
39
IBM DB2 Netbeans IDE Spring Java
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi guys, thanks a lot for your advice, especially to Chris whose reply is very wise. I agree with you, Chris: the better thing is to look at what will happen and, if I will eventually see that isn't good for me, I can start searching for better alternatives.
Meanwhile, I have the chance to learn something new. And it's perfectly reasonable avoiding to define oneself an 'XXX programmer'. By the way, if I'm not nosy, can you share, Chris, what was your experience with a technology that disappeared?
 
chris webster
Bartender
Posts: 2407
36
Scala Python Oracle Postgres Database Linux
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Claude Moore wrote:By the way, if I'm not nosy, can you share, Chris, what was your experience with a technology that disappeared?



I'm happy to share my inept career history as it's a classic example of the "boiling a frog" meme: let this be a warning to all of you "XYZ developers" out there!

For the first 15 or so years of my career, I worked on Oracle-based systems, mostly using proprietary Oracle technologies, although I also worked with other tools like C. So I was an "Oracle developer". This seemed like a pretty big niche, as these tools were very productive and lots of people were using them, so there was plenty of well-paid work. It was also a lot of fun.

When Java came along, I started learning it, but Java took a long time to get going in Oracle-land, so it was several years before I had an opportunity to do any Java EE. By now, more people were using Java for new projects (not always with much success), and Oracle was starting to side-line its older proprietary tools as it tried (not always with much success!) to break into the growing Java market.

I started trying to break into Java development myself, but by this time there were a lot of experienced Java developers around, and - in the UK at least - the trend towards offshoring and outsourcing was starting to take off. Many development jobs were shipped out to India, so there were more Java developers competing for work in the UK. And many companies were outsourcing work to big consultancies who were setting up offices in India (or who had been created in India) and either doing the work there or bringing their own staff to the UK, so these jobs were no longer available to UK-based developers.

So I ended up having to go back to Oracle work, but now people were no longer using so many Oracle tools, I found myself using only using a small sub-set of my skills, which was also bad for my job prospects. I like development work, so I didn't want to try and switch over to management, but it was getting harder to stay in work as a developer. "My" market niche had largely disappeared, because I had made myself dependent on one technology company's long term strategy, which no longer involved the technologies I had invested so much time in. I had also failed to keep my skills up to date with the wider IT market, so I struggled to find work. I even took a year out to do an MSc, but finished that just in time for the 2008 financial crash, which put another dent in my plans to re-invent my career - doh!

I was a boiled frog.

These days, I am officially a junior Java developer (ouch!) but luckily I have invested a lot of time exploring new technologies around Big Data and functional programming, partly to improve my career prospects but also because I find these things interesting - and anything has to be better than Java EE, after all! This has helped me to get onto an R&D project looking at Big Data, so although I'm not really using Java much, I am exploring lots of interesting modern tools (Scala, NoSQL, Spark, Python, Hadoop etc) that are already growing rapidly. And this is also a lot of fun.

So, don't be a boiled frog: keep your skills broad as well as deep (be a "generalising specialist" as Chris Duncan called it in The Career Programmer), and keep an eye on the wider market around you for the kind of work you want to do in future.

Good luck!
 
Campbell Ritchie
Marshal
Posts: 69806
277
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The problem with boiling frogs is that the frog does not notice the gradual temperature increase. There is often a reluctance to move, partially because one doesn't see the danger signs, and also because of the risk of trying to break into new fields. The grass might be greener on the other side (or it might not) but the fence often looks very tall and rough to climb.
 
Claude Moore
Bartender
Posts: 1268
39
IBM DB2 Netbeans IDE Spring Java
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Campbell Ritchie wrote:The problem with boiling frogs is that the frog does not notice the gradual temperature increase. There is often a reluctance to move, partially because one doesn't see the danger signs.


Absolutely true. But it's even true that if one pays good attention to such signs, it is not so hard to recognize them.
 
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic