Hi, first post so please go easy on me (and sorry for it being so long).
I have worked in the IT department of a UK charity for 15 years now. On joining the organisation (straight out of university) my first role was as a member of the Helpdesk. After around 18 months an opportunity became available within the newly formed web development team which I joined and progressed my skills as a front end developer.
Again after a few years my responsibilities grew and I eventually took over the back end of the website using Java, Oracle and at that point in time JRun, while still turning my hand to the front end as and when needed.
In the time since I've taken on the role of a Senior Java Developer and undertaken numerous other projects and mentored more junior members of staff while all the time gravitating back to the web site. Meanwhile having got married, bought a house and had kids, holding a stable job that offers flexible working has been a great benefit which is part of the reason why I have hung around so long.
The problem is that I have become a jack of all trades and don't feel like being what I would call a 'master' of any. I'm feeling that having such wide ranging skills has become somewhat of a curse as in one project I'll be dealing with Java/Oracle/Servlets etc and on the next I'll be turning out a JQuery plug-in.
Our team is small (currently 3 people) and between us we manage the entire technical side of our websites including front/back end, providing an element of business analysis as well as a lot of hand holding for other teams. So practising things like Agile development and peer programming are not really an option and this is something that I think is becoming a real Achilles heel in my skill set.
Anyway, to the point.
We've recently adopted SalesForce as a CRM system and this appears to be becoming a central strategic tool. Being a charity, the organisation isn't willing to offer the salaries that SalesForce developers demand and so have turned to me to transition across to being a SF Developer. They appear to be offering a lot of support in getting me up to speed which is a good thing and something that has very much been lacking in the past. Also, they appear to have far higher regard for a CRM system than they do their website.
(Wages are an issue here as so far they've reluctant to offer me any more for the added responsibility and I am already roughly 30% underpaid based on current salary surveys. I know, it's a charity, but I now have kids to feed and a mortgage to pay and when they employ new members of staff, new comers wages are far more aligned to market rates than that for us long-termers.)
I'm slowly persuading myself that heading towards SalesForce is a good thing as the skills that I already have will not be going to waste since most appear to be used to some extent within the platform. Wages are also very competitive in the outside world which is a good thing for me not only as a bargaining chip internally but also if and when I decide to move on. If I took this option it would allow me to concentrate on a single technology and hopefully for the first time in my career allow me to specialise on a distinct system - maybe one day I could actually call myself a master of something?
However, there's part of me that feels that I will just be learning yet another technology and in doing so will be diluting my skill set further. Before this opportunity came along I did plan to move on in order to up my income. Heading towards SalesForce will mean that for the time being at least my wages will continue to be comparatively low and stagnant. Maybe I should just be cutting my losses and going straight out there and get a job using the knowledge that I already have and hope to bridge the gaps in my skill set on the way?
I'm confused - maybe I just need the balls to make a decision and stick to it? But I'd really be interested to hear anyone's thoughts on this and understand what you would do in my situation and why?
Thanks for reading,