Stories by Fran Quittel

Dear Career Adviser

A biweekly, interactive advice column in which selected questions will be answered by US columnist and recruitment expert Fran Quittel.

Dear Career Adviser

A biweekly, interactive advice column in which selected questions will be answered by US columnist and recruitment expert Fran Quittel.

Got your pink slip? Go party!

When Sharon Luciw was laid off last year from her high-level IT job, she figured she'd have no trouble finding new work, despite the tighter job market.

Dear Career Adviser

I've spent 12 years working in the insurance industry and the past four years programming insurance applications in Micro Focus Cobol. My company was recently sold, and I want to get out of Cobol programming and intoWeb technologies and e-commerce. I have Java training but no experience. I have two job offers. One job involves working on the support team for Web application servers. This includes networking, TCP/IP, firewalls and security. I have good customer support skills, and the company is willing to train me. The second job involves doing system testing on a Web application. Java developers do the coding. Which is the better choice?
- Premium Position
Dear Premium:
Testing is probably the weaker of these two choices, says Susan Cole, a recruiter at technology placement firm Donahue & Moore Associates Inc. in New York. While Web initiatives are hot at financial, brokerage and insurance companies, your second choice only involves testing Java applications using automated tools, and you wouldn't be getting any hands-on Java development experience.

Dear Career Adviser:

I'm in my mid-40s and, until a few years ago, was a pretty good graphical user interface and object-oriented database (OOD) specialist with some additional work in the use of Motif and the X Window System. In 1993, I succumbed to my midlife crisis, going to school full-time to earn a Ph.D. in psychology.

Dear Career Adviser:

I've spent 25 years in information technology. During my first 10 years, I developed and maintained legacy systems. I've also managed programming teams that did the same thing. Now I want to transition myself into more modern skills and keep on working until I'm ready to retire. But I don't want to manage or compete head-to-head with younger technology gurus. Can I find a second career as a technical writer with newer companies?

Dear Career Adviser

I'm a 35-year-old with a Ph.D. earned in Russia. I'm a skilled programmer with experience in C, Java, Web technologies and various databases, plus project leadership experience. I dream about a position that uses my abilities as a team manager and computer technology specialist, particularly in the field of e-commerce. I'm ambitious and used to hard work. Being from outside the U.S., would I have to start out as a programmer? What's the best plan?

Dear Career Adviser

I'm a risk and credit analyst at a Fortune 500 company. I was recently given the opportunity to devote approximately 30% of my time to developing our business unit's e-business strategy and initiatives. I love working on e-business issues and want to do it full time. I've got a good business background, but I feel like I need to develop my technical skills. How should I go about this? What skills should I be focusing on? What's the best format for developing them? - E-Business Initiative

Dear Career Adviser

I'm a nondegreed information technology professional with 10 years of experience in the industry, five of them with Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT. I make very good money but lack the required sheepskin that most companies look for. I'm finding it increasingly difficult to land an interview. Most rejection letters I get statethat I'm either not qualified enough, have no degree or make too much money. My wife keeps pestering me to get my degree and my MCSE, and I'm working on both. Is this the right course? - Henpecked Howard

Dear Career Adviser

I'm a college graduate and a 20-year information technology professional. I'm the CIO at a small company and interested in moving. I am responsible for numerous IT projects with budgets ranging to $15 million. Is the Web the right way to look for a new senior-level job?

Dear Career Advisor

I'm a (fairly) technical person with a computer science degree and a Web application development background. I want to see what's out there without being called by every recruiter, never mind letting my own company become aware I'm looking. - Hide Out Heather

Dear Career Adviser

I've been a technical writer for a long time, working at a large financial institution with mainframe and client/server technology and systems. Now I long to work at a newer company with Web-based projects, but I'm concerned that my skills need a major upgrade. What do I need to do? Will someone hire me without experience? - Writing Wendy

Career Adviser

I have five years' experience developing inventory and financial applications for AS/400s. Our new CIO is axing current staff to bring in people he's worked with before. I've been here two years, and in the past four months, he's fired three people and says he's not done. - Worried

Dear Career Adviser

I'm a competent applications programmer in C/C++, and I'm interested in low-level programming for embedded systems and device drivers. Can I fight my way into these kinds of positions with a degree in information systems, or must I go back for hardware-relevant computer science courses?

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