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Leveraging Development skills.

I have been reading with interest the recent posts on career directions, specifically Norrick’s thoughts and experiences mirror what I am going through right now.

My background is in the classic multi-tier business applications.  It is the same boring pulling and pushing data to a database, with the occasional data massaging in-between. 

I have been doing some soul searching for the past year and I have come up with little thoughts on how to leverage software development skills into a new profession.  Once you strip the buzzwords away from my resume there seems to be little to offer a business.

My interest is working for and with small businesses.  All my experiences have been with the megacorps and I hate it.  I keep thinking that my background is overkill for the small businesses but I must be overlooking something. 

Given that being my frame of mind I ask this question; Are there any ex-developers on this board who could share how they have leveraged their development skills into a new profession or finding work being more of a computer generalist?  Or should I just accept my fate and eventually become a graybeard.

That is, if I am lucky enough to have a career that can last until I reach graybeard status.

Any thoughts?

Sunday, February 29, 2004

The good thing about working with small businesses given where you are coming from is that your current skills are a vast superset of the skills necessitated by the IT needs of small businesses, and you will handily outclass almost anyone else that  approaches a small business.

The bad things about working with small businesses are that (are you ready ;-) ):

They can be incredibly cheap.

Many small business owners started small businesses because THEY didn't have a diploma from a "good school", so these types will carry a "working class hero with attitude" chip on their shoulder.

Mainly, the profound cultural differences keep the two worlds from mixing.  It's going to be rare to find a small business that isn't put off by someone who has done high level enterprise work. 

And, you have to talk on their terms, which are paybacks for investments in months, not years, and absolutely no budget for R&D or anything else that "sounds expensive".

Bored Bystander
Sunday, February 29, 2004

The problem with working for small businesses, is that they are... small. Thus, they usually have no money. I disagree with Bored Bystander's "cultural assessment."  Small businesses are not cheap because of some blue collar / white collar divide, they are cheap because they have to be. They don't respect people with years of enterprise software experience most likely because they have no need for enterprise software. They need microsoft office, quickbooks, and a web site from

In any case, being a consultant that works with small businesses is a bad business model. If you want to "consult" the best bet is to target the hugest, richest, and most dysfunctional organizations you can find. The kind who won't even notice they are cutting you $30,000 checks every month. 

 me again
Sunday, February 29, 2004

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