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Developer to IT and Back?

Recently I've been placed at a crossroads.  I can't see where either road will take me, and I fear that the road less travelled could dead end.

I am presently a developer.  I don't have too many years experience although my coding skills are solid.  I always saw myself moving into a tech lead position and then ultimately a project management position.  Unfortunately where I live, the world revolves around CMM/CMMi and personally I can't stand the stuff.  I do not want to become a project manager or a tech lead for a CMM/CMMi project.  As stated though, as far as finding work goes at other companies that don't practice or have aspirations to practice these methodologies, it's like finding a neede in a haystack.

Recently I have been presented with an opportunity to jump off the development road into an intermediate level IT position.  I am just as technically competent in this area as I am in the development arena, and I enjoy doing IT on a personal level.  What I'm worried about is if for some reason I don't enjoy the position, after 4 or 5 years, would it be possible to jump back to the development track, and what would the consequences be?  Would I be falling back to an entry to intermediate level position, or with 10 years experience total between IT and dev work, could I fall back into a mid to upper level position?  I realize that no one can predict the future, but if the future were today, what would the possible outcomes be?

To further add to the dillema, is that I have only been at my current employer for 9 months, and the one before that, slightly longer than a year.  If I were to switch, it would be for a reasonable duration of time (4 to 5 years minimum).  At my current position, the only person I have any regular contact with is my boss (due to sitting at client site) and thus she is the closest person to a friend where I work now.  My current company is going down the CMM track although not with the project I'm currently on though.  I do however only see another 2 to 3 years of growth at my current company.

_ANY_ adivce received will be received well, as I'm really at a loss for what to do.  Should I take the new offer, and if so, if things don't pan out after a few years, can I make the switch from IT back to development?

This time, posting without my traditional alias. . .

Without my alias...
Saturday, May 8, 2004

The only advice I can offer you is to weight the developer role (production, engineering) vs the IT role (administration, service).  You'll need to decide which you are most comfortable with.

One of the things about IT, is that if you have good interpersonal skills - prompt, courteous, productive - you will be seen as an absolute  superstar.  Developer' world is often a lot more insular and competitive.

You also didn't mention what your role will be in the IT organisation.  Manager ? DBA ? Network? Desktops?  Fax & Copier guy?

Saturday, May 8, 2004

It's hard to jump back. You would specifically have
to keep up your skills, which most people won't
do. There's something to be said for jumping
in enthusiastically without the comfort of a
"plan" that may not make a bit of sense in
4 years anyway.

son of parnas
Saturday, May 8, 2004

Pre-Sales Consultant.  Advising clients as to whether technologies would benefit their organization, and coming up with a solution that should be implemented, prior to the purchase of an end to end system.

Without my alias...
Saturday, May 8, 2004

Hmm.  Where I work, pre-sales is part of the sales org, not IT.
Most of our Sales Engineers are tied to a salesperson for their region, and get comission along with the saleman.

Most of  the SE's can handle installing our software and some basic troubleshooting and configuration, but I would call it a sales job before I'd call it an IT job.

Saturday, May 8, 2004

I jumped over to the IT role once.  For me it it was the worst mistake I could have made.  I tried to get back to development but was impossible and was lucky enoungh to return to what I like else where.

One suggestion, move to a place where CMM isn't such a big thing and do what you enjoy.

Bill Rushmore
Sunday, May 9, 2004

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