What are my options?


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  1. #1
    Manoj Guest

    What are my options?


    Hi,
    I am currently working as the only developer in my department. We also have
    an IT department, where there are a number of other developers. At the moment
    my main skills are VBA and VB. However I am a bit concerned about how we
    develop applications in this company.
    At present most vb development does not take advantage of classes and in
    house development of activex controls. I have read quite a bit about these
    technologies and I am finding it difficult to convince my manager on developing
    code based on components. Most of the developement is based on putting code
    under buttons etc on a form. Also the approach used is based on prototyping
    a system and then adding code and modifying it etc. The application design
    stage is not thought out properly.
    I have been sent on various training courses and have completed them successfully,
    but have not been able to use what I have learnt due to the limitations of
    the infrastructure over here.
    On the more positive side of things I have lots of time to do what I want
    and am given lots of time to read and learn about new technology e.g. XML
    etc..
    I have now worked for 1 and a half years in this company and I am getting
    more responsibility, but I am curious to know how to work in a team environment
    with a properly structured project.
    What should I do should I move on, and if so in what area?
    Should I consider VBA programming with front office, or should I take a course
    in SQL server and then look for a proper VB programming role?
    Or should I stay in this company and try and change how developement is carried
    out internally?

    As for qualifications:

    I have an MSc in Information managment, but this in not a technical masters
    degree, although we covered ER-moddeling etc main focus was on SSM Soft systems
    methodology.

    I also got a brain bench and brain buzz qualifcation with VB6.

    Please advise me
    Thanks Manoj


  2. #2
    Elena Guest

    Re: What are my options?


    Hmmmm. There's a couple ways to look at this.

    First, there's a LOT of companies where no one uses classes and project management
    techniques are lacking or non-existent. So don't immediately jump ship assuming
    the next company will be better.

    Second, an employer that sends you to training and allows you time to look
    at new technologies is an exceptional employer. Maybe the next employer will
    do this and maybe he/she won't. It's hard to tell from the interview.

    In terms of programming techniques, you can just go ahead and look for ways
    to implement these "better" techniques in the projects you are currently
    doing. It doesn't sound like you'll get shot down in a code review! I have
    done this myself when I was stuck in a back room and couldn't get on the
    "good" projects. You can still go to an interview in the future and say
    with complete truthfulness that you have done this type of work using technology
    such-and-such. And you'll be learning these techniques in a low-stress environment
    since you seem to have extra time on your hands.

    You can always proselytize new technologies/methods with the rest of the
    IT staff but you need to go slow so as not to offend people with an "I'm
    better than you" attitude. Also, if by "more responsibility" you mean you
    are on track to be a project leader of some sort, you might at that time
    be able to push these practices and point to your own past work (which has
    implemented some of these techniques) as sample code.

    It seems to me that the Office programming environment does provide a lot
    of very useful capabilities but probably represents a much smaller segment
    of the job market than regular VB/Database programming. So I probably wouldn't
    hang too many hopes on that.

    Ultimately, if you can't find a way to work new technical opportunities into
    your job, then maybe you will have to leave. But it's probably worth trying
    to work with your current situation for a little while longer because it
    affords you time and training to learn - - two things in short supply at
    a lot of places.

    Elena


    "Manoj" <AKshah1@Yahoo.com> wrote:
    >
    >Hi,
    >I am currently working as the only developer in my department. We also have
    >an IT department, where there are a number of other developers. At the moment
    >my main skills are VBA and VB. However I am a bit concerned about how we
    >develop applications in this company.
    >At present most vb development does not take advantage of classes and in
    >house development of activex controls. I have read quite a bit about these
    >technologies and I am finding it difficult to convince my manager on developing
    >code based on components. Most of the developement is based on putting code
    >under buttons etc on a form. Also the approach used is based on prototyping
    >a system and then adding code and modifying it etc. The application design
    >stage is not thought out properly.
    >I have been sent on various training courses and have completed them successfully,
    >but have not been able to use what I have learnt due to the limitations

    of
    >the infrastructure over here.
    >On the more positive side of things I have lots of time to do what I want
    > and am given lots of time to read and learn about new technology e.g. XML
    >etc..
    >I have now worked for 1 and a half years in this company and I am getting
    >more responsibility, but I am curious to know how to work in a team environment
    >with a properly structured project.
    >What should I do should I move on, and if so in what area?
    >Should I consider VBA programming with front office, or should I take a

    course
    >in SQL server and then look for a proper VB programming role?
    >Or should I stay in this company and try and change how developement is

    carried
    >out internally?
    >
    >As for qualifications:
    >
    >I have an MSc in Information managment, but this in not a technical masters
    >degree, although we covered ER-moddeling etc main focus was on SSM Soft

    systems
    >methodology.
    >
    >I also got a brain bench and brain buzz qualifcation with VB6.
    >
    >Please advise me
    >Thanks Manoj
    >



  3. #3
    Jeff Guest

    Re: What are my options?


    Your choice really depends on several factors:

    - How much money you make versus how much you could make elsewhere (both
    immidiately and long-term)
    - Your job security with your employer
    - What your responsibilities are (just technical vs. other roles in the company)
    - How much you really want to work with other people

    I really don't think your situation is that uncommon. In a lot of ways,
    you have a pretty cool job - you get to prototype and then put the code behind
    it. You can improve that process - being a team of one, you can have more
    of an impact. There are a lot of "unpleasant" aspects of having to deal
    with other people on projects - a lot of people would love the chance to
    be a lone ranger. But you sacrifice a lot of the skills that make you more
    marketable when you work by yourself.

    If technology would remain stable, then I would suggest that you evaluate
    what you like to do and the pay you would get by doing it and make a decision
    from there. But a big factor in any decision like this is whether the technology
    will be viable in the future. If technology didn't change so much, you wouldn't
    risk falling behind as much, but that's not the case.

    I still suggest you look at the big picture. If you're happy where you are,
    and you feel you're paid a decent salary, and you think your job and the
    company are secure, then you should consider staying and trying to implement
    some improvements into the group. Take more responsibility, possibly more
    non-technical responsibility. But if you're just not sure, and if you're
    wiling to take a pay cut, you might consider moving on. I'm not saying you'd
    have to take a pay cut, but with your skill set and experience, you might
    be considered for an entry-level position rather than a more experienced
    one. If you're paid well now, then a pay cut is a possibility. A lot of
    people get stuck doing something they don't want to do because they don't
    want to take that initial cut in pay to try something new (I'm in that boat...).
    Then again, a lot of people want to try something new and realize that it
    is not as good as what they did before. So give this a lot of consideration.

    I got a BrainBench certification in VB6, and it has not opened any doors
    for me. Nothing wrong with taking the test and getting the certification,
    but don't expect it to mean anything to most people, unfortunately.

    Good luck.


  4. #4
    RichardB Guest

    Re: What are my options?


    "Manoj" <AKshah1@Yahoo.com> wrote:
    >
    >Hi,
    >I am currently working as the only developer in my department. We also have
    >an IT department, where there are a number of other developers. At the moment
    >my main skills are VBA and VB. However I am a bit concerned about how we
    >develop applications in this company.
    >At present most vb development does not take advantage of classes and in
    >house development of activex controls. I have read quite a bit about these
    >technologies and I am finding it difficult to convince my manager on developing
    >code based on components. Most of the developement is based on putting code
    >under buttons etc on a form. Also the approach used is based on prototyping
    >a system and then adding code and modifying it etc. The application design
    >stage is not thought out properly.
    >I have been sent on various training courses and have completed them successfully,
    >but have not been able to use what I have learnt due to the limitations

    of
    >the infrastructure over here.
    >On the more positive side of things I have lots of time to do what I want
    > and am given lots of time to read and learn about new technology e.g. XML
    >etc..
    >I have now worked for 1 and a half years in this company and I am getting
    >more responsibility, but I am curious to know how to work in a team environment
    >with a properly structured project.
    >What should I do should I move on, and if so in what area?
    >Should I consider VBA programming with front office, or should I take a

    course
    >in SQL server and then look for a proper VB programming role?
    >Or should I stay in this company and try and change how developement is

    carried
    >out internally?
    >
    >As for qualifications:
    >
    >I have an MSc in Information managment, but this in not a technical masters
    >degree, although we covered ER-moddeling etc main focus was on SSM Soft

    systems
    >methodology.
    >
    >I also got a brain bench and brain buzz qualifcation with VB6.
    >
    >Please advise me
    >Thanks Manoj
    >


    I understand where you are coming from. Without working alongside more experienced
    developers it is difficult to learn best practices.

    You could consider becoming an MCSD. I found it a useful exercise in that
    it forced me to learn stuff I would not have bothered with otherwise, and
    provided structure to my reading. It does have the downside that a lot of
    what you learn you will never use, but you get that with any form of study.


    I have found the MCSD helpful in changing jobs and getting pay increases,
    so if you do decide to change it will make it easer. But I would put aside
    a good 12 months, the exams are not as easy as some people would have you
    believe.

    Richard.



  5. #5
    Manoj Guest

    Re: What are my options?


    Hi Elena,
    Thanks for your response. You are right that I would probably not get the
    opportunity to learn new skills etc in a different position. I guess I would
    miss it.
    The training I get I had to really fight for it, its sort of part of my overall
    package, obviously my salary is a lot less as a result.
    As for moving toward the VB end, I have a lot of influance in that area,
    I am going on a SQL server course for a week, I can then ask to migrate existing
    databases to SQL server. To be honest I really only work on one database.
    I started out cleaning up a big mess, it was really poorly designed with
    no referencial integrity in place and all the primary keys etc did not have
    any naming convention, infect they got me a consultant to work with initially,
    but I took responsibility for it and we got rid of the consultant after 3
    days. To be honest no one could really help, you had to figure out the whole
    DB based on queries and reports and then identify what table links existed.
    Anyway I also managed to automate the dataentry and now the system has become
    one of the big success stories of our department. Since its client focused
    we get direct revenue for it.
    Now things have moved on, our client wanted the reports on their intrenet
    developed by a competitor, initially we were ment to give them an excel sheet,
    however I developed a front end prototype, which by chance was seen by our
    new IT manager, who then suggested the use of Citrix Nfuse to send the application
    over the internet to the client. I have been the main guy invovled in setting
    up the web pages etc. The plan is that once the client gives sugestions we
    ammend the program to accomodate them. My program is not to complex cause
    I found an activex component that handels most of the display work. I spend
    most of my time on this project but to be honest there is little work now.
    There is the odd bit of maintenance, and adhoc reporting that I need to do,
    but most of it runs smoothesly.
    Infect now I have been asked to create another database with similer functionality,
    it just involved copying the old one and making a few modifications but because
    of politics I have to say that its taken me 3 months to create.
    But yes I can always ask to migrate everything to SQL server, which might
    be quite nice.

    As fot job security I am fairly secure as I am needed for most of the client
    focused developments. You see we have team the does internal work and our
    department is focused on client related development mainly automation, usually
    on the account that are million pounds plus.

    I guess there is no were to go for an internal promotion, cause above my
    is my boss who is at group level, I guess the only way to move up would be
    for our department to grow. You see initially our department was a cost center
    now it is a business unit which means we have our own P&L account.
    I guess if the business in the development area grows it would help. You
    see my boss is a statistician but he know a excel VBA and msAccess , I havent
    seen him use VB6. The other lad in our department just does a some excel
    work and then uses an inhouse specialist package to do some data analysis.
    So you see the situation is not that bad, but at the same time working in
    a stats department doing what I do does not quite work as well.
    The other thing is that our new IT manager is really very good, I respect
    him and he is a sort of roll model for me. He has a lot of work though cause
    the old manager had done a poor job, however this new manager is thinking
    of things like extreme programming etc. Now if he has all these ideas then
    obvioulsy he must have picked them up from his older work place no? His staff
    also get sent on training courses without them having to ask!!
    I guess the learning is important and my present boss did mention that the
    company would support me to do the MCSD, however I have not seen much action
    apart from the training courses which are sort of specific to our business.
    Anyway I would appreciate any help, the question is do I hang on and take
    a chance, or do I move on and take a chance?
    I am still a lot happier having a job then no job, cause there are people
    out of university who don't find a job that I have got.
    Whats your opinion?

    "Elena" <egermano@home.com> wrote:
    >
    >Hmmmm. There's a couple ways to look at this.
    >
    >First, there's a LOT of companies where no one uses classes and project

    management
    >techniques are lacking or non-existent. So don't immediately jump ship

    assuming
    >the next company will be better.
    >
    >Second, an employer that sends you to training and allows you time to look
    >at new technologies is an exceptional employer. Maybe the next employer

    will
    >do this and maybe he/she won't. It's hard to tell from the interview.
    >
    >In terms of programming techniques, you can just go ahead and look for ways
    >to implement these "better" techniques in the projects you are currently
    >doing. It doesn't sound like you'll get shot down in a code review! I

    have
    >done this myself when I was stuck in a back room and couldn't get on the
    >"good" projects. You can still go to an interview in the future and say
    >with complete truthfulness that you have done this type of work using technology
    >such-and-such. And you'll be learning these techniques in a low-stress environment
    >since you seem to have extra time on your hands.
    >
    >You can always proselytize new technologies/methods with the rest of the
    >IT staff but you need to go slow so as not to offend people with an "I'm
    >better than you" attitude. Also, if by "more responsibility" you mean you
    >are on track to be a project leader of some sort, you might at that time
    >be able to push these practices and point to your own past work (which has
    >implemented some of these techniques) as sample code.
    >
    >It seems to me that the Office programming environment does provide a lot
    >of very useful capabilities but probably represents a much smaller segment
    >of the job market than regular VB/Database programming. So I probably wouldn't
    >hang too many hopes on that.
    >
    >Ultimately, if you can't find a way to work new technical opportunities

    into
    >your job, then maybe you will have to leave. But it's probably worth trying
    >to work with your current situation for a little while longer because it
    >affords you time and training to learn - - two things in short supply at
    >a lot of places.
    >
    >Elena
    >
    >
    >"Manoj" <AKshah1@Yahoo.com> wrote:
    >>
    >>Hi,
    >>I am currently working as the only developer in my department. We also

    have
    >>an IT department, where there are a number of other developers. At the

    moment
    >>my main skills are VBA and VB. However I am a bit concerned about how we
    >>develop applications in this company.
    >>At present most vb development does not take advantage of classes and in
    >>house development of activex controls. I have read quite a bit about these
    >>technologies and I am finding it difficult to convince my manager on developing
    >>code based on components. Most of the developement is based on putting

    code
    >>under buttons etc on a form. Also the approach used is based on prototyping
    >>a system and then adding code and modifying it etc. The application design
    >>stage is not thought out properly.
    >>I have been sent on various training courses and have completed them successfully,
    >>but have not been able to use what I have learnt due to the limitations

    >of
    >>the infrastructure over here.
    >>On the more positive side of things I have lots of time to do what I want
    >> and am given lots of time to read and learn about new technology e.g.

    XML
    >>etc..
    >>I have now worked for 1 and a half years in this company and I am getting
    >>more responsibility, but I am curious to know how to work in a team environment
    >>with a properly structured project.
    >>What should I do should I move on, and if so in what area?
    >>Should I consider VBA programming with front office, or should I take a

    >course
    >>in SQL server and then look for a proper VB programming role?
    >>Or should I stay in this company and try and change how developement is

    >carried
    >>out internally?
    >>
    >>As for qualifications:
    >>
    >>I have an MSc in Information managment, but this in not a technical masters
    >>degree, although we covered ER-moddeling etc main focus was on SSM Soft

    >systems
    >>methodology.
    >>
    >>I also got a brain bench and brain buzz qualifcation with VB6.
    >>
    >>Please advise me
    >>Thanks Manoj
    >>

    >



  6. #6
    Manoj Guest

    Re: What are my options?


    Hi Jeff,
    Thanks for your post, you seem to have given me a nice outline of what one
    should consider.
    At the moment my pay aint very good, but I don't really know what my market
    value is, I have seen jobs advertised for abot 30K and also at 18K doing
    more or less the same thing. It just does not seem to make sense. Some VBA
    Excel jobs pay even 40K.
    As for job security, this job is very secure, don't see myself getting fired
    or any redundancy, infect quite the opposite.
    As for other roles, what other non technical roles might I get? There is
    nothing like managment cause there is no one under me.
    As for working with others, I think I sort of like it, I really enjoyed my
    group works in University when everybody pulled there weight, over here its
    not that I don't get to work with others, I do get a chance sometimes, but
    not in the same way as a proper IT team. What are the unplesent aspects of
    working with others? I thought youd get a better project cause you can discuss
    things and bounce Ideas of each other no?
    As far as technology things shall always change in this industry, however
    we have clients who are way behind us. I mean one of our biggest "Blue Chip"
    client did not even use Word or Excel, there processes are really in efficient.
    I think its mainly the smaller copanies and the financials that seem up to
    date, most other companies don't seem to be that upto date.
    Also various staff in these companies do not really work that productively,
    for example using simple things like pivot tables and auto filters in Excel
    would really improve there lives!!
    I sometimes feel like taking a few months out and learning C++ I did C is
    uni, and I wrote the master mind game in it. However if you ask me debug
    some C code I would have a problem. Although I would like to learn visual
    c++ as I might have more application for it.
    I probably don't mind the pay cut, but at the same time I am getting training,
    the question is whats better? A pay cut with a proper development structure
    or same pay and training. What I don't know is how much an entry level post
    would pay.
    So what are you going to do? Take the pay cut and move on, or stay and try
    and improve things?
    You are right about that brainbench certification! I shall probably try for
    the microsoft one. I also got a brainbuzz certification!! The thing is that
    the exams are just as tough, but free! Do you know now you have to pay for
    that crap brainbench certification.
    So let me know what you think and what you plan to do for yourself. I sometimes
    think I should probably do IT recruitment, but the truth is I do enjoy coding!
    Thanks Manoj


    "Jeff" <jeff@nospam.com> wrote:
    >
    >Your choice really depends on several factors:
    >
    >- How much money you make versus how much you could make elsewhere (both
    >immidiately and long-term)
    >- Your job security with your employer
    >- What your responsibilities are (just technical vs. other roles in the

    company)
    >- How much you really want to work with other people
    >
    >I really don't think your situation is that uncommon. In a lot of ways,
    >you have a pretty cool job - you get to prototype and then put the code

    behind
    >it. You can improve that process - being a team of one, you can have more
    >of an impact. There are a lot of "unpleasant" aspects of having to deal
    >with other people on projects - a lot of people would love the chance to
    >be a lone ranger. But you sacrifice a lot of the skills that make you more
    >marketable when you work by yourself.
    >
    >If technology would remain stable, then I would suggest that you evaluate
    >what you like to do and the pay you would get by doing it and make a decision
    >from there. But a big factor in any decision like this is whether the technology
    >will be viable in the future. If technology didn't change so much, you

    wouldn't
    >risk falling behind as much, but that's not the case.
    >
    >I still suggest you look at the big picture. If you're happy where you

    are,
    >and you feel you're paid a decent salary, and you think your job and the
    >company are secure, then you should consider staying and trying to implement
    >some improvements into the group. Take more responsibility, possibly more
    >non-technical responsibility. But if you're just not sure, and if you're
    >wiling to take a pay cut, you might consider moving on. I'm not saying

    you'd
    >have to take a pay cut, but with your skill set and experience, you might
    >be considered for an entry-level position rather than a more experienced
    >one. If you're paid well now, then a pay cut is a possibility. A lot of
    >people get stuck doing something they don't want to do because they don't
    >want to take that initial cut in pay to try something new (I'm in that boat...).
    > Then again, a lot of people want to try something new and realize that

    it
    >is not as good as what they did before. So give this a lot of consideration.
    >
    >I got a BrainBench certification in VB6, and it has not opened any doors
    >for me. Nothing wrong with taking the test and getting the certification,
    >but don't expect it to mean anything to most people, unfortunately.
    >
    >Good luck.
    >



  7. #7
    Manoj Shah Guest

    Re: What are my options?


    Hi,
    Thanks for the advice, its something I can take on. Infect my boss wants
    me to become certified, but I took the test exams and they seem difficult.
    Although I done a lot of my learning based on these exam outline. I guess
    I should persue with more effort on the MCSD! I think the desktop exam is
    quite hard, there are some really trivial questions that one can find easy
    by just using the object browser. I have same test from measure up and I
    score around 65%-70% I guess with a bit more effort I shall be ready for
    the main exam. However VB6 exams might not last that long cause of VB.Net
    etc. At the momment I seem to want to learn more about XML etc rather then
    to stick with the MCP VB Desktop exams for some reason.
    Do you know when the exam would change so that we would need to update to
    VB.net?


    I do
    "RichardB" <richardb@icc.com.au> wrote:
    >
    >"Manoj" <AKshah1@Yahoo.com> wrote:
    >>
    >>Hi,
    >>I am currently working as the only developer in my department. We also

    have
    >>an IT department, where there are a number of other developers. At the

    moment
    >>my main skills are VBA and VB. However I am a bit concerned about how we
    >>develop applications in this company.
    >>At present most vb development does not take advantage of classes and in
    >>house development of activex controls. I have read quite a bit about these
    >>technologies and I am finding it difficult to convince my manager on developing
    >>code based on components. Most of the developement is based on putting

    code
    >>under buttons etc on a form. Also the approach used is based on prototyping
    >>a system and then adding code and modifying it etc. The application design
    >>stage is not thought out properly.
    >>I have been sent on various training courses and have completed them successfully,
    >>but have not been able to use what I have learnt due to the limitations

    >of
    >>the infrastructure over here.
    >>On the more positive side of things I have lots of time to do what I want
    >> and am given lots of time to read and learn about new technology e.g.

    XML
    >>etc..
    >>I have now worked for 1 and a half years in this company and I am getting
    >>more responsibility, but I am curious to know how to work in a team environment
    >>with a properly structured project.
    >>What should I do should I move on, and if so in what area?
    >>Should I consider VBA programming with front office, or should I take a

    >course
    >>in SQL server and then look for a proper VB programming role?
    >>Or should I stay in this company and try and change how developement is

    >carried
    >>out internally?
    >>
    >>As for qualifications:
    >>
    >>I have an MSc in Information managment, but this in not a technical masters
    >>degree, although we covered ER-moddeling etc main focus was on SSM Soft

    >systems
    >>methodology.
    >>
    >>I also got a brain bench and brain buzz qualifcation with VB6.
    >>
    >>Please advise me
    >>Thanks Manoj
    >>

    >
    >I understand where you are coming from. Without working alongside more experienced
    >developers it is difficult to learn best practices.
    >
    >You could consider becoming an MCSD. I found it a useful exercise in that
    >it forced me to learn stuff I would not have bothered with otherwise, and
    >provided structure to my reading. It does have the downside that a lot of
    >what you learn you will never use, but you get that with any form of study.
    >
    >
    >I have found the MCSD helpful in changing jobs and getting pay increases,
    >so if you do decide to change it will make it easer. But I would put aside
    >a good 12 months, the exams are not as easy as some people would have you
    >believe.
    >
    >Richard.
    >
    >



  8. #8
    Elena Guest

    Re: What are my options?


    I've been looking over some of the other replies as well as your own . . .


    Normally, I'm not a big fan of certifications - - I did an MCSD myself a
    few years back and was told by many employers it was worthless. However,
    it did give structure to my studies - - it told me what topics to study and
    what depth one should cover each topic. If your employer encourages an MCSD,
    then I think it would be a good idea. If you thought the current exams were
    difficult (and I'm sure they are - I certified under an older set of exams)
    then studying for the exams will help you bring your technical skills up
    to speed. If you were to obtain a job as a VB programmer somewhere, you
    would be expected to already know this stuff. As for .Net exams, I'd expect
    Microsoft to have them out within 6 months of the release of .Net. Expect
    your certifications to expire quickly (1 to 2 years).

    So maybe you start the certification studies while you keep working at your
    current employer. Right now the job market isn't the best anyway. Let's
    say you pass the exams within a year and THEN go out looking around. You
    never really know what the options are until you start job-hunting. But
    for myself, I never wanted to just duplicate my current job with a few more
    bucks. I was always looking for a big change - - in technology, in responsibility,
    whatever. So keep that in mind. If it's just another job putting some VBA
    code behind a spreadsheet then you really haven't moved forward.

    Also, as for users not creating pivot tables and things like that, that's
    pretty standard. In each company I come across only a few power users, most
    of the rest of the people are just formatting text and doing some basic math.


  9. #9
    simon Guest

    Re: What are my options?

    Manoj,

    Unless you want to get into consulting, you don't really need any
    programming certification. Consulting firms need to have all those
    certified people to maintain their Microsoft Solution Provider status. But
    if you are doing development work for a single company, chances are the
    management doesn't care what certification you have. Bear in mind that many
    people who passed the certification exams solely by memorization, and that
    is the last thing a company wants from you.

    More important things that employers are looking for are: How much paid
    programming experience do you have? How well can you solve problem? What
    is your "people" skill? How well can you work as a team (how well can you
    fit into the group)? How well can you communicate with your superior and
    with the clients/users (if you have to deal with clients/users)?

    I think those are important things for you to concentrate on, and not to
    acquire any certification. Also, try to get more experience on full
    life-cycle development of application. It looks good to prospective
    employers. Another good experience to have is to do more data warehousing
    projects at your current company.

    Learning XML is good. It is going to be an important part of software
    development. Our shop is using it a lot. And don't spend any more time on
    VBA.

    Just my $0.02.

    simon.



    "Manoj Shah" <AKshah1@yahoo.com> wrote in message
    news:3ac9bb5c$1@news.devx.com...
    >
    > Hi,
    > Thanks for the advice, its something I can take on. Infect my boss wants
    > me to become certified, but I took the test exams and they seem

    difficult.
    > Although I done a lot of my learning based on these exam outline. I guess
    > I should persue with more effort on the MCSD! I think the desktop exam is
    > quite hard, there are some really trivial questions that one can find easy
    > by just using the object browser. I have same test from measure up and I
    > score around 65%-70% I guess with a bit more effort I shall be ready for
    > the main exam. However VB6 exams might not last that long cause of VB.Net
    > etc. At the momment I seem to want to learn more about XML etc rather then
    > to stick with the MCP VB Desktop exams for some reason.
    > Do you know when the exam would change so that we would need to update to
    > VB.net?
    >
    >
    > I do
    > "RichardB" <richardb@icc.com.au> wrote:
    > >
    > >"Manoj" <AKshah1@Yahoo.com> wrote:
    > >>
    > >>Hi,
    > >>I am currently working as the only developer in my department. We also

    > have
    > >>an IT department, where there are a number of other developers. At the

    > moment
    > >>my main skills are VBA and VB. However I am a bit concerned about how we
    > >>develop applications in this company.
    > >>At present most vb development does not take advantage of classes and in
    > >>house development of activex controls. I have read quite a bit about

    these
    > >>technologies and I am finding it difficult to convince my manager on

    developing
    > >>code based on components. Most of the developement is based on putting

    > code
    > >>under buttons etc on a form. Also the approach used is based on

    prototyping
    > >>a system and then adding code and modifying it etc. The application

    design
    > >>stage is not thought out properly.
    > >>I have been sent on various training courses and have completed them

    successfully,
    > >>but have not been able to use what I have learnt due to the limitations

    > >of
    > >>the infrastructure over here.
    > >>On the more positive side of things I have lots of time to do what I

    want
    > >> and am given lots of time to read and learn about new technology e.g.

    > XML
    > >>etc..
    > >>I have now worked for 1 and a half years in this company and I am

    getting
    > >>more responsibility, but I am curious to know how to work in a team

    environment
    > >>with a properly structured project.
    > >>What should I do should I move on, and if so in what area?
    > >>Should I consider VBA programming with front office, or should I take a

    > >course
    > >>in SQL server and then look for a proper VB programming role?
    > >>Or should I stay in this company and try and change how developement is

    > >carried
    > >>out internally?
    > >>
    > >>As for qualifications:
    > >>
    > >>I have an MSc in Information managment, but this in not a technical

    masters
    > >>degree, although we covered ER-moddeling etc main focus was on SSM Soft

    > >systems
    > >>methodology.
    > >>
    > >>I also got a brain bench and brain buzz qualifcation with VB6.
    > >>
    > >>Please advise me
    > >>Thanks Manoj
    > >>

    > >
    > >I understand where you are coming from. Without working alongside more

    experienced
    > >developers it is difficult to learn best practices.
    > >
    > >You could consider becoming an MCSD. I found it a useful exercise in that
    > >it forced me to learn stuff I would not have bothered with otherwise, and
    > >provided structure to my reading. It does have the downside that a lot of
    > >what you learn you will never use, but you get that with any form of

    study.
    > >
    > >
    > >I have found the MCSD helpful in changing jobs and getting pay increases,
    > >so if you do decide to change it will make it easer. But I would put

    aside
    > >a good 12 months, the exams are not as easy as some people would have you
    > >believe.
    > >
    > >Richard.
    > >
    > >

    >



  10. #10
    Jeff Guest

    Re: What are my options?


    I think that one thing you really need to decide is what size of projects
    do you think you would prefer to work on. I've posted a couple of questions
    on that very topic (with very little response ). It sounds like you have
    a lot of good responsibilities, and you work with the end-users of your applications
    in many cases. On a large project, you lose some of that - the roles get
    a lot more specialized. But the larger the project, the more ideas you get
    from others. You're always learning from others on a large project, but
    you may be learning bad habits and not having the power to change them.
    That's one of the "unpleasant" things I meant. Other things that are frustrating
    are dealing with other people insisting their ideas are better, even when
    you know they aren't, and having to depend on them to get their part of the
    project done on schedule. And that works both ways too - sometimes they're
    the bottleneck, sometimes you are. There's good and bad with working on
    a team. If you're lucky, you get really good teammates, but sometimes you
    don't.

    It really depends a lot on your personality. Some people absolutely love
    the kind of job you have, where you have a good amount of control over things
    that get done. Some people would rather work as part of a large team and
    either be a leader of it or just go with the crowd. Personally, if I didn't
    have to consider the money part of the job (like if I did this type of work
    as a hobby), I would want a job like yours. I wouldn't be learning all the
    new stuff, but if I wasn't concerned about the money, then it would be no
    big deal. VBA and Excel and all that other stuff was new at one time, and
    VB6 and XML will one day be the old stuff.

    Maybe you can get a little more involved with the IT group at your current
    company. One of the other roles you can play is trainer - train the people
    how to use some of the advanced features in Excel (but make sure they see
    the value in it - don't give the impression you're forcing them to learn
    something that won't benefit them).

    I agree with some of the other posters - certification may not be that beneficial.
    You may be better off now to concentrate on making yourself really valuable
    to your current employer and adding value to the group as much as you can.
    Definitely stay on top of emerging trends, and if you find a way to implement
    new technology that will benefit the company, then go for it. Make sure
    it will benefit the company, though. You can learn some good estimating
    and budgeting and financial skills, and those are good to have anywhere.

    Good luck.


  11. #11
    RichardB Guest

    Re: What are my options?


    "simon" <substring0@hotmail.com> wrote:
    >Manoj,
    >
    >Unless you want to get into consulting, you don't really need any
    >programming certification. Consulting firms need to have all those
    >certified people to maintain their Microsoft Solution Provider status.

    But
    >if you are doing development work for a single company, chances are the
    >management doesn't care what certification you have. Bear in mind that

    many
    >people who passed the certification exams solely by memorization, and that
    >is the last thing a company wants from you.
    >
    >More important things that employers are looking for are: How much paid
    >programming experience do you have? How well can you solve problem? What
    >is your "people" skill? How well can you work as a team (how well can you
    >fit into the group)? How well can you communicate with your superior and
    >with the clients/users (if you have to deal with clients/users)?
    >
    >I think those are important things for you to concentrate on, and not to
    >acquire any certification. Also, try to get more experience on full
    >life-cycle development of application. It looks good to prospective
    >employers. Another good experience to have is to do more data warehousing
    >projects at your current company.
    >
    >Learning XML is good. It is going to be an important part of software
    >development. Our shop is using it a lot. And don't spend any more time

    on
    >VBA.
    >
    >Just my $0.02.
    >
    >simon.
    >


    I agree that certification does not necessarily make you a decent programmer,
    and the VB6 desktop exam really is a waste of time, especially if you spend
    all of your time coding VB components.

    You could always become certified in XML
    http://www-4.ibm.com/software/ad/certify/adcdxmv1.html


  12. #12
    Frustrated IT Worker Guest

    Re: What are my options?


    Others here have already done a fairly good job of covering most of your questions
    and concerns so I will just briefly comment on two of your questions.

    >What should I do should I move on, and if so in what area?
    >Should I consider VBA programming with front office, or should I take a

    course
    >in SQL server and then look for a proper VB programming role?


    Well, Microsoft was encouraging developers to create add-ins for its Office
    products (seen a couple books come out recently on Outlook VBA programming),
    however, they have been fairly quiet lately regarding the long-term future
    of VBA. VBA is great for creating integrated solutions, I just don't know
    what the market demand is for this skill. Maybe you should post a few questions
    in one of the Microsoft newsgroups and see what type of response you get
    (then let us know).

    If you have to choose between a VBA course and an SQL Server course, I would
    vote for taking the SQL Server course. If possible study before taking the
    course then ask a lot of questions during class.

    Talk to the IT department's PM and see if you can somehow get involved in
    a future software project. Maybe you could ask for permission to sit in on
    some of the group meetings as an observer and/or at be included on the project's
    e-mail list?

    What exactly do you do? Mainly Excel VBA programming? Why did your company
    get rid of the consultant/contractor after 3 days? My guess would be that
    he/she didn't have the proper technical skills to do the required work.

  13. #13
    Manoj Guest

    Re: What are my options?


    Hi,
    Thanks for your reply, Lets me start by answering the consultant question
    first. The consultant was not much use even though he knew his stuff. Basicly
    it was an excersise of sorting out tables, and getting the database reorganised
    something that is a bit like donkey work. I could handle the task without
    help from the consultant.
    Next, I have planty of VBA skills, don't need any training on them. Also
    my full role does include VB app programming but the problem is that they
    are desktop apps that we put on to a citrix server, thus its fairly easy.
    At times VBA is more difficult. I just got another job offer, doing VBA automation
    for a law firm, the money is better by 7K however I probably be in the same
    situation I am in at the moment. I have also done the advanced VB courser
    i.e. web apps using webclasses etc, however at the end of that course I thought
    It would probably be better to use the ASP (active server pages) instead
    of VB.
    I guess i'll get a chance to migrate to SQL server and that shall be a good
    experience.
    Take Care
    Manoj



    "Frustrated IT Worker" <frustrated@nospam.com> wrote:
    >
    >Others here have already done a fairly good job of covering most of your

    questions
    >and concerns so I will just briefly comment on two of your questions.
    >
    >>What should I do should I move on, and if so in what area?
    >>Should I consider VBA programming with front office, or should I take a

    >course
    >>in SQL server and then look for a proper VB programming role?

    >
    >Well, Microsoft was encouraging developers to create add-ins for its Office
    >products (seen a couple books come out recently on Outlook VBA programming),
    >however, they have been fairly quiet lately regarding the long-term future
    >of VBA. VBA is great for creating integrated solutions, I just don't know
    >what the market demand is for this skill. Maybe you should post a few questions
    >in one of the Microsoft newsgroups and see what type of response you get
    >(then let us know).
    >
    >If you have to choose between a VBA course and an SQL Server course, I would
    >vote for taking the SQL Server course. If possible study before taking the
    >course then ask a lot of questions during class.
    >
    >Talk to the IT department's PM and see if you can somehow get involved in
    >a future software project. Maybe you could ask for permission to sit in

    on
    >some of the group meetings as an observer and/or at be included on the project's
    >e-mail list?
    >
    >What exactly do you do? Mainly Excel VBA programming? Why did your company
    >get rid of the consultant/contractor after 3 days? My guess would be that
    >he/she didn't have the proper technical skills to do the required work.



  14. #14
    Matthew Cromer Guest

    Re: What are my options?


    Anyone doing development in the US and doing it well should be compensated
    AT LEAST 50K, 60K+ is the norm for good developers. That's for a permanent
    job with a real company. Anyone working as a consultant whether hourly or
    salaried ought to make at least 75K, and any mid to senior consultant in
    a decent market should make 100K+. This is assuming 2000 hr. / yr. and that
    you are not in a small isolated town in rural America.

    I can't imagine the company where developers are paid 30K on average, 40K
    for the "top guns". You couldn't touch a C student out of college with a
    CS degree for 30K in my area (Raleigh, NC) , nor anyone with no degree and
    3 months programming experience.

    Matthew Cromer

  15. #15
    Frustrated IT Worker Guest

    Re: What are my options?


    Law firms are none to be cheap so before you take the offer ask some questions
    about training, etc. Citrix server is that how your clients run your apps
    remotely? Never used it myself, but I have been told that it a cheap alternative
    to webifying legacy desktop applications. I bet the response is bad on a
    dial up.

    Webclasses -- forget about them their dead. ASP -- will be around for sometime.
    I really haven't had the opportunity read up on the .NET framework, however,
    it appears that it will make web development more accessible to the programming
    masses. That is they won't have to learn a whole slew of scripting languages.

    What's wrong with your situation? Many people seem to think (idea comes from
    books, magazines, hype?) that everyone is doing software development correctly
    except for the company they work at. Well, the reality is that most people
    are in a situation similiar to yours. Companies/Teams that have their act
    together are tough to find.

    "Manoj" <AKshah1@yahoo.com> wrote:





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