Hi Need help to choose/switch the career


I did my education in computer sceince and then start development job mostly in Java, JSP.

Then I did job for 5 years as IBM Websphere Commerce developer. I live in Canada and in Canada
there are not much jobs on IBM Websphere commerce and as I was lay-off for 10 months and I am out of touch with development.

I am thinking to change my IT path. My first thinking and wish is that I should be expert in what I do for job.

It does not matter that it is small thing or less pay. May be it it is jut HTML but I should be fully expert.

and second thinking that I should get job easily.

So I see two paths.

1) I should go in Java and become expert of it. But with java I need spring, hibernate, webservices etc.

2) I go to database side and become as Database Administrator or Database developer (ETL developer).

I have 8+ years experience in java and 5 years experience in IBM Webspherecommerce (based on JAVA/J2EE).

Can you please guide me that which line is more easy and quick to be expert and has more jobs. As I said,
salary is not an issue.


Edit: Also I want to give me steps as summary to follow to become expert in the suggested line for example if you say java expert is better, read that book, then go to this certification etc.

You can suggest totaly new thing like php ... expert in Magento etc. as I love to work free lancer.  But as I said I live in Canada so at least I have to earn much to survive here.
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Gary PattersonVP Technology / Senior Consultant Commented:
Do an analysis of the types of IT jobs in your country / region, and determine what skill sets are in high demand.

WebSphere Commerce is a great skill to have.  But it isn't a high-demand skill that you see job postings for every day.  To me, that means it should be a secondary skill.

Then you need to consider - are these skills that will still be in demand, or that you can build on 5 years, 10, years, 15 years down the road.  Java?  Good primary skill.  Database?  Good primary skill.  ETL tools?  Secondary skill.

How do you become an expert?  

By working harder than the person next to you.  Certification is fine.  I have certifications, but what really matters is what you know how to do.  You have to read the manuals.  You have to be the one to try out the new features.  You have to set up the systems at home and load the early release code.  You have to read the publications and the blogs, you have to keep up with the changes from version to version, and establish relationships with other experts.  

I can't give you a magic formula - you just need to invest that 10,000 hours that it takes to become an expert in a technical specialty.

Then you have to invest the next 10,000 on the next skill to keep yourself relevant.

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slightwv (䄆 Netminder) Commented:
A person I respected long ago told me:
Find something you can do for 16 hours a day and make a career out of it.

If you like programming then the DBA world is probably out for you.  If you live and die for data/normalization/troubleshooting problems/etc...  then a DBA might work for you.

Not much freelance DBA work out there.  If you choose that path and can earn a reputation, then there is money in consulting but you are a hired gun and that comes with some expectations.

As far as gaining that reputation, I like physical training environments to get started.  No CBTs, self-study, etc...  No Boot Camps!!!

Reading books is great but when it comes to finding a job, I don't care what books you've read.  I only care about what you've done.

That gets into the loop:  I need a job to do before I can show I've done it but I need experience to get a job...

Sites like this can help.  My member profile link is top on my resume.  You want to see what I am capable of, view my profile an look at the code I've posted.

Maybe you can start answering questions here to show you can apply what you claim to know.

I've been doing Oracle Database work for over 25 years and I still learn something by participating here just about every day!
K2516Author Commented:
Thanks guys for the answers. I agree that I need to put hours and hours of reading, practicing and participating in discussions. And I am willing to do this, I am not trying to find the short-cut. but the thing I am trying to find that after putting 10000 hours .. I dont want to say myself .. hey .. you were on wrong train..

I like programming - and like also databases too.. but you can say I am level 1 on both. with programming I have experience and easy to sell myself. for database I have to start from beginning.

I am 40 years old .. so dont have much time that ok lets see what will happen if I do this. java I see as very vast field. I like to do mobile development android and ios but their projects are short term.

Ok I put my question the other way: For example if I want to be expert java does it enough;
1. read re-read java manual , practice all examples, practice sample code
2. expert in spring/hibernate
3. expert in webservices

or if choose DBA developer :
learn dbs. for example oracle
- learn some ETL tool
- learn to design the data warehouse/ data modeling
- learn some reporting tool

Which path is better for a new person; my interest is equal on both side .. only difference is that i have 8 years java exp. 5 years websphere commerce exp. (but not an expert) and in dba just very basic knowledge or may be 0 knowledge.

But I am willing to put effort as hard as possible, as much hours as I can and will do lot of practice.
slightwv (䄆 Netminder) Commented:
Java and DBA are very wide topics.

I cannot speak for Java but in the DBA area there are many nested layers that require very different skill sets.

Main two categories:
Developemnt DBA
Production DBA

Then under them it depends on the specific shop you want to be in.

I've been in some where the DBA only provide the 'playing field' and analysts/developers create the tables/indexes/etc...

I've been in some where the DBA is the Subject Matter Expert and is consulted in ALL aspects of the system including table/index design.

IMO, Production DBA jobs aren't as much fun.  It can be a good paycheck but you NEVER get to 'play' and are typically on call or shift work.  When stuff isn't up, it is typically your fault even though the development DBA/app developers screwed it up in the design or coding...  ;)

I have the best of BOTH worlds.  I am 'THE DBA'.  I am responsible for development and production.  Well, the 'after hours' isn't that much fun but it is a compromise.

To your specifics:
ToolA over ToolB places you in a niche market.  Sort of where you are now.

For example, I've done ETL.  Being an Oracle guy, I use SQL loader and stored procedures.  Maybe some actual code or scripts.  I think it is better to 'know HOW' over I know 'ProductX'.

You might be great with a screwdriver but some day you'll need to drive a nail.  Sure a screw driver might work if the nail is small or the medium is cardboard but not with a spike nail into Oak.

Design/Modeling goes back to previous comments:
Depends on what you LOVE to do and what type of job you are wanting.  Production DBAs almost never use these skill.

Development DBAs rarely take tuning/performance into consideration.  Well, almost never...

DBAs are almost never involved in reporting.  That is typically a developer role.

All that said:
Different shops have different needs/roles.

As Gary mentioned:
Choose a primary but have secondary skills.

A development DBA likely needs design/PL/SQL skills.  Maybe not so much tuning/performance but IF you had that as a secondary skill, it would likely be invaluable because anything you send to production just runs without needing any babysitting.

Then you might be able to cross over to a production DBA since you already have the basics.  a production DBA with development knowledge can be helpful at 3AM when the database is down...
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