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Hi all,

I was just surfing by when I came across this website. I'm glad that I was able to join. I am looking for some career advice from all you I.T. professionals and I will really appreciate it if you could kindly take a minute or two to provide some advice.

I graduated in 1993 after obtaining a 2 year diploma in Mainframe Computer Programming. After leaving college, I never went back to it and worked for most part of my career life in Public Relations kind of jobs. I have now decided to work as an I.T. freelancer and want to know:

What kind of I.T. skills I can learn in the shortest period of time, that are highest in demand and the demand for such skills exceeds the available I.T. professionals?

So, just to rephrase, this is what I want:

- Learn an I.T. skill in the shortest period of time
- The I.T. skill must be in high demand and increasing
- There are not enough professionals available with that skill and therefore the demand for such professionals is more than the number of professionals available.
- I can work as a freelancer i.e. the job can be done virtually

I am quite serious about learning a new skill and any advice from you will be highly appreciated by me.

Best Wishes,

Al

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Last Post by ItCareerCoach
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> - Learn an I.T. skill in the shortest period of time
Does moving the mouse count?
Seriously, anything which pays well takes a LONG time to learn. You can't just chew on the end of a cat-5 cable, hope to absorb lots of information "matrix-style" and then 10 seconds later claim that you know "kung-fu".

> - The I.T. skill must be in high demand and increasing
Haven't you been following the news for the past year?
Pretty much everywhere is low demand and in danger of decreasing.
Though there doesn't seem to be a shortage of spammers unfortunately.

Sure there's the odd pocket doing well, but there will be a lot of people out there already looking for them, AND with the skills to do it right away (real skills from practical experience, not as you would imagine with a few hours of reading and an online test).

> - There are not enough professionals available with that skill and therefore ....
ROFL

There are lots of genuinely highly skilled people all chasing the few jobs that exist. You're starting from a much lower level.

Besides, by the time you realise that a particular area is "under skilled and overpaid", the rush to take advantage of it creates a glut of people and the chargeable rate collapses.

10 years ago at the height of .com, all you needed to do was be able to find your way to the office and turn on a PC, and you were a shoe-in for a web-designer job. Today is a very different prospect.

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I appreciate the time you have taken to provide your advice, however it doesn't really help me and what I mean by the "shortest time period" is not learning something within minutes. This is relative to a lot of choices out there.
What I need to know is what is the best choice for me NOW. And I have to start from somewhere - regardless of where I am today and regardless of where everybody else is.

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> I graduated in 1993 after obtaining a 2 year diploma in Mainframe Computer Programming
So do you know COBOL?

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Because if you do, then you've ticked most of your boxes.

Yes, I did. I was a topper in my college and I worked for 4 months doing cobol programming as part of the work placement. However, it's been many years now, so I'm not sure how much I can retain. But I liked programming because I think my analytical skills are good. So I don't think that I'll have a big problem catching up.
Is COBOL still in?

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> Is COBOL still in?
If by "in", you mean fashionable and trendy, and popular with all the kiddies and wannabies - no.

Which is why it makes a good solid career move.

http://www.cobolportal.com/developer/index.asp?bhjs=0
http://www.tbray.org/ongoing/When/200x/2004/09/22/Cobol5B
Now that's a LOT of code to maintain, and an ever diminishing pool of people to work on it because they're all starting to retire about now.

It's unlikely that you'll get a freelance job off the bat (especially now), so go permanent for a few years and really hone the skills.

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Now that's a LOT of code to maintain, and an ever diminishing pool of people to work on it because they're all starting to retire about now.

Or because they're doing the obvious to themselves. I tried to read some COBOL samples, and listening to AM radio static is much more stimulating.

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Hi all,

So, just to rephrase, this is what I want:

- Learn an I.T. skill in the shortest period of time.
- The I.T. skill must be in high demand and increasing
- There are not enough professionals available with that skill and therefore the demand for such professionals is more than the number of professionals available.
- I can work as a freelancer i.e. the job can be done virtually

Best Wishes,

Al

The COmputer Programming / Software Developer Industry allows you to work as a freelancer or as a consultant or contractor

There are more requests for skilled people than there are computer programmers. I know this because I get requests for skilled people all the time and the #1 most frequently asked for skill tends to be in computer programmer, database development, and web development

In terms of skills with the shortest learning curve, I will refer you to PHP/MYSQL or C#, ASP.NET and SQL Server

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