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I've been seriously considering my career progress and would like to know your opinion on the following:

  • 5 years full-time employment as a software developer / web technologies / best practices
  • MSc Software Engineering student
  • based on typical tasks that I've been doing, I'd say I'm a Software Architect + sysadmin + security consultant.

The problem which exists with PHP is that most of its users (incl. employers) are sort of technological enthusiasts without proper training. Companies are small, typically start-ups, and they cannot afford following formal processes. Consequently, requirements engineering is skipped, project management is skipped, testing is about systematically clicking everywhere because use cases are skipped, architecture is skipped, documentation is skipped, etc.

I've been working on senior positions, incl. technical lead, and always addressed these issues until I started studying. For studies it's better to be an independent contractor working at home online. My aim is to join a medium / big company that can afford doing things as in the book and then I want to enjoy new challenges, bigger projects, other senior staff, etc. I've been also planning further study following my Master's.

Do you think Web Development with Java EE and Oracle 11g is what I need to achieve these goals? For the record, I have several years of experience with C/C++ and Java, but I did that mostly as an additional work. My positions were more about PHP and various enterprise systems / frameworks.

Thanks for exchanging your stack, this question may attract someone who has a few years' experience working exclusively with these technologies. :)

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This is totally off topic from your question, so I'm putting it as a comment. What you consider a PHP weakness is actually what I like about PHP. It makes it so easy to be better than most PHP developers. Further, PHP is widely popular, so there is a demand for PHP developers and a lack of supply of good devs, increasing my value. =) There are good PHP firms out there that are 10+ years. They are just few and far between. –  phpmeh Dec 5 '11 at 1:50
    
This is exactly why I've been staying with PHP for so long. High demand, lack of supply of good devs, and consequently making yourself a good career. You are also right about the good big firms. I've done a small research today and found a dozen or so from this month asking exactly for skills that I posses. Still, I'd like to do something more challenging. PHP + ZF has all of its engineering done and you only need to be familiar with and comply to the standards which most developers can't even do... Either the bar is too low, or I won't find Java EE stimulating either and switch to C++. –  user42242 Dec 6 '11 at 8:52
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migrated from stackoverflow.com Dec 5 '11 at 9:26

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Big companies tend to use Java (or .NET) more than PHP, so if that's what you want to do, it would definitely help doing some Java EE. However, I guess those are the kinds of places which might demand actual "serious production" experience with Java EE, so you might have to take positions which might seem a step back to you.

Oracle is also pretty popular there, but probably leaning more to the Java EE side will be more profitable (lots of places work with the database through JPA/Hibernate, which means Oracle-specific knowledge is less useful than normally). Be ready to deal with non-fancy stuff like Struts, JMS, EJBs, etc., which are also common in big, ugly but organized companies. They are slow to adopt new technologies and you might work with 5-year old stuff.

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