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I have worked in a highly specialized position for 10 years which involves RPG, CLP programming on an AS400, mainly to supplement a poorly written EDI app. My company does not hire enough people so I have also been wearing other hats up to and including help desk. The job is so demanding and frustrating that I am ashamed to say I have lost some of my skills in other programming languages and I have not had time nor the money to pay for any refresher courses. In fact I would not even know where to start. What is the easiest way for a person like me to transition from doing something I hate to something more fun or at least a change of pace.. like Web Development? I am looking at taking a training course and eventually getting an MCPD certification..would this do it? Also, do you really have to have some hands on experience with these languages to get certified or would 10 years of programming in another language suffice? Any advice would be helpful as I am extremely unhappy with my current professional life.

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closed as off topic by Yannis Rizos, thorsten müller, Mark Trapp Feb 4 '12 at 7:19

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Possible duplicate: programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/15449/… –  PersonalNexus Feb 4 '12 at 6:47
Hi Angie, welcome to Programmers! Unfortunately, career advice questions like this are off-topic here: we don't know you well enough to know what specific certifications or courses would be beneficial to you. Check out the link PersonalNexus provided for some general approaches to getting up to speed on web development, as well as this question for a general run down on the same subject. –  user8 Feb 4 '12 at 7:23

5 Answers 5

+1 to the open source projects. But do you really need refresher courses or you can go back although it needs time!

But participating in open source projects can bring a significant improvement in your programming skills. Its also fun because you dont get stuck a lot!

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Talk to your employer about adjusting your role. It sounds like you're the kind of person who knows a lot about how the company works, and a smart manager would bend over backward to keep you happy. At the same time, it'd probably be beneficial to the company for you to update your skills. At some point, they're going to want to transition from that AS/400 to a different platform, and having someone on board that can explain the old stuff in terms that web developers can understand will be very important.

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That's a dilemma. If your employer won't let you or more importantly won't pay for the courses I would suggest looking at the Open Source projects simply because it will let you get your hands on some practical experience which is invaluable and lets you be exposed to various development styles and languages.

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I think it depends on what kind of learner you are - introverted versus extroverted, or perhaps more precisely self-motivated versus group motivated.

If you are largely self motivated, come up with a task that's interesting to you (A website of family photos, a program that generates Mandelbrots, a program that analyzes financial market data - whatever interest you) and work your way through it. Almost everything you need to learn any language is online, and places like this are great support groups.

If you need external motivation and prodding, take a class or work towards a degree. Many reputable schools (Harvard and Stanford to name two) have masters degrees programs that are partially or fully on-line. The cost of the classes is tax deductible if it's remotely close to what you're doing professionally.

The beauty of coming to the leading edge after being gone for a while is the state of the art has improved so much, and the teaching methods have improved too!

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In most of the companies, people change platforms based on the credibility they have built in the past in the same company. Do you have such opportunities? If so I think your transition must be easy.

That said, you can join a crash course like NIIT where you can meet like minded programmers which will foster your interests. After completing a course and doing a few projects on your own you can study for certifications.

These accomplishments make your transition feasible.

Good luck!

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