For the last 3 years, I've been working as the lone .NET software developer in a large non-tech, manufacturing company. The work conditions and the pay are great, and it is a very stable position, particularly considering that this is my first full-fledged development job. In my group, there's the IT Manager, an IT-Network Engineer, Help Desk staff, and myself.
The problem I'm facing is that, since most of my work is fast application development projects (simple CRUD apps, web charts and database interfaces) I feel like my tech skills are stagnating, as I don't really get to do anything overtly complex. Many times, it's just the rehashing of something I've already done. It is very frustrating to read and research about frameworks and methodologies that, while great for larger projects, would amount to overkill for the stuff that is needed here. And with a family to return to every day after a 80 min commute, putting this to use in personal side projects is very complicated.
I'm not sure what path to follow: if I stay, I have great job stability, but will probably move on to something I don't really want (I've been informally anointed, against my wishes, as the next IT Manager, but that's not going to happen for at least 5 more years), and if I leave, I get uncertainty and significant pay cut, as I don't have the skill set needed for dedicated dev teams / projects. I feel like I'm trapped in a big company environment, yearning for the action and dynamics of smaller shops.
Anyone else in the same position? How did you manage to overcome the gaps between your skills and those required by the market? Did you stay at Big Corp, or moved to a smaller company?