I'm planning on moving to NY in 6-12 months tops, so I'm forced to find a new job. When I'm planing to start my life in another city it's also probably a good time to think about career changes.
I've found a lot of different opinions about PHP vs .Net vs Java and this is not the topic here. I don't want to start a new fight about which language is better. Knowing a programming language is not the most important thing for being a software developer. To be a really good developer you need to know OOP, design patterns, testing... and a language is just a tool to make things happen.
So back to my question. I have mixed experience in IT - 1 year as an IT support guy (Windows administration and support), around 2 years of experience in embedded programming (VB.Net 2005) and for the last 2 years I'm working with PHP/MySQL. I have worked with Magento web shop, assisted in some projects in Symfony, modified few Drupal sites.
My main concerns are the following:
- Do I continue to improve my skills in PHP e.g. to start learning some major PHP framework like Zend, Symfony maybe get some PHP certification.
- Or do I start learning .NET or Java. I'm more familiar to .NET so I'll probably choose it if choice falls between .NET and Java ( or you could convince me to choose Java :).
Career-wise, I don't know what is the best choice. Learning a new framework and language is more time consuming then improving my existing skills in PHP. But with .NET you have a lot of possibilities (Windows 7 Phone development, Silverlight, WPF) and possibly bigger chances to find better jobs.
PHP jobs are less well payed then .NET, at least, according to my research (correct me if I'm wrong). But if I start now with .NET I'm just a beginner and my salary will be low. I need at least 2+ years of experience in some language to even try to find some job that is paying higher than $50-60k in NY. My main goal in the next 2-3 years is to try to find a job in the $60-80k category. Don't get me wrong, I'm not just chasing money, but money is an important factor when you're trying to start a family.
I'm 27 years old and I feel that there isn't a lot of room for wrong decisions regarding my career, so any advice will be very welcome.
Thank you all for spending time to help me with my problem. All of the answers and comments have been very helpful. I have decided to stick with PHP but also to learn C# and Silverlight 4. We'll see where the life will take me.