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My contract has just ended and I'm wondering what possible jobs I might want to look at next.

I've worked in banking and insurance industry for all my career (including one Fortune 500 company) and in my experience banking is the slowest (and most boring) industry to work for due to their strict business practices (which is fair enough). The upside is that they pay well.

My questions are:

  • What are the best and worst industries for developers to work in? That is, in the industries you have worked in, what was good and bad from a developer perspective (money, work, culture, benefits, colleagues, etc.)?
  • How does working as a consultant affect your opinion of an industry?
  • Seeing that I've mentioned boredom, which industry supports fast growth?
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FYI: Community Wiki is (effectively) no more - it's a moderator switch only these days. –  middaparka Jan 17 '11 at 15:44
    
@middaparka: Ah, so that's where it went. I've seen it reappear now and then, I knew it wasn't gone completely. –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Jan 17 '11 at 15:57
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If someone suggests gaming industry is the best place to work - they are telling half the truth. Work hours are very demanding in that industry and maintaining a work/life balance is quite hard in my opinion. –  CoolBeans Jan 17 '11 at 15:58
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@Walter - better? –  Jon Hopkins Jan 17 '11 at 17:31
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@Jon - better, nice edit. –  Walter Jan 17 '11 at 18:50
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8 Answers

up vote 19 down vote accepted

I'd look at a software house or specialist IT consultancy.

These are organisations where you as a developer are key to what they do - you're not a cost centre or a necessary evil, they exist because of you and have no business without you.

As such they tend to have cultures and processes built with developers at their core and I suspect you'll find that when it comes to your working life, that's worth a lot on a day to day basis.

That's not to say you'll always have the best kit (banks usually have better because they have more money), but they are the ones who are most likely to have standards, values and ways of working that most closely mirror what works well for the average developer (rather than, say, the average banker, lawyer, accountant or whoever). Plus you will tend to have management who have some experience of technology and get it more than average.

Two caveats I'd add:

1) There are sectors that will pay better - particularly finance. Only you can weigh up that against the work and the environment.

2) Consultancies can be pretty demanding in terms of hours and geographical flexibility. Again, you need to work out whether that's something that matters (if you're young then the travel might be appealing) or not.

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It depends on you. There's no singular best industry for all developers to work on. The problem space is different, the approaches to solving problems is different, the work conditions are different. Also, even within the same industry, different companies (and sometimes, in large companies, divisions) have different characteristics.

The only thing to do is find out what makes you happy at work and go for that.

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+1... I'd add: whichever one you're passionate about. –  red-dirt Jan 18 '11 at 22:23
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Healthcare IT

It is the merger of the two fastest growing and most likely to be around till everyone is dead industries.

Nurses are often the friendliest end users as well.

There are lots of different ways to approach the same problem and if you get bored doing HL7 on the receiving end you can switch to doing it on the transmitting end and get a whole new experience.

The only downside is the intense government regulation.

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It all depends on what you like to do. If you bore quickly then I suggest you consider working for a consultancy, where you get new clients all the time, and probably one in the smaller business market where projects are smaller, so even if you get one you don't like, you move on quickly enough.

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My opinion is go for software house because they mostly tends to have different kinds/nature of project and you will never get bored.

One thing that is quite demanding these days is Mobile Development and if you are a java developer than go for Android development

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Could you give an example of what you would call a "sofware house"? –  Mark C Jan 18 '11 at 18:20
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I've been in the Construction, Manufacturing, and Healthcare industries. They've all got their own unique challenges and benefits. They've all been good to me because I've always been fortunate to work with good people.

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I will never work in the financial domain no matter what the pay. I hope that answers your question. Find the work that you like and than stick to that Industry.

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I second that. +1 –  Orbling Jan 18 '11 at 21:25
    
@Geek, I fully agree with you. –  Buhake Sindi Jan 19 '11 at 12:58
    
Just out of interest - Why? –  Gavin Clarke Jan 30 '11 at 17:33
    
@Gavin: I would want all my learning to be on a computer science related domain. I find it boring to to write code so that a chargeback get's adjusted in the DB properly or to do load balancing because 8-6 is peak time for trading hours. I find all finance domain related learning boring, How about computer security, how to prevent someone from getting into your system, how about learning how to optimise a DB so that it becomes optimized for Inserts :-) It is just a matter of interest, finance is a good domain but not my cup of tea. –  Geek Jan 30 '11 at 18:01
    
@Geek - Each to their own, but I think you'd be surprised at the level of technical depth required for some finance tech roles. Particularly in performance optimisation, and security. –  Gavin Clarke Jan 30 '11 at 19:02
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Well I think many developers would like the culture best at a start-up.

Benefits are probably best in a large bureaucratic company or government organization.

Interesting work would most depend on where your own interests lie, could be health care, could be finance, could be aviation and/or spaceflight, could be gaming, could be comsulting because any one industry is boring to you. Or you might want to work in mobile apps or designing the next new programming language or all sorts of other interesting challenges. For me, the chance to do something interesting no matter the industry is the draw for a job. So I ask about what types of problems they will have me working on.

There is no one size fits all best development job.

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