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I was recently laid off, and now I'm looking to take this opportunity to add new technologies to my resume. I don't mean just padding with keywords; I mean developing real (albeit possibly small), useful applications that require me to, in the process, learn a new technology.

My choice of platform is a little confused, because I have about 1-2 years of experience with 10 or so languages/platforms (C++, Ruby, C#, Java, JEE, ASP.NET, Ruby, Rails, PHP, ...). I'm hoping this question will be generic to at least C#/Java, or maybe wider.

What are some absolutely essential technologies I should learn about, for Java and for .NET?

As an example, I would say based on my experience, a JEE example would be: Hibernate, Spring, Struts, EMMA, Ant, BEA WebLogic, and Hudson. (Note that they span the entire gamut from writing and compiling code to building and deploying applications.)

Edit: I will probably end up in a .NET web development job (ASP.NET, MVC2 if I'm lucky). That's what I'm looking for.

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You should specify better what kind of software you're planning to work with. A senior guy working with XNA or Managed DirectX has a different skill set than a guy working with CRUD apps. –  Vitor Apr 22 '11 at 2:56
just to clarify... you are a senior programmer with 1 to 2 years experience? –  webdad3 Apr 22 '11 at 2:58
@Victor, clarified. @webdad3 -- I hope so! Judging by other questions on PM.SE (eg. handle end-to-end from requirements to release; mentor others; etc.) -- it's a funny story. 1 year ASP.NET, 1.5 years Flex, 3 years J2EE + C++, 1 year Ruby, etc. etc. –  ashes999 Apr 22 '11 at 3:10
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1 Answer

up vote 1 down vote accepted

The jobs that recruiters seem to be hitting me up are in 2 major buckets:
1. .NET 4.0 positions, so LINQ and Entity Framework is emphasized in those.
2. Converting VB6 apps to .NET.

My current one has a bizarre combination of VB6 (the original app), C#, VB.NET and Python. Supporting applications include abominations best left unspoken. Other things around the office include FORTRAN.

One of the most significant changes I appear to have made at the current job was introducing continuous integration.

One focused method of study would be to complete one of the MCPD paths. I'd recommend one of the .NET 3.5 ones until you get a lot more experience with EF and LINQ. Oracle is now in charge of the equivalent Java certs.

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What if I have an unexplained severe allergic reaction to the EF? –  ashes999 Apr 22 '11 at 4:02
@ashes999, Then you would not be alone :) It is an excellent tool but hardly essential. –  Dave Wise Apr 22 '11 at 4:24
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