Jan 13, 2014

What offers the best job opportunities? Development (i.e. Java) versus after-sales support engineer?

I am working as a core technical support engineer in a medium-size organization. I was hired as a Java developer trainee, but was moved to a technical support role after a year. I have a good working knowledge of Java, but not an expert. My total experience now is 3 years. Now I am not sure which way to go. Does after-sales support have much opportunity? And what other knowledge and experience do I need to move towards a business analyst, or business architects role (i.e. maybe international business customer support experience?). Or should I brush up on my technical skills and go back to development, or explore the automation arena?

I'd check Simply Hired and some of the other job sites and see what employers are hiring for in terms of these two job options. You might be able to see current trends for each position that way, and you'll have an idea of the requirements for each position.
Coding has many more opportunities for growth, including with your own business. Java is waning a bit in popularity (it has a lot of security holes) but there's still plenty of java development going on. Also learning java gives you a big leg-up on learning the next language. It's a sort of a fashion thing. Languages go in and out of style. An up and coming language is Ruby right now, but a developer will need to learn a new language very year or two anyway. Lots of similarities from language to language. Product support will always be needed but it's low end work by comparison.
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