I'm finding myself in a bit of a pickle. I've been at a pretty comfortable IT group for almost a decade. I got my start here working on web development, mostly CRUD, but have demonstrated the ability to figure out more complex problems. I'm not a rock star, but I have received many compliments on my programming aptitude, and technologists and architects have commented on my ability to pick things up (for example, I recently learned a very popular web framework that shall remain nameless since I don’t want to be identified).
My problem is that, over time, my responsibilities have been shifting towards work such as support or ‘development’ with some rather niche products (afraid to mention here due to potential for being identified). Some of this work, if it includes anything resembling coding, is very menial scripting in languages such as Powershell or VBScript. The vast majority of the time, however, a typical day consists of going back and forth with the product’s vendor support to send them logs and apply configuration changes or patches they recommend. I’m basically starved for some actual software development.
However, even though I’m more than capable of doing that development work (and actually do a much better job at it than anything else), our boss is more interested in the kind of work I mentioned above, her reasoning being that since no one else in the organization wants to do it, it must mean job security. This has been going on for close to 3 years, and the only reason I have held on is on the promise that we would eventually get more development projects assigned to us.
Well, that turned out not to be true at all. A recent talk with the boss has just made it more explicitly clear, as she told me in no uncertain terms that it’s very likely that development work (web or otherwise) would go to another group. The reason given to me is that our we don’t have enough resources in our group to handle that.
So now I find myself in the position that I either have to stay in what has essentially become a dead end IT job that is tied to the fortunes of a niche stack of apps, or try to find a position that will be better for my long term career. My problem (is it a problem?), however, is that compared to others, my development projects in the last three years are very sparse in number. To compound things, projects using the latest and most popular frameworks, amount to the big fat number of just one—with no work of that kind in the foreseeable future.
I am very concerned that this sparseness in my resume is a deficit, and that it will hurt my chances of landing a different job. I’m also wondering how much it will hurt me, and whether that can be ameliorated with hobby projects of my own. I guess I’m looking for opinions.