Looking for IT Job, Need Advice

I plan on relocating from Chicago to Columbus next year and want to get into IT. I graduated with an MIS degree in 2001 but have not held a related job since then and do not care to pick up and start over in my current field (real estate) in a new city when I move.

That being said, I am hoping that some of you can provide advice as to what I should spend the next year doing to make myself marketable. I.E. what languages/technologies to brush up on. I have done a little coding here and there since I have graduated but my skills are pretty weak right now.

Coding always came pretty easy for me, so I would imagine that I could take a few refresher courses here in Chicago and have a working knowledge. The problem is that I have no idea what employers are looking for these days.

Hopefully this isn't a pipe dream and I can really get back into IT. Thanks for anything you can offer as far as advice goes.

ok. we need to get more specific.

are you interested in being a,

programmer?

sysadmin type?

network guy?

what, exactly, tickles your fancy.

Sorry!

Interested in programming, that is what a bulk of my education consisted of and what I most enjoyed.

The little bit of networking and sysadmin I learned really didn't do anything for me.

ok.

most jobs in this market are for stuff like Java or C#.

so, you'll probably pick one of those two paths. With Java, you'll need to know a bit about Windows and Unix, and with C# you'll need to know a bit about Windows.

if you're into web development, PHP is big as well.

there's also some space for Perl/Python/Ruby programmers at certain types of jobs, Internet companies and ISP's especially.

Ruby on Rails is taking off as a web dev framework.

you'll need to know XML, SQL, HTML/XHTML, Javascript as well with any of these, in all likelyhood.

check the local market and see what is in demand.

You're gonna miss the Chicago pizza.

RoR is on the spot........

I would think that you'd fit good in a QA position until your skills are refined again. I'm sure there are more than enough contract QA positions out there.

Am I wrong guys?

windycity do you know what you like to code in? if you don't have a preference do what RoR says else stay true to what you want to do. trust me man! as for QA, depends what type of QA role you're getting into. Some are pretty code heavy.

Good luck man.

PS - If you do have something you WANT to get into then check out sourceforge or googles version of this. Get into a project you know you'll like or in a field you want to do and CODE, CODE, CODE!

Thanks to all of you for the advice.

It sounds like my best bet, seeing as how I really don't have a preference as to what language I want to be coding, is to go take several classes in the next year to get my skills up to date and try to pick up some side work along the way for experience.

I was thinking of calling some IT recruiters in Columbus and finding out what they are having the most success placing as well.

Too bad it has taken five years post graduation to decide that I actually want to do what I went to school for, and yes, I will miss the Chicago pizza (Lou Malnatis is my fav)...

.net 2.0 c# express edition is your friend.

windycity, sorry i didn't mean to ask what you wanted to code in regards to language but what type of field? telecom? graphics? web services? etc etc

MK, a majority of the projects I worked on while in school consisted of building a GUI in HTML or occasionally VB, embedding some ASP that would, on the consumer end, allow for creation of records and entry of data and on the business end allow the user to search, update, delete, etc.records from a database which we built.

As to what field my past experience and what I am most comfortable doing best translates I guess I am really not sure, which has been part of the problem all along.

Dafelst: The languages I learned were the following:
ASP, HTML, Java, SQL, Visual Basic.

Earlier in the week I pulled out some old code I had written for a project. I can still tell you what everything's purpose is and what it does, I just can't sit down and write a program from scratch at this point.

I truly want to get back into IT, and from what I can tell from here and other discussions I need to go brush up and focus on .Net

What do you guys' thoughts on project management? How difficult is it to get into this end of the business?