This article presumes you are familiar with Microsoft’s .NET initiative. In case you are not, please refer to Microsoft for more information.
Starting a new career? Thinking about changing one? Planning to switch jobs? It’s very important that the next choice you make is the right one.
Career paths in .NET lead from designer to architect level and may run in parallel to your existing skills.
The first step in choosing a career in software development with .NET is to understand one's interests and abilities. This insight helps starters and professionals alike to evaluate the wealth of career choices and identify those that match their aptitudes and interests.
Begin with assessing your experience with at least one of these environments.
- Rapid Application Development like Microsoft Visual Basic®, MS Office, MS Access, Sybase PowerBuilder and Delphi.
- Web Application Development using ASP, JSP, ColdFusion, FrontPage, DreamWeaver Perl, Delphi, IBM, WebSphere.
- Enterprise Application Development with Microsoft Foundation Classes, Enterprise JavaBeans, UNIX C/C++ platforms, distributed computing environments, customer information and control systems.
- Systems Development spanning Services and drivers, appliances/embedded systems, UNIX daemons, real-time systems.
- Other Language and Script Development: APL, Lisp, JScript®, COBOL, Perl, Scheme/Tcl, Eiffel, other third party languages.
Step two involves learning the .NET Framework fundamentals with a .NET based language that’s best for you. Developers with a background in enterprise application development are encouraged to take up C# or upgrade to the .NET version of their language* while starters will find Visual Basic .NET quiet straightforward.
The third and final step is choosing the most relevant development scenario and tuning down to the most appropriate job role in its hierarchy below.
The development scenarios broadly divide into four parts: smart client applications, XML web services and server components, data services, and solutions design and development.
Web Interface Developer
Designs and implements user interfaces for Web applications. (HTML, CSS, Microsoft FrontPage®, Microsoft Office, Web forms designer)
Web Application Developer
Develops online applications that communicate with remote components and XML Web services. (ASP .NET, Web Forms, server controls, DHTML, XML, XSLT, Web services, XPath)
Mobile Application Developer
Develops applications for mobile platforms that may also communicate with remote components and XML Web services. (.NET Compact Framework, Smart Device Extensions, Web services, Microsoft Mobile Information Server, Microsoft SQL Server for Windows CE)
Windows Application Developer
Develops applications for Windows desktop platforms that may also communicate with remote components and XML Web services. (Windows Forms, GDI+, printing, COM/COM+ interoperability, Visual FoxPro®, ActiveX®, interoperability, Web services)
Windows Collaboration Developer
Develops workflow and productivity applications, as well as web parts and services, for the Windows desktop. (Microsoft Exchange Server CDO and Web Store, Microsoft FrontPage extensions, Microsoft Visual Studio for Applications)
XML Web Services and Server Components
Business Component Developer
Develops scaleable and secure server components and XML Web services with transaction and messaging capabilities. (Security, Serviced components, asynchronous and offline services, interoperability, transactions, pooling, XML, .NET Passport)
Portal Component Developer
Develops server components that provide Web parts, Web services, and collaborative workflow capabilities to smart clients and other server components. (Web parts, digital dashboards, OWC, Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft SharePoint™ Portal server, Team Services, Microsoft Content Management Server, Passport)
Data Component Developer
Develops server components and XML Web services with data access, update and persistence capabilities. (ADO.NET, SQLXML, XSD mapping, data binding, XSLT, SQL Server)
Data Workflow Designer
Creates data workflow designs used in Web and enterprise environments. (XML, Microsoft Visio® drawing and diagramming software, BizTalk® orchestration, business process mapping)
Designs, builds and tests optimization of database design. (E/R Diagrams, normalizing, indexing, optimizing, Enterprise Manager Query Optimizer).
Data Access Developer
Creates applications for accessing and/or providing data throughout the enterprise. (ADO.NET, OLEDB/SQL/ODBC providers, SQLXML, XSD and database schema mapping)
Develops scaleable Microsoft SQL Server databases—using stored procedures, triggers, user-defined functions and data transformation routines—to provide secure data storage and access. (Database design, security, distributed databases, and transactions ETL—extraction, transformation, and loading—of data, interoperability, and integration with existing data stores, Structured Query Language (SQL), stored procedures, triggers, and user-defined functions, DTS)
Data Integration Developer
Creates applications for e-commerce integration and data compatibility maintenance. (XSLT, DTS, Host Integration Server, BizTalk mapping and adapters, XPath)
Develops multidimensional databases and cubes for analytical processing, including scripts for multidimensional analysis. (OLAP Services, ADOMD, MDX scripting, business data analysis, interoperability, and integration with multidimensional databases and existing OLTP databases, Structured Query Language (SQL), DTS)
Solutions Design and Development
Solutions Designer and Architect
Designs solutions to meet business, user, and requirements; makes tradeoffs among features, schedule, and resources; designs solution architecture requirements: gathering and analysis, patterns practices, security, integration and interoperability, solution design, application architecture, functional specification, technical specification)
Patterns & Practices Guidance
Specific recommendations that illustrate how to deploy, and operate architecturally sound challenging business and technical scenarios. This technical guidance is reviewed and approved by Microsoft engineering teams, consultants, Support Services, partners, and customers.
Microsoft Technology Solutions
Microsoft Solution for Internet Business
Tools and features that deliver the content, commerce, and collaboration capabilities for integrating with business partners, connecting with customers, and empowering employees.
Microsoft Solution for Supplier Enablement
An extensible, integrated extranet solution that enables suppliers to sell more effectively to their business customers through multiple electronic sales channels.
Microsoft Solution for HIPAA
Healthcare organizations can use the Microsoft BizTalk Accelerator for HIPAA to quickly build a flexible solution for complying with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) regulations and updates.
Microsoft Platform for Business Intelligence
Flexible solutions that enable companies to aggregate data from numerous sources, build and manage a data warehouse, and provide analysis tools to employees.
As you see .NET framework offers many exciting career paths. Your career success depends on the job role you choose. Good luck!
Note to Readers
Contents of this article have been inspired from an episode on the .NET Show and some information has been innovated from the .NET Roadmap PDF.