It is hard to know if I am making the right choices, but I know that at 40 my time is numbered in Microsoft support. So if development works for me, then perhaps it will give me longevity in this industry.
Any advice would be great and most appreciated.
It sounds like you're weighing some interesting options for career growth. According to industry surveys and reports, either Java/C# or SQL Server offer good growth and longevity opportunities, no matter which way you go. FWIW, development work is more taxing on the brain, means more time spent working alone, and requires the kind of mindset that revels in mastering arcane details and poring over the same lines of code until you get things right. As a former developer myself, I can appreciate the appeal of this kind of work. As long as you feel well-suited for that kind of work and work environment, you should be pretty well taken care of for your working career. One of my colleagues and co-workers is in his early 60s -- he's a Java and database expert himself -- and claims he plans to keep working until he's 75. (I'm talking about Dr. Bill Brogden, author of the Java 2 Programmer Exam Cram and numerous other Java titles.) If he can do it, I see no reason why you can't do it, too.
This was first published in July 2002