I’ve been there, and warning in advance, this won’t be terribly positive.
I did a ton of work with a reporting tool, that was actually a lot more than one, an ERP and a database that I may as well leave off my resume. None of them are major brand names that anyone wants or for that matter, have even heard of. Switch the database to SQL Server, the reporting tools to Crystal or SSRS, and the ERP to some name brand accounting package, and I’ve never have lacked for work after my employer went under.
It’s sort of weird because developers, especially web developers, which I’ve done a bit of, all complain about how many things they have to know, which is true. But their job, mostly, stays within certain confines, a stack, a few languages, and so on and so forth. Someone like me, trying to work with databases and data warehousing, ran into crazy variability between the 100’s of report writers, ERP’s and even databases and versions of the same database. I thought it was a perfect fit with my background but the marked disagreed.
But, a lot of that is my fault. I stayed in the job. I didn’t push for raises, especially when the economy turned, and I paid for all of it because when things got hard everyone got a pay cut, even those of us who hadn’t gotten raises in years. I actually cussed out my boss over it because they never once, ever, volunteered a raise* but they sure didn’t hesitate on the pay cut. I’m sort of amazed I wasn’t fired, but then it didn’t matter, we were on a downhill ride that was only going to end one way.
All of that is going to take years more to fully recover from. I’m two jobs past and I’m probably at least one more from things feeling right.
In retrospect, it’s my fault. I didn’t get out and learn. I should have been cranking up my skill set and probably should have even left after a couple of years there. Don’t get me wrong, I learned things, mostly liked the place, and it was a very easy commute, did new stuff, stuff that should have helped my resume, but, well, it didn’t. It just amazes me that I get so little out of that time.
So, to help, you need to do something other than what you are doing. You are dead in the water if something goes sideways in that job and any job can go sideways (one retirement, a new hire, a new boss). Block out some spare time each week to study and learn. If you want to code, start writing code and get some code online. Write some articles, participate in forums online by contributing, and start doing stuff.
There’s no magical direction like pick language X and you’ll be gold. And it may not be quick or even up. I’ve gone backwards, twice now, and I still may need one more jump, I won’t go backwards again and don’t think I’ll need to, to get caught up. But, you need to find something that interests you, or that you can tolerate for money, and start doing it. You kind of don’t have any choice based on your post. Tech can be ruthless when your skill set is weak in anyway.
Anyways, not sure if I helped, but, for what it’s worth, I understand it, and wish you luck.
- Just to be clear, the lack of raises wasn’t performance based. It was a culture thing as I came to find out later, I was most definitely not alone.