At the risk of starting another religious war, I'm looking for advice as to which skill is and will be more marketable: J2EE Certification or .Net certification.
I'm at a point where I could pursue either but need to focus on one of them first. I have a background in Java and dearly love the language but need to acquire skills that make me more marketable. Headhunters are advising me that .Net jobs are picking up at a faster pace.
Any feedback would be appreciated.
Check the job postings in your area.
If you check Monster.com, you'll see J2EE has much more demand. It's much broader than .Net in that it is used by more industry leaders than just Microsoft.
I dont think you can make a Carte Blanche statement that J2EE is much more in demand. I live in Austin, TX where that statement is true, but it is not true for every city.
If your city has a lot of successful Microsoft Solution Providers(MCSP's), it is quite likely that there will be more .NET jobs. This is all very region specific.
IMHO: I keep an eye on the job boards/sites every 2 weeks, and after having done this for 2 years, I have a good idea as to what the core marketable skills are in my city.
MCSP's *LOVE* certifications, and I would recommend the new .NET MCSD coupled with latest MCDBA (use transcender.com for studying). Also, In my city I am noticing a greater number of Java Jobs with certifications as a requirement. The SUN Certifications are great and hold a little more street credibility than the MS ones, since less people have them. Also, going all the way up to SUN Certified J2EE Architect is a good plan, as there are not that many of people that have that either.
Since the real motif behind the message is Job Security. I would also like to suggest you stay current in both. This can be done quite easily by focusing on server side development in both architectures. I really enjoy new technology so its worth the time to me, but I the approach below maximizes the similarities and saves you time in keeping current.
C# is almost identical (semantically) to Java. So this involves sticking with C# in .NET and learning about the COM+ Container,.NET Servers and Serviced Components whilst staying equally current in J2EE and the various J2EE Containers and API's. Getting certified in both will certainly help you achieve this. In addition, since the overall technology behind them overlaps in some places, its not too hard to keep up with both and it certainly doubles your job security in hard times.
I recently co-authored "Professional .NET programming for J2EE developers with C#" and Chapter 9 (Enterprise Services) covers the similarities between the two, which may help you put either architecture into perspective. That is not self promotion, heck, read it in the bookstore for all I care. Its just a quick overview that may help you stay employed.