What should I do next?

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John in Riverhead, New York

27 months ago

I got laid off in January after 15 years at the same company. My title at the time of layoff was Software Engineer II. I was hired as an engineering technician in 1997, and advanced over the years. I don't have a degree, just a certificate in Electronics Technology. I've take two or three college classes in computer science and couple in English.

I'd say half my time was spent writing programs to debug and validate our products in house. Most of the rest of my time I did testing of the products and worked with the hardware engineers debug the designs if necessary. I often used scopes and anaylzers in the course of debugging.

I generally wrote Visual Studio MFC programs, either GUI or console.

My problem is that I'm not confident of my programming skills. I knew how to do the things I needed to do for that job. I don't think I can just sit down and start typing away writing a program. I used to hear some of the guys around me sound like they were typing non-stop all day.

On top of all that, I've been having memory and concentration problems the past year or two due to some medication I'm on. I've had to look up some pretty basic things once in a while because I couldn't remember how to do it.

I was able to get my job done in a way that was more than satisfactory, and in fact was better than others. But I had long term knowledge of how to do the things needed for that job. I had my notes to refer to, my previous work to start with or use as a reference, and access to the internet to look up what I didn't know and find sample code if I needed it.

I'm looking for advice on what I should do next. Should I apply for a lesser position than I had? I'm not apposed to making somekind of career change where I still use some of the knowledge I have.

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