So starting in about four weeks that horse taking me somewhere else within the company, sort of. I'll be going to the 'New Ventures' group which is kind of like a startup company within the company but without most of the real PITA stuff that accompanies working in a startup. I am taking on more risk (and had to clear that with Barb) because on bad times such groups may be the first to feel the axe, but at this point that's acceptable. (It doesn't hurt that I'll be working with two of these guys...) A lot of the position is fuzzy but I'll almost certainly be doing some embedded development in C/C++, plus other areas I'm unaccustomed to. (Tips on learning these things very welcome!) But also some areas I'm very familiar with: gluing systems together, architecture, general problem-solving, rapid development.
One of the reasons I applied for the job was to push myself, not only technologically but also career-wise. Because it's a small team this will almost certainly be much more customer-facing than I've been in a while. And that's a good thing.
I think I've learned a few things in my time in the QA department. First is that I'd be silly to take a job where I wasn't doing development, evidenced by the fact that I wasn't in my testing job two weeks before I started developing tools for automation. I solve problems with code, other people solve problems with meetings and planning. I just really like coding (even in Java) and should treat that as a strength rather than something to avoid because of potential iffy career futures.
Second, I wanted to see what it was like to be part of a larger team and in a more structured environment. It's been illuminating, but I think I'll stick with small teams. Why? I can't put my finger on it yet, but suffice it to say that while some people find structure, meetings and lots of up-front documentation liberating, I don't.
Anyway, we'll see what happens.