Other news: I've been asked a few times about including a bona fide forum on this site, and I'm having trouble making a decision. Some feel it would be helpful, but I'm worried about maintaining anonymity. Leave a comment, and let me know how you feel about it. When I get enough meaningful feedback, I'll install a forum (or not).
This is from an email I received about a year ago, concerning the job prospects for someone leaving the Developer role at Epic:
On job opportunities - This is from a developer perspective, naturally, though some parts may apply to QAers too.
a) Your skills are useless outside of Epic. Unless you are one of the privileged few to be working on mobile apps or Web stuff, your skills will not transfer at all. Cache is not used as much as it used to be, Wikipedia is wrong. Wall Street doesn't use it in any significant amount, and even if there is a hedge fund or two that still does, you ain't getting that job without a PhD, a half decade of experience, and contacts within the industry. And VB6 is a goddamn joke, don't even list it on your resume if you can help it. The sooner you get used to this, the sooner you can work around it.
b) It's not hopeless, but expect an uphill battle. If you want to stay in Madison, Epic has an iffy reputation among other development shops. I was flat out told in one interview that the only reason I didn't get the job is that Epic's technology and taught skill set is too old to transfer to the new company. I would highly advise you to (a) move out of Madison to an area where Epic doesn't have such an entrenched reputation, (b) consider a technical non-dev position (QA, IT analyst, technical writer, etc) where specific skills in specific languages don't matter as much, or (c) have a damn good Github or personal projects page. The reason I got so many calls back/interviews was because I did a lot of independent work in modern programming languages. Definitely brush up on Java and relational databases, that's what most (local) jobs want to see. If you really are struggling, find a community college and take an intro to Java class to refresh.
c) Even if you get an offer, don't expect anywhere near Epic salaries. The benefits Epic offers are standard, perfectly mediocre, so you probably won't notice much of a change in those. But it is a shock to go from making 6 figures to accepting a 30-40% pay cut. Thankfully, my new job is in an area I've always loved to work in, so that's personally a tradeoff I don't mind making. But you do need to consider that. Expect most entry-level jobs (which, let's face it, you need to apply for) to offer $60k-$70k. If you're a good negotiator, you can probably swing a $1k-$2k sign-on bonus. Long gone are the days of 5 figure sign-on bonuses like Epic gives.