There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of when it’s a good time to switch careers. The answer depends on a variety of factors about your personal life, your goals, your interests and passions, and your financial status. However, most would probably agree that if you’ve been considering it for a while, you’ve likely been ready for a while.
Change can be difficult and a little scary. But, if you’re not committed to making a change for the better, then you’ll always be stuck wondering what might have been. Know that change starts from a small action and grows as you use your skills, resources, thoughts, ideas, and solutions to further your purpose.
Combine Your Current Skills with New Skills
One way to make the transition to a new career in tech easier is to find ways to combine your current skills with new skills. When trying to determine which new skills you should learn that will complement your existing skills, ask yourself “What am I interested in doing?” Other than naps, that is.
We like to study subjects we’re interested in. We spend the most time and energy on these things; like the nature of consciousness, time, or space. We also want to take care of our mind and body, think more than we do, help people, etc.
If you have a lot of ‘other stuff’ you’re interested in besides naps, try to figure out what kind of topics are most interesting to you. And, remember that whatever you decide is fine; each new skill acquired is providing a solid foundation for you to continue building upon. Learning is not a destination, and it is a life-long journey.
How to Gain Practical Skills
You have a myriad of options for obtaining the practical skills needed to switch to a career in the technology sector. In addition to computer science degrees from traditional colleges and universities, coding bootcamps are growing in popularity due to their flexible schedules, smaller price tags, and shorter time to completion and getting to work.
After you have answered the question of what interests you, research opportunities for technical jobs in areas that fit your interests to gain a better understanding of what skills you need. From there, you can try out the many free coding resources to test out your interests before committing to a bootcamp or degree program.
Start Working on Your Portfolio & Presence Now
Employers are quickly becoming more interested in the portfolios of prospective employees than how many degrees they hold. Having a strong project portfolio demonstrates you have practical skills and not just an academic understanding of those skills.
Of course, degrees will add more credibility, but they might not be the determining factor of whether you are hired. Proven experience, even if not paid experience, goes a long way in the hiring process. It doesn’t matter how small the project was, list it!
In addition to building a portfolio, you should start working on your online presence now. Start a personal website where you write about the field you’re interested in and share your projects. Share news about the field on social media. Network with others in your chosen field to get your name out there. Anything you can think of that will help establish that you are an authority in the area is going to be extremely helpful in making the transition easier.
Work-Life Balance for Families
Before embarking on the path to switching to a tech career, we recommend that you try to cultivate work-life balance and professional decision-making. It’s important to understand how the workplace functions and how your specific responsibilities will make a difference in both the professional and personal aspects of your career.
Gaining the necessary skills to keep an appropriate work-life balance can assist in the transition to post-secondary education by putting you in the right headspace. Many undergraduates have strong psychological needs during transition to university, and sometimes children to consider. Find ways to use a combination of parenting strategies and employment to cope with the complex demands of family life.