Career changes anyone?


#1

Hello, sorry to bother you all (well I actually hope I’m not ^^)

I recently realized, after 3 years in my current field, that I didn’t really like my job… Common one might say. I have a diploma in town planning enginneering, and have worked so far only as a civil servant. When I took the course in town planning, I thought it would be more scientific (I have a background in biology) but it turns out it’s 99% administrative which I find ultra-boring. Well anyway, long story short, I need something else ^^

When looking back, the part I liked the most about my engineering degree was the courses we had on database management system, GIS and (very small mind you) bases of SQL one semester. and even before that, during my original course (sorry, no equivalent in english for that, it’s “classe préparatoire”, a purely french system for entering engineering schools), we had like 2 hours a week learning bases of code on Matlab (yeah I know, not a real thing, but we still had some fun creating a why function, or basic game when we finished the exercises). So much that I thought “I should switch to computer science” back then. Which I never did, because France has a very linear education system, and at that time, it was just a thought.

So I decided to check if it may interest me more than my current job. And it seems like it does. I ended up here because for anything technical, (even more when it’s related to computers! ) I immediately switch to english for better results.

Anyway, it seems like I enjoyed the first few courses I did here. And I’m more interested in backend seemingly.

I checked courses to get a degree, but they are very expensive, and I have no idea of their actual value. Thing is, I think France is very attached to degrees. I read the topic on “How I landed a Real world dev job in 6 months” but I’m sceptical about the actual chances of that ever happening ^^

Chances of “switching to IT job” withing my current job is also close to nil since most public structures outsources everything.

So if anyone would wish to impart their wisdom, I’ll gladly accept it ^^

Also : Sorry for eventual english mistakes, or odd phrasing ^^


#2

Bon jour!

I am also interested in a career change. I have been a nurse for several years and want to get into programming. We have positions here in the US that allow nurses to do that, and there is also data science that seems like it could be something I’d like.

I actually looked into the French education system once. I thought it would be cool if I could work at the embassy or maybe an American hospital there. It is confusing lol. I don’t think our degrees match up.

I have been casually looking for new jobs here in the US. The programming jobs do not seem very strict on educational background. I have seen a lot that just say a bachelor’s plus programming experience. It seems like only some of the more scientific organizations require a specific background that might be in computer science, math or something like that.

Does anyone else here have experience with work or even job interviews? I’d like to know what the educational preferences are and if there is a market for people like us who come from different backgrounds.


#3

Hi,

I am changing careers too. I owned a business for 12 years, and burned out. I went back to school to finish my BA in psychology and possibly go on to graduate school. I will need to return to work by the end of the year and even with my BA, the jobs I was looking at will not pay enough. I have a background in disability accommodations and I know there is a big need for web accessibility testers, and developers. I’ve always wanted to learn how to code so I am going to take the leap and do it.
For web accessibility - some of the jobs don’t require coding per se, but the ability to understand what the code does, how it breaks, how it interferes with accessibility, how to fix it, etc.

The nice thing about this field is there seem to be a lot of remote jobs. So even if you got experience coding and stayed in France, you could potentially work for a company not local to you. I’m really only looking for remote work - I’ve worked at home for so many years, that the thought of going into an office everyday - I feel a little clausterphobic.

I agree that it seems like if you have the coding skills, the degree is less important. I believe that companies will be moving away from requiring broad degrees and be more open to people who have honed specialized skills. I attended the CES a couple of years ago, and there was a lot of discussion about gaining skills through MOOCs, and online microdegrees. College isn’t what it used to be. I’m finding that out first hand. It is very myopic and the way they teach subjects is so long and drawn out. I much prefer a deep dive into a subject for several weeks at a time, and then move on to the next one over taking 12 weeks only to have the professors regurgitate what I read in the book. Waste of my time.

Anyway, I’m here with the rest of the career changers. We can do it!!


#4

I wanted to give you guys an update. I’m parked in my car and about to go somewhere, so I apologise for any typos.

I have an interview tomorrow for a research company. They want me to work there as a clinical research nurse. They do a lot with data there. They have a lot of positions open for data scientist and programmers. So, I’m gonna ask a lot about cross-training, education benefits, and transferring to other positions. I’ll let you know what I find out.

Also, I found out that edx and Coursera have a partnership with some good schools. Edx partners with Berkeley and I spoke to a counselor there. They have a master’s in data science there and the program isn’t as selective as their undergrad. I’m gonna start studying for the GRE and apply for their spring program. They said anyone can apply and you’re not really competing for seats in a class because it’s online. They don’t care about your previous school either. You just have to demonstrate that you’re a good fit for the program and able to learn the material. I like Berkeley because it’s a top school, also because in state tuition is only about 10k for the whole program. Has anyone else looked into master’s programs?


#5

This is what Scott Adams calls your ‘talent stack’. What Dan Sullivan calls your ‘unique ability’.

In your case, you have great domain knowledge with your background. Every career switcher has that. Everyone has the areas that interest them, too. Add a great skill like programming into the mix and there’s a unique talent stack.

Add to that that your group are learning how to code in your own time, guided by your own desire to stretch, learn and improve…

This is gold for employers.

I can only speak for the UK, but it is entirely possibly to have a coding career without a degree. Freelancing may be an option if you want to ‘test the waters’ with your new skills, before making an actual career move. You might just like freelancing and the remote life might fit, too.

Can take a while to build up a head of steam as a freelancer, but it’s entirely possible, and your clients won’t care if you have a degree, just that you solve their problem. Build up a little history and some demand, and you’re in control of your rates, after that you’re in control of what kind of people and organisations you’d like to work with.