Changing career from Hardware Engineering to Software Engineering

I just joined Codecademy, as I have recently started on a journey to switch careers from Hardware Engineering (as an EE), to Software Engineering.

I would really appreciate hearing feedback / advice from anyone that has a reasonable understanding / experience / or knowledge of industry pathway for career specific advice. This will be a bit verbose, but I’ll try to summarize my story… here is my professional background and thoughts on the career path change:

After 32 years in my current field of work (electronics, manufacturing, engineering, R&D, service/repair), I have made the brave decision to finally make the switch that I intended on many years ago. I started work in electronics when I was 19 years of age, as I’m now 52.

My desire for this change comes from multiple reasons: untapped potential; higher earning power; more job opportunities (including not having a 4y degree); more flexibility to eventually WFH (remote); increase the number of cities within the US that I could move to (hence afford a house) without the geographic limitation of fewer jobs in hardware. Enough? I think so.

In fact, I voluntarily quit my job last September in order to commit myself full-time to self study of various CS courses on Udemy. Currently, I am about 50% of the way through C++, 10% of Embedded Systems, and 10% of the way through Prod Dev & Sys Eng. I have many other courses purchased, but not started, such as Python, Data Structures & Algorithms, Embedded C Programming, Linux, etc.

While I am not completely certain what path I am on within CS, the idea behind the career switch (32 years into my current career) is that I have two general paths forward, with many commonality to those separate career pathways. The first is to make a complete switch into SW Dev/Eng. The other (if the complete switch doesn’t work) is to augment my current role as an EE (HW Engineer) by learning coding in general, but CS concept that will allow for entry to Embedded SW/FW/HW, microcontroller programming, etc. Having many courses in common means my efforts are much more likely to result in a fruitful outcome.

Thanks for any feedback or suggestions.

I’m a 42-year-old postal carrier who is tired of dealing with dogs. I want to change careers and get into tech, and I’m thinking about cybersecurity. I know you have way more technical experience than I do.

Jeremy, no matter what your background is, or what your reason for wanting to leave a given profession / career / job, the more important aspect is what you are considering move into as a new career / job, etc.

I have no knowledge or expertise about cybersecurity. However, I imagine there are many roles within the cybersecurity rungs of job titles. That being said, I think it warrant some investigation about two main things:

  1. What are the day-to-day tasks and skills that the various cybersecurity jobs / roles carry out (on the job)?
  2. What are the typical requirements (currently) for a wide sampling of cybersecurity as found in actual cybersecurity job postings?

#2 will lead you to the variety of different roles, and the required education and/or skills to acquire. Building those skills comes from both some form of education, and then practicing those skills, until you can eventually apply them in real world scenarios. Once you are able to take on some basic tasks and work that the role requires, it is then time to consider what are the typical interview questions asked for that particular role?

Be sure to create not just a new, and tailored resume for those newly acquired skills, but also build a portfolio for which captures and highlights those new skills and knowledge (education) applied in action–perhaps in the form of projects you take on yourself and/or volunteering or finding freelance work to get experience… because unfortunately, like most tech jobs, many employers are looking for people with experience. And as cliche as it sounds, “How do you get the experience, if they are all asking for that experience?”. The answer is here in this paragraph.

I hope that sincerely helps. Maybe take this with a grain of salt, as it might be better to dive deeper into cybersecurity specific forums and connect with those that are employed in that field to gain a better understanding.