Changing career - which field?

#1

Hi!
I’ve been studying with CA the past 6 months in my free time and getting to the point where I want to change career fields but am not really sure where to even start.

My backstory:
I’ve been in recruitment for the past 6 years, and even though I’ve had a great time doing it, I’m now bored and needing a new challenge badly. About a year ago I made the decision I’d be leaving, but didn’t know what I wanted to do. After speaking with several friends in tech, the more I spoke with them the more it was something I was interested in and decided to start learning code in my spare time. It’s been tough, juggling a full-time job, social life, and studying, and there were points where I was maybe only getting an hour a week to do so. Thankfully the past several weeks I’ve been a lot more discliplined and doing 2 evenings a week plus Saturdays. Over the past 6 months I’ve learned HTML, CSS, basic Javascript, basic Ruby-On-Rails, SQL and I’m now nearing the end of the Data Science/Python course. Which leads me to my first problem:

The tech field is so large and diverse, what kind of jobs do I even go for? That is what I am hoping YOU the Code Academy forum audience can help with!

I will break this down into bullets to make it easier to fathom:

  • I want to build a long-term career in tech
  • I don’t want to spend all day with headphones in, I need human interaction!
  • I have 6+ years experience with Sales/Business Development/Client-facing/Interpersonal skills
  • I have recently been focusing on Data Science but will learn anything that is within my grasp
  • I currently earn OTE £50-£60k - I am willing to take a drop in salary to build a new career, but need to know it will be lucrative long-term and the drop short-term isn’t going to be TOO steep

Any sage advice for career transition novice??

Thanks,
Steve

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#2

What do you enjoy the most?

Since you’re changing careers, I would advise to make sure you have a good understanding of that.

e.g. do you enjoy front-end development more, or back-end development more? Front-end (i.e. web, mobile) development might get you more interaction with end users, as it necessarily involves visuals and interaction with the product.

Back-end development might end up being more like that headphone career.

I’d also advise that as and when you can, to learn about software development methodologies. You might make a good Scrum Master in time (look up Scrum methodology) – although note that this role is about servant leadership, not management (thought I would mention as this might jar with recruitment culture).

A similar angle would be to learn some Business Analysis (by which I don’t mean the salesy / data version of that role, but the software BA role). That’s maybe usually more a parallel career than coding, however there is a design / architectural side to the BA skillset which overlaps with that of development; people with that blend of skills tend to go on to become Solution or Technical Architects.

Essentially, consider an associated people-facing aspect to building software, for your mid-to-longer term career path. Also consider whether you’d like this people-facing aspect to be more business / end-user facing, or development team-facing.

Also consider what type / size of company would fit with your personality and requirements; e.g. smaller companies will likely allow you to overlap roles more and maybe do some more of the people-facing stuff or a dual role even, whereas in a larger company you might get less opportunity for that, and be expected to be more of a pure developer.

Some options for associated skill-areas:

Business / End-user-facing

  • UI / UX Designer (User Interface track)
  • Business Analyst (Business Analysis track)

Development Team-facing (mostly, but SA / TA will include client-facing too)

  • Solution / Technical Architect (Solutions Development track)
  • Scrum Master (Agile Methodology track)

Seems like you’re in the UK, have a nosey around the BCS website to understand more about the roles.

Some certification, whilst not essential, could help get you in the door where you want to be.

Combining one of the above with good development experience will (in time) be more lucrative than the figures you quote.

#3

Also, you do can a lot worse than to listen to Stef. A bit more detail here on some of the points I made in my post, and then some.

#4

Thanks! Really helpful advice, what I was hoping for!

I think as a starting point I will just get my foot in the door and get into the sector, then from there explore what I enjoy most. I’ve been studying Python recently and that’s seemingly an in-demand language right now so I think I’ll pursue those jobs as firstly to build up experience before trying to specialise in my chosen field.

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#5

Dumb question… Have you hinted to your superiors that you need more challenge? Often times an organization can find new positions for staff looking for new challenges. It’s prudent and wise to keep acclimatized staff in the pipeline. One’s career could change dramatically just in this regard. Your advancement on your own, notwithstanding. Only saying…

Setting aside all you’ve learned this past year, what skills do you most possess? What knowledge base are they drawn from. Here is your greatest strength leading up to you adding to your repertoire. Keep that in mind. What can you now contribute to the very field of endeavor you are presently in?

#6

Good point in @mtf’s reply about using your current industry knowledge.

Of course, coding isn’t the only IT career or route into the industry. There’s plenty of implementation consulting gigs.

One thing you will have from your years in recruiting, for example, is a pretty good understanding of recruitment CRM functionality.

Now add to that your growing technical skills, and a recruitment CRM implementation route is obviously a possibility. And your industry knowledge and client-facing skills will be valuable to such an employer; who then might be a bit less fussed at your previous lack of IT sector experience, as long as you have something to work with and are motivated to add to it.