Mid-life career change

Never realized that this forum was here on codecademy… :smiley:

I’m a 40yo with 20 years in print and digital graphic design. Over the last 8 years, I have self-taught myself HTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL/SQL Server, and enough javascript, jQuery and Ajax to be dangerous. I have several front-facing sites for possible clients/employers to review, but most of my work are internal sites and HTML-based reports.

Currently, my FTJ is based more around BI/data-analysis, operations, marketing and graphic design. I really want to make the move to developing on a full-time basis.

What steps should I take to make the jump?

TIA, Lincoln


Want to share some of that work with us so we can see a bit more about where you’re at?

Have you already been applying for work? Do you want to be a full-stack developer? You should give us more information!


Hello Daniel,

Links, to a few public-facing sites that I have developed, are at the end of this comment.

I’m not sure about full-stack, or if I even have enough knowledge to pursue that route. I enjoy solving problems. If I’m unsure of how to accomplish something, I will research and learn until I can figure a way to achieve the end result. I have no problem designing/developing from beginning to end.

I have not applied anywhere. Not even sure if I’m qualified to do so… kind of the reason I’m posting. :slight_smile:

I desire to telecommute, and must be able earn > $75k annually to transition to this, but don’t know if my knowledge level is commensurate.

Example Work:
http://calc.nwapawn.com – internal precious metal calculator for a pawnshop. circa 2011?
http://www.nwapawn.com – pawnshop website. 2015?
http://dev.soleradentalspa.com – in development. pending client content
http://www.vizualmagazine.comNSFW Glamour photography magazine website 2015/16?

There is more, but I am unable to share publicly.


If you worked on all of these mainly independently and from start to finish, I would say you are definitely qualified for a full stack career at the very least a junior position.

These sites are impressive! Love the design and the concept of the calculator.


:laughing: I like that the NSFW link is getting the most clicks!

A problem that I’d foresee here (and take this with a grain of salt, my guidance counselor days were several years ago) is that if you have only four projects to show me here. To demonstrate true passion about coding, it’s best to have a whole ream of projects, even if they aren’t for clients. Employers won’t care if your stopwatch app is no different than the 10,000 other stopwatch apps out there, what matters is that you made it and it demonstrates your skill & passion. If you’ve already been working with clients for development work and you have some examples to show, that’s a great start - do more of that, get more and more projects that you’ve done professionally for clients. That, to a large extent, makes you a professional developer in and of itself, and you should think & market yourself as such. For the places where you can’t share work, make sure you have good references to share.

There’s good posts on this topic if you search around the forums, but here are a few examples:

This whole thread

this whole thread

Brian’s advice

It won’t stop you from getting a job if you aren’t building projects for yourself on the side or if you don’t have more work to show to a prospective employer, but it will slow you down. As Oscar says (and I agree), if those projects you link to are all your own work… they’re great quality. They don’t necessarily demonstrate much back-end experience, so if you want to pursue that, you should keep building.

Throw everything up on your GitHub as you go, that’s very important. Consider making your own personal portfolio page like this, this, or this where you can populate it with your coding projects and information (particularly professional information) about yourself. If you want to focus on front-end, make it one of if not the best example of your front-end design work to be found anywhere. In any case, take pride in it.


i’m also a mid-career changer. my background is in Film Studies and Library & Information Science. i’ve combined these two areas in my work as a Media Library Coordinator for an entertainment corporation for the past 12 years. but i’ve turned my attention towards the tech industry over the past 2 years with the goal of landing a job with more flexibility and growth. i’m still not quite ready to interview for technical positions as my portfolio isn’t completed yet (and i’m still dealing with ways to combat impostor syndrome), so i’ve applied for mainly non-tech roles (Office Management, Customer Support, Community/Social Media positions, etc.), but to no avail just yet. it sounds like you are ready to make the leap, based on the sites you’ve shared. one day, i’ll be able to join you in that leap, too!


Wow @thelincster your sites are impressive.

My startup GoalsFund might be helpful if you are looking to make a career change. We provide financial resources and guidance to anyone looking to transition their career.

You can join our waitlist here, we are about to launch soon: