I know there are a ton of career change questions out there, but I can’t seem to find one that quite matches my cirumstances. I’m a 38 year old who has worked in healthcare (clinical side) my entire career. I’ve had no experience with computers or coding. I have been considering a career change for the better part of 5 years but haven’t been able to decide what career would be worth the risk of leaving my current job.
I just sort of stumbled upon coding and web development. I went through a couple of free online html/css courses and loved it. I love the problem solving, and the reward of seeing your code come to life. I’m also huge on improving workflow, so finding a way to code something more efficiently really appeals to me. The community seems fantastic and so helpful, and I love that part of it too. It’s all just so far removed from anything I’ve done my entire life, so I guess I have a couple of questions-
1- Is it realistic for me to expect to finish a codeacademy full-stack course and get a full-time job? ( my current career only required a certificate/associates degree so I don’t have a bachelors in anything.) Be honest. I understand this is quite a leap.
2- Can I REALLY learn what I need to learn from these online courses with so little computer experience? So many people on here seem have little experience but when you dig deeper you realize they’ve got CS degrees or used to code years ago. So if there’s anyone out there that really started these courses with ZERO experience and has had success, I’d love to hear from you.
I’m not sure if it matters, but I’ve really only dealt with front end stuff so far. I’m not opposed to back end or health informatics or any of the other things I’ve been reading about, but I just haven’t been exposed to them yet…
Thanks so much
There are so many people out there in same situation as us. I have taken risks to pursue this full-time and I’m currently living out of my savings month to month while working part-time during the weekends to cover some of my living expenses.
In this journey I have felt doubt at many times, and I still do. But I always remember myself to just trust the process; keep working, keep learning and keep building. Whether I get a job almost comes secondary, the priority is to actually develop and to keep growing your skill set. If you do that eventually you’ll be in a position where you can generate VALUE, and if you are able to generate value, chances are there someone out there willing to pay for it.
Whether you get a stable job or freelance yourself; or create a product or open a business. These options will appear organically as you continue to grow and, in the process, prove your value to other people by the weight of your work, networking, knowledge, a solid portfolio, or whatever other method you can use to display what you are able to do.
To answer to the 2nd point that you’ve mentioned. I believe it is totally possible to learn everything you need online. I think programming comes down to learning how to learn and solving problems. And the way to be better at those areas is by doing. So as long as you diversify your learning process you can definitely get where you want to be. That means, passive learning (studying syntax and such), active learning (creating projects and building stuff), and collaborating (working with others to learn from them and getting the much-needed feedback (and vice versa))
Best of luck in your journey.
I like the way you look at building value. Interesting perspective and very helpful. Thank you for sharing. Much appreciated.
If it will make you feel more positive - I’m 39 y/o with no work experience in IT and also my degree is nothing related to IT. I did furniture design, sales and customer service all my life, so it seemed natural to go to Front-End, but after trial and error (studying lots and lots of things to get familiar) - I am absolutely in love with Back-End and not going to change anymore. I’m also have no intention to give up as invested too much time in it and I really like to code!
- It is realistic to finish course and to get a job (provided you don’t drop out by our own decision). Regarding not having CS degree - it is not necessary but helps to understand things (especially those needed for back-end) - so Computer Science Path here would help a lot. Saying from my personal experience - currently started CS102 (2nd out of 5 modules) and also from advice I got from senior developers I know.
- If you feel you have Zero level of understanding computers - maybe do some IT basics course prior - here or anywhere else. Also, intro to DevOps is useful, as explains all the steps of create-to-release project. This platform is really good to start - because apart from explaining theory it encourages you to code all the time.
- What matters - is persistence and understanding in advance that often you will feel too stupid or not advancing fast enough - this will happen and this is the norm! If you ever feel stuck and need a chat - will be happy to help
Great info. Thanks for the replies. I really appreciate the help
Welcome! Also, forgot to mention - try to find some meetups organized by tech companies in your area (or online - if there are no around) - it’s great to mingle with tech people, ask questions about tech and jobs, see companies from inside and get inspired. It doesn’t matter if you are newbie or experienced - usually all are welcome! This way you will not feel that far away from your dream!
Hi, it would be great to know if you were successful in your career change, as it’s been a couple of years since your post.
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Hi, Leonadro - it’s not actually couple of years - I have no idea why the post shows as of January 2021 (I started learning on Codecademy a year ago only so my reply to original post can’t be any older, plus CS path I started much later). Anyway, I am on maternity leave 2nd year and for this reason I deliberately don’t apply for any jobs yet (will start from September 2023 onwards when my child goes to kindergarten).
Also, recently I was accepted to She Goes Tech Acceleration program (for women who want to change careers to IT field) back end path and I am working with a mentor (lead .NET developer) towards preparing me for that first job (either internship).
Hi, thanks for answering, it’s nice to see that you’re still working on it after an year. Good luck on your path