As of March 2016, I am now a Front-end Web Developer. I left my almost decade long career as a Location Software Test Engineer who used to work with location technologies on cellphones to move to coding full time. Here is how I made that happen.
How I changed my career in a few bullet points
- Dabble with front end stuff – CSS, Web Design, hacking PHP, HTML, JS for a few years as side projects just because I wanted to.
- Decide that I enjoyed this front end work so much that I wanted a career in that.
- Explored the market for front-end developers. What was the compensation, career growth possibilities, number of front-end jobs on the market, etc
- Started learning to be a front-end developer on the side while working a full time job. I have to say that this was the hardest part. Trying to learn, everyday while doing justice to your paycheck, managing a new baby and the ubiquitous housework made for a very challenging time. How did I cope? Scheduling everything, sleeping early, waking up early, trying all kinds of essentialist and time productive methodologies, learning myself better and trying to keep me nourished mentally and energetically (thankfully food has never been a problem) and trying hard not to ignore the burn out. Think a 100 mile bike ride every day – for a year or more. There are downhills and tailwinds …and then there are not. I digress… that is a blog post for some other time.
- Joining Udacity to get a Nanodegree to help structure my learning and to provide creds for the new field.
- Finally quitting my job because I was totally burnt out with the juggling, and had decided to take the proverbial leap into a new career. So I took a break to study full-time for a few months and then find a new job. This was the hardest part. Well second hardest, this quitting my well paying full time job with great benefits and a solid reputation in my field and trying something new where I would be a starting engineer having to build my reputation all over again.
- Finished my Nanodegree, put together my resume, started a few side projects.
- Took a month’s holiday.
- Applied for full time-jobs and got one as a front-end developer .
That is my story. And here are some links about career recycling.
- My post from 2014 titled “How to reinvent yourself“
- Derek Sivers – Change careers like Tarzan
- Kevin Kelly – Here’s why it’s never too late to reinvent yourself
- Psychology today – The “Turning Age 30, 40 or 50 Crisir” for women