If you’ve been struggling for years to make ends meet in a low-paying job or you’re simply bored with the career you’ve been pursuing and want a change, you may want to consider shifting to a job in programming or information technology.
This can be an excellent mid-career job shift, but it is important to determine whether it is the right one for you and to understand the steps to make this transition.
Check Your Aptitude
Working as a programmer or in information technology is not for everyone. You should be realistic about how willing you are to move into a field that involves frequent changes.
Lifelong learning and acquiring new skills may sound exciting, but many people prefer to work in a slower-moving environment, and this may be true for you as well.
You should also consider whether you are prepared to master such concepts as computer architecture and object-oriented programming. Finally, retraining for this type of career may not be cheap.
Also Read: How to Make a Career in Machine Learning
Depending on the field you are working in, you might need to go back to school. This can be costly, but you can use a combination of your savings, grants, scholarships and loans to pay for a degree in computer science or something similar.
In addition to federal loans, you can take out private student loans. In fact, if you have been in the workforce long enough to build up a strong credit history, you might even be able to get lower interest rates than you would for federal loans.
Even if this is not the case, the variable interest rate associated with private loans could mean lower interest rates in the long run.
Learning on the Job
You might be able to teach yourself some things and learn others on the job you already have. Depending on your preferred role, learning such languages as Python, C++ or Java may be useful.
At work, you might look into opportunities that could allow you to transition into a more tech-oriented career. It’s important to consider whether you tend to enjoy working with people more, which could make you a strong candidate for something like project management, or if you prefer problem-solving and working with data, which could mean you would enjoy working as a data analyst.
Working in quality assurance can be an excellent way to get an overview of how apps and software are developed. The importance of such elements as clean code and a user-friendly interface.
Create a Portfolio
You’ll need to show your work, and the best way to do this is by creating a portfolio while you are training that you should share with employers while you are job hunting.
If the classes you are taking do not give you this opportunity, you might be able to do some projects for local businesses as a freelancer.
This could also be a way for you to try your hand at something such as website design and development and determine if it might be something you would like to do full time.