Changing career, is it possible?

Hey all.

So a bit of background. I’ve always been interesting in coding and programming - I did an A Level at college (high school for those in the USA) and then went on to work for a year at a small company maintaining their website. Whilst I was there I also designed and created a bespoke system for the conferences they run - allowing people to book on , choose their sessions and for the admin in the company to get the information they need to organise the conference. I was pretty proud of it and it taught me a lot - mainly building my skills around html, css, js, php and MySQL. After my temporary contract finished at that company I decide to go to uni to study mathematics and computer science, however I became ill halfway through my first year and had to drop out. Due to my illness I couldn’t work for a couple of years and once I felt better the thought of going back to programming was frightening as I had lost a lot of my confidence.

I then went on to train as a social worker and have been doing that for the past 5 years. Whilst I generally enjoy my job it is just getting more stressful and more frustrating.

I didn’t stop coding after I dropped out of uni and continued to do small hobby projects mainly using js (especially react), php and python. I did some small projects for friends and family - mainly making static websites and also making changes to existing websites.

Recently I have started to think about leaving my job as a social worker to get a job in web/software development, however I’m not sure where to start. I’ve looked at jobs near me and they all want either a CS degree or at least 2 years experience.

I just wondered if anyone had any hints or tips with applying for jobs. I know I’m not ready yet and I still have a lot to learn and I’m Planning to do the fcc curriculum just to get back up to speed and do some projects. However I’m not sure if there’s anything else I can do to get a job in this field. Is it even possible? Would really value anyone’s opinion or advice. :slight_smile:

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This lady was a social worker who switched to being a developer. So this might be helpful: Reskill Americans Town Hall #12 | Kedasha Kerr - @itsthatladydev - YouTube
She talks about how she got her first job and what she did.

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Thanks I will definitely check that out!

Hi, welcome! :slight_smile:

This got long–sorry!

  1. Connect with people who you have some sort of personal connection with and use them to find jobs. I got a job, because I am a rock climber and connected with someone who was looking for devs in the climbing community. In a post I made on this forum about feeling inadequate for getting a job that way, others told stories about also using personal connections to find jobs (one person, for example, found a job through the trail running community). Talk to literally everyone you are around about wanting a coding job. Don’t shut up about it. Everyone in your life should know you are looking and would love any help at all finding a job. That’s how you find the one person you know with the hookup, if that makes sense. I’ve chatted about it on chair lifts at ski resorts, with my family, with high school friends, work (I’m still in education while also working as a dev) people, etc. You probably know someone who could help, but you might not yet know they can help you.

  2. Also consider jobs outside of your current location. You can look for jobs on StackOverFlow and Flex Jobs and other places and search specifically for remote jobs. I mention remote, because I’m in Colorado, USA and I don’t see a ton of jobs here that REQUIRE a CS degree, rather it’s preferred. I think perhaps the REQUIREMENT of a degree is location-specific, so maybe branching out can help. I think Glassdoor also lists remote jobs. And you could probably search the forum here for job finder resources. Remote jobs seem pretty common in web development (which is what I’m doing). I’ve gathered that both from the job posts I see and from the fact that people are all over the place on my team (I’m waiting for a colleague in Poland to get online and finish a ticket for an API endpoint I need to access that doesn’t exist yet).

  3. Would you be willing to relocate for a job? If yes, where? Maybe you live in like a rural area, but there is a big city with more tech opportunities a couple of hours away. Perhaps you could start looking for jobs there, knowing you’d be willing to relocate to that city for the right job. Relocation doesn’t have to be permanent. Maybe you ultimately don’t want to live in xxx city, but you’ll do it for a year or two to gain experience, and then you’ll be able to find something a little more ideal.

  4. Can you make a portfolio? Put together everything you’ve made and also reference work you’ve done on existing sites. And update your resume if you haven’t. My portfolio is here: lawrencek1992.com if you want an example. The fcc curriculum has one too. You don’t need to review the whole curriculum. If you can already write web apps with react/python/php, a lot of it is probably not super relevant to what you’ll really be writing for jobs. For example, the fcc curriculum has you make a portfolio and kind of expects you to only make it with html/css/vanilla js. But why could you bother with html and vanilla js when you can write in react? And why would you write a ton of css when bootstrap and material-ui exist with premade components and themes for you? (Also the curriculum on fcc is light on react and python imo, and the react section doesn’t cover hooks). I would focus on putting all your past work together in a good format. Also you can Google peoples’ portfolios for more examples. Mine is not nearly the coolest example I’ve seen.

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Im in my 30’s and switched careers 2 years ago, I’m currently a junior laravel dev. I fell into insurance after leaving uni and coded on and off.

I work in a company where we have our own development team and I got talking to the manager and was lucky enough to be offered a job.

with you being a social worker, do you work for the council? If your company have their own tech department can you speak to them to see if there are any openings for a junior.

Def have a look on linkedin, i often see junior roles that dont specify a degree or years of experience.

Have a look for tech specific recruiters, where i live, we have specific recruiters who can help.

twitter, as strange as it might sound, you can connect to loads of people there who you can connect with.

Not sure if you have anything like this in your area but in Nottingham, we have Tech Nottingham, where they meet once a month and discuss all things tech and even go through job opportunities. We have PHPminds, women in tech nottingham and dev ops nottingham. im sure there are more but those are the ones i know about

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Hey!

No advice but I’ve been working in the social work field for a decade, finally started grad school a year ago and I just made the decision to drop out and pursue a software development career… so just wanted to say hi!!

Hello!

Just going to chime in on a few things that’s already mentioned.
For context, I’m also trying to switch to a career in software dev, so we’re somewhat in the same boat :wink:

Some things to think about. Do you know what you want to do yet? Frontend dev, or backend dev, or full stack engineering or devOps? If you know what you want to do, it makes more sense to focus on learning the technology stack there, rather than trying to learn everything. But if you don’t know what you want to do yet, learn a bit of everything, just to get a taste, then make a decision and then go in full tilt. By that, I mean learn the technology stack, but more than just learning, you need to build a portfolio. Without a CS degree or x years of experience, that’s the only thing that’s going to convince recruiters to give you a chance.

That’s kinda all I have to add really. Good luck in your learning journey!! :muscle: :muscle: :muscle:

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