Changing careers


I’ve been middle school IT Teacher for the past 15 years, and I’m considering to switch to IT industry. The oversized classrooms, the negative student behaviors, the excessive work load, the poor work conditions and the very low income are the mainly causes. I don’t know where to start, and I really appreciate some guidance. I have no experience in the tech industry, aside from being a middle school IT Teacher. I’ve been trying to understand what should I do to find an entry-level job, essencially, what is best technology, tool or language to learn in the current IT industry for a long and good career, but all jobs I’ve seen require you to already have experience. What should I do?
Thank you in advance for your time, and looking forward to hearing from someone soon!


out of interest: What exactly do you teach as an IT teacher?

Your experience plus getting CompTIA A+ certified could already be enough to land an It-support role, as a fast way into the industry.

Working from there you could plan your future path: Software development, or stay on the operation side and move into careers like cloud admin.

I don’t think we can offer much advice without more information. Many of us are from primarily English speaking countries where “IT” is a different career field than programming. IT usually refers more to physical systems and the jobs would include things like systems administration, network administration, security, and in-house tech support and device management. Most of the expertise here will be with programming careers, especially software development.

What are your current professional skills? What subjects are you teaching students? (When I was in school our only technology class was typing, so I don’t have a frame of reference.) What type of job are you imagining changing to? If it is the same skillset as what you are teaching children, then that teaching experience is valid experience.

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Thank you for your quick answer! As a middle school IT teacher, in Portugal (which I am, I forgot to mention it), I teach Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel…); programming basics (in Scratch, Micro:Bit, Python…), image, sound and video editing (Gimp, Audacity and VSDC), 3D Modeling (Tinkercad)… But when I was a university student, I took programming classes, and learned languages such as Java, C/C++, PHP and Python, database (SQL) and concepts associated with data structure and algorithms, object-oriented programming, human and machine interaction, among others. I’m willing to stop teaching for a year to dedicate myself to study and trying to specialize in something, but I’m confused about what to choose and where to start.

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Hi! Thank you for your quick response. In Portugal, IT is a school mandatory subject, in which we teach notions of security, information research, communication and collaboration tools and programming and multimedia basics. To teach, it’s necessary to obtain an academic degree as a IT teacher. I know what I teach is very basic, but I have a foundation in programming and software development that I need to update, and that’s what I need help with, as I don’t know what will be the best option considering the current market for an entry level.

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It sounds like getting certifications in things like security and networking would probably be fastest and most direct path to a career change. If you want to go into software development though, I think the most important way that you can build skills is to build a complex project or two. Unlike most people you probably already have the programming fundamentals, so it’s a matter of building up-to-date skills and experience.

Sounds really good, you don’t have to worry about the experience asked for in those ads, you already have it for some roles thanks to your career. More than most applicants for junior IT-jobs.

Combine this with the CompTIA certification I suggested and you shouldn’t have a problem getting an IT-support role. Good chances with your background they will put you directly into 2nd level support.

You then have the foot in the door, and from there you could explore where to take your IT-career next.

This would be my suggestion for a path you can follow.

Thank you both, DanielHuebschmann and ArielLeslie. I will take your suggestions in consideration. But, as I said before, I’m willing to stop teaching for a year to dedicate myself to study and trying to specialize in software development, but I don’t know what to pursue or where to start for an entry level. Perhaps is a bad idea, I don’t know. Let’s see!

The good news is that you can get started before making such a drastic change. I’m not going to tell you what to do, but a single year to gain professional level coding skills and find a job is an extremely compressed timeline. It would require not only a lot of work, but even more luck.