Gonna ask my boss to switch me to part time... Need advice

Hello everyone,

A little background about me and my issue: I currently work as a digital marketer for an advertising agency. I primarily run PPC campaigns, create web content, and occasionally build landing pages for our clients. I’ve been trying to be a front end developer over the past 3 years, on and off, because I was scared I couldn’t do it.

That all changed when I worked in this agency. I was the first hire and work directly with the CEO. This is also the time where I got involved in some web development tasks: creating landing pages, building wireframes, and even project management with our fellow devs.

Now I’ve regained the courage to continue my transition towards a web developer, but I feel I’m not dedicating enough time to learn. Hence I’m thinking of asking my boss if I could switch to part time so I can allocate more hours to learning. I’m currently spending 1 - 2 hours, 6 days a week - halfway through the algorithm scripting challenges. Going part time will allow me to spend more time coding.

My problem is that I already built a good relationship with the CEO, and he’s positioning me to be a project manager in the future. Asking this from him may ruin that relationship; he will already know my intent to someday move away from the job.

Has somebody else done this? Would appreciate any advice you can give. Thanks you so much!

I think you are really the best person to judge in this case and nobody can really help you because it depends entirely on your personality, your relationship with your boss, and whether or not you can afford to quit and learn full-time if going part-time is not an option and things blow up with your boss.

For example, I had a relatively good relationship with the boss from my previous job (he’s the founder of the company) and I last year I told him towards the end the year that wanted to quit the job and learn to code full-time this year. I told him at the beginning of our chat that I would be happy to train my replacement and I would stay for four more months so that the transition would be as smooth as possible.

He was reluctant to let me go but he respected my decision (he even offered to pay me to learn because there is a software side to that business). The chat ended up going for about an hour and a half and he said I was welcome to go back anytime, we are still in contact and catch up occasionally (he has also offered me to go back twice to take on new, coding-related roles since I left).

It’s probably worth noting that I actually tried to code every night and when I was travelling to work before I quit my last job—but it was just impossible for me because was in transit for at least a couple of hours a day and I was a sleep-deprived workaholic (this isn’t humblebrag, it’s something that I’ve tried to change for years but still failing). Being able to learn to code all-day uninterruped is great. :slight_smile:

If there is a software side to your business, and if you’re not confident enough to just tell your boss up-front, perahps you could approach with your boss at an angle that may make him appreciate your decision. Given that you have had to web development things and that the business seems to have lots to do with web development, I think you could begin the chat with those. If you want to be craftier, research how being able to code well coud help with the business (whether you intend to stay or not)—Udacity is a great place to start .

In any case, be honest and sincere! If your boss is closet shady type, also be cautious! Good luck. :slight_smile:


@honmanyau - thank you so much for the input! I’m going to talk to him tonight. I can relate to the coding every night part, but I work remotely so I don’t have to deal with commutes. Although since I’m working on a startup, I’m juggling my responsibilities which is an entirely different problem.

I have a question: when you quit your job, did you find any part time work or did you have enough savings? I figure I would need 5 - 6 hours a day to study effectively (it’s hard for me to retain information any longer than that), so I thought I could use some part time work.

Whoa, I was working at a startup, too! I’m pretty sure I know what you mean by juggling responsibilities! :slight_smile:

I haven’t done any paid work since I quit. I was offered part-time work a few times but I didn’t take them because I want to focus on learning.

I think I’m relatively frugal and I managed to save up a bit of money to last for about two years—I factored in going out with friends and family into it, too, because otherwise I would have absolutely no life. I have had passing thoughts about freelancing, but eventually also decided not to so that I can just focus on coding.

In all honesty, I do have second thoughts every now and then—but I’ve decided to do it so all I can do now is to keep going. My bottom line is that I’ll find a job if I must, even if it’s a crappy one. I’m rather optimisic, though, because it’s unlikely that I’ll become less employable.

I peronally think that If you diligently put in 6 hours a day (weekends not included), provided that you are used to solving problems logiaclly, being legitimately job-ready in a year isn’t unrealistic at all. In that case, doing part-time work does seem sensible—I can assure you that watching your bank balance decrease isn’t a great feeling. d:

Good luck! :slight_smile:

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I was just gonna say “you should read this tweet”

Then I realised YOU wrote the tweet!


@honmanyau - Thank you so much! I approached my boss last night, saying if I could switch to part time. At first, he answered, “why not learn part time instead?” I told him I wanted to really focus on learning how to code. There was some back and forth, but I sensed that he was reluctant with the idea. So I followed it with the angle that you mentioned by asking him “do I have room to grow as a web developer within the company?”

Lo and behold, he said he was more than willing to nurture me as a web developer WITHIN the company. He told me that we’ll make a plan so I could transition to this role smoothly. Man, I didn’t think the conversation would go that way.

I rarely post on forums but this issue has got me agitated for weeks. Appreciate the time for your input!

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Woah, yeah! I talked to my boss a couple of hours after I read the advice from @honmanyau. I thought that the very worst thing that could happen is he won’t be on board with it and I would need to find another part time job to sustain myself while I’m learning how to code. Glad it went this way!

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Congratulations! :smile:

@christianvibar—that’s fantastic news! I was actually wondering about how it went on my way home and I’m glad that it worked out for you! All the best! :slight_smile: