How to go on with my career

Hello everyone,

i need some advice on how to go on with my career.

I am an Automation Engineer.
That means I studied Industrial Automation.
I developed PLCs and Industrial Applications for around 10 Years.
I got into leadership, and for five years, I have led a team in the manufacturing Execution System environment.

So I went from programming PLCs and Industrial UIs to leadership.

But since my studies 15 Years ago, I have always wanted to do software Development.
Some maybe say, “but you programmed PLCs” … yes I did, but for me, this is not software development … nowadays, you would call it low code…
Some ifs and elses, and that’s it, most of the time, you handle Hardware and Sensors.

Now I lead a team where we mainly operate applications and work on concepts that are programmed externally. So all the fun is done somewhere else.

For years I just dreamed around, and now I want to change something.
I want to go into Web Development.
So I have pretty good basics in the theory of programming, and I know HTML & CSS well, and I have basic knowledge in C# & Javascript.

My psychological hurdle is the past 15 years, where I gathered a ton of experience. Is that valuable if I switch to web development, or do I start from zero?
Am I making a big mistake with this career path?

Kind regards

it’s hard to tell honestly, but is there any way to switch while still making use of your expertise in PLCs? (for eg is there any position in your company that would require web development and the knowledge you have to some degree to be successful?)

In my current company there is no chance.
We give all the software development to external companys.
The Industrial enviroment is kinda difficult when you mention “Web” everybody is crying Danger !!!

how about a ‘sneaky’ way in? Like in your spare time, can you work on something that normally your company would send out to external web devs but they haven’t done so for money reasons (or maybe complexity reasons )and that way you can work on that and use that project as a portfolio for what you can do? Maybe they create the position just for you?

I would caution against throwing out what you demonstrably know (and get paid to do) in favor of trying to make it on just some casual web dev learning you have without actual experience (or a degree) behind it to give what you know weight in a job hunt.

Kinda possible but the big issue is mostly you can’t do just software.
You need the hardware part to test it and this is hard to make it ‘sneaky’ in a company :sweat_smile:
A position just for me is a bit a dream situation hehe specially in this company where all development is external.
There is also a ton of “political” reasons why it is like it is.
Sound like a company change for me :sweat_smile:

sight i see there are only hard ways for me

If you want to change your career to a developer role, you would probably be coming in as a junior developer. Your previous professional experience would probably help you interview better and can increase your chances of a job offer, but seniority is going to be based on your skills and experience in the job. As you said, this can be a hard thing to experience. If you’re interested in leading software projects, then that might be more of a lateral move, but you wouldn’t be writing code.

Yes, I know I would not be on the same level as now.
As long I don’t have to do an internship…
My personal experience probably helps to speed up the climb up a little bit, I guess.

Hey, mate. Same situation here.
It’s been 6 years in SCL already. Never loved it enough.
Now looking for an opportunity to get some back-end job.
Learning Python, SQL, Django and doing some pet-projects just to test myself for half a year already. (194 days streak)
Just wanted to say that I wish you good luck and reach your dreams.

Viam supervadet vadens.