Looking for a career change but need some advice

hi everyone ! so im looking to get into the cyber field have been very passionate about it for a long time . ended up doing other work and felt stuck but have a chance to change to something i like . but i have a 20 yr old felony on my background from when i was 19 and i just want to know if im wasting my time or i can be successful in this field with that on background ! all comments and feedback welcome just dont want to waste mine or my families time if i cant work in the field . thank you

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I’ve been hired twice and I think one of them I had a background check.

First of all, it may depend on where you are. For example, here in California (and some other states), they can only look back 7 years.

It might depend on what your offense is. Was it some kids out for a joy ride or was it pistol whipping a bank teller while high on PCP? (I’m not asking you to divulge it, just trying to consider the range of possibilities.)

It might depend on the job. If the job pays a lot or deals with sensitive information or financial transactions or government work, etc. - then there may be more interest in your background.

Do some research. In some states you can have your felony conviction expunged or reduced to a misdemeanor - that will depend on the jurisdiction, but with this much time passed, if you’ve kept your nose clean, that is a real possibility - again, depending on the jurisdiction, but also the crime.

If you do apply, don’t lie. If they ask, tell the truth. Don’t bring it up, but if they ask, have an answer ready. And some places may not even ask - at least one of mine did not run a criminal records check.

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A felony is not a bar from working in tech, or in cyber. It can be an obstacle that is difficult to overcome, it can contribute significantly to impostors syndrome, but should not, in itself, be a complete stop.

Most places will only look a certain number of years back, but the reality is, if Google searching your name turns up the record, HR may well be aware from the outset. Be prepared to be open and honest, and be willing to share how you’ve grown and changed since. Most employers respect the honest integrity and what t it demonstrates about your ethic.

There is a group out there, Underdog Devs, which is a community of folks in similar situations or those working in tech interested in helping those justice-impacted individuals.

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