No programming or IT experience

I am coming from a background in Accounting & Finance. I am also older (will be 42 in June. I am going thru the full Freecodecamp and will be adding Treehouse as well. I also want to learn Pyton & R to integrate into my existing skillset. How does one get into any type of development job if not straight from college or a few years out>>

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There are a lot of people in the exact same scenario. I’d say, with your background, you might be a good match for Data Science (thus Python and R, I guess). The short answer is “How does one get into any kind of computer job? Get job-ready and then start applying and (apparently more importantly networking, cold-calling and schmoozing.” *

But at the risk of presuming too much, let me answer the questions you’re more likely really asking:

  • Are hiring practices open to hiring a 42 year old? I’m in no position of authority, still learning myself, but my perception is everybody cares more about whether you can do the work than anything else. Look at this survey: “Educational credentials” are way down there, 2.77 out of 5. But note that the top factor is “communication skills,” i.e. “soft skills,” often described as whether you’re a “good fit” for the “corporate culture.” I could easily imagine these as pleasant euphemisms for discriminatory practices, and maybe 20 year olds with beards and pourover carafes might pass. But one thing I’m seeing is that, while these startup kids are my main mental image of “dev jobs,” there are a ton of jobs out there that are more corporate, less sexy, but still quite lucrative.
  • Can I really get a job without formal tech training? See above. But don’t expect doing it yourself to be quick or easy. I’ve been working at it for a year now, at a rate of ca. 8 hrs/week, while continuing the “day job” and being a dad, and would say I’m anywhere from 1/3 to 2/3 of the way there (depending, also, on what kind of job you’re aspiring to). fCC member p1xt has compiled several epic “guides” to job readiness, one “complete” and one more the minimum, fast-tracked. (There are even study groups that have formed around helping each other through her curriculum.) She vigorously resists putting a time frame on them because people may invest different amounts of time and learn at different rates, but from my experience so far I’d say to think of it as a higher-ed degree, or at least a certificate. You don’t expect to get a master’s by studying a few hours a week for a few months. You either quit the day job and go through an “intensive” program, maybe a matter of months, or you take more than a year. The difference with this do-it-yourself model is that it’s free, not that it’s faster. (And, I suppose, that if you are so inclined you could in fact work at it for 12 hrs a day and finish in a few months.)

* I can’t find the article I’m thinking of anymore, but its advice was something along the lines of:

  1. The jobs you find on a job site are the tip of the iceberg–this survey shows that if that’s all you’re looking at, you’re only seeing 14% of the jobs.
  2. Instead (this guy recommended), first figure out the job you want–what company? what position?
  3. Then figure out who hires for that position,
  4. Make friendly contact with him/her (without mentioning job seeking); send a flattering email asking for their insight as an industry professional, can you get together for coffee, etc.
  5. Ask “What is the number one challenge your team faces right now?”
  6. Go home, come up with a clever solution to their challenge
  7. Write it up as a pretty, polished presentation and say “Here’s a solution!”
  8. Sit back and wait for the job offer.

I dunno, it feels pretty socially awkward to me, BUT… the survey confirms it: maybe half the jobs are filled through knowing somebody, or by contact with the company. So I can’t find that article, but it was kind of a combination of the following:

Hi nic9075,

Based on your location and experience, if you have used (not programmed) any financial/ accounting packages or tools (Sage, Oracle, Excel) in your previous jobs, it might help to identify the technology behind them. Perhaps try to clone some functionality from that package and build a small-scale version? You already have the functional knowledge!

Also, if it interests you, you could try looking at jobs such as systems analyst or business analyst within finance/ financial services which are not pure development jobs. These roles require knowledge of technologies but may not require actual programming experience. All the more, your financial knowledge (and packages such as Oracle, if applicable) would prove valuable. This may not be an ideal developer job that you were looking for but might help you.

Hope this makes sense.

Thanks and regards.