Pulling the career switch trigger

I am having a hard time pulling the trigger on changing my career.

When I was in college, I fumbled for a major. I have always been interesting in computers, software, programming and design. But I was also hearing horror stories of people with a Computer Science degree working at Walmart or gas station because they couldn’t get hired. This was around 2010 - 2011ish.

With my financial situation as it was, I needed a job right away after college. So I chose something that also interested me and would guarantee me a job - Medical Lab Science.

After college, I hit the workforce quickly and I loved every minute of it. Helping patients, learning new things, and all the new technology. And I was finally an “adult” with my own apartment and actual food in my fridge.

Then it became boring.

So much so, that I went back to teaching myself programming again in the downtime I was having at work. (Shhhh…don’t tell anyone)

Then I got promoted.

I had a great start in my new role and I loved being part of the backside of the testing I was doing. My new role was building tests into the lab software. So very close to programming! I even agreed to build macros for Excel and Access databases so I could do programming at work. I even had a small say in meetings about where we went with new tests and projects. Small being the key word there.

But then it became boring. Again. And I moved two hours away from my job. (Personal reasons and a very long story)

Now I am at a point in my career where a switch might be the best thing for me. But I am afraid to actually do it because of all the what ifs. What if it isn’t a stable career? What if I am not good enough? What if I start to hate programming when I do it everyday for a job? What if I can’t keep up with the new tech? What if it isn’t a sustainable job in the future? So many more float around in my head…

My main concern is that I am leaving a very steady job with good pay, to an unknown field that could chew me up and spit me out. And that I am moving careers just because I’m having a boring spell in my job.

Even now, I don’t believe I am ready to apply for jobs in development, but I want to apply to this job I found at a tech company where I could get some tech specific experience. It’s basically a help desk sort of job. Just to get some experience in the tech field (and it is much closer to home).

I just love programming so much. There is nothing like fixing a bug or getting that line or chunk of code to work. That feeling is just pure awesomeness and I can’t get enough. I love the problem solving and the simplicity and complexities. I love making something from nothing. I love reading about it and hearing success stories of people making it when they start from square one.

So I want to open this to some discussion on this type of thing.

If you have been in the same situation, what made you switch? If you currently work as a developer, do you still enjoy your job years after? What do you see for the future of developing? In, say, 40 years?

Should I stop dragging my feet and just jump already?

Any other tips, tricks, and/or advice for an aspiring developer?

Does it have to be a total career switch or nothing? If you feel like you enjoy programming but unsure about switching immediately (which is very understandable), why not just do some programming on the side first, like aiming to finish FCC’s curriculum and going to meetups?

In my experience, it’s not a good idea to take a tier 1 help desk job just so you can “get your foot in the door”, and the reason is because organizations like to pigeon hole people into roles. It’s harder to get matching compensation with upper mobility, and the enterprise is more willing to spend more money on hiring an external resource. In fact, you’re next dev role would more than likely be with another company if you take this route.

If you need to cover rent or you needed a job, like, last week, by all means that may be you’re only and best choice if you want to become a developer. But take it from me, if I had to do it all over again I would of taken a junior dev role instead of being a system analyst or access coordinator.

Definitely going to keep going with my FCC curriculum and I want to go to my first meetup soon. When I moved I moved to a bigger area that actually has meetups so no excuses now! I really just need a job where I live at the moment, the 2 hour commute is slowly killing me.

P.S I love your name and picture - favorite game ever!

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This is actually good to know about companies, that they may pigeon hole me into a role. The job I would take would not be where I get a developer job at - there are many other places to get a dev job in the area I moved to so I wouldn’t need to stay at one company.

But I am also trying to get a job with my degree to just get a job in the area to pay bills until I can seriously apply to dev jobs. So, it might be a good idea to just try that route before I pigeon hole myself.

Thanks for your reply!

Always so nice to run into a fellow farmer!!! :star_struck:

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