Restarting my career after a 12 year break

Worked as a java developer and production support person 12 years ago before taking a break. I feel like such a dinosaur when I look at the basic qualifications for a developer now (even entry-level). I am beset with a lot of self-doubt and questions about whether I should re-enter the tech domain. Anyone here done Data Science related certifications? How difficult is it to break through into the data science field without any prior experience? Is it even worth it? I do have an engineering background.

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Data science specifically can be somewhat difficult to break into. How is your comfort level with statistics?

None as of now. But willing to learn through self-study. I will be depending mainly on my math skills.

Data Science is really a specific application of statistics, so I’d put a lot of effort into getting comfortable with statistics. If you are comfortable with math/engineering, then you can transfer over those skills to help you learn these new skills.

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First of all, your experience with Java will be a huge boost. You’re going to have to do some work, but things will come back to you quickly. It will also look good on your resume and give you an advantage over other entry level positions.

As to data science, that is a pretty complicated field. Most of the DS people I know have advanced degrees in relevant fields. But there is also a lot of demand so you might find some job that is willing to take a chance. But there would be a lot to learn between now and then. I would do a lot of googling for “get hired in data science without a degree” and read people’s stories. But remember that that is self-selecting for successes so you have to take it with a grain of salt.

Is there something specific about data science or where you just fishing around for growing fields?


Thank you so much for your advice.

I was wanting to know more about Data Science because I have the opportunity to change my field at this point and was wondering if it makes sense.
As per your experience, it seems like a formal degree is almost a must have for any DS although some of the skills of a Java developer with engineering and math background are transferable. Am I understanding it correctly?

Yeah, that’s about it.

I’m not saying you can’t get a job in DS without a degree, just that it would be difficult and you might be limited. In any case, even if you can, you still would be expected to know all those things, like statistics, so you have years of work ahead of you. I’m not an expert on the DS field, but that’s my take. But again, do some research and see what you can find.

You have experience in Java? Why not explore that? There are still a lot of Java jobs out there.

If you’re looking for a path that doesn’t require a degree, what about web dev?

Or using your Java, maybe become and Android developer.


It definitely helps to have some sort of degree, and a degree in statistics or data science is the gold standard that employers would really want.

In data science, it helps to have domain knowledege and statistical knowledege. Having a degree in engineering helps make it an easier sell to employers that you have the relevant domain knowledege and some formal mathematical training to support your ability to do data science for engineering applications in your background areas.


I am also looking at Java related jobs but not sure what tech stack to focus on. For an android developer or full stack developer, what path/courses/certifications here at FCC would you recommend?

Well, as far as stacks, there are many variations. FCC gives you a MERN stack. Of course, if you wanted to, if you already know how to build Java servers, you could substitute that for the Node stuff to build a different stack.

In short, the first 6 modules in FCC give you the basis of a MERN stack. The Python stuff is not directly relevant to that but is still good stuff to know.

But it all depends on what you want to do.

As far as Android developer, that would be a different path, FCC doesn’t teach that. FCC teaches React, which can lead to React Native, that can also develop Android apps, but if you’re looking to use your Java, that would be developing Android apps in native Java (or Kotlin). I’m sure there are many many resources on this. I’d just hit up a few youtube videos to get a taste.

For now, I’d just pick one and work on it. Java? Web dev? Native Android dev? Data science? Just pick one and work on it. Don’t worry about picking the perfect path because you can’t figure that out yet. Just pick one and start learning it, while still researching the others. Even if you end up switching paths, what you learn will make you a better coder.

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Your advice has saved me a ton of research. Thank you very, very much! :pray: :pray: