Starting a new career as a Software Developer with a convicted misdemeanor

So I happen to be 37 years of age who have worked since 13. My background is in digital printing since 2002 in various aspects however, I’m working in Security right now to pay the bills. I just recently read and was inspired by a previous post about 30+ people starting they’re career in programming which made me make this post because I can’t find a topic in this forum of this kind. I’m in a similar situation but slightly different. The kicker is that I have a petty misdemeanor on my record that I’m unable to expunge because of va petty laws. The charge is defined as moral ineptitude which could be further from the truth but that’s what every employer that does a background check see. Not kool. However, nonetheless I’m enrolling in a community college to become either a programmer or a software developer more so interested in the software developing field. As I’ve been a user of various software for printing & apps for the iPhone so it interests me. Would this misdemeanor hinder me or should I just put my head down and go for it and get letters of recommendations along the way? As far as the misdemeanor I took a chance on a negative balance for a taxi so I won’t get stranded thinking it would just put me more in the negative & it will all be resolved tomorrow when I got paid. So I couldn’t pay and the taxi driver called the cops & I was nonchalant about everything and pleaded guilty. No jail time just a fine which I resolved 3 years ago. Oh… the worst mistake of my life!! Believe me. I feel so stupid doing that and am paying the price this past year. Missed out on several good job opportunities because of it. So my main question is could I make a successful future in becoming a Software Developer if I’m dedicated and focus despite the charge?? And would you have any suggestions as the path I should take? My initial plan is to go to nova community college and do a 1 year Associate degree while going for a certification in IT while working. I’m not sure if I can do it but that’s the initial plan. After that’s obtained I’ll go for more certs and a bachelors.
Sorry for the lengthy discussion board just wanted to clear up the whole I’m not a bad person turning good idea. :grimacing:

So what are your thought??

Thanks for the feedback if any!!

I don’t really have any data to back this up, but my impression is that this wouldn’t impact you any more or less in a Software career than in any other. In some areas, most of the software development jobs are government related and may require a security clearance. (Honestly, from my experience you probably could qualify for a security clearance.)

Barring contracting requirements, it comes down to the company and whether they have a strict policy on that. Good programmers are hard to find, so it seems to me that there would be more flexibility on this than in some other industries. I would guess that the biggest issue would be that it makes the experience catch-22 even worse. You may need to be a more desirable candidate for them to overlook the record… which makes it harder for you to get that first chance to prove that you’re desirable.

TL;DR - The only thing that would make this harder with a programming job than any other is that there are a lot of programming jobs that are government contract work.


Thank you ArieLeslie,

Very inspiring words combined with others in my circle got me started. I’m currently am looking at courses/degree options while learning Ruby from Code academy,

Go for it! There are plenty of jobs in software where a single long-time-ago court record doesn’t matter. (There are some jobs where it might matter, specifically in banking or maybe some government contracting jobs. If you’re in northern VA, that might be an issue for you, but not in most places.)

In Massachusetts, where I live, it’s not legal for (most) employers to ask you about misdemeanors over three years old. There may be similar regulations where you live.

Go for it! Software is a great field to learn! The effort of learning it is worth your time. And you can learn it for short money, either on Free Code Camp or other online venues, or at Community College.

Go for it! I’ve had one great colleague who, it turned out, had a similar situation. It didn’t matter at all to the quality of his work or his personality.

A suggestion: there may be a job-placement counselor at your Community College who can help you with your situation. Good luck.