Switch Career to Software Engineer: Fears, Concerns, and Opportunities
Including How to Find your First IT Job
A new brand day! You open the news to see an “ordinary” title for a new tech company that went viral and made billions plus they are now hiring software engineers by the hundreds!
Good pay, remote work, sustainable career, diversity is at every corner, countless job opportunities and you start to wonder how to become one.
In addition, Tech companies’ stocks are always rising and have a steady cash flow and that is because they are serving the global mass.
You feel afraid to do the switch and start a career in IT and that there is a huge risk of failure or maybe you are better off continuing your current job as it pays the bills and it seems okay.
We will discuss why all these concerns are just a hoax and how you can overcome them and proceed to land your first job as a software developer.
Concerns and Fears
The greatest fear that lags some to do the switch is the fear of failure and if this would be the right path for me. The fear of the future and that it might turn out to be a dead-end too.
They see it as a vague career that doesn’t have a clear and formal path to take like Medicine and Law that you know when you finish you are ready to apply for jobs and get hired.
But this “fear” is actually what makes software development really cool!
You see, there is no barrier for anyone to study it, and it is one of the only few careers that depend mostly on sharing knowledge. You don’t have to join an Ivy League to learn it. It is not like nuclear or space engineering!
In addition, you don’t have to invest four or seven years of your life to try it!
You can take a quick course in web development and try building small fun websites and see if you enjoy doing it. That would make you judge if you would enjoy it without sacrificing what you currently have in hand.
People fear that they can’t make the jump because of the financial part as they currently have a stable job and can’t start a web development course and quit their job. They might even have a family to support or student loans or mortgage
But here is a thought, why don’t you learn it on the side and no need to leave your job?
You can find all courses for free or for a small payment and start learning on the side to build experience and then when you are ready start making interviews and then do the transition.
Try to commit to this process for just 6 months and 3 hours every day and they will do wonders for your life. That’s 540 hours!
Some fear that being over 30 might make it hard to transition to become a software developer because many developers are 20-something and this is absolute bullsh*t
Of course, age-bias exists but it exists in every other career, and it is a huge social problem. Some companies would have a bias for a single young professional.
But software industry is way ahead of this. Unlike other careers, it pioneered in fighting discrimination in all its forms in the industry including ageism and it is one of the most diverse communities.
As long as you can bring energy and excitement about what you are doing that would be enough for a company to hire you. Tech companies actually want cultural fit over expertise they want a team that works in harmony more than a team of experts who is always in collision with each other.
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
I would encourage you to watch this video and you will just be amazed by this story and forget about the ageism myth!
Some would feel a pity that they would throw away their old career in the garbage and that all these past years have been for nothing.
This is also another hoax! If you feel you have wasted the past 5 or 10 years then why you are still going to waste the next 40 years of your life in the wrong direction!
Besides, on the contrary, you can bring your old expertise into software and become one of these super rare and smart people who are double majored.
Like being an ex-doctor and work in tech you can build pharmaceutical software which would pay a huge buck, advance medicine, and bring a new perspective to the industry no one ever seen before. You know how expensive medical tools can be, don’t you!
Or an ex-accountant who builds a tax software that you are probably using every year to do your tax returns or a civil engineer who builds modeling software for buildings.
So no absolutely not! You will never waste anything and you can bring your other expertise with you too!
Now, I guess since you have read the above you seem convinced that you can do it and that your fears can still be managed and overcome easily.
Let’s see how you can get in shape and transition from point zero to landing a job at a tech company!
Just Start Learning Now
There are hundreds of content on how to start web development and what is the right path. Just keep in mind that you don’t have to learn everything, no one does, but rather learn what is enough to get you hired.
Landing a junior web development job requires three things:
- You have minimum knowledge of what this job needs
- You have a passion to learn and excitement to build things
- You have a mindset to solve problems
You can check the article I have linked above for recommended material on how to start learning now.
I understand that you are still a beginner and you have no “past experience” but that is similar to juniors who apply to get their first job.
Yes, they build side projects just for fun and apply their knowledge!
In the software industry, we don’t care how many years you have been working in the field. It never counts at all.
What matters is what you have built and the experience you gained from building them.
Every developer has a Github account, which is an online repository for a lot of code and side projects. Developers from all seniority levels as well who are still learning are also there adding their work. You can check mine too!
Side projects will boost your expertise and make you practice what you will actually do in your future job and it will make recruiters know you are a capable developer.
Tech resumes are different from other jobs as they tend to only be one page and compact with information
Of course, this would be your first job and your old experience might not be so relevant but you still need to add it and try to summarize it and stress more on the projects you have built and add GitHub links to them and maybe links to live demos so recruiters can see them
I wrote an article about how to write a tech resume after I have interviewed well over +100 tech CVs and how you can make yours too!
Social Networks Presence
Never do your learning journey in secret! You can join LinkedIn or Twitter tech communities and start posting about your journey and what you have learned and built.
Most likely, you will get thumb-ups from employed developers and many recruiters are connected with these developers and when they see your post they will reach out to you for an interview offer.
In addition, you should post on Twitter and Reddit to get feedback from the tech community there which is more active on these platforms.
Apply on Job boards
Every tech company that wants to hire developers will post their open positions on LinkedIn. Therefore, you should create a good LinkedIn to show your expertise. I will create content in the future on what you need to take care of for your LinkedIn profile.
There are as well local job board websites which you will need to discover according to your country or region.
Fun Fact: I got my first web development job from the company’s Facebook page