Help me pick a path in the software industry
August 12, 2013 12:31 PM Subscribe
I'm changing careers into the software industry and I am having difficulty choosing a path – lots of different roles look REALLY appealing. If you are working or hiring in the industry, can you advise me on a good route?
posted by carbide to work & money (8 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I'm on an accelerated postgraduate conversion course in computing, designed for career-changers from numerate disciplines. The next step is to line up a work placement for our final semester, and I'm having trouble figuring out the most realistic and suitable tack to take, despite spending a lot of time reading and talking to people. I am willing to work really bloody hard and learn fast and will be bringing a lot of enthusiasm.
I love my course and wish I could go back in time and do a computer science undergrad. Particularly enjoying: programming, design and querying databases, data analysis, requirements analysis and development models.
I have three degrees in architecture (including a masters by research) and have been freelancing as a writer and researcher for a while. I really enjoy managing projects, writing, collaborating with teams in the different organisations I've worked with, switching between the nitty-gritty and the public-facing perspectives, and most of all, the meticulous detective work. I am good at meeting deadlines, taking initiative, and turning abstract goals into results. (The part I haven't enjoyed is not making a living wage.)
- Software developer: As a 30-year-old with just a semester of Python under my belt, I worry that I'm just too late to go this route. I enjoy coding and have done well at my assignments – I like the mix of an overarching brief and the problem-solving, detail-oriented craft. I have just started learning Java but won't be far beyond Hello World at the time of job applications.
- Data analyst: We're being trained with this as a focus, but I worry that not being a maths genius like some of my physicist classmates would put me on a path to mediocrity. The researcher inside me finds analysis quite appealing, though.
- Technical writer: I don't have the experience for an immediate role but would work towards it by contributing to open source projects.
- QA: I did it ten years ago and found it fine as long as it's not forever. It seems like a realistic thing to put myself forwards for, but is it a bad idea?
- User operations or similar: I wonder if the experience and interpersonal skills I've built up to date would transfer best to a hybrid role, though I worry that it wouldn't feel enough like problem-solving to keep me interested.
- Something else! Just not sales, tech support, or pure design.
To the point:
My LinkedIn resume is linked from my profile here in case that would be useful. Also, I'm in Ireland.
If you were me, what would you go towards to give yourself the most challenging, satisfying, and successful transition right now?
If you're in a hiring role, what would convince you to give me a chance?