best way to migrate back into database work
June 8, 2012 2:15 AM   Subscribe

I'm thinking of getting back into IT. What would you as a hiring manager want to see on my resume that might counterbalance the time I've spent out of IT? What would be the best way to approach this?

After college I spent a decade+ as a web developer. I've essentially been out of this world for several years now, only keeping my hand in it by doing some freelance work helping small businesses with their web presences (virtually no database work involved).

I've been working mostly as a massage therapist during this time, and foresee a time within the next few years when, for financial and physical reasons, I will want to transition back into IT.

The parts of web development that I liked the most were data modeling and writing queries (admin is interesting too but I never did as much). I am not really interested in brushing up my front end skills.

What would be the best way to get back into IT, specifically working with databases? If you are a hiring manager, what would you want to see on my resume? Should I target lower-level job roles and start from the beginning again? Should I go back to school or get a certificate of some kind? My BA is not tech-related.
posted by parrot_person to Technology (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
caveat: I hire full stack engineers

I'm going to look for interest and passion in the subject. I'd like to see a cover letter explaining your history and would like to see some interesting projects or blog posts related to modern databases.

For example, perhaps you've have a bunch of highly rated answers on Stack Overflow or you have some witty open source tools for your database of choice.

Certificates are generally irrelevant to me. I'm looking for trusted third party verifications that candidates are strong (ex: degree from MIT) or expensive signals that candidates are interested and skilled in a subject area. For you, I'd be looking for the latter.
posted by ccoryell at 3:30 AM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

The resume screening process continues to have a very strong buzzword filter requirement. Identify what terms will get past the filters and find some way to legitimately add them somewhere near the top. Example, if you touched databases ever just "SQL" is a good term.

Also have a short dramatic story to justify the leaving and return "sailed around the world for love and now back to the first dream".
posted by sammyo at 5:06 AM on June 8, 2012

Network with your massage colleagues and see if anyone needs a web-based scheduling system (or some manner of solution for the massage business) and build it. Someone who can program *and* who knows the subject domain is unique and valuable. Do this and now you have recent and relevant experience to pursue full time gigs.

I say this because the pace of technology strongly favors recent experience.
posted by dgran at 5:15 AM on June 8, 2012

dgran: "I say this because the pace of technology strongly favors recent experience."

Completely agree.

I think the tech world has gone way overboard with its obsession over Github repositories and StackOverflow reputation, but in the absence of real work experience, establishing some kind of presence in those areas would be helpful, if only to show you're still engaged.
posted by mkultra at 5:29 AM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

List the freelance work. I stayed home with my kids for years after years in IT. Instead of listing every little job I freelanced, I had the time listed as self-employed.
posted by narcoleptic at 6:29 AM on June 8, 2012

Best answer: You might poke around job listings for "business analyst" and see if any of the (very, very diverse) definitions intrigue you. Sometimes the phrase is code for BI/reporting, and if you have that much background in web dev you should be able to come up to speed on things like SSRS and other reporting packages really quickly - most of them use IDEs that are meant to be usable by a non-programmer to a certain extent, but get more powerful if you can write a query/sproc/view.

List the freelance work, absolutely, and at least make a passing reference to running your own business. In my experience, IT is a little bit fascinated by people who go off and do other things for a while, because we all kind of want to do that too.

And yes, it's all keywords. Nobody reads resumes anymore. So make sure every searchable term that applies to you is in there.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:48 AM on June 8, 2012

« Older How to become an administrator in higher education   |   learn on your own Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.