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Ask Slashdot: How Do I Change Tech Careers At 30? 451

Posted by timothy
from the question-is-will-you-trust-yourself-next-year? dept.
First time accepted submitter possiblybored writes "I'm 30, and I am a technology teacher and the school's technology coordinator. I like my job, but I have been having thoughts about switching careers and focusing more on technology in the private sector. I like Microsoft products and would head in that direction, probably. Is it too late for me to think about this? What is the best way to get started on this path? I'm not so much interested in programming (though I'd like to learn a language some day) as much as I am intrigued by topics like setting up e-mail servers, reading about cloud stuff like Office 365, and looking at information on collaborative technology. I'm a good teacher and excel at explaining things as well. Any advice the community could offer would be greatly appreciated!"
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Ask Slashdot: How Do I Change Tech Careers At 30?

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  • by ryen (684684) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @02:51PM (#46421409)
    With your limited skillset without programming or intermediate sysadmin, but given your background in teaching and familiarity with concepts i'd say you'd be a good fit for training and/or documentation within a tech company. Training can include on-boarding new hires and getting them familiar with internal systems, or even training customers on using the software. I've worked with many people in these roles at companies i've been with. Documentation also might be a good route: writing manuals, online specs, and online training stuff. Theres lots of people doing this at the larger software shops.
  • by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Thursday March 06, 2014 @03:11PM (#46421643) Homepage Journal

    Wow, mod parent up.

    The only other advice I have to give, is check out the free tools that surround the areas you are interested in. Expanding closed source software is still a money pit, and perhaps always will be.

  • Re:Apply to jobs (Score:2, Informative)

    by NoImNotNineVolt (832851) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @03:16PM (#46421693) Homepage
    He said he can't even code. What kind of contract work is he going to find? Private tutor for some rich fuck's kids?

    If your tech knowledge consists of clicking "Next" on a Microsoft installer, you're not heading for a career at Google.

    I'm surprised I haven't been modded into oblivion for not being a part of the "everyone is a special snowflake" movement. The world needs some people to do shitty work, and some people are only qualified to do shitty work. No amount of "you get a gold star" spin will change that fact.
  • by sdinfoserv (1793266) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @03:25PM (#46421769) Homepage
    I hate to be the Curmudgeon..however with a school you are guaranteed a pension. In the private sector, no matter how much you make, you will never make up the difference. At some point, you'll get tired of bits & bytes and just want to play with grand kids or go fishing. Stay with the school, and you'll be doing that by the time your 55. Leave for the private sector and 55 becomes a hard to reach retirement age.
  • by Peristaltic (650487) * on Thursday March 06, 2014 @03:26PM (#46421775)

    Is it too late for me to think about this?

    It is never too late. I have known people that have jumped into unrelated careers, successfully, at 35, 40, 52, and 65.

    How much effort are you willing to put forth? Are you willing to temporarily forgo some of the pleasures in your life to which you've become accustomed?

    Are you willing to immerse yourself in the new career, both at work and after hours? Ask yourself and answer truthfully: do you truly want to make a change, or are you just thinking... "wouldn't it be nice if"? The answer may be painful, and sometimes you won't know until you're there- Are you willing to take that risk?

    Are you willing to risk the possibility of having to start at a lower level on the pay scale in your new field? I have a cousin that graduated from the Air Force Academy, flew F-15's for almost 10 years, and after accepting an engineering job at a defense contractor, quickly realized that he couldn't stand that type of job. With a wife and 3 daughters to support, he left to start a career at an airline.... at the time (mid-80's), he had to start as a flight engineer, at about 20k / year. With his love of flight focusing his resolve, and with the support of his wife (she took a second job), he persevered in a boring, low-paying job, staring at a panel of guages in a jet... but he stuck to it, and over a number of years ended up as a 747 long-haul pilot for Northwest, making just under 200k / year.

    You must decide if you're ready to commit, with all that that implies. If you feel drawn to whatever it is you're thinking of doing, and you're ready to commit, there are few legitimate reasons to hold back- I would say that if you have no legs and desire to win a ballroom dancing championship, you may have a legitimate reason not to compete, but you could still find a way to excel, in some role, in this activity if you truly had the desire.

  • Re:Troll (Score:5, Informative)

    by possiblybored (3513109) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @03:39PM (#46421931)
    Good afternoon, Though I don't want to get into the specifics of my job, I do not teach computer science. I am also not employed in Oklahoma, for the record. :-) I'm more than willing to spend my off time learning skills, and was merely trying to find out what the best entry point would be. I enjoy writing and would be interested in technical writing. Thanks for sharing.
  • by Hentai (165906) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @03:42PM (#46421957) Homepage Journal

    Whatever you love doing, do more of it. Then just be sensitive, and maybe a little aggressive, about pursuing leads that naturally arise from your avocation

    But first, read this article: http://www.overcomingbias.com/2013/12/rejection-via-advice.html [overcomingbias.com]

  • Re:Apply to jobs (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @03:46PM (#46422019)
    I ran for Congress two years ago at age 29. I won the Democratic primary for my district and ran on a technocratic platform. I'd advise anybody with an IQ over 100 to stay the hell away from politics. It is soul-crushing, the people you meet are loathesome, and since the wide-spread adoption of gerrymandering most elections are foregone conclusions anyway. I lost the election with 40% of the vote, went back to being a full-time server admin and couldn't be happier.

Work is the crab grass in the lawn of life. -- Schulz

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