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Ask Slashdot: In What Other Occupations Are IT Skills and Background Useful? 158

An anonymous reader writes "Here on Slashdot we sometimes see questions about how to get IT jobs while having little experience, changing from one specialty to another, or being (gasp) middle aged. And, we see comments that bemoan various aspects of IT work and express a desire to do something entirely different. This is what I'm wondering about, and I thought I'd put my questions to Ask Slashdot. Has anyone successfully applied their years of IT experience to other lines of work? Is the field that you moved on to entirely unrelated, or is there a more substantial link to your new (but clearly not IT) role?"
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Ask Slashdot: In What Other Occupations Are IT Skills and Background Useful?

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  • None / Driving (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Stargoat ( 658863 ) <> on Monday June 02, 2014 @09:42AM (#47146201) Journal

    Business skills are not actually applicable in business. Sure, like recognizes like, but that mostly applies in golf, accounting, and working on Cisco routers. Three completely separate skill sets. Once you are pigeon-holed as IT, there you will stay.

    You can move to marketing and run reports and websites. But don't try to be creative, because you are IT.
    Senior Management won't want you around, because IT are nerds.
    HR? Well, that's a career for paid liars, so maybe you could work there.
    Accounting? Get your CPA.
    Sales? No, because you are IT.

    Get it? Good. Now get a golf club and start making friends.

  • Finance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PPalmgren ( 1009823 ) on Monday June 02, 2014 @09:56AM (#47146305)

    Not that is a major career switch because I only had two years in IT, but I have been working in Finance for 7 years now after going to school, but not finishing, for electrical engineering.

    I actually landed the finance job by selling my technical aptitude. You'd be amazed at the kind of elementary mistakes people make in other fields just because they don't know how to properly operate a computer, and how they can get hung up on the most menial tasks because they are scared of the system in front of them. It took a while to learn the finance side of things, but once I got rolling, I was able to double or triple the productivity of others with lower error rates. Add on to this that someone from IT understands enough to automate menial tasks, and you have a recipe for efficiency and process improvement. A lot of finance is simply getting the data into custom forms or formats for transmittal to the next or from the previous step, with 1 or 2 points where human intervention or review is required. The career change has worked out well for me.

    It also helps to be able to liason between departments. I noticed that in meetings between IT and Finance managers, sometimes there's a 'language barrier.' You get rewarded nicely to solve these miscommunication issues before they show up at the end of a development project.

  • Most (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wisnoskij ( 1206448 ) on Monday June 02, 2014 @10:11AM (#47146423) Homepage

    Most occupations make use of the computer.

    It is incredible how horribly bad everyone is at using computers when they are so ubiquitous and necessary.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 02, 2014 @10:12AM (#47146427)

    Consider K-12 teaching. I did it for a while and am still on a mailing list of tech-heavy people in classrooms.

    It's not an easy road at all. Low pay, horrible politics, etc. In many places, if you know tech at all, you'll be "the tech guy" for the school PLUS teaching 6 classes. But, in some states, you don't have to go through a full teacher-ed program if you have a STEM degree and can pass the PRAXIS tests and a background check. Kids can be awful, but a lot of them will grow to respect you (more than the principal ever will) when you geek them out. Particularly if you're a parent already and have figured out that you're okay at it, it has its rewards.

  • by mlts ( 1038732 ) on Monday June 02, 2014 @10:20AM (#47146487)

    I tried my hand at sales once at one company... started telling prospective customers where the product is weak at and where they are going to have to throw man hours in order to get it working. Told them also where the advantage was for spending $BIGNUM for purchasing the product. Also told them the first three support calls they will be making when they start implementing.

    Turns out, I gave them the only straight answer of any of the companies they were looking at... and they made the purchase... then found out that IT people didn't get commissions...

Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it's supposed to do. -- R. A. Heinlein