Anyone changed careers by learning to code?
By - alex123711
If you’re really passionate about it then yes it’s possible…coding is something you can also do on the side as a hobby to develop your skills up - or bring it to market (eg apps- game, productivity, workflow, etc) to monetise. Doing these side projects will give you an edge to showcase a level of experience gained - rather than getting the experience itself on the job (assuming your current career does not allow that opportunity to code)
If you’re doing it for the money and are not really interested or passionate about coding, then you might not end up being great at it - and therefore less skilled than others out there…taking into consideration that coding languages evolve and get changed and/or new technologies arrive, then the “continuous learning” mantra is core to great developers
Yes but I was already a systems engineer so I understood a lot of underlying technology I was coding for.
If you have the aptitude its a great path however to be honest coding just dosent compute in a lot of peoples brains.
It may not be considered a "change of career" because of the umbrella of IT, but straight out of highschool I got into desktop computer support (Windows). On the job I learned Linux and IBM Mainframe. After many years of Technical Support and then System Administration I was able to transition into a Business Analyst/Programmer role with a major insurance company having been completely self-taught in VBScript/VBA, VB.NET and MSSQL Server. (still with no degree or formal training)
Edit: in Melbourne
How much time did you spend on learning code since you were self-taught?
I know basic Python but want to up my game.
In the earlier days I spent several hundred dollars on books (roughly $100 per book for very thorough ones on Classic ASP/VBScript and MS Access database design)
I also got heaps out of w3schools initially but later spent a lot of time on MSDN. There are very thorough video training catalogs on MSDN available free.
Edit (about time): I used to read my book on the train/tram on the way to work, and then try to sneak in some practical consolidation during my work day between support calls.
Thanks for the advice mate. Appreciate it
How long ago was this though? Based on the technologies you mentioned I would presume quite awhile. The landscape has changed a bit, I think this was doable in the past, not as much now. What is doable is lateral movements within large organisations if you show the aptitude and attitude to learn and excel, where you build the skillsets then change 'career'.
1998/1999: Windows 95 / Novell Netware / IBM AS400 / Linux (email) support.
2000-2006: Web Hosting. Learned ASP/VBScript and SQL on the job and in personal time with books and some online stuff.
2007: Got a job as a junior analyst/programmer with intent to be mentored. The mentor moved on so I just hustled by myself (MSDN/YouTube) to transition to VB.NET and desktop applications.
Bearing in mind that I was already at said company, I managed to pivot into a higher role by self teaching some basic code and database knowledge.
I self taught myself rudimentary SQL, Python and some basic automation scripting - which was a springboard to my current role which greatly enhanced my skills in coding and data.
Try a few small exercises in a code language, you will discover you love it, hate it, or accept it but don't feel passionate enough to continue.
Here a few challenges you can try, if so inclined
I'd suggest Python as a good 'base' as its very cross functional and is fairly easy to pick up.
1. Create a csv file in python, create 2 header rows (Fruit & Quantity) and then fill the columns with 5 rows of data eg Apples and 3
2. Read that CSV file into a pandas data frame and then only select rows based on a Quantity above say 10
3. Create a folder with say 10 photos in it, and create a script to append 'Taken2020' to the end of each photo
4. Move those 10 photos to a new folder on your desktop
There are several free books/courses online - but most people start with 'Automate the boring stuff' as a good start point for python, and if it grabs your fancy, there are literal tons of courses online that go deeper and wider
Coding can be really fun, but also be prepared for lots of head banging against desk too, but you will soon learn if its for you or not.
if redditor wants to start learning:
print("all the best")
print("better luck next time")
Adding on to this great test of suitability and desire to code:
For anyone considering coding, realise looking at the problem above you will be googling
1. "how to install python"
2. "how to create a CSV in python"
3. "how to write to a CSV in python"
So even the 1st step has sub steps - all of which you'll need to figure out (sub-problems of presented problems). You haven't even got a coding program like an IDE installed yet either, so add that to the steps. Even on installing you might run in to an error because of the slight misconfiguration of a file on your local machine - you'll need to solve that too.
It's *a lot* of ~~googling~~DuckDuckGoing, a lot of reading. Deciphering solutions from stack overflow, github, blog posts, and official documentation.
You've got to like learning, you got to like problem solving. The codes and syntaxes come over time, but maybe a good once-through with some sort of Object Oriented Programming language with guides would be good (python is fine for this) just so you understand Classes, Functions, Parameters, Objects, Methods etc as concepts (they're referenced a lot in learning materials).
It is frustrating. It is confusing. It is humbling. But when you get that end product which actually does something amazing and brings genuine ease or delight in to people's lives - it's satisfying as fuck, the money is luckily good too.
Agree. The first time something ‘works’ it’s the hook that keeps you going!!!!
Any particular recommendations on what kind of exercises to try and cut your teeth on for exploring object orientated programming?
Here is a good place to start:
It's not free but very affordable given the quality of the content. The alternative would be to find any beginners textbook on Java or C#, but I think it would be much more user friendly to just do the course. There are other options like Udemy courses but I find that you mainly end up copying the course instructor's code verbatim and tend to overestimate how much you learn.
After you've done the course you can get plenty of experience tackling the Java or C# path (for free) on [exercism.io](https://exercism.io)
My advice is to tackle the easier questions and rely on the mentors early on, and then view the solution sorting by most stars. Ignore the first 3 or 4 results because the code will be so efficient that it won't be legible for a beginner. Instead pick the 5th or 6th best rated result and aim to solve the question like that.
Yep from chemistry/research to medical data analytics.
I had heaps of free time at my last job so I tried using VBA and Access to work with data better. Both tools are pretty dated but it was government and you can't install anything because government.
I then applied for my current job by basically arguing that I can solve problems, do basic coding, and have a science background.
Since then I've worked with SQL, Python, AWS, Tableau, 1b+ data sets, and other tools. I was the first in my department in a "tech" role so I had no help but no pressure to keep up with a senior role either. A big eye-opener for me was that being really good at one language is great, but to really be useful you need to adapt to different tools and packages. It's easier than you think, but it means you're constantly learning.
It's all about chipping away, persistence, and in my opinion, enjoying troubleshooting. I'm also not the best with structured learning but seem to be good at project-based learning.
Some days things don't work and I don't know why. But research was the same, except I wouldn't know why for months. This pays better and people are nicer.
I'm pretty happy.
Hope this gave some insight.
I've done it， from humanities to coding. Took about a year and a bit to get my first job which was painful，and paying like 45k. But 3 years later in FAANG and just hit 200k
What kind of role are you in that pays 200K after 3yrs?
Dev as well
Just boring backend + cloud. Most G and A engineers make this much at mid level (l4 in G，L5 in A) due to stock appreciation. Hard to get promoted to senior though no hope in next 2 years，so won't expect much increase other than stock refresh .
This is in aus?
Yeah Syd，but I moved to SA and working remotely. Us is probably 30%-40% higher， but not a fan of US
How did you learn? Bootcamp/ or self taught etc?
I did a 12 week bootcamp in Melbourne， but took me 9 months after graduation to find a job. and it was most self directed learning during the 9 months from books and udemy courses. Looking back I was definitely not job ready at graduation time.
What courses did you do/ any you'd recommend?
For books I read a few classics:
\- Designing data intensive applications (Dense, not recommended for newbies)
\- Cracking code interview
\- Practical object oriented programming
\- clean code etc
I can't remember what courses I did, but it was mostly around AWS and developing apps in specific languages. Most high rating courses on Udemy are pretty good, and just like 12 bucks, so you can't really go wrong with them. Honestly nothing I did was special, just followed common advices people gave but kept it consistently for about a year, and spending time networking / building portofolio / sending out applications
Getting into FAANG and that income is pretty impressive with no STEM degree and only a few years' experience.
Thank you, but there is a lot of luck involved. A developer making 200k is not necessarily better than those who make 80k. It often just means that the higher paying one got the time to prepare for the interviews, and lucked out because they didn't get allocated a shitty interviewer who hates everyone.
The interviews for FAANG theses days are nonsense gatekeepers that rewards preparation rather than ability. I honestly think what I do now is less challenging than what I did a year ago in a scale up, but now I'm paid 80 % more money.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that moving to coding is a viable path for an average, non super geeky smart person. I've never been great at STEM in school . Not everyone will have my luck, but those who persist should be able to make the transition by just doing the fundamentals well and keep at it.
Totally agree with tipzstmatic. One of my mates had built an app that showed both passion and competence and they were hired that without any IT work experience. Granted he wasn't just doing it for the money.
One of the biggest benefits of an IT career (and also one of the harder things) is that technology is always progressing. You could join at the start of a new tech phase and therefore start on the same foot as everyone else. Obviously, a bit oversimplified but the point is that the walls to entering a career in IT are far far lower than most other careers. Also means a life of constant learning for everyone in the industry which can be a good or bad thing.
It's much easier to move sideways into ever more code-intensive jobs in a company than just 'learn to code' -> profit.
The people who teach themselves coding and then get hired straight into google or whatever are exceptional and have probably spent at least as much time improving their skills as someone who's studied CS formally. My guess is it'd take years of self-teaching to do well in say a triplebytes quiz... i.e. that's not realistic for many people.
Yep I used to sell ads and websites, then people kept wanting information about how the ads and websites were performing, now I'm a data scientist with an arts degree and no formal training
Nice, was that your own business or as an employee?
As an employee. Don't really have the risk appetite or work ethic to run a business.
Not a change in career but 100% focused more of my effort on the Data and Analytics world in supply chain.
Lot to be done automating and strteamlining both front and backend systems in manufacturing and logistics so there are ample opportunities there
What would be some great courses/resources to look into for a career in this field?
Sorry mate, totally missed this!
Good logistics resources are hard to come by imo, its not a sexy industry so not many people are drawn to it, alot of the experience you get either on the job or via a diploma or bachelor.
Having said that the backend systems for manufacturing looks for engineers consistently. I like [cognitiveclass.ai](https://cognitiveclass.ai) (by IBM), EDX - but i dont pay for the certs, and Coursera for my data science learning and training. I went analytics, so R was my first language... its dry in comparison to Python because R was written by statisticians for statisticians, Python you can do heaps of cool fun stuff with, R is quite niche.
You will find the PowerBI and Tableau run R and Python scripts so learning these can be hugely beneficial for businesses and can plug into existing tools.
If you had any other questions dont hesitate
Thank you so much for the reply!
I have hired quite a few (paid) interns who went through boot camps and changed careers to software engineers.
I have always been a software engineer/developer.
How do they compare/perform compared to CS grads etc?
On average, I've found CS grads tend to perform better. But that's probably because you just learn a lot more studying something for 3 to 4 years than 12 weeks.
In the long run though, there's a lot more that makes a good software engineer that the CS vs bootcamp comparison becomes less relevant.
Yep I agree
On average, CS grads do better as a cohort. But I would put that down to time and interest more than anything else.
Individually, hired some really smart now software engineers / career transitions form very different walks of life (eg: Vets).
Attitude, motivation, and wanting to be in a field that’s always changing/learning is pretty important to success
Hey friend! Happy to chat about career pathways in Software Eng / Cyber, just ping me. I think you'll find there are a lot of people trying to move into the space from non-traditional backgrounds and those candidates are sought after from having lived experiences that differ heavily from the uni/tafe grad norm. :D
I haven't done this but I work at a tech company in Melbourne with many people who have and who are doing really well. Some examples, one of them was a nurse, one was a barista, and one worked in child care
Did they do bootcamps or self taught?
Some people do bootcamps and some are self taught. I just remembered one more - this one has a degree in philosophy and no professional comp sci education.
Yep. It's very easy to find resources out there online and it isn't hard to get started on your own.
I think it's important to apply your learning and actually write things with code. I started off learning VBA so I could apply it to my job at the time with Excel. Although VBA wasn't my end goal, I just knew I had to do something with my coding knowledge.
I then wanted to become a mobile developer because I found it fun to be able to create my own apps. So I started to learn that and make apps in my own time and changed my career path.
Since there are so many free resources, it's easy to be able to tell whether coding is right for you or not.
Why does every career change had to be a coder?
I guess since tech in general has the largest growth, its not like other areas like manufacturing or retail are growing or going to have future growth.
Yeah my best friend did... best thing he ever did. Still works in the same industry as before though, just working a different role and getting paid more.
Did he do a bootcamp or self learn?
Self learn. Avoid bootcamp.
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