Career Change -- IT

Joined
Mar 30, 2022
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4
Good Evening,

I'd like to open up a discussion on a possible career change into IT. I want to be honest, I am a board member, this handle was just created (and approved by Wayne), as I'd prefer to keep my personal info out of this -- I hope you understand.

I am no longer working in a 'professional' capacity (I am in my 50's). I've just started to get some information together, to see if I could transition into an IT role by going through some type of accelerated certificate program (i.e. Bootcamp). Yeah, the term carries some negative connotations -- at least for me. There were several coding boot camps in the city I live in, all proving to be fraudulent. This was prior to the Pandemic years.

Originally, I was searching for info on Cyber Security programs. I have expanded to coding and data analytics roles. DA is most closely related to what I used to work on.

A couple of red flags popped up w/ Cyber Security -- a. ability to get into the field w/ a certificate and no experience, b. level of stress, which potential candidates seem to be unaware of.

The phone call I just finished was with a 3rd party (Trilogy Education Services), which partner with the U of MN on these camps. Cost is roughly 11k. duration is either 3 months (full time) or 6 months (part time). All are evening programs and remote. I'm finding out that remote is pretty much the norm, certainly not my preference, but it is what it is...

With all this said, I'm simply looking for feedback -- thoughts on the IT field overall, data analytics vs coding, etc. Are these accelerated programs a viable way to get into the field? I am looking at 10-12 years of working life left.

Appreciate input, with my work schedule, I will be unable to follow up until tomorrow evening.

TY
 
Joined
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I am a retired "lowly programmer", as I call myself. Let's just say that, after being a late bloomer (hope-to-die alcoholic), Silicon Valley and IT have been very good to me.

What are your goals? Is it money, enjoy your work life, a technical challenge, constant learning?
Where will you live? What are the opportunities in that location?

I cut my teeth at DeAnza Community College in Cupertino; I took every programming course they had. I was hugely employable after a short time.
I got a Bachelors Degree at San Jose State with a major in Business (High Tech Finance focus) and minored in Economics and Computer Science.
My career always focused around Finance, with an empahsis on Cost Accounting, Operations and Predictive Analytics. Always database concentric.

I would look into your local Community College programs, as they are often influenced by local business needs.
Good luck! In a way I envy you. This is exciting! I believe you will be amazed by the time you are halfway there...
 

Nick1994

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I just read your post to my aunt, who is a VP of IT (Software Development) for a Fortune 500 company.

She says you don't necessarily need a fancy $11k education program to get into IT. She recommends using Udemy and taking a 90 day Python bootcamp. She says Python is a good base to take with you either into Software Development or Data Analytics. She says they're quite different and you'll need tor research and take some classes and make that determination as to which direction to go. She says Udemy is ridiculously cheap, but that doesn't mean anything. Like $20. She says another important thing to learn in the Udemy bootcamp is Agile project management methodology.

She says you should then build a portfolio with your projects and sample code with GitHub for a code repository. If you decide on software development, Javascipt is a good foundation to start with and once you are fluent in it, perhaps learn React.

She also recommends watching Tech With Tim on YouTube.

She doesn't know the cost or much about them, but she recently hired a developer that studied at Turing.edu and the developer is fantastic, whether that's the school or the developer herself is unknown though. But seemed like the school helped prepare her.

But don't stress about pouring money into education.

I work in IT but on the Infrastructure side, so I can't help personally with your path much.
 
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I will just point out that programming is like playing a musical instrument. There are those who can do it with a minimal of training and those that an infinite amount of training will never benefit. Not saying you are one or the other, just that the dynamic exists. These initiatives to "show every kid how to program" is as misguided as forcing kids to play an instrument. The outcome in the best case is to identify who has aptitude for it and who does not. Good luck with your endeavors. I have a programming background (which I totally enjoy) but now work in infrastructure support @ the enterprise level.

Download python and the open source book "How to Think Like A Computer Scientist" for a good tutorial


-Thomas.
 
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The advice from @Nick1994 is spot on. Python is probably the #1 programming language right now.
My favorite for statistical programming is R, but it tends to be more specialized. Powerful language, for sure.
For user interfaces, React has opportunity in spades.
Udemy certainly is a well respected name in IT. I like edX.org.

And database. If you have a head for structure, good database developers are always in demand.
I like Microsoft Azure. Cloud baby!

Homework:
  • Check out edX.org. I took an R course from Harvard for free.
  • By all means, get into a local user's group.
  • Check out Microsoft Power BI
 
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I will just point out that programming is like playing a musical instrument. There are those who can do it with a minimal of training and those that an infinite amount of training will never benefit. Not saying you are one or the other, just that the dynamic exists. These initiatives to "show every kid how to program" is as misguided as forcing kids to play an instrument. The outcome in the best case is to identify who has aptitude for it and who does not. Good luck with your endeavors. I have a programming background (which I totally enjoy) but now work in infrastructure support @ the enterprise level.

Download python and the open source book "How to Think Like A Computer Scientist" for a good tutorial


-Thomas.
There are many different ways to our careers. You do not need to be the best in programming to benefit from the growth of the field.

I know people who are great at sales or recruiting but would be a horrible engineer, or a great people manager or forecaster with horrible engineering skills, or a great engineer in designing robust system but are horrible at managing other people. What is great in the US, is that we are free to move between jobs, and we don't have to be in the management to get good-paying jobs unlike in other countries.
 

OVERKILL

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I echo the sentiments of others. I started in CS, discovered I absolutely hated programming, and changed to networking, which I've made my career. I also get involved in infrastructure planning and project execution as well.

Python is a great language to get started in, that's what my cousin started on when he did his CS degree. And, you'll quickly determine whether you want to be involved in coding or not. If not, there are other paths.
 
Joined
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I'm getting sick of IT.

Seriously, I'm starting to really hate it.

Part of it might be that, where I live, almost all of the IT jobs are Federal government contracting jobs. A private-sector IT job is like a needle in a haystack around here. Even if you find the rare IT job that doesn't require a security clearance, you'll probably find during the interview that it's still a Federal contract position, just not a DoD Federal contract position.

I think I need to move. I'm only here because someone at Mobil in the 1980s had the bright idea to move their corp HQ to Fairfax, Virginia.
 

Nick1994

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I'm getting sick of IT.

Seriously, I'm starting to really hate it.

Part of it might be that, where I live, almost all of the IT jobs are Federal government contracting jobs. A private-sector IT job is like a needle in a haystack around here. Even if you find the rare IT job that doesn't require a security clearance, you'll probably find during the interview that it's still a Federal contract position, just not a DoD Federal contract position.

I think I need to move. I'm only here because someone at Mobil in the 1980s had the bright idea to move their corp HQ to Fairfax, Virginia.
I think you need to think outside the box.

It no longer matters where you live. Companies are hiring remote workers for high salary jobs all over the place.

The company that I and my above mentioned aunt work for are hiring developers all across the country, not tied to any of our physical terminals.
 
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@OP: If you like cyber security I know for a fact you could get hired at Raytheon El Segundo with no experience, get your DoD TS clearance, work your a$$ off for 16 months, and leave for another company. Many people do that. One guy was in shipping/receiving, got laid off, came back as IA (information assurance).
The whole job is spelled out for you on the inside, like a McDonald's.

If you want respectable cyber security look to sans.org.
If you want DoD security buy this and study: https://www.amazon.com/FISMA-Risk-Management-Framework-Practice/dp/1597496413
and maybe:
https://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Risk-Management-Framework-Revision/dp/1723760358/
and pass the CISSP exam.
 
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FWIW, I know someone who did a web development boot camp via the Cal Berkeley Extension - it was a Trilogy program. He’s not doing bad for himself but I also knew people who went to Hack Reactor and App Academy as well.

I’m in the middle of taking a class on Codecademy Pro myself. I’m still in JavaScript but will switch gears to Python.
 
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I think you need to think outside the box.

It no longer matters where you live. Companies are hiring remote workers for high salary jobs all over the place.

The company that I and my above mentioned aunt work for are hiring developers all across the country, not tied to any of our physical terminals.

Well, I live in a high cost-of-living area. It's something like 150% of the national average. All those high-paying Federal jobs push the cost of living up here. So if I were going to work remotely, I would move to a lower cost of living area, preferably one where it isn't so humid in the summer that one gets a bad case of swamp-*** just going to get the mail..
 
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As one member mentioned above, Python is where it's at. I'm in my late 40's and have been doing this work for 8 years. Before this I worked in a auto parts factory, I'm glad I made the switch.
 
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Cyber Security is something you can get certified in, but it's really more for someone who has been in the industry for a while and has that tribal knowledge of how things work, how things get exposed, etc. I see a lot of people graduating college with a cyber security degree and not realizing that they have to start from the bottom like everyone else.

I'm 14 years into a career in IT. I definitely made some big blunders that have affected my growth and how far I am. I am not a programmer, that's for sure. Never tried. I have a degree in Networking / Sys admin. I thought you'd get a job in that right out of college. Not true. Ended up working as an analyst / app support / process engineer role for a few years. It's not for me, I like hands on. So 5 years ago I switched to help desk. Where I should have started in 2010.

Love networking, though. It's something that just comes natural to me IMO. Programming is all wizardry.
 
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@79 Cutlass Supreme I highly suggest you consider the posts saying programming is not for everyone.
This is true of many professions; some people earn difficult degrees and find they hate the field.

Information Technology is such a broad field and only getting bigger.
@Miller88 mentioned helpdesk work; that is a great way to get your foot in the door and is a critical IT component as you are the face of IT. And not a bad career path for sure...

Networking has been mentioned; good network personell are always in demand and are prized.
One thing about programming: the important thing is not the programming skill, rahter it is the business need being addressed. What is the program supposed to do? You need both to be a top notch coder. In my case it was a knowledge mix of programming tools, buisness needs and statistics. With a combination of skills, you become a Solutions Architect. After that you just might become a Data Scientist...
 
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Good Evening,

I'd like to open up a discussion on a possible career change into IT. I want to be honest, I am a board member, this handle was just created (and approved by Wayne), as I'd prefer to keep my personal info out of this -- I hope you understand.

I am no longer working in a 'professional' capacity (I am in my 50's). I've just started to get some information together, to see if I could transition into an IT role by going through some type of accelerated certificate program (i.e. Bootcamp). Yeah, the term carries some negative connotations -- at least for me. There were several coding boot camps in the city I live in, all proving to be fraudulent. This was prior to the Pandemic years.

Originally, I was searching for info on Cyber Security programs. I have expanded to coding and data analytics roles. DA is most closely related to what I used to work on.

A couple of red flags popped up w/ Cyber Security -- a. ability to get into the field w/ a certificate and no experience, b. level of stress, which potential candidates seem to be unaware of.

The phone call I just finished was with a 3rd party (Trilogy Education Services), which partner with the U of MN on these camps. Cost is roughly 11k. duration is either 3 months (full time) or 6 months (part time). All are evening programs and remote. I'm finding out that remote is pretty much the norm, certainly not my preference, but it is what it is...

With all this said, I'm simply looking for feedback -- thoughts on the IT field overall, data analytics vs coding, etc. Are these accelerated programs a viable way to get into the field? I am looking at 10-12 years of working life left.

Appreciate input, with my work schedule, I will be unable to follow up until tomorrow evening.

TY

Just wondering what your previous career field ?

Luckily lots of good paying IT jobs.
 

79 Cutlass Supreme

Thread starter
Joined
Mar 30, 2022
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4
Hey,

Appreciate the posts. I'd like to address a few recurring questions.

a. As I am wading through this, I believe the real key is going to be to speak with people in the field that know me. Being a diverse field, I really need to immerse myself in understanding the different roles, and understand what skills I would potentially bring to a particular role. It is going to take some time, I am hoping to meet with a few individuals in the next month. I have until the end of May to make a determination.

b. My former career -- fell underneath several umbrellas. Project Mgt, Data/Statistical Analyst, Quality Improvement (some Six Sigma training and small project mgt). Much of it was in Health and Disability Insurance. Some exposure to the mortgage industry @ Wells Fargo (yuck).

In the old days, I had some programming background in pre-windows SPSS, and then used windows based SPSS sporadically at work. The actual programming came during my grad school days. Data Analysis is a completely different beast, from the type of work I did years ago. I like working with data, trying to manipulate it to put into presentable terms. I'd say it would be one of my strengths....

C. Money is important (duh), but it isn't the ultimate driving force. I am happy with where I am at, and my retirement is pretty much set already. To potentially do this, and for it to make sense, it would have to be a career with potential into the mid to upper 60's. Obviously, that would come with some years of experience.

d. Probably best to put this thread aside, and re-visit it at the end of the month. I'll most likely have a better idea of what direction I may head.
 

79 Cutlass Supreme

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Forgot to add... I would be taking a skills assessment, prior to enrolling into this bootcamp. It is free, and determines whether I would be admitted to the program.

All kinds of 2 year programs available in Mpls. Just trying to do this quicker, I'm not getting any younger.
 
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@79 Cutlass Supreme
One thing about programming: the important thing is not the programming skill, rahter it is the business need being addressed

When I was an analyst and doing ERP stuff, that's the biggest challenge I had. The developers sometimes just do not understand business process or why something would have to be done a certain way instead of how they want it done.
 
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