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    Career transition thoughts


    OK. I tend to get long winded...I will try to keep this brief.
    I am 38yrs old.

    For last 13 years I have been in sales. Run 2 companies of my own. Once successfully, the other time I ran out of money before it became self sustaining.

    My resume looks great for sales...been sales manager, run my own company etc...but I have changed jobs about every 2 years. (not a job hopper...once my company was purchase...twice the place (mortgage industry) I worked was going out of business...etc)

    I have always been into computers...my main laptop runs Linux, and has not had windows on it in years. Enough background, long story short, I am burnt out on sales, and I would really like to get into an IT field. I just dont know how to make the change. I took a basic programming, entry level Java, and networking classes at the community college a couple of years ago. I think I like the programming side is more 'me' than networking although I think that it would be harder to outsource overseas the networking than programming.

    Thoughts on how I might transition? Just how much ability do I need in order to get hired? Am I out of my mind? OK, I already know the answer to that one. I have a family...I can take a bit of a drop in pay...but I cant take an internship or work for total peanuts.

    Thanks in advance.
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    This sort of transition isn't going to be to easy to do, but is definitely possible. The main draw back is, like you already know, it's going to be hard to find a good programming position without the experience. There's a lot of other programmers out there that can work for the same money and are about the same age as you, but they have 10-20 years more experience and that's where the difference will come into it.

    So, how to start off? Firstly, do some programming for yourself, and get your skills up. It doesn't matter what language/languages you choose or what you actually do, but get some good real-world examples of what you are capable of doing and put them together. Make sure that you have these available as examples and can show them along with the source code to any prospective employers.

    Secondly, look for smaller firms. Larger firms are going to be very much entrenched in the idea of hiring someone that's either younger and is willing to work for next-to-nothing, or someone that is the same sort of age as you but has more experience. From what I've seen smaller places (5-20 employees) are generally more likely to give someone in your position a chance.

    Thirdly, just get your resume out there as much as you can. If you see a job that asks for 3-4 years experience send your application in anyway - but be sure to note that you have your current level of experience but that you are working hard at gaining more. If nothing else you've got your foot in the door and you never know what might come up in the future.
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    Thanks. I was kind of thinking the smaller firm also...so that works. I am kind of hoping that a smaller firm will like the fact that I have some business background and sales background. I think that being as personable with the customer service skills might help me get hired...a larger company probably just wants a drone who will bang out code, and a smaller company might see value in someone that brings a little more 'real world' experience even if its not in programming.

    You mention do some programming to get something to show employers. I am guessing I can do this by helping on open source projects? How else do you get real examples to show? Just write a program to write it?

    I know you said it doesnt matter which language, just pick one...but whats more marketable? I figured Java or C# probably were, but I see a lot of talk about Python and PHP. Thoughts on which one will be easiest to find a job? Th hard thing for me is going to be knowing just how much do I need to know in order to be able to say "I am good enough to be hired"

    Thanks again.
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    Originally Posted by mcompton1973
    I am guessing I can do this by helping on open source projects?
    That's possible, but I'd look carefully at which projects that you want to join. some are happy to have anyone contribute and others can get a bit upset if they consider your skills to be "poor" no matter if they are or aren't.

    Originally Posted by mcompton1973
    How else do you get real examples to show? Just write a program to write it?
    Yep. That's all that you need to do. The best way to do it is to find something that you want for yourself and write it for yourself.

    Originally Posted by mcompton1973
    I know you said it doesnt matter which language, just pick one...but whats more marketable? I figured Java or C# probably were, but I see a lot of talk about Python and PHP.
    This is something that we can't answer for you. It will depend on what you want to do and what you feel comfortable with. So far I've been based mainly in the web world, even though I did mostly Java at University, but the web stuff suits me better so that's what I prefer to do now. Other people are completely different and that's great. That's why there's a good range of applications out there and everyone can have a chance to do their own thing.

    Originally Posted by mcompton1973
    Th hard thing for me is going to be knowing just how much do I need to know in order to be able to say "I am good enough to be hired"
    Again, this is up to you to decide. As you know from your sales background, 90% of getting a job is convincing someone that you can do it, and very little has to do with you actually being able to do it. There's a lot of programmers out there that really shouldn't be working, but they are because they think that they should be so they project that air of confidence. And remember, you can always learn on the job. You will need a base to start with, but no one will expect you to know everything. Just go with your strengths and dive into the deep end. That way your forced to learn what you need to know.
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    Following your post with interest. Having been involved with sales and having your own business is the hardest part. If you learn programming and are good at it your def onto a winner. Good luck! Keep us posted how it goes.

    Im awful at sales but think i have good ideas haha, if only i could win the contracts!
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    IT professions are the most wanted in US, because country spends millions to get specialists form abroad. They would way rather have a specialists inside the country, but there are not enough of IT educated people. With all that said I would get some more certifications while working other job for reassurance of qualifications. Good luck, it's never l;ate to start doing what you truly enjoy.

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