Are You Ready for Something Different?
In our last post, we explored the variations in software developer career paths. In this post, we look at jobs related to software development that you can consider for a career change.
Being a software developer is an interesting and rewarding career, and plenty of people make a permanent job doing it. But, after a few years slinging code, it’s common for programmers to feel like the challenge is gone, or that there's too much repetition, or that they need a change of pace or scenery.
When that happens, it’s natural to explore software developer career change options. Many programmers are surprised to there are many careers they may be qualified to transition to.
This is especially true if you're looking for a job that will allow you to work more with people because that leaves you open to positions where you're managing people or working face-to-face with the public.
Today we’ll discuss IT-related occupations that are in the same vein as software development that you might want to look into, and give you some advice to avoid common mistakes people sometimes make during career changes like this.
Alternative Career Options for Software Developers
Software development and software engineering are demanding jobs that require several different skills. While many of your skills are specific to programming, you have no doubt gained a variety of other skills. Your industry-specific and non-programmer skills may make you a candidate for a number of other IT positions. For instance, critical thinking and analysis skills are valuable in many IT career paths.
With that in mind, here's a list of software developer job alternatives you can consider:
- Computer systems operations manager
- Technical writing
- Project or program management
- Software architect
- Software testing or quality assurance
- Customer relations for a technology company
- Sales or marketing
- Graphic or web design
- Systems administration
- Program analysis
Avoiding Common Mistakes When Exploring Software Developer Career Options
Changing out of a software development careers can be difficult and a little scary. But if you know what common problems programmers tend to run into, then you can take pre-emptive steps to avoid damaging your IT career.
For instance, if you're considering a career change because you don’t feel challenged, you could ask yourself what types of challenges you might want to take on. For example, are you interested in working with user testing? Or quality assurance? Or operating systems? Or databases? Or websites? This will help guide you on the path to find the new IT career you’re after.
Similarly, if you want to try a new role in IT because you want to work with people more, then you must seek options that will afford you opportunities to do that. Maybe a career in software sales or tech support would fill that need.
Another consideration you must ponder is the type of environment you want to work in because this could impact your final decision. Depending on your needs, wants, and personality, the right fit could be a start-up or a small business. On the other hand your dream IT career might dictate looking at a large firm.
Yet another option is freelancing, which is a whole different ball game. We offer a vast array of opportunities as IT contract consultants.
"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." - Confucius
Finally, no matter what you're looking to find in your new career, it’s crucial that you prioritize finding something you're passionate about over anything else, especially money. Although it’s important to find a job that pays well, a job you love will make you infinitely happier, and your passion will open up more doors than a larger paycheck ever could.
“I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” — Steve Jobs
Before making any decisions about your new IT career, take some time to examine your long-term goals and ask yourself what you want to accomplish in the next five to ten years.
Once you know where you want to go, it’ll be much easier to find the path forward, and that includes finding the right IT career.
In this article, we explored some career options similar to software development. If you are considering a jump to a new IT career, the good news is that there are plenty of practical IT career options for you to explore.
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