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Should I Quit my Stable Job to Pursue my Dream Job?

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  • #850291 Reply

    I have been working as a systems admin for 5 years now. Now, I wanted to try to change my career to become a full time programmer since it is the job that I wanted ever since. A lot of people also said that the job offers higher salary, but of course it depends on the opportunities given. I actually plan to work in a company with a programming environment to learn more and when I have enough knowledge, I plan to work at home, to spend more time with my family someday.

    Its just that I’m afraid to become a failure.. I’am terrified to become broke because I will be bad with this dream job and wont have enough money to support my child. My team head also said that I will be promoted to become a Team Leader but I don’t know when. So leaving my current job means leaving this opportunity and the 5 years I have spent will all go to waste. Now I’m confused.

    #850300 Reply

    It doesn’t really sound like you have a clear plan for how to get your dream job, so I think you need to make enquiries about that first and start applying. Are there any online courses or local classes you can do to show your interest in that type of career?

    I don’t think 5 years is very long to spend in a job and it’s not wasted if you have had experience and been supporting your family. I wouldn’t hang around to see if you get offered a team leader job, but certainly don’t leave your current job until you have the next one arranged.

    #850301 Reply

    I know nothing about programming, but it seems like a safe career to launch in. Can you hang on to your old job while you do what you have to do to become a programmer? What’s involved? A degree or certification? Crunch the numbers. Make sure the investment is worth the expected pay bump. I would love to go back to school myself, but at my age & how much childcare would cost, it’s not worth the investment. For me. You might reach a different conclusion. Talking to someone who is currently working as a programmer would be extremely beneficial. Make sure the information you’re gathering comes from people who actually know the industry.

    #850316 Reply

    The first thing I’d do if I were you is to try to move into a programming job with my current employer. You are already programming for your employer. Perhaps you can arrange a slow transition into programming close to 100%.

    #850323 Reply

    You do you boo.

    You literally do what feels best, if you stick around and never try it at your dream job you will always regret it, at least if you fail you can say you’ve tried. Nobody gets anywhere without taking a chance 🙂

    #850331 Reply

    Not to throw a bucket of cold water on your dreams, but do you currently any training in programming, or contribute to Open Source projects, or have a GitHub repo?

    If you don’t have any experience yet, getting a job at it out of the gate will be next to impossible. Nobody wants to hire someone in the hopes they can teach them to program.

    It isn’t just knowing a programming language, it’s being a person with a track record of being able to break a task down into the components so that they can be programmed at all. A good programmer can learn the syntax of a new language in a couple weeks, but someone who doesn’t know how to create a logical flow that can represent a real-world task can know every programming language there is and you still won’t want that person on staff.

    You don’t mention your age, but it is also (unfortunately) a very ageist industry, especially for entry level. Places want younger programmers that don’t have family obligations because it’s easier to trick them into doing stupid things like working 70 hour work weeks (for no extra pay) by providing free snacks and having a tv set up with video games at work.

    That said, if it is something you really enjoy, I would say you need to establish yourself without relying on an employer for the training. Contributing to Open Source so that you can build a portfolio of work, while also helping the community, is a good way to show experience outside of a formal education-to-employment pipeline. Or, try to integrate programming into your sysadmin job as much as you can: automate tasks, generate reports from server logs, etc. This way you can keep getting paid while you learn the skills necessary to switch.

    #850349 Reply

    Tough one, be broke and chase your dreams or be paid and live comfortably but always regret that you never chased your dreams.

    Save up at least 6 month of rainy day funds or cushion money and than Persue your dreams, try staring out part time programming job on weekends while working at your steady income job and do a slow transition.

    #850353 Reply
    avatarBon Vivant

    As someone currently leaving a stable, well-paid job to venture out on my own, I can say I feel you! It’s an exciting prospect, but at times I’m scared sh**less.

    Everyone has given good advice, and I’ll add to the chorus with some thoughts as well.
    1. The main and most important thing is to have a PLAN. A clear, well thought out, detailed and definitive action plan with the exact actions needed to get there and the timetable in which to do it. I have spent in excess of 2 years on the planning and (extensive) research part of my career change.
    2. Finances. How much you need to accomplish item #1 if that means additional education, going back to school full-time, etc. Again, this needs to be clearly defined and achievable. And you can’t just think or day-dream in your head about it — you HAVE to physically do the research, talk to people in the industry, crunch the numbers, and live within those parameters.
    3. Worry about whether you will obtain employment at a company to do programming and be able to work at home after the above is figured out. No one is going to hire you so that you can learn how to program — people get hired because they can actually program and have the track record to show it, which can take years, especially in our ever-increasingly complex tech environment. And sure, some jobs can be remote but in a creative, collaborative environment such as programming this may not always be possible. There’s a lot of wood to chop here before this can be a reality.

    Good luck to you. People change careers all the time and if you play your cards right you can too.

    #850366 Reply

    I’m a little confused about what your plans are. It’s not like you’re planning to become an artist — there are plenty of low-risk ways for you to pursue your dream job.

    Are you qualified to get a programming job now? If so, then get the job. If not, can you not work on your qualifications while you’re currently working?

    There are certainly some career changes that require you to quit a job and then work your way up to your new job, but this doesn’t really appear to be one of them. I guess I’m not really sure why you feel like this has to involve a huge amount of risk.

    #850367 Reply

    Agreed! Work your current job while taking classes and/or building your portfolio by working in Open Source as suggested above. Once you feel experienced, start shopping yourself around and make a career change.

    #850719 Reply

    I think you should go for it! But be smart about it…take it slowly and get the right experience and credentials. Do you program all the time at home? How many programming languages do you know? Find out the best programming languages to know. Program every day and challenge yourself to learn more. The website is a great one for learning html, css, python (these 3 are all very commonly used) and some others. Give yourself projects to complete and see if you can get your code working. At the same time, take night classes online to work towards a computer science degree…this might take a couple years and that’s ok! You can spend your time building your skills. Also, during these 2 years, network with other programmers and make connections. Once you are ready start applying to jobs and get the word out you are looking. I would not quit your current job till you have something else lined up. GOOD LUCK! This is exciting and you can do this!

    #850805 Reply

    You have one life. Quit the job that doesnt make you happy and struggle for the dream job that does. Nothing worth while in life comes easy x

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