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Advice for Career Switchers

Advice to Career Switchers


1. What you think is expertise is simply familiarity. When you hear a developer ramble on about ReactJs or Vue or C# and you think "I will never be as good as him." try to remember that he probably works with it daily. His knowledge is the product of having to fight the technology every day of his life. The key is to get familiar with a technology, all of its jargon and basic principles. If you are not going to fight it everyday cursory knowledge is fine.


2. Hiring managers tend to hire for what you will become rather than what you are currently. Learning is the key. Never ever tell someone you refuse to work with X technology because of Y. It shows a closed mindset which is never a good sign. Be open to all technology even if you think its buggy or badly written. This is how you learn, if you work with it you can contribute and make it better.


3. There is no best stack... yeah I said it. Python is a great language. C# is a great language. PHP is a great language(now). Your mileage will vary on capability and financial incentive but overall each language can serve as a career language. Getting cultish over a language is another sign of being short-sighted. I have fallen victim to this mentality myself. Try to grow beyond it.


4. Build tools are not there to complicate things. They are there to make a better product. I hate webpack setup but I know the power it gives me down the road makes the end product better. If you don't know how to use the tools you are going to be behind. That does not mean you are a bad programmer. But I would suggest getting familiar with your tooling. Just like a carpenter knows how to hold a hammer correctly. Knowing how to run git from a command line is helpful if not completely necessary these days.


5. Your past is completely relevant to the tech field. From burger flippers to truck drivers we all bring a mindset or viewpoint to the table that someone else doesnt have. I have brought insight and analogies from my days as a truck driver to the table on more occasion. Don't be afraid to draw on your knowledge and experience even if you think it was menial or unrelated. Programmers model the real world. Having knowledge of the real world is an asset not a liability.