During these pandemic times, many people decided to change careers, for various reasons. And in 2020, I was one of them.
For anyone out there reading this post,
I am Alina, I'm 34 years old and I'm a career shifter, writing my first tech-related blog post. According to my studies, I am an Economist and have a strong background in Supply Chain Management, Sales, Operations, Logistics & Business Administration. I know, I know, nothing related to Computer Science.
But, during my previous employment, I was also a Key User for Implementing Microsoft Dynamics 2012. Practically, I was the interface between the Development team and the final User.
Deep inside, I always wanted to learn how different tools and applications are created. I wanted to be on the "Developer's side", rather than the user's one. So I decided to take a leap of faith in myself, switch careers and learn to code.
Could anyone learn how to code? Am I smart enough?
The other day, one of my former colleagues from college asked me if I would recommend her to learn how to code and if she would be a good fit for this career. Well, this is a question that can't be answered with a plain "Yes" or "No", as it involves so many aspects.
Definitely, anyone can and is smart enough, but not anyone will enjoy it!
In life, any skill can be learned. If you are determined and stay consistent, you will get the knowledge. But, as Albert Einstein said:
Any fool can know. The point is to understand.
I would not recommend you to change careers to programming if:
1. You are not curious and do not enjoy learning new things every day. Software development is an industry where technologies change quite often and if you don't enjoy learning new things and continuously upgrading your skills, you will be left behind.
2. You are not willing to put in the effort and become an excellent problem solver. As a Web Developer, you don't just use some frameworks to create websites, you provide solutions to different problems a customer might have. So, being a great problem solver is one of the main abilities a Web Developer should have. Luckily, problem-solving is just a skill like any other: you grow it by hard work and commitment. People are not born problem solvers, neither they become one overnight.
3. You are not patient to understand and learn. The road of learning new things can be very difficult and frustrating, in the beginning. You need to able to take things slow and don't try to rush the process. Just repeat, practice, break things, fix them and practice again. The results will follow, I can assure you.
4. You are not paying attention to details. Attention to detail is another important skill a Web Developer must have, as it will help you solve different problems that might occur, faster and more efficiently. For example, many answers to your coding problems can be found in the software documentation of each project, and if you are not paying attention to details, the solution might slip right through your fingers and you will end up wasting hours and hours of unproductive work.
5. You are not open to critique. During your day-to-day job, you are going to be a part of many code reviews, and if you are the type of person that cannot accept constructive criticism, then it's going to be very difficult and frustrating for you to complete your tasks. You got to stay humble, accept that nobody is perfect and keep trying to improve yourself every single day.
6. You do not have a growth mindset. Having a growth mindset is FREEDOM! It means that you can: persevere in the face of failures, make the required effort to build new skills, find inspiration in other's success, embrace challenges, accept criticism, build abilities continuously.
If you check the above-mentioned points, most probably you will not enjoy being a Web Developer. And if you don't love what you do, your day-to-day job will turn out to be a burden and you won't be truly happy and successful.
Steve Jobs once said:
You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you're not passionate enough from the start, you'll never stick it out.
In conclusion, before deciding to switch careers, I advised my friend to check a couple of free resources about Web Development, just as a hobby, in the first phase. It is very useful to learn new things even though you are not going to make a new career out of it. No harm will happen! If you love it, then lucky you, that is amazing...if you don't, that's perfectly fine. You did not lose anything, on the contrary, you gained something valuable. Any minute spent learning something new cannot be considered wasted!