Play your cards right, use your background
Career Changers tend to see themselves as underdogs, especially in Tech. Everyone else has been in this for years, has a CS degree and connection in the industry. There is no way that you can break into this construct, right?
As a career changer, you have something that most CS grads don’t have: domain expertise. To a FinTech startup in the accounting space, a solid coder with a background accounting and finance is at least 100x more valuable, than a top-notch coder who only cares about the newest algorithms. For a new company in healthcare, it’s extremely valuable if you have a healthcare background and have worked in an elderly home or a hospital before.
This obviously depends on your industry, but for most industries, there is a tech equivalent: Working in insurance? Look up InsurTech. Into nature, sustainable energy and wildlife? Maybe Green-/CleanTech is for you – and while there isn’t a specific keyword for those – there are also tech companies who care about construction, logistics, retail and more.
If you can find a niche where you’d be potentially more valuable than a well-versed coder, you’re already getting a headstart, you are the opposite of an underdog there!
Be open about doing a career change
Career changers are strong, passionate and had the gut to take on a new adventure – don’t hide and be secretive about your background. Your history and experience are valuable to companies. They can make you a leader, create more empathy or make you great for talking to customers.
Even popular CEOs tend to look back at their humble beginnings and realize what it has taught them.
“Waiting tables was a great experience because of the emphasis it places on customer service since basically your entire income is riding on it (which is why its a good idea to tip well). Nowadays, helping a user with a bug in the code is much easier than helping a customer with one in their food” - Alexis Ohanian Sr. (Initialized Capital & Reddit)
The fact that you’re looking to build and grow your career is a great sign. It’s understandable that you don’t like getting stuck in a dead end job. This is a great signal for any employer and it shouldn’t go unnoticed.
Therefore, don’t be scared to talk about your career change, your background and your dreams openly, and make them part of the story that you tell.
Have a timeline
Now, let’s get practical. You will have to get job in a timeline that works for you, but also one that doesn’t drag things out for too long.
The danger when not putting down a clear timeline is that you’re not keeping the momentum up, losing your goal out of sight, starting to procrastinate and ending up not reaching it.
Spend a few days on analyzing what skills you want to learn, how you want to learn them, what you want to be able to put on your portfolio, and finally how much time that will take.
While deadlines can be blurry, one must be strict: When are you starting to apply and interview. Set a deadline, and work towards that.
If you are facing difficulties getting this plan together, talk to someone in your space and put together a strategy. It helps!
Get someone in the boat with you
If you’re not sure on which site you have landed, you might ask – why should I follow your advice?
As a mentorship site, we’re helping a lot of career changers achieve their goals. In fact, with over 40% of our mentees, it’s the most common goal of our mentees.
All of the above is overwhelming. A career change doesn’t only mean that you need to study a lot. You’re also entering a new industry you don’t know about. You’re in need of connections. You might need to balance your studies and a career you’re trying to leave behind. It’s hard.
The competitive edge you might need is someone who rides along. An accountability partner, someone to guide you, to keep your head clear and make you focused on your goals. Our mentors love to do that, but it can be anyone in your network: A friend who already works in tech or the industry you’re trying to enter, a manager you can trust, maybe a former professor of yours. If you don’t have access to these resources, feel free to look around on our site and see if any of our 150+ mentors might suit you.