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Thread: Did you switch to Web Dev from an entirely different career?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2014
    San Francisco

    Did you switch to Web Dev from an entirely different career?

    Iíd love to hear what it was like if you switched to Web Development/Design from a completely unrelated career.

    I ask because Iím slowly considering it and would like to limit any unrealistic expectations Ė that the grass is greener, so to speak.
    If you did, what was it like? What's different about your daily work life, your metrics, your work relationships, your overall happiness? For example, I ponder what it will be like working with people who are more technically-minded than I'm used to. What it will be like having metrics that arenít based on sales number. What it's like to be in a situation where my output (code) must sync with a group (back end, UI, etc), as opposed to something like sales where Iím an "individual contributer".

    About me: 30 years old, basically been in sales since my degree in business. This includes retail sales, some retail management, web startup sales, and now a web startup position where Iím responsible to build traction via customer acquisition, product feedback and innovation, marketing, you name it.

    I love computers, am creative at heart and enjoy building things. I have a knack for design and web products and actually serve as a intermediary between our sales team and the Product Manager. I considered pursuing it but feel that I'm more creative and less analytically than the PM role requires. Over the past year Iíve been spending around four hours a week familiarizing myself with HTML, CSS and JS via studies and projects. I feel like Iím reaching a point where Iím starting to imagine the realities of pursuing it as a career, and this is causing these questions to arise.

    I might have lofty expectations, but I figure I should also explain how I foresee the future looking. Feel free to critique:

    • Continue studies and building out small projects. Get into boot camp here in SF in six months. Land intern or junior position at a company that doesn't ask for highschool GPA / what it was like working for McKinsey. Snag a role model at work, work hard, continue my education, and either work my way up there or find an entry level position at a new company. Either continue on that path, or try my hand at freelancing / starting my own small web development company.

    Thanks in advance for sharing any similar experiences and words of advice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2014
    I taught dance for over 25 years along with craft classes, sign language, and drama/theater. I taught for the school district, night programs, craft stores, and volunteered many years at the Boys and Girls Club running different programs but devoted to the Performing Arts program.

    I am currently 43 years old with a profound hearing loss. Unfortunately I have lost so much hearing it has forced me to retire my up most passion (dance). This is my reason for switching my career from crafts/dance to suddenly web development.

    As for where I am today and how I have been doing, see I taught myself web design, run my own web hosting business as well. For the past twelve years the hosting and web design was sort of a side job something I just enjoyed doing that wasn't related to dance or performing arts. I am very artistic and crafty and web design is one of my stronger skills aside from performing arts. I recently went back to school got my programming associates and currently completing my desktop/networking associates. I got hired by the university before I graduated from my programming degree.

    Today I am still working part-time as an assistant web developer for the university. I will say, the web development career is extremely competitive if you are trying to open your own business or work as a freelancer. I was always lucky due to my hosting which I had up to 200 clients, about 50 were web design clients. Most of my clients were word of mouth, I was devoted to my hosting. So having the background skills (12 years worth) helped me get a stable hourly paid job. I also get paid vacation and sick time. The odds of getting a job like what I have is pretty hard... Not impossible but they are hard to get. I also have health benefits.

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