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Cover image for It's time to upgrade: Moving from a non-tech job to a developer career

It's time to upgrade: Moving from a non-tech job to a developer career

davidsalomondev profile image David Salomón ・5 min read

The desire to improve in life is enormous for many people, but as technology advances, many of the skills that were in high demand in the 20th century are being obsolete. I understood about it and decided it was time to upgrade myself.

Making the decision

When I finished high school as an accountant, I entered college to be a great lawyer, one of those who do not lose cases and are very arrogant 👨‍⚖️.

Little by little, when studying the degree in 2015, I realized that there were many lawyers in a country with such a small population (low demand) and also being an arrogant person is not good at all.

I sponsored my studies with my job as an accountant, in El Salvador, a minimum wage is sometimes enough to maintain a college degree. However, I noticed how my friends got well-paid jobs, either because they knew how to speak English (My native language is Spanish) or they decided to take programming courses and were hired by big companies to solve big problems 👨‍💻.

That comparison made me feel obsolete 😞 and I decided to embark on the journey of learning to learn from scratch, getting the pride of starting over, to go with the flow of the world and be prepared for tomorrow 💪🏼.

Some pieces of advice

This blog post is for those who have started their developer career journey, be it either design, digital marketing, or programming, or for those who have not yet decided to change careers and are tempted to do so. Hence I give you some tips that helped me to make this trip a little more friendly 🤗.

Establish your professional purpose

Do you want to specialize in a branch of technology because you want to or because it is what everyone does? It is important to define our efforts for something valuable 🏅.

If you are not interested in technology, that's fine, you don't have to go from your current job to another one just because people do it around you.

I felt obsolete seeing that everyone specialized in something that is being a boom in this 21st century: technology. However, it is a very personal thought and it might not be the same as yours. Each person has their motivations when acting and you must continue doing what makes you happy and feel comfortable 💆‍♀️.

If you are comfortable where you are and you feel happy doing something in your life that is not related to modern technologies, I hope I have helped you so far, in making you understand and reaffirm your professional purpose in this life. Thank you.

Create your realistic plan

If you continue reading my article, it means that you are not comfortable with what you do (if it is not related to technology), that you felt almost the same as me. So, having established a professional purpose, it is time to make a plan 🤔.

I planned to learn English to work for a bilingual company and thus learn to give technical support to clients in the IT world. Get used to the environment and be hired as a front end developer to be a project manager and start my venture in less than ten years 🚀.

That is my plan, you will have other ideas, another time limit, or other hobbies with which you feel comfortable. What is essential is that you set the phases, specialize in them, and respect the times that you have defined, being realistic so that you can achieve it.

Master one phase of the plan only

If you noticed, my plan is a ten-year limit. It sounds overwhelming at first, but it frees me from frustration by not getting excited about unrealistic times. But why so long? 🕰️ If you want to achieve a final goal, you must focus and specialize in each of the phases of the plan that you have designed. Position yourself in your comfort zone and then extend it.

You will find the path very difficult if you start learning React.js without knowing HTML. Or if you start studying for a Scrum certification without having participated in a project 🤷🏽‍♂️.

My story can be summed up in that I was an accountant and, having mastered accounting at my job, I studied English to be hired at a customer service company. After mastering English, I prepared myself with the knowledge of the internet, DNS, protocols, and emails to enter a technology company.

Now I'm still in the same company, mastered that skill, and continue in a position that supports the team with small projects, such as performance improvement, data analysis, and team management.

Currently, my focus is on mastering front-end development thanks to my mentors, my side projects, and online courses. If someone has told you that you could learn a skill in a week, maybe they just have excited you to sell a lame course.

The truth is that to master a skill, based on my experience, you need 6 months to a year to feel it a developed skill. Of course, do not get too stuck, when you feel ready for the current phase, start with the next ➡️.

Network and work for free

Many of the skills I have learned is thanks to working for free, either as a volunteer or as an extra activity to my full-time job.

I know that many people hate working for free, but trust me, it is a powerful tool when you are learning. It allows you to execute a role without being part of it officially, the learning curve is reduced and it prepares you for a position in which you can obtain financial benefits 🤑.

Add a good contact book and you will be unstoppable. It troubled me to talk to people in other departments (like Business Analyst) to learn from them and prepare for a similar position in the future. But the truth is that this is that I understood how important it is to obtain new skills 🧏‍♀️.

If you get to these people and present yourself as someone who just likes to receive knowledge, you will be unattractive for someone to help you. On the other hand, if you offer to work for free, you get respect, much more knowledge and appreciation, that will help you in future opportunities.

Have a good time

Nothing is easy, everything requires time, discipline, effort, and a lot of patience, but it is useless if you are angry because a project did not go the way you wanted, or if you are anxiously waiting for the day when your professional purpose is achieved or even if you spend time being frustrated because the opportunities do not come as you expected.

I'm happy when I do a short script that summarizes a ten-minute process in just three seconds or when the complex formula I've been working on, works the way I want it. So much so that I even think it is magic ✨, although for an experienced programmer it is such a simple thing. The best thing is that you learn to find pleasure in small things and repeat them, the important thing is that you feel good.

Master each phase of the process and have fun with it. Everyone has been through it, you are not the first to want to improve and you will not be the last. I always keep in mind that we only have one life and we have to take advantage of every minute, I hope that minute is not one of bitterness, but one of joy and comfort 🤗.

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