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Ops/Dev - How I turned Backend Dev after a decade on the Ops side

I noticed that it's not common. Most people who switch careers in IT move from being a developer to system engineer, but rarely the other way around.
I've been working as a Backend developer for almost 2 years, and I'd like to share my experience:

  1. Why I Decided to Make This Change
  2. How I Went About It
  3. What I've Been Up to for the Past 2 Years

Why I Decided to Make This Change

I am curious, I am an everyday learner.
After hosting others people applications I wanted to be part of those who creates them.
Since I had experience in system engineering, I thought working on the backend development side would suit me best.
I had been talking to my manager about this career switch for a while, and in late 2020, I got the chance to do it !

How I Went About It

It was not easy to make the change. But before any move I wanted to be sure I would be quickly independent.

Upgrade your skills

I started learning online with Codecademy.
I chose the Back-End Engineer career path, which teaches JavaScript. Although my company mainly uses Java, I joined a Back For Front team where I could apply that new skill (not Javascript but TypeScript, so I quickly learned that too).

I chose Codecademy mainly because the way to learn through practice suits me and I wanted to learn at my own pace being in a real developer situation in parallel.
For some, bootcamps will be more suitable as you immerse in your learning or for others, online solutions (like openclassroom) which provide a mentorship.

Practice !

Practising is the best way to upgrade your skill and there's plenty of solutions.
You can begin a project of your own or you can use an online solution that give you coding challenges.
I chose codewars.
There's plenty of challenges sorted by levels (katas), you begin with a kata level 8 and you change your level regarding challenges you make so it motivates you.
And then for each challenge you propose your solutions and see others solutions.
This is very rewarding.

Junior mindset

Even if you're experienced in IT, it's important to stay curious and eager to learn. Approach your work with an open mind, as there's always something new to discover, whether it's a different way of doing things or a fresh perspective. So, remember to maintain this junior mindset from the beginning.

What I've Been Up to for the Past 2 Years

It's so fillful to change your career I really liked the experience but it can be tough and frustrating.

Up and Down

The Impostor Syndrome and the Dunning-Kruger Effect can both show up on your journey. You might sometimes doubt your abilities and other times feel like you can manage anything.

When you're feeling down, offer yourself some encouragement, and when you're overly confident, pause for a moment to reevaluate. It's all about your mindset, so be mindful and take care of it.

Do not hesitate to share your feelings to your experienced colleagues, ask for feedbacks.

Keep up the motivation

This is where your online communities, your colleagues, your habits takes place.
There are a lot of entusiast creators, bloggers today !

And be consistent this is one step at a time, use a gamification tool that record your daily work can help. It is not how much you can learn fast at the beginning but how you'll learn in the long term.

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