I recently posted an updated version of an article I wrote on 5 tips for changing careers and it occurred to me that I had enough information in there to dive a bit deeper into each of my 5 points in separate posts. So, here is my first go at posting a blog series!
Say yes to any opportunity that sounds even remotely interesting to you. When you are transitioning from one industry to another, there is so much to learn. There might be a company or position that you never knew existed that ends up being the perfect fit for you – but you won't find them without saying yes! Being open and taking advantage of a variety of opportunities will help you level up your resume, make new connections, and set you up for success as you embark on your career change journey.
In this article, I will break down each of the opportunities I listed in my previous post. Here are 6 things to say yes to when making a career change – they greatly helped me make mine.
As a former educator who loves everything to do with learning, I find online courses to be a great place to start. There are a seemingly endless amount of learning platforms, courses, and learning pathways out there, and some even offer certificates you can add to your website and LinkedIn profile. You can learn on your own time, where, when, and how you'd like. I've taken courses at coffee shops, on the couch, on public transit, and even while on the elliptical while working out at home.
Here are some of my favorite resources for online courses with my thoughts on each:
Coursera- Coursera offers online courses from top universities and companies. Some of their courses center around peer learning and feedback, which comes with its pros and cons. While I fundamentally believe in the benefits of peer learning, this particular online model can be challenging because you can end up waiting for people to give you feedback before you can advance or complete the course. If you're in a hurry or are not the most patient person, I would make sure to read up on how the course is structured before signing up. Additionally, many of their courses cost money, but you can also easily apply for a scholarship for free or reduced cost if you are experiencing financial hardship or can't afford to pay for a course.
Udacity - Udacity is another academic learning platform that offers a variety of courses on tech topics such as AI, cloud computing, data science, and more. They offer over free 200 courses as well as paid Nanodegrees, or microcredentials, that are specific to Udacity. Additionally, they offer limited scholarships to those in need.
Hubspot - I 💗 Hubspot Academy! Hubspot offers a variety of courses on marketing, sales, service, web design, web development, and data privacy. They have relevant, constantly updated courses with great real-world examples. For some of their courses, you can take an exam at the end to test what you learned and receive a certificate. I learned a TON from the courses I took from them – I took pages of notes and found everything I learned to be incredibly helpful and useful.
Udemy - Udemy is another online learning platform that offers over 100,000 courses, some free, some paid. The general consensus I've seen when looking online is that the quality of their courses aren't on par with some of the other platforms listed, but I haven't used it so can't vouch one way or the other.
edX - edX offers over 2500 courses from top universities such as MIT, Harvard, and Berkeley. Many of their courses are free, or you can add a verified certificate for $99.
LinkedIn Learning - LinkedIn Learning has video courses in business, tech, and the arts. You can access unlimited courses for free with LinkedIn Premium, but they do offer a free trial period for 30 days if you'd like to try it out and then either sign up or cancel at the end of your trial. Their courses make it easy to add to your profile and share with your network every time you complete one, which can be a fun additional motivator.
Some additional online learning platforms for coding include:
Webinars are another great place to learn something new and network with others who are learning or active in that space as well. I like to follow people and organizations on LinkedIn, Twitter, and here on DEV who actively post content in a particular industries and topics that I'm interested in, and regularly keep an eye out for webinars and virtual talks.
Lastly, nonprofits such as Women Who Code and Latinas in Tech offer virtual events on a variety of topics. These can be a great place to network and connect with like-minded people. Here are a few links to lists of tech events:
After attending said webinar, conference, or virtual event – network! Reach out to any speakers, presenters, panelists, or participants that you found interesting or inspiring. To take it one step further, see if they'd like to connect further on a phone call or virtual coffee chat! I have chatted on the phone with several people who led trainings I attended and even with random people I met on LinkedIn who offered to share their experience and advice for breaking into a new industry.
Volunteering is another great way to meet new people and lend your skills to an organization in need. With the stress that a job search can bring, volunteering your skills to help a good cause can also nurture feelings of fulfillment and keep things in perspective. Got photography, writing, editing, research, graphic design, or coding skills? Reach out to some nonprofits and offer your skills to a good cause, while gaining experience you can put on your resume as well. The Taproot Foundation is a great place to start.
When you're searching for a job in a new industry, it may be easy to discount internships at first. You already have a great deal of experience – perhaps in a different industry, but still – and you don't want to start at the bottom. I get it. However, by remaining open to a wide variety of opportunities, you allow the universe to work with you as you embark on your new path. Internships are a wonderful way to break into a new industry, gain experience, and learn a ton.
Lastly, when you're making a career change, it may take a little time before you land your first full-time role in a new industry. You may need to go back to school or accept a lower-paying or unpaid internship while you are leveling up your experience and resume. If you're strapped for cash, seek out part time or freelance work via websites like Upwork or Fiverr that utilize the skills you already have, while you're in the process of learning new skills for the next step of your journey! I did some part-time tutoring for a private tutoring company and some freelance writing work while I was taking my online courses and gaining experience for my next step. There's no shame in the side hustle game. Keep your focus on where you want to be, put in the work, and don't give up. It will pay off!
Have you ever made a career change? I'd love to hear from you! What helped you along the way? Feel free to share in the comments below!
I'm Ruanna, a content creator and digital marketer for TomTom Developers, and a freelance writer. Feel free to connect with me here on Dev.to and on Twitter!