The pressure to pick a career starts early. In high school, you’re expected to know what you want to study in college. In college, you’re expected to know what kinds of jobs you want to get upon graduation. If you make the wrong choice, then what?
The truth is, few people follow a predictable career path. It may be time to re-think the direction you’re going. A career change may be the best thing you can do, but it’ll go easier when you follow these steps:
Explore Your Motivations
Why do you want to a career change? What’s driving you? More money? More prestige? A different lifestyle? Are you truly passionate about another field? Are you just bored? As we grow and change, so do our expectations and goals. A career change could be another step in that evolution. But knowing why you want a new career is essential to making sure you choose the right one – the one that fulfills your aspirations.
Take Stock of Your Strengths
Some careers are more suitable to your strengths than others. This has less to do with technical skills and more to do with personality. For example, if you don’t like meeting new people, then you probably won’t flourish as a salesperson.
On the other hand, if you’re a good communicator and collaborator, there are many new careers you can pursue. Likewise, if you have good time-management and problem-solving skills, the field of possibilities is wide open.
After identifying your strongest soft skills, you’ll be ready to match them with careers. Soft skills are extremely valuable to employers. By knowing which of yours are strongest, you can match them with appropriate careers. For instance, careers in technology depend on the ability to work in teams, with diverse groups of people.
Research Your Future Career
To find out what a career in a new field is really like, go directly to the source. Reach out to your network. Ask for introductions to people who have the careers you’re interested in. Hearing their firsthand experiences will tell you a lot about whether you’ll find the change fulfilling or not. And if you don’t have an active network? Now’s a good time to get started on LinkedIn.
At the same time, make sure your future career has a future. As technology evolves, some occupations are in decline, while others are emerging and/or experiencing a boom. In fact, right now there’s a lack of skilled workers in technology jobs overall, making it a promising sector to consider when changing careers.
Bolster Your Skills and Experiences
Some level of technical skill will be required to change careers. Before you make the transition, try to collect as much formal knowledge and experience as you can, whether it’s through volunteering, internships, classes, and so on. Consider joining relevant professional organizations if the field has one, and read the trade publications that pertain to your new field of interest.
One way to discover your skills gaps is to review descriptions for the kinds of jobs you might want. If you want to be a programmer, for instance, job descriptions will give you some sense of the technologies you should try to learn.
Make the Leap with an Open Mind
When you’re finally ready to make the transition to a job in your chosen field, try to do so with an open mind. There are many pathways for launching a career. The more flexible you are, the more those pathways will be available to you. For example, a willingness to relocate will make it easier to land that first job and start the journey to your new career. At the same time, if you think long-term about your new career, the best jobs to take are the ones where you’ll gain valuable hands-on experience. As your skills progress, so will your earning potential.
How Revature Helps with Career Changes
To change careers, you need that first job in your new field. Revature can provide you with everything you need: training, connections with top companies, and a clear path to success. If you’re interested in programming and software development careers, Revature can help you make the transition, no prior coding experience required. Learn the in-demand technologies that today’s Fortune 500 companies are using.
Unlike organizations that charge you fees to learn coding and programming skills, Revature provides this training as an employee benefit to new hires through an intensive and customized 10-to-14-week program, where they learn and practice the technologies required for entry-level jobs in software development.
By the end of the training, you’ll have a feel for the real-world, enterprise-level environment in which software developers work. On top of that, you’ll have a job in a field you can grow and be successful.