Switching to a Tech Career at Thirty-Five

Photo by Christopher Gower on Unsplash

Switching careers after already having a steady one is a scary move, but what should one do when they see the writing on the wall for the career they are currently in? I currently work as a pharmaceutical reverse-distributor for independent pharmacies in the southeastern regions covering South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. However, independent pharmacies are struggling and closing at a rapid rate so I decided that it was time to look into something that I knew would be future proof and something that I would enjoy. I also have a wife, three kids, and a dog to think about since I am currently the sole earner in the family. But now that I have been learning online for about a month, I feel like I have made a good decision.

I have always loved using tech, and keeping up with the latest and greatest gadgets, but I always thought getting into the field would be tough and that it was reserved for those already in the field. However, I received a local community college catalog one day, and saw that there were academic certificates I could get, so naturally I started researching more about the career the way most people do, I googled. I also reached out to some friends and family. I thought going to school was the best route, and I was trying to decide if I should get another degree or go on to get a master’s in computer science. But after talking to my brother-in-law, who is an Architect, he suggested that I either learn online or look into bootcamps. Now that I knew I had options, I decided to research to see what the best path would be, and decided to go into Web Development.

Family picture Easter
Family picture Easter

I mentioned before that I already have a full time job, but it’s pretty flexible. I also mentioned that I have a wife, three kids, and a dog. Two of my kids are in elementary school and the other is only two. So the main issue was to find out which program would work best while still being able to spend time with family and friends.

Most all of the options have online self paced versions. I didn’t find online learning to be a problem because that is how I finished my undergraduate degree, but I also didn’t want to go into major debt either. This pretty much caused me to drop the idea of getting a master’s, at least for now.

I liked the idea of going to a bootcamp because in my research, I found that networking and working alongside others was important in the tech industry and could open doors. I also liked the fact that a majority had options to pay back tuition after finding a job or the debt would be forgiven. However, a lot of them also had entrance tests. Now, they did give materials to learn enough to pass these entrance tests, but I really needed to figure out if this was something I actually enjoyed.

My last option seemed like the best place to start. My brother-in-law sent me a youtube video to see if it was something I would enjoy. It was the “HTML Crash Course For Absolute Beginners” by Brad Traversy on youtube. It is about an hour long, but as soon as I finished I was hooked. I looked up how to get to more learning resources online. I went to freecodecamp.com to start and signed up for a few courses on Udemy. These are great resources because freecodecamp.com is free and Udemy has full courses for a really good price.

I have now been doing this since Thanksgiving, and I have tried to do something everyday. I finished my first course on Udemy already and know quite a bit of HTML and CSS. I also decided to try some trials on both Scrimba and Udacity to see if I am ready to take my career change to the next level by learning even more.

I live in South Carolina with my wife, 3 kids, and a dog. I mountain bike in my free time, and enjoy the outdoors.