Okay, so you’re thinking of making a change – a drastic change – in the direction of your career. You know the old saying “look before you leap?” It was invented for this. I’m Cat Miller, and this is DiceTV.
Before you embark on a new career, take a long look at what you’re doing now.
What exactly is it that you don’t like about your job? Would you be happy doing the same thing somewhere else that offers more potential for advancement? Is your boss a jerk? Too much pressure all around? Don’t mistake these things for signs your field has nothing more to offer.
Next, think about what you do like about your job, your specialty, and IT in general. When times are tough, it’s easy to overlook the good things.
Avoid the “greener-grass” syndrome by learning as much as you can about the new field that interests you.
Would it solve the problems you’ve identified? Would it present you with a whole new set of issues you don’t face in IT? Consider all this carefully. After all, if you do make a switch and it turns out to be the wrong move, well – you’re right back where you started.
If you do decide to move, a fresh start doesn’t mean abandoning the assets you’ve developed.
Try to reassess your abilities from the perspective of someone outside your specialty. Make a list of your strengths – not just your technical skills – and consider how they might translate into a new role. For example, if you like leading projects, you might consider becoming a project manager. Effectively marketing your transferable skills will be a key to landing a new position.
And remember your network. It’ll never be more important than when you’re switching careers. If you’ve let yours go slack, get out there and re-establish contact. Go to conferences and professional association events in IT or any new field you’re considering. Look for ways you might be able to try out a new direction without diving in head-first. Volunteering is one way. Short-term consulting is another.
Approach a career change as a long-term investment, which might take years to pay dividends. Whether you decide to make that investment or not, taking a close look at all your reasons – and the possible consequences – will be time well spent. You’ll be able to go – or stay – with confidence.
I’m Cat Miller, this has been DiceTV, and we now return you to your regular desktop.