Moving from programming to something else, anything else

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• Why specifically do I want to leave this job? This question will help protect you from taking a new job with the same issues.
• What things are most important to me regarding a new job? This question has two advantages, first, it helps you create a list of the specific job attributes you value, second, it changes your mental emphasis from thinking about the old job (just getting out) to thinking about the new job (career advancement, life style, pay, or whatever else is on the list you created).
• Where can I find a job with the specific attributes that are important to me? This question has the advantage of directing your job search toward the types of jobs that will meet your professional and personal needs.

If you are thinking of changing your professional direction ask yourself the following questions:

• What things do I like about my current profession that I would like to continue in my new profession? This question will help you think nostalgically about your current job and be reminded of the reasons you selected your current profession. These reasons can then be used to help you find a new profession that you will enjoy.
• Why do I want to change my current profession? This question will further help you define your new profession by reducing the chance that your new professional endeavor will bring the same types of challenges you are trying to leave behind.
• What types of professions have the attributes I like (first question) and don’t have the type of issues I currently have (second question)? Combining the answers to your previous two questions will help you focus your search.
• What skills, credentials, knowledge, and experiences do I have from my old profession that will help me pivot into a new one? This question is extremely important. The goal of this question is to help you make a career change without having to start over. For example, if you are a programmer with experience in Human Resource systems, then becoming a Business Analyst or Project Manager within IT isn’t much of a stretch, thus increasing your chance of success and reducing the potential need to enter this new profession at a lower salary.

In closing, I would like to give you one more general piece of advice. When looking for a new job or a new profession, look for something that is both interesting and practical. That is to say, try to find that perfect combination of a job that really gets you excited, but also provides a situation that meets your personal, family, and financial needs. I realize that this last piece of advice is much easier said than done, but if you can find it, it’s worth the effort and time it will take to find it.

If you have any questions about your career in IT, please email me at
eric@ManagerMechanics.com
or find me on Twitter at @EricPBloom.

Until next time, work hard, work smart, and continue to grow.

Read more of Eric Bloom's Your IT Career blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Eric on Twitter at @EricPBloom. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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