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Ben Greenberg
Ben Greenberg

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Are You a Second Career Dev? Your Pivot Skills Are Your Superpowers

We are living in the midst of the great resignation. More people are actively transitioning out of careers and into new fields now than perhaps at any other time in recent memory.

A lot of those people are choosing software as their next career. You may even be among them.

Why software?

There is a myriad of reasons why people choose to enter software development:

  • The joy of creating things from scratch
  • The thrill of problem solving
  • The lifelong journey of continuing education


There is a lot of money to be made in the field.

Chart showing salaries of software devs on average compared to everyone else

Data from 2018 already showed that the average software developer earned 3 times more than other working individuals in the United States.

Yet, entering software as a second career developer can often be overwhelming and intimidating.

Screenshot of tweet showing Larry David and a much younger person with the younger person captioned as the senior developer, and Larry David as the junior developer

I am here to tell you that as a second career developer you have something that can be an incredible boost to your work. Counter-intuitively, this boost is often seen as a detraction.

What is it? Your previous job experience.

The work you did before can be pivoted as incredibly in-demand skills that complement your newly learned technical skillset.

A description of example careers from before tech that can be transitioned into pivot skills

Were you a salesperson? You carry with you deeply valuable lessons on customer relations. Hiring managers are eager for developers who can interface with a client.

Were you a teacher? You have priceless experience crafting semester and year-long lesson plans that can easily be transitioned into sprint planning for complex work projects.

Were you involved in construction? You have the ability to see multi-faceted and complicated specifications to completion. That is a skill many software engineers can take years to develop.

This is an area I feel deeply passionate about. You can hear more from my experience from the recording of my recent talk at RubyConf in Denver:

I recently launched hirethePIVOT to empower second career devs to highlight themselves and their pivot skills, to be noticed, and to hopefully find a job or their next contract work.

I created hirethePIVOT because I, too, am a second career developer. After a decade in the clergy I have spent the past several years working for tech companies as an engineer, developer advocate, and now lead developer relations engineer.

Screenshot of hirethePIVOT home page

The site will always remain free for second career devs, and I am working hard to get it in front of the eyes of as many hiring managers and recruiters as possible to lift all of us up and to educate on the incredible value second career devs bring to their work.

If you are a second career developer, go ahead and take a moment to add your profile, whether you are currently looking for work or not. The more we can showcase our unique backgrounds and the ways in which our life stories contribute to our work as engineers, the better it will be for all of us.

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