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How to professionally pivot to a different language/stack?

cohaven profile image Artemy Matvienko ・1 min read

I'm currently working as a web developer with a stack that uses PHP for backend, and have been doing so throughout my entire 4 year software career.

I've noticed that there is a lot of demand for languages like Python, Javascript (React, Node), and Java, according to various articles. PHP, on the other hand, is rarely chosen for new and exciting large scale projects, or so it sounds. I feel like if I stick with PHP, I'll be stuck maintaining legacy projects or working at a WordPress plugin shop, which doesn't sound exciting to me.

I feel like I need to pivot away from PHP and into one of those other languages for the sake of my career development.

What should I do to make myself a good candidate for jobs that use a language that I don't have professional experience with?

So far I've been working on a course and personal project that use React and Node. I think personal projects are a great way to practice newly learned programming skills, but is it sufficient for successful job applications?

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klvenky profile image
venkatesh k

Hey, firstly all the best for your journey ahead.
I've moved tech sometime back due to multiple factors, but I've a list of things that might help you.

  1. Determine what you're going to use the new tech for. Ex: planning to work as web dev and learning algorithms may not help much.
  2. Check for a definite list of things you want to be good at. It's an extension of previous point but it's like know what are minimum things you should be proficient at. This is because, you already know programming, so learning a new one is just learning syntax
  3. Try out some pet projects. You can try to do open source but that's as per your preference. I know that lot of people say contribute to open source. However, I find it hard to contribute in the tech I'm comfortable, so I'm not sure to advice doing so in a new one. If you've some pointers on where to contribute, then that's much better.
  4. Never give up. Cheers
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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel Fayard πŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¨πŸ‡΄

Don't let imposter syndrom gets in the way of you switching stack
1) you have a lot of transferable skills - heck that would even be true if you switched to a non-programming job
2) you are able to learn what you don't know yet - and you don't have to know everything before you apply, you just need to show future hiring managers that you are willing and able to learn

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cohaven profile image
Artemy Matvienko Author

Hi Andy. That's a great point to consider when making a tech pivot! You can leverage the value you have already established at your current company to persuade management into making the pivot, fully or partially.

Unfortunately, this doesn't apply to my situation, due to the consistently understaffed team that has little experience with the technologies I'm interested in, and the priorities of management.