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Changing career later in life

I’m a forever student. I even had this as a part of my bio for a while, until I began to feel like maybe that’s a bad thing to say about myself. Surely, jumping from one interest to another doesn’t sound like a good personality trait. Jack of all trades, master of none. No one wants to be that.

However, it describes me perfectly. I studied business studies at high school but worked in the shipping industry in my early to mid-20s. Decided to go to university in my late 20s but didn’t study business or transportation or logistics, instead, I graduated with honours in Psychology. Worked with children and adults with various mental and physical disabilities but in my mid-30s, I stumbled upon web development. I became a web developer.

To anyone else, this might indeed seem like a very random journey. I mean, who in their right mind switches career 3 times by the time they are 38?

Well, I did. And in hindsight, I see a perfect sense in my journey. Every job I had in the past made me a better developer today. The developer I am now is made of experiences, knowledge and skills acquired during my previous career, during my studies and my work with disabled people.

So why a forever student?

Looking back, there is one common thread that connects all of the above. I love to learn new things. I am not afraid of new topics, in fact, I seek them out. I’m that kind of student who loves homework! I love the feeling of figuring something new out. Breaking down barriers in understanding, challenging myself. Which is why, as a self-proclaimed sufferer from math phobia, I took a mathematics module during my Psychology degree. And completed it with distinction.

And which is why web development turned out to be the right career for me.

You can never stop learning as a developer. The web development landscape changes often, and while I don’t believe we need to know it all, we do need to be aware of what is out there. Some people might find it scary and never-ending, I find it refreshing.

And it is good for us: learning new things and solving puzzles and challenges keeps our brain healthy.

Changing career later in life is scary. People already have commitments. Responsibilities. It's hard to just turn your life around and start over.

But you are not starting over. You are building upon who you already are and what you already have. You are growing.

I realised I’m ok with being a forever student. It turned out to be my strength after all!

I don’t believe in stagnation. You either move forward, or you go back.

And I'm moving forward.

Top comments (2)

gualtierofr profile image
Gualtiero Frigerio

Good post, I have 13 years of experience as a developer and still I find myself eager to learning something new, just like after I got my first full time job after school.
You don't have to be afraid of starting something new, even you have to leave your current industry. I was an embedded developer working in TLC, decided to quit and started fresh as an iOS developer. I guess it was easier as the platform was new, so I didn't compete with more experience developers, but still it was a big change. I don't even wonder what I'll be working on 10 years from now, but I know I want to constantly evolve as a developer, even if that involves taking some risks and get out of what is called the "comfort zone".

zk433 profile image

This is so true, thank you!