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Old 02-20-2019, 10:44 AM   #1
master3004
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Career Change for a mid 30s woman, where to start?

Hey all,

Was hoping you might have some advice I can pass along to my wife. For the past 5 years or so, she has been in the accounting game, currently as a billing analyst, and she is considering a job change to do something with coding, a hobby which has turned into a passion for her recently.

During her time with a former company, she taught herself Vba in order to improve some processes at work, reducing the time needed to do some fairly complicated accounting tasks tenfold. She says it took roughly two weeks of some intense studying to reach an advanced level of Vba. We've bought a couple of the learn to code bundles on Humble for things like Python, C++ and HTML.

We are kind of at a crossroads here, and I was hoping that some might have some guidance for next steps. A couple of options that have popped up have included leaving the current job and returning to school for a CS degree, staying at the current job and working towards a CS degree part time, some kind of a bootcamp, or anything else that might get her foot in the door. Some other questions would be what kind of entry level careers might be available for someone in the 30-39 age bracket, and what a general work schedule would look like for someone starting out.

Shes a college graduate with a degree in a non-related non-technical discipline, and is incredibly smart with a high degree of focus when something inspires her.

Thanks.
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Old 02-20-2019, 12:45 PM   #2
just_grindin
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Re: Career Change for a mid 30s woman, where to start?

I would say a reputable bootcamp would be better than going back for a CS degree from a cost/benefit analysis but it might depend on what sort of programming she is interested in.

It should also help build her portfolio, which she'll likely need regardless of the path she takes. Some people can self study and build a portfolio but networking is important as well as potentially getting insights into industry practices which is stuff you usually can't find in online tutorials.
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Old 02-20-2019, 07:21 PM   #3
master3004
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Re: Career Change for a mid 30s woman, where to start?

Thanks.

There is a ton of info out there about available bootcamps, are there any that are online based you would recommend?
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Old 02-20-2019, 08:08 PM   #4
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Re: Career Change for a mid 30s woman, where to start?

I can't speak to specifics but I concur on bootcamp being more cost effective all else equal.

I would also say transitioning from accounting to tech is likely better for the long term. Accounting is more ripe for automating than the average field.
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Old 02-21-2019, 12:22 PM   #5
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Re: Career Change for a mid 30s woman, where to start?

Quote:
Originally Posted by master3004 View Post
Thanks.

There is a ton of info out there about available bootcamps, are there any that are online based you would recommend?
Sorry I haven't gone that route so I can't speak to the success of any of the programs.
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Old 02-21-2019, 12:38 PM   #6
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Re: Career Change for a mid 30s woman, where to start?

No worries. Can you talk to what its like when first starting out in the industry? Competition for jobs, what an i nterview looks like, average weekly hours, etc.
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Old 02-22-2019, 03:10 AM   #7
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Re: Career Change for a mid 30s woman, where to start?

Where are you geographically?

App Academy and Hack Reactor were the top 2 bootcamps as of a couple years ago. I don't really know how they shake out nowadays, but App Academy still does have a "placement based plan" where you do not pay until you get a job (in my day, that was the only option). This would seem to indicate to me that they're still doing well with placing graduates, and for somebody as driven as your wife seems to be that's probably a great option. If you live in NYC/SF or can relocate (I'd recommend SF), have her start the application process.

I went there and at least one other forum member did too, we got jobs we're happy with but that's ~4 years ago now.

I don't know how it is for startups, for programmers at large non-tech companies (like banks), or for people in small cities. But at large tech companies in the Bay Area it's amazing (there are possible exceptions, and some like mine prioritize work-life balance more). Shouldn't expect to be somewhere working > 40 hours for any great length of time if you don't want to be.

There are older threads about this.

I haven't actually done https://www.freecodecamp.org/ or talked to anybody who's done it, but it looks good and it may even be a suitable free substitute for a bootcamp. I do think your wife can just learn on her own if she wants, without needing the bootcamp. Would start with Python and React if she doesn't go with freecodecamp or start applying for App Academy.
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Old 02-22-2019, 03:28 AM   #8
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Re: Career Change for a mid 30s woman, where to start?

Look into reputable boot-camps tied to universities. That way she can slap the university's name on her resume instead of some little-known boot-camp. I am currently attending USC's Viterbi Data Science Boot-camp (6 months). The boot-camp is run by Trilogy Education Services; they run programs with many Universities across the country. It's pricier than some, but I'll be able to put USC's name on my resume.

We have: one professor, two TA's, 3 classes per week, min 40 hours per week of expected out-of-class studying/work, career services, etc. You can contact the prof/TA's on slack anytime (They answer within an hour, even on Sundays). I think it's a great boot-camp. Learning VBA, Python, SQL, APIs, HTML, CSS, Ruby and other skills I haven't gotten into yet.

Last edited by Derp!; 02-22-2019 at 03:51 AM.
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Old 02-22-2019, 10:02 AM   #9
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Re: Career Change for a mid 30s woman, where to start?

It's good everywhere. I'm in northeast Ohio and my buddy went from a dead end, lame hospital job to a bootcamp that placed him in an entry level software developer role. Sure, it's expensive, but cheaper and much, much, much faster than college.
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Old 02-26-2019, 01:27 AM   #10
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Re: Career Change for a mid 30s woman, where to start?

Avoid online only bootcamps. Complex stuff is just much easier to learn in person, and the real network of people she meets will be invaluable. Good bootcamps do interview and career prep too and that's harder to do online.
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Old 02-26-2019, 08:20 AM   #11
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Re: Career Change for a mid 30s woman, where to start?

Yep. Most important part of a boot camp is not the material or instruction. It is the job network and connections.

Doesn't matter if they turn you into an amazing dev if no companies know or care.
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Old 02-28-2019, 02:17 PM   #12
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Re: Career Change for a mid 30s woman, where to start?

have her start learning react.js, that is what all the bootcamps are teaching in 2019.
also have her learn git and a do a brief (4-8) hour udemy course on ubuntu.

she might be able to get a job just off of that, if not i guess go to a bootcamp.

don't go into a bootcamp cold turkey. do as much coding before the bootcamp as possible.
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Old 02-28-2019, 02:18 PM   #13
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Re: Career Change for a mid 30s woman, where to start?

id also really recommend the rails tutorial as it is really ****ing great, although junior rails jobs can be hard to come by.
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Old 02-28-2019, 10:27 PM   #14
master3004
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Re: Career Change for a mid 30s woman, where to start?

Thanks all.
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Old 03-03-2019, 05:23 AM   #15
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Re: Career Change for a mid 30s woman, where to start?

I transitioned out of professional poker into data science a few years back, and it has worked out quite well for me. I spent about a year taking coursera classes and working on personal projects (while still playing and coaching poker) before I started applying for jobs. While my degrees were in quantitative fields, my resume was effectively empty, so it was hard to get in the door for job interviews. So I enrolled in a data science bootcamp (Zipfian academy, which was acquired by Galvanize around the time I graduated). While I was primarily interested in the job-hunting advice and the bonafides of a highly-regarded bootcamp, I learned a ton and built the foundation of a very solid network. I was hired quickly after graduation and haven't looked back!

For a person who is smart and self-motivated, I think the free online classes => in-person bootcamp route makes a lot of sense. The tuition cost will more than pay for itself in increased salary. On the other hand, the market for bootcamps appears to have exploded in recent years, so make sure you look for one that is selective and reputable. Most bootcamps don't offer an actual degree or credential, so their job placement rate/speed and median starting salary are the key factors.
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Old 04-07-2019, 01:50 AM   #16
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Re: Career Change for a mid 30s woman, where to start?

You don't need to attend boot camp or College (again). Volunteer to become a free/open source contributor on an existing project. That will give you experience and code that you could share with technical recruiters. Once you have that, you shouldn't have much difficulty finding a job IF you interview well. Interviewing is a different skill that improves with experience and some prep.

Disclosure: I work for a Big Four Consulting firm. And I hire people.
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