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Is there life after IT?

By Lumbergh77 ·
I have a bachelor's in computers and have been programming and working with databases for nearly 10 years. While I am content at this point, I can't see myself coding for the next 40 years. I feel like I'm starting to burn out and not really excited about CONSTANTLY learning new programming terminology like I used to be. They pay is decent but not great, and it seems there are easier ways to earn the same amount. Also, I'd like to have a life outside of work someday. It seems almost impossible in this field with the long hours and constant study. Programming is a lonely gig and I'd like a little more people contact.

So I'm looking for a possible career change. I would be willing to go back to school. I've considered an MBA but they seem to be a dime a dozen these days. I've also considered a masters in psychology because it is an interesting subject IMO. However, I'm not sure how well I could utilize my IT skills in that field. So my questions are: 1) What is a good degree to pair with an IT degree? What field(s) are good for those with an IT background? I'm looking for a field with some longetivity. 2) Have you or do you know anyone else who has successfully transitioned from a career in IT and how they did it?

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by drdosus In reply to Microchannel...

Here's another...
anyway, not too many. The last few batches of 'engineers' don't know that there was anything before Windows, PCI, USB, etc.

I wonder how many of these computer systems 'engineers' have told me that "it is impossible to attach to a Microsoft network without Windows".
Another groaner from one of the programmers here at work, "I don't need to know anything about computers, I'm a _programmer_!"
The last in response to my finding that he did not check parameters with his gooey visual programming 'language' and the routine did not recognize input from the RS232 port.

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Entered backwards

by Prefbid II In reply to Is there life after IT?

I came to IT via another career path and have so far stayed around for 17 years. I often wonder if I'm on the right path anymore and if I should shift my focus again. The reason I shifted to IT was because I was curious and naturally good at it. I've moved up the chain and have been just shy of becoming the CIO for a major company twice. I have taken short stints in Marketing where I find the attitude to be more exciting, but I have also found that they too work some mighty long hours.

It probably works out that the best thing you can do is to follow Solomon's advise -- "there is nothing better under the sun than to find satisfaction in your work."

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Use IT Consulting to aid your Transition

by rc185062 In reply to Is there life after IT?

One approach to help you figure out what direction you'd like is to join an IT consulting firm that has a practice area in an industry that interests you. Your interpersonal skills will be valued, you can get first hand industry knowledge and you will make new contacts quickly. Plus you may even get paid for overtime!!

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Interesting: IT and Psychology

by andersontofly In reply to Is there life after IT?

I came to IT through the environmental field. I enjoyed both (22 years). The IT work had perspective beyond the code and their was satisfaction in making a direct contribution. I've been out of the Enviro business about 6 years and I'm really missing that direct contribution.

I suggest you explore your interest in psychology, not so much to leave IT but to find a new path that may or may not be in IT.

You may want to look into "dynamic modeling" where you can utilize your experience but are required to understand the interactions of people, organizations, and economies. Google matthias ruth "dynamic modeling" to get started. This is not an easy field to break into but with Global Warming becoming a real issue, dynamic modeling and sustainable development might become a hot field.

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I know what you mean......

by jenny.mealing In reply to Is there life after IT?

I have been in IT less time than you and I am already burning out. I think its the thanklessness of what I do. No-one wants change and no-matter how successfully I introduce a change to a company, people love to whinge.
I am retraining to be a florist believe it or not. 1 day a week of bliss playing with flowers. We shall see where it takes me......

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Find a niche market

by In reply to Is there life after IT?

Why don't you stay in programming but move to a niche market? I work for a greenhouse automation company which has a product change cycle of >10 years. This gives you lots of time to learn something new in your own pace. For me that meant that I didn't have to learn every friggin' language that's on the market right now (I mainly program in C). Sometimes I just pick up another language just for fun (ADA, Python). Also, extra hours are rare and quality of code is more of an issue than meeting deadlines. Apart from my existing programming skills I developed skills in process control technology. And IF I need to make a Windoze app I just pick a language which give results fast (ie Delphi or VB). I still have to program my first .NET app and frankly I don't give a .... :-)

The pay is decent, working in small R&amp teams is fun, contact with colleagues is nice and the wife and my daughters are also happy.

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Yes there is life - lots of it!

by paul In reply to Is there life after IT?

Brief nutshell career to date:

First degree is psychology - but went into business instead. 15 years with my own successful sales and marketing consultancy company.

Started a computer business for my first career change(programming, repairs etc now into databases big time and online facilities for clients etc) Mainly myself plus subcontractors as and when. Now in about its ninth year and a related degree for me since too. But.... computer screens can get boring after a while... soo....

I teamed up with one of my clients who run a business with such diverse activities as counter terrorist services and boat charters.

The Boat charters I have always had an interest in being a keen sailor etc. I now take out fast ribs jumping them 15ft clear of the water at 45 knots etc.

I also take groups of disabled people out and those with mental health problems out for the day in specially converted Dories. Last week I was helping out on one of the luxury charter yachts we use doing a BBC filmed James Bond copy to advertise the new film. Pouring champers for "bond" and his (Very attractive)"bird" as they stood on the back waving buy to the baddies as the bombs went off and they zoomed away. OK I wasn't Bond but near enough :-)

I photograph a lot of what I do and that goes on the web sites. Photography is also a great passion. I take days off when I need them and keep the whole lot running in virtual servers in the data center (no offices required!) I can do basic /critical admin from mid solent on my pocket pc phone.

Do I have a great time? You bet! and I am still earning IT money plus some. If I do need a desk I use the Boatability office which is the lock office at Port Solent - Probably the best office in the UK as it was premier Marina's Directors old office before the out grew it.

So some tips - look for something you enjoy. Don't abandon IT completely - leverage it and combine with something you enjoy.

Check out the pics on or and you'll see how much fun IT can be! OK there is the Virtual servers and IT infrastructure to look after but if it's a sunny day you know where I won't be.

If you down at the lock office in Port Solent Hampshire UK any day send me an email and Tea and boat trip are on the cards.

Seriously though a job of career is like life generally - its what you make it.

If you are umming and R'ing now then start looking as if you ask me you are already bored so do something now before you get rooted and scared to change.

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Transfer to Library Profession

by cosintad In reply to Is there life after IT?

I live in Australia, and have heard and read many posts on IT persons becoming involved in the Information Profession sector (Libraries, corporate libraies, knowledge mangement, information mangement, information architecture strategies, etc).

IT skills are a very good background for work in libraies because of the diversity of tasks involved with presenting, relaying, and communicating all forms of information.

There are plenty of Graduate Dipllomas or Masters degrees both coursework as well as research that will broaden your qualifications and make you that much more employable in a diverse range of sectors and occupations.

There is a tendency for libray professionals to stay in the field for a long time.

There is also the option of teaching IT, computer skills, and multimedia if that is your bent.

Good luck.

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There's ALL of Life after I.T.

by Dr_Zinj In reply to Is there life after IT?

I can't think of a single discipline or career field that doesn't or can't benefit from the use of information technology. ****, I.T. can (and is) even used to help dig ditches better. People who can marry programming, network design and operation, and database design and operation with career field(s) other than I.T. will always have a job somewhere. The tricks are finding jobs that require I.T. knowledge, but are not strictly I.T.; and finding a job you like.

First of all, if you're not doing something you like and need, you really shouldn't be doing it at all.

Second, you need to do some serious self-examination. What are your (real) skills? What do you really like to do? What brings you the greatest pleasure to do? What is your ideal lifestyle? What are your life goal(s)? If you can't answer these questions, in detail, and feel they truely represent you, then any other advice offered will be useless.

Third, steer your education and training to add application of I.T. concepts to various other disciplines. I started as a statistical analyst for the military, became a erzats network engineer *** administrator and DBA. Went into automotive maintenance service and scheduling manager. Then became a DBA, service technician and network administrator for a Medicare contractor. Finally ended up being an application analyst for a mid-sized hospital. There are so many side-bar types of jobs that I.T. can cross-train into with a few extra classes (or even none at all) it's almost mind boggling.

Fourth, there are a lot of businesses that need I.T. knowledgeable workers and managers that can't or don't have a full-time need for them. Those kinds of jobs are a wonderful way to test the waters to find the kinds of jobs you'll like, and get experience in other fields. Just remember, those are almost all temp jobs, and temping can be a grueling rat race with little job protection. But if you can do that in addition to your current full time or parttime job, it'll act as a stepping stone.

Finally, everyone basically stays the same person, but their situations change constantly. Be true to yourself, but be open to adaptation to changes in your health, knowledge, and work environment.

Good luck, and remember the first point.

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Have you considered law enforcement?

by BlueKnight In reply to Is there life after IT?

In reading your question, my first thought was that you only mention programming, but programming isn't the only aspect of IT. What about working in the communications side of the IT house or even data center management?

That said, have you considered law enforcement? I don't know your location, but here in California many departments pay very well, including the one for which I am a Reserve. Depending on what you're making currently, the start could mean a temporary step back in salary but with overtime and training days (also OT) you should be able to make it up. Most of our younger officers (those with 2 years on and less) are making $80K+. If you're biingual you can get an extra 2 1/2% to 5%... the same for specialty positions. K-9 officers make more than the chief.

There is a real need for IT knowledge in law enforcement both from the standpoint of equipping departments with technology and in having the knowledge for investigating crimes.

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