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If you are in my shoes, which route would you take?

Web Developer
Accountant
mix of both
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Author Topic: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer  (Read 36102 times)

GreenHorn101

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Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« on: January 07, 2015, 02:42:58 PM »
Hi Fellow Mustachian,
 
I am 24 years old and live in NYC. I have been working as a Staff Accountant at a Non-profit for 2 years. I have a master degree in Accounting and have recently obtain my CPA license. I am consider changing my career to become a Web developer.
 
A little bit of my story:
For the past 3 years of my life, I kept a single tracked mind toward becoming an Accountant. Why? For one reason or another: “the right thing to do”,  “Jobs Security”, “thats what all of my friends are doing”, etc…

The realization happened over the last few months. I found myself dreading about my career future. I can’t envision myself enjoy working as an Auditor, Corporate Accountant, Tax Accountant… I feel trapped. I don’t think I will like my job.

Looking for a way out, I evaluate myself and my interest. I would like to be working in a technical position. I enjoy tinkering with spreadsheet at work and do some simple coding in excel to make things more efficient. I remember back in College, I tried to learn programming but failed due to overwhelming amount of information and lack of direction. I remember the thought of majoring in computer science but gave up because of my less than stellar Math grades.

After many weeks of procrastination, I came upon something call Coding bootcamp. They boost taking students from nothing to Jr developer level in a short span of 13 weeks. My heart races of the possibility of becoming a Developer. Creating things and solving business problem through technology. It sounds incredible and lots of fun!

So here I am...
 
Developer/Programmer Route
As someone with very little programming experience (I only took a short class in HTML/CSS back in college), I am planning to attend an immersive web developer training program.
 
I have done some research and there are few program in NYC that offers intensive training for developer. Some of the boot camp I am considering:
APP Academy (18% of your first year salary) http://www.appacademy.io/ - currently my #1 choice since zero cost upfront.
Flatiron School ($15k) http://flatironschool.com/ 
Dev Bootcamp ($13k) http://devbootcamp.com/
General Assembly ($11k) https://generalassemb.ly/   
 
I understand 3 – 4 months won’t prepare me to be a full fledge programmer/developer, but at least it’s a start. I am a little bit worried about job prospect but a lot of this bootcamp offer career support and boast high hiring rate upon first few months of graduation (90%!?). I will find a Jr developer job and take it from there.
 
Accountant Route
I am not sure. The more I think about it, I less that I pictured myself as an Accountant in the future. The ideal place for Accountants to start-off their career is Big 4 (the top 4 accounting firm). It is very competitive and my chance of landing a position now without any connection is slim. I think my best bet is to join a mid-size firm and work my way up or start my own firm after couple years of experience.
 
3rd Route – Mix of Accountant and Programmer?
Not even sure if this exist. I would like to leverage my accounting background and applied it in IT/Application development. Business Application developer probably need good understanding of the accounting system, right? Data Analyst need good understanding of business and coding background, but they also need math background, which I lack.

My Financial Situation
Bank (Cash) : $5,000
Roth IRA: $11,705.11 Principal: $11,000
Trad 401k: $18,288.46
I have Zero Debt so far.

Monthly Expenses: Around $1,600 per month  ($850 rent, food, travel, all included), I could probably lower that number by another $200 to $300.
 
I need help with...
I am looking for general feedback on my career plan. I know there are many Programmer/Developer/Accountant/knowledgeable Mustashian community. If you can share some of your insight or your thoughts to my plan, I would greatly appreciate it!

  • Do you think my switch make sense?
  • Anyone heard of the coding bootcamp I listed? What are their quality?
  • Any insight on the 3rd route? are there Position/jobs that would fit in nicely with 3rd route? A role where Accountant background would complement an Programmer/IT role or vice versa.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2015, 02:44:46 PM by GreenHorn101 »

deborah

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2015, 02:49:28 PM »
Accountant/Developer is certainly a useful combination - or has been. But you would need a few years of accounting experience first - as varied as possible. Anyway, you might LIKE accounting once you work in it!

mxt0133

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2015, 03:01:24 PM »
A developer with and accounting background specially with securities can be very lucrative.  I work for a financial services firm that develops accounting software for institutional investors and hedge funds.  If you can get accounting experience working for a financial services firm or hedge fund, while developing your programming skills it would open up a lot of opportunities for you.

A lot of firms still use in house excel spread sheets that need to be transitioned to actual accounting systems that do reporting and reconciliation.  These systems are developed using more traditional programming languages like Java or C#, some C++.  They don't really use HTML, Javascript or other web based languages, unless it's for presentation.

I would take a CS 101 programming course and see if you can do something like that full-time, instead of the bootcamp route if you still want to leverage your accounting background.   Another route is to be a business analysts that helps develop accounting software, you won't actually do any development but would be responsible for functional design and some project management.  This would require some IT degree or experience.

vagon

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2015, 03:16:10 PM »
My view is exercise some patience. For now stay an accountant and try out a big accounting firm.
While you are doing that commit to spending time learning to code using free resources.

Start with www.codecademy.com complete at least the javascript and web fundamentals tracks.
If you still enjoy it, try other tracks like ruby or python and some of the API exercises.
Do the free courses on codeschool.com
Then work on algorithms at coderbyte.com
Do free MOOC programming courses e.g. at coursera.com
Go to the library and borrow a few of the O'Reilly "Head First" series.
Then try working through a more classic textbook

If you go through that much content, you would have probably been working on it for a year or more.
You will now have:
  • More of a real experience at an accounting firm.
  • A better understanding of your skill at computer science and whether you even like it.
  • An idea of how much you dont know in CS
  • A better base if you decide to put money into a bootcamp and/or a CS degree

Jack

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2015, 03:17:58 PM »
You live in NYC and you have an accounting degree, but you want to be a "web developer?!" You know that's pretty much the lowest-common-denominator of programming these days, right?* You can do better.

Here's my suggestion:
  • Screw the overpriced "boot camp." Instead, get a real degree. Namely, this unusually cheap one. (Full disclosure: I did my undergrad there (on campus, not online), and am starting that program this semester.)
  • In the time between now and September (the soonest you could start the above), take as many free Coursera and/or Udacity programming courses as you can so that you have enough CS background to not fail out.
  • Pick this specialization and make sure you take "CS 7646, Machine Learning for Trading" and "CS 8803 Special Topics: Machine Learning for Finance."
  • Become a Wall-Street quant and make GIGANTIC PILES of money!!!

* I'm allowed to diss web developers because I currently am one. That's one reason why I'm going for a master's.

dandarc

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2015, 03:35:42 PM »
Jack - am I reading this right that this is 12 hours for a Master's?  That can't be right can it?

SoulNotSoldier

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2015, 04:52:58 PM »
I'm torn here.  I'm an accountant (big 4) who dreams of doing ANYTHING but accounting. Including coding - I  even signed up for treehouse a couple of months ago.  Sadly, due to long hours of auditing, I never was able to put much time into it so I had to put it on hold...

However, if I had to do it all over again I think I'd probably still go the accounting route.  You learn "the language of business" so to speak.  You develop a base for a broader career down the road if you would rather do something finance related.  I also think that if you come into the accounting profession with a different mindset than most accountants (you sound a bit more like a creative type), you're able to set yourself apart as you problem solve differently.  We could always use someone who thinks about things a little bit differently than your prototypical, type A, accountant.

jybaatl35

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2015, 04:57:10 PM »
I don't have any input on whether you should become a web developer, but my advice is...if you hate accounting GET OUT NOW!  I started my career in Big 4 where working 80 hours a week was the norm.  And that is supposed to be the holy grail for accounting majors...wow what a load of bullshit!  Unless you are a workaholic asshole, you will be chewed up and spit out.  I also tried a small CPA firm which was very slightly better but still horrific.

After 4.5 years in accounting I took a 25k pay cut to work in HR.  I haven't been this happy since I was in college and my only wish is that I would have done it sooner!

SoulNotSoldier

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2015, 04:58:57 PM »
Also...I meant to put this in the post - the big 4 try to seem exclusive, but they're not...you're smart, you can get a job there.  A regional firm might be a better bet anyway, slightly better hours for nearly the same pay from what I've heard.  I'd reckon the experience is similar.

Rpesek6904

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2015, 05:13:04 PM »
Man, I second the idea that the Big 4 is not all it's cracked up to be. My wife worked for Deloitte. It was ok for a few years. She traveled A LOT. I went with her for a while (It was nice living off her job!). But, once we wanted to actually live a life in a single location and have a family there was no way it was going to work. She quit.

Personally, I think being an accountant at a smaller firm is the way to go.There are lots of non-big 4 opportunities that can pay more (in the long run) and be more fulfilling. Like you mentioned - owning your own firm one day is a cool opportunity. Seems to me that doing all that work to get a CPA (Congrats, btw) and then never actually working as a CPA before deciding if you like it is a little rash. Why not try out the CPA gig, learn some coding on your spare time. If you end up hating being a CPA you make the switch. You'll have some valuable CPA experience in your back pocket which will never hurt you.

Anyway, you are in a good spot either way. No debt and lots of potential for a good income. You are in the captains chair with "high class problems."

mozar

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2015, 05:47:00 PM »
It's hard to know what the options are when you are just starting out.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2018, 12:47:32 PM by mozar »

Jack

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2015, 05:55:42 PM »
Jack - am I reading this right that this is 12 hours for a Master's?  That can't be right can it?

You're required to complete 30 credit hours, including one specialization. Since that specialization is 12 hours, you also need 18 hours of other electives.

TerriM

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2015, 06:32:06 PM »
Have you considered becoming a teacher?  One of the women at our school was an accountant prior to teaching.

Jack

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2015, 08:20:14 PM »
[Long post that that can be summarized as "be a salesman."]

The OP wants to be in a technical position. As a technical person myself, trying to become a "rainmaker" sounds to me like utter Hell on Earth.

RichWard

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2015, 08:43:53 PM »
I found myself in a similar position as you.

I went to school, got my accounting and finance degree, got my cpa license, and had a dilemma: hate almost every day cuz my job made me miserable (and future career ladder seemed awful) or change careers. This was at age 24 as well.

Like you, I enjoy spreadsheets and have some Web experience (not enough to earn a living without at least a year of schooling).

I actually found and interesting opportunity as a financial analyst in a procurement department. It involves a lot of analysis, large spreadsheets,  and has exposed me to all areas of the business. I've negotiated contracts, sold our off quality products, buy vs lease calcs, market analysis on raw materials, etc. I also work with the finance and accounting department quite a bit.

I'd say even though I'm not technically using my accounting degree, it's opened up many opportunities and was the reason I got the job (and more pay).

Being able to diversify into another department (IT, supply chain, finance, etc) is valuable and most executives hold an accounting degree in high regards even if you look for more of a financial analyst role.

I made it 3 years in public accounting, but any less and it wouldn't have opened up as many opportunities. I'd be cautious entering public accounting with your mindset. For me it was my first job out of college and I didn't know any better. Big 4 is awful and will suck your life away.

At the same time,  internal audit and month end close will also suck the life out of you.

Best of luck! With no debt,  you have the luxury to figure it out and at 24 you won't be hindering your lifetime career growth much by trying to find your passion.

nobody123

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2015, 09:16:02 PM »
I would check out this online masters program: http://www2.kent.edu/slis/uxd/index.cfm  Essentially, it's all about user experience and design, which programmers traditionally suck at.  That area is VERY in demand, whereas entry level web developers are a dime a dozen.  I am an IT manager in a large company, and all of our vanilla web development is done in a third world country or by interns at low rates.  It's actually pretty easy to find competent coders, but very difficult to find problem-solvers that can collaborate with the business and then translate those needs into a technical design that is customer-friendly.  I have hired folks out of this program and they all receive multiple offers upon graduation.  Internships for students in that program pay around $25/hr. in the Ohio area, so I'm guessing a similar internship in NYC might pay as well as an entry-level accountant.

If you can stick out a year or so of the accounting work while doing this online program, you will be EXTREMELY marketable, as you will know how to speak the language of business and translate it into effective designs and specs to hand to the heads-down coders who don't know a balance sheet from a dryer sheet.

If your heart is set on becoming a programmer, I would follow the advice of a previous poster and just sign up for an entry level programming class at a community college to see if it's really what you want to do.  If a semester of Java or C# doesn't bore you to death, then continue down a Comp Sci path at night while paying for it with your accounting gig.  Programming itself is actually tedious and boring (I was a coder for about 10 years before advancing into management), it's the problem solving that's the fun part.

GreenHorn101

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #16 on: January 07, 2015, 11:54:10 PM »
Wow, thank you for all the feedback!

To clarified, I have been self-learning coding for the past 2 weeks. I am going through an online tutorial at Udemy on Visual Basic (for excel macro). I am also learning web development on the side for fun. This is not my first time trying to learn programming by myself. My previous two attempt failed because lack of discipline and time. 

@TerriM
I am a terrible teacher! (so say my sister) 

@Jack
 I will check out the GA Tech program. Mind if I PM you if I have question? 30 Hours for a master program do sound a little bit sketchy. If I am interested in Database and software engineering without any prior background, where should I start?

@Mozar
Me too! I was never an A+ student and my GPA is average. I struggled and spend tons of time studying for the CPA exam. I don't know where my career path lead. I came across IT audit during my research. Right now I am more interested toward development, coding/creating things from scratch.

I have an LinkedIn account but its not very active. I should get it updated (at least put CPA behind my name when i get my license # haha)

@Rpesek6904
Starting my own firm make sense and that's what a lot of Accountants end up doing. I thought of working at a firm to get the necessary experience/knowledge and then start up something on the side and built upon. You are right, people always connect easier if they share the same interest.   

@SoulNotSoldier @Jybaatl35 @RichWard
Big 4 accounting is a resume boost for sure. Many accounting position require/prefer big 4 experience. Having it on the resume open a lot of door. I once heard a person said "The big 4 experience" is part of your compensation", hence the low starting salary and long tedious hours...   

Big 4 also chew up your personal life. There are so many people that got burned out from the job. The exit story vary. Sure, there are many people that leave the firm and enjoy a successful career. Some join the HR Dept of the firm... Some just hate Accounting so much they end up doing something completely different. 

My College is one of Big 4 target school and I did have an interview for a tax position with a Big 4. It didn't go well. It was an very stressful experience. Particular for myself as I am not very good at socializing with people. I find it hard to connect to the job when you are not passionate about it. This is one of the reason why I am seeking other career path.

@Vagon
I tried CodeAcademy sometime ago and it was fun. I am half-way through the Javascript class. I am planning to do Ruby next.
I will check out codeschool and Coderbtye.

To me, Self training is hard. There are so much information available on the internet and their quality vary. The reason why I became interested in coding bootcamp is to give myself a jumpstart. It is an immersive program and within those 9-12 weeks, the only thing I will be doing is coding. I learn best when the subject has my 100% focus

@Mxt0133
Hmm Is there a high demand for programmer in the hedge fund/financial mgt industry? If I am simply transitioning spreadsheet  data into an Accounting system, won't I get phase out quick as technology progress and the software more complete and seemless?   

@Nobody123
Hmm very interesting. I will check out the program. Are there similar program that you know of that will be offered in the NYC area? I thought about doing programming night class while I work Full Time as Accountant, but then I found out about Coding bootcamp, and I thought it will be easier if I can take some time off and focus on programming 100% for 9-12 weeks. I can walk away with tangible skills set and built something from scratch (like, a budget web app with tax planning feature). I did my master degree full time and worked full time at my current job, and it was very very tiring...
 
Thanks again for everyone comment. its good to bounce idea around instead of keeping it in my head. Its 1:30 in the morning and my head is literally overload. Sorry if i missed anyone comment. 

   

mxt0133

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2015, 12:44:34 AM »
If you were just transitioning data then yes, but the logic in the accounting system needs to be written by a developer or designed by a business analysts to verify that the development work was done correctly.

marketnonsenses

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2015, 06:11:08 AM »

Look for Business Analyst jobs that require accounting back grounds. You could make a good salary. Or become an programmer. Learn all you can on your own. By the time you get ok you will have some time as a CPA making your combination of skills worth money.

dandarc

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2015, 08:38:57 AM »

If your heart is set on becoming a programmer, I would follow the advice of a previous poster and just sign up for an entry level programming class at a community college to see if it's really what you want to do.  If a semester of Java or C# doesn't bore you to death, then continue down a Comp Sci path at night while paying for it with your accounting gig.  Programming itself is actually tedious and boring (I was a coder for about 10 years before advancing into management), it's the problem solving that's the fun part.
This - the coding is a required skill, but really isn't the most important part of the job at all.

oldmannickels

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #20 on: January 08, 2015, 09:53:54 AM »
I worked for Big 4 and made the jump to a smaller outfit. I didn't like the corporate atmosphere (endless meetings, butts in the seat mentality, available 24/7).

Today I would say I'm still available 24/7, but for those clients who I want to be. I really like working with some entrepreneurs helping them build out their plans and systems one on one.

There are plenty of different fields of accounting and I would take the time to check at least one other out unless you hate it.

hdizz

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2015, 10:00:39 AM »

Look for Business Analyst jobs that require accounting back grounds. You could make a good salary. Or become an programmer. Learn all you can on your own. By the time you get ok you will have some time as a CPA making your combination of skills worth money.

This is your best option. From here you could migrate from BA to a business application dev with a focus on accounting/financial programs, at least you could at the right company.  Where I work right now (not in the NE) is actually the type of place you would want to end up. Anyone who works here can take a programming certificate through the local university on the company's dime.  Basically, try to find a position where you can use your accounting skills, but the type of company that lets people move around laterally.

Jack

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #22 on: January 08, 2015, 10:34:40 AM »
@Jack
 I will check out the GA Tech program. Mind if I PM you if I have question? 30 Hours for a master program do sound a little bit sketchy. If I am interested in Database and software engineering without any prior background, where should I start?

Sure, PM me all you want.

The "normal" (on-campus) Georgia Tech Computer Science Master's program is ranked #9 in the country, and the OMSCS program looks pretty much identical except "On The Internet." I was mistaken about the total number of credit hours required: both the on-campus and online Master's programs require 36 credit hours, not 30 (although the on-campus version has project and thesis options that reduce the number of coursework credits required and the online version does not).

To learn about databases, I suggest doing these mini-courses. (I myself did a full-length course, but apparently it's no longer available.)

To learn general programming/software engineering, there are too many MOOCs available for me to sort through and recommend right now. Make sure you take classes covering the following:

  • intro to CS
  • data structures
  • object-oriented programming
  • algorithms / theory
  • systems / computer architecture (something where you program in assembly, C or C++ and thus have to learn about memory management)
  • linear algebra
  • combinatorics

(Yes, those last two are math... but you're going to need them. Like you, I also didn't have great math grades, but I found these kinds of math to be a lot better than things like calculus or differential equations.)

If you have enough time, try to learn languages of several different paradigms, including imperative, object-oriented and functional. In addition to the usual C/Java/Python, I recommend Scheme and SQL.

Books it would be helpful to read include the following:

(Most of the really famous computer science books are referred to by their author(s); I don't know why)

mskyle

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #23 on: January 08, 2015, 10:52:28 AM »
Hey, I went to one of those Web Developer schools (not actually one of the ones you've mentioned - I'm not in NYC) and it worked out great for me. I've probably gone from saving ~25% of my income (in my previous career as a librarian) to 60-70%, so it was well worth the initial investment for me.

I even work at a financial services software company that loves to hire developers with domain knowledge (and has hired a few other people from my bootcamp), so there are definitely places where you could use your "both".

I don't think getting a degree is a "better" option than a bootcamp - degrees and bootcamps do very different things, and you should know what you want, but personally I'm not interested in being a Masters-level developer. Some of my colleagues work in the more math-heavy part of our product, and they do great work and they seem to enjoy it, but they had to put in a lot of academic work before they started that I chose to avoid. Maybe think about the difference between a bootcamp-trained (or self-trained) developer and one with a CS degree as the difference between a carpenter and an architect (not at all a perfect analogy, but you see what I'm saying).

That said, I don't know that bootcamp is the right choice for you. If you can get a Business Analyst type job, you can learn a lot of development stuff on the job (or database stuff, which is also valuable). You could probably get them to pay for some of your studies. Also: I didn't learn anything at the bootcamp that I couldn't have learned on my own if I'd been proactive about attending tech meetups, hack nights, and working hard on my own. I know other people who are working in similar positions to me who are completely self-taught (or casually community-taught - you should definitely get out there and meet real developers and seeing them work).

If you do continue to consider the bootcamp option, I would advise you to keep hacking for at least a few months before you commit (most of them will ask for a substantial deposit immediately on acceptance, so you want to be pretty sure you want to do it *before* you apply) and learn as much as you can about the various reputations of the bootcamps you're considering. Try to talk to alumni or, better yet, hiring partners in person/in private if you can - usually they will give you a straighter answer than they would in an open forum like this one (I know I would say things to you in an email/private message that I would be wary of posting here, because there's a lot of rumor and hearsay and back-channel chatter).
« Last Edit: January 08, 2015, 10:54:55 AM by mskyle »

Jack

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #24 on: January 08, 2015, 11:09:20 AM »
I don't think getting a degree is a "better" option than a bootcamp - degrees and bootcamps do very different things, and you should know what you want, but personally I'm not interested in being a Masters-level developer. Some of my colleagues work in the more math-heavy part of our product, and they do great work and they seem to enjoy it, but they had to put in a lot of academic work before they started that I chose to avoid. Maybe think about the difference between a bootcamp-trained (or self-trained) developer and one with a CS degree as the difference between a carpenter and an architect (not at all a perfect analogy, but you see what I'm saying).

I agree that bootcamps and degrees do different things, and I agree with the carpenter/architect analogy. My only beef with bootcamps is that I think you could do just as well by constructing a program of study for yourself using free MOOCs (Coursera, Udacity, and edX). Using a bootcamp to learn programming is like using a personal trainer to get in shape: if you really need somebody ordering you around then maybe it's helpful, but it sure is a whole lot more expensive!

(And MOOCs also have that advantage, by the way: the ones that have a fixed timeline provide just enough accountability via deadlines that they keep you engaged.)

Also, the OP already has a master's degree... with that much education already, I'd want to be the "architect," not the "carpenter."

GreenHorn101

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #25 on: January 08, 2015, 12:08:42 PM »
Great! more feedback! keep them coming!

No one here thinks coding Bootcamp is a good idea? App Academy offers no upfront cost and take 18% of your salary from the first year of your first developer job. 

My current position pays around 56k per year, this is before I passed my CPA exam. With my license, I think my salary range is around $60k-65k. My work experience is fairly limited. At my current non-profit job, I work under a CPA and do some budget and bookkeeping work. I don't think these are very marketable skill set.

Although Accountant is a respectable profession and has high salary ceiling as career progress, entry level CPA accountant salary is not that good and usually has lots of unpaid OT. If you are in public accounting, your working hours could be 80+ during peak hours. I won't have time to study at all! A dear friend of mine landed a tax job at big4, his starting salary is $69k (+5k bonus if he pass CPA). If one goes into audit, salary starts around 59k in NYC (http://goingconcern.com/post/heres-your-open-thread-public-accounting-full-time-offers-fall-2014). other non-big 4 firm probably pay the same or less.

If I can land a developer job after the bootcamp and make around $60k-70k and start working on more traditional programming classes online/@night, wouldn't that make more sense?

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@Mxt0133
I see. I thought Most accounting system, at least the reporting and recording module are well established (I think developer call them legacy system?).
Don't mean to be greedy here :), but do you mind if you can provide me an example? In my mind, routine transactions/reconciliation can always be automated with better software.

@oldmanbutters
If you don't mind, can you share career experience/specialty?

@hdizz @marketnonsenses
Have you guys done something or seen someone done something similar? To me, Business analyst is an incredibly vague position.
it sounds like a good stepping stone. I Will keep an eye out on my job hunt.

@Jack
Wow thanks! I actually took Linear algebra when I was in my master program. I barely made it out alive haha.
I will do some research on my own and find a MOOCs that works for me.

@mskyle & @Jack
Yup, I would prefer to be an Architect rather than an carpenter. But before I can become a full fledged Architect, maybe it make sense to work as an carpenter? I do want to find something that can put my accounting background to good use.     

@mskyle
Do you mind sharing with me your bootcamp experience via PM?
« Last Edit: January 08, 2015, 12:31:27 PM by GreenHorn101 »

marketnonsenses

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #26 on: January 08, 2015, 12:40:05 PM »
Great! more feedback! keep them coming!




If I can land a developer job after the bootcamp and make around $60k-70k and start working on more traditional programming classes online/@night, wouldn't that make more sense?


I wouldn't count on that. a web devloper with no experience other than a bootcamp might make $15/hr if they can find a job. 

seattlecyclone

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #27 on: January 08, 2015, 01:13:15 PM »
No one here thinks coding Bootcamp is a good idea? App Academy offers no upfront cost and take 18% of your salary from the first year of your first developer job. 

I work in software myself. I think the bootcamps are a fine idea in theory. A computer science degree is probably overkill for most software development jobs, though a solid background in CS is pretty essential for the more cutting-edge stuff. I think that in time, these could be seen as a good middle ground between self-study and a full-blown CS degree. With self-study you can theoretically learn what you need to know, but you don't have any sort of credential saying that you completed a certain course of study at a satisfactory level. The credential is important to most companies looking for entry-level developers.

That said, I'm skeptical that these bootcamps are really a good way into the industry at this time. I know someone who did one in Seattle about a year ago and he has been unable to find a development job. That's just one data point and the bootcamps themselves would probably give you plenty of more positive ones.

At the end of the day you have two hurdles to getting a job:
1) Having enough to put on your resume that the recruiter and hiring manager find you worthy of bringing in for an interview, and
2) Knowing enough about programming to succeed at the whiteboard coding you'll probably encounter in the interview.

The bootcamp can help prepare you for Step 2, but I'm not sure that enough recruiters and hiring managers yet consider the bootcamp to be a good enough credential to get you past Step 1. At first you may be limited to interviewing with startups founded by non-technical folks who are looking for someone, anyone who can code up their brilliant idea. If you can do this for a couple of years you'll have enough experience on the resume to make it to Step 2 at more companies, which is great. The downside is that most new developers can really, really benefit from working with people who have more experience than them, who can tell them when their code is terrible.

falcondisruptor

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #28 on: January 08, 2015, 01:13:44 PM »
You just became a CPA, maybe you could just learn to program on the side now.  Maybe make a  side hustle of it.  Use the free courses online, take on some projects and see if you like it.  I think having and accounting background with technical skills could be a very attractive combination.

Beaker

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #29 on: January 08, 2015, 01:14:43 PM »
A few more random data points to throw in...

My brother was in a somewhat similar position in the sense of working a lot and hating his job. He finally got burned out, RE'd... and then forced himself back into the industry for various personal reasons. He ended up working for a different outfit, and loves it. Turned out he didn't hate his job, he just hated his boss. Point being that you might be perfectly happy in accounting somewhere else.

Speaking of which, my wife is an oil & gas accountant - makes pretty damn good money, and in a lower cost-of-living area at that. They tend to have pretty good benefits, too. Although right now is probably a rough time to get into oil & gas due to the current low prices - it's a boom & bust industry.

Lastly, I am a developer as well. I know it's been said, but I think your talents would be better suited to a backend programming position or as an analyst, rather than web dev. Unless you have a burning desire to build GUIs and learn all the many, many quirks in CSS and Javascript, don't go that route. A CS degree would be a decent idea. Another option might be a "business CS" degree that some schools offer (or at least used to) through their business schools, frequently called something like MIS or BIS (Management/Business Information Systems).

FLBiker

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #30 on: January 08, 2015, 01:30:43 PM »
If I am interested in Database and software engineering without any prior background, where should I start?

This jumped out at me.  Are you familiar with FileMaker Pro?  I'm a teacher by training, but over the past few years I've transitioned to a database development position primarily using FileMaker Pro.  It's somewhat of a niche program, but I went to the DevCon last year and people like me (non-tech background) seem quite common in the FileMaker community.

I can't really recommend a particular path, though.  Maybe you could try building a small database (or app, via FileMaker Go) to do something related to your accounting job?  Also, there is a user group in your area: http://nyfmp.org/ and they're meeting next week.

Good luck!

oldmannickels

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #31 on: January 08, 2015, 01:48:50 PM »
My previous job was auditing large insurance companies right out of college. I'm 29 now and left about 4 years ago.

Now I'm mainly tax and advisory for small and mid-size businesses. My clients are all over the place at the moment. Everything from professional service companies, restaurant franchisees, real estate dreamers, etc... 

For the boot camp thing, I would be concerned that I wouldn't be able to get a job right after vis-a-vis the barriers to entry being very low. I did learn how to use wordpress and developed a few websites on my own, but wouldn't consider that coding.

mskyle

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #32 on: January 08, 2015, 01:52:59 PM »
Great! more feedback! keep them coming!




If I can land a developer job after the bootcamp and make around $60k-70k and start working on more traditional programming classes online/@night, wouldn't that make more sense?


I wouldn't count on that. a web devloper with no experience other than a bootcamp might make $15/hr if they can find a job.

You shouldn't *count* on it but it's certainly possible to get a $60-70k job right out of a bootcamp with no prior programming experience. I know lots of people who have. I know other people who have had difficulty finding full-time, non-contract work post-bootcamp, and honestly I'm not sure why, they don't seem that different from the people who went right into the well-paying jobs. However I'm concerned that the proliferation of bootcamps may have already met and exceeded the demand for entry-level web/mobile developers in a lot of locations. This happens in traditional education too - there's a nursing, or pharmacy, or librarian shortage, so a bunch of new nursing or pharmacy or library schools open up, and then there are too many nurses or pharmacists or librarians and everyone complains about not being able to get jobs.

...Using a bootcamp to learn programming is like using a personal trainer to get in shape: if you really need somebody ordering you around then maybe it's helpful, but it sure is a whole lot more expensive!

(And MOOCs also have that advantage, by the way: the ones that have a fixed timeline provide just enough accountability via deadlines that they keep you engaged.)

Also, the OP already has a master's degree... with that much education already, I'd want to be the "architect," not the "carpenter."

I think the personal trainer analogy is very apt, and I know I could have learned all of this on my own. But in my case I felt like I could go a lot faster with a "personal trainer". I had been hacking away for a while and found it really difficult to identify the next steps I needed to take, especially in terms of going from a script or a file to a proper functioning app.

Also, I too have a professional Masters degree, and a B.S. from a highly selective university, for what that's worth, i.e. not much if you don't want to work in that field! I think it's a mistake to get bogged down in that stuff. Make your decisions based on what you want to do and what the job market is like, not on sunk costs and ideas about status.

Other factors that figured into my personal decision to do bootcamp rather than a CS degree - I was 35 and had spent four years doing my Masters part-time while working full-time. That was a rough four years in terms of cash flow and social life, and I did not want to do it again. And I had been working in higher ed for more than 10 years and knew a little too much about how the sausage is made to feel enthusiastic about pursuing a degree in hopes of career advancement.

dandarc

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #33 on: January 08, 2015, 02:15:11 PM »
http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/GuerrillaInterviewing3.html

This should be required reading for anyone making the jump into software.  It also emphasizes something I think is the most important thing in IT - the ability to learn new technical skills quickly.

Been trying to come up with the words to express this for a day or so now - that article changed my life when I read it.

I think I'm drifting towards the smart / doesn't get things done quadrant AKA over-engineering - at my day job - so signing out of here (home sick again today) to log in and get something done!

Annamal

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #34 on: January 08, 2015, 02:43:56 PM »
If I am interested in Database and software engineering without any prior background, where should I start?

This jumped out at me.  Are you familiar with FileMaker Pro?  I'm a teacher by training, but over the past few years I've transitioned to a database development position primarily using FileMaker Pro.  It's somewhat of a niche program, but I went to the DevCon last year and people like me (non-tech background) seem quite common in the FileMaker community.

I can't really recommend a particular path, though.  Maybe you could try building a small database (or app, via FileMaker Go) to do something related to your accounting job?  Also, there is a user group in your area: http://nyfmp.org/ and they're meeting next week.

Good luck!


I have had only a limited experience with Filemaker but I think that it might not be a good platform to start with if you mean to spend a lot of time with databases and database design.

I think it might be a little like PHP in that it is a great platform to get good looking functional results out the door very quickly but not necessarily a great platform for learning best practice and good relational database design from scratch(not that you can't have a thoughtfully designed Filemaker database, just that it is not an absolute requirement and if you're thinking long term then you want to produce disciplined results as soon as possible).

My recommendation for a platform to start from scratch with would be MySQL. It's relatively easy to install, has a good free IDE and is in widespread use.

MySQL would have more of a learning curve and require more understanding of relational databases (and probably require some SQL) but I think that's probably a better long term strategy.

hdizz

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #35 on: January 08, 2015, 03:01:30 PM »


@hdizz @marketnonsenses
Have you guys done something or seen someone done something similar? To me, Business analyst is an incredibly vague position.
it sounds like a good stepping stone. I Will keep an eye out on my job hunt.

I haven't done that myself, but I work with several people who came in under different job titles (helpdesk, business analyst, administrative assistant) and took advantage of the certificate program to make a semi-lateral move (no pay raise with the move, but a much higher ceiling) into a very entry level developer position.  Later one one of them rose up the ranks all the way to a senior position (took about 8 years, he was very good as well). 

Business Analyst is a super vague title and it varies a lot from organization to organization. Some have their BAs doing light analytic work (literally analyzing business data), many others use them as in a way that the IIBA (their org) outlines in the BABOK (http://www.iiba.org/BABOK-Guide.aspx), i.e. gathering business requirements and doing use case analysis to shape software development. 


marketnonsenses

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #36 on: January 09, 2015, 06:37:17 AM »
@hdizz @marketnonsenses
Have you guys done something or seen someone done something similar? To me, Business analyst is an incredibly vague position.
it sounds like a good stepping stone. I Will keep an eye out on my job hunt.

It is pretty much exactly what I did and what a lot of BA do. It is a super vague position, it can mean lots of things. Mostly doing a mix of tech and business. It is important because many tech guys do not want to do business things. Or Programmers switch to BA or Project Management because they are burned out on programming. I did it because I had a realgular buiness job, wanted to be a programmer, didnt like it physically doing programming but liked software development field and people.

It isnt really a stepping stone, it is a career within itself. Sr BA at some places can make 6 figures.

Praire Sage

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #37 on: January 09, 2015, 07:39:37 AM »
Since you are in NY, have you looked into Hacker School? It's a self-directed programming program that is a little bit different from many code bootcamps out there. www.hackerschool.com

I used to work for a web dev bootcamp and though some people succeed, it is not a magic bullet. Looking back, I would suggest people trying something like Thinkful to see how far they can get for $400/month versus $4000+/month at many bootcamps. If you find that you like coding day in and day out and need more, then you can check out a bootcamp.


GreenHorn101

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #38 on: January 12, 2015, 08:18:02 PM »
Sorry for the late reply, it was a busy weekend.

@Praire Sage
Yes! I did check out Hacker School. I didn't put it on my list because it is a self-direct program, so i assume you will need some programming/computer science background to get in.

I heardn't heard of Thinkful, is it any good? How is it compare to Treehouse? 

@Marketnonsenses & @hidzz
I see, BA sounds pretty interesting. It actually matches with what I want to do (combine programming knowledge and business background). I will do some research on it. Thank you for your input!

@FLBiker
Thanks! I will check out FileMaker Pro. Is it a Mac based program? What are its user base?

@Annamal
Yup. SQL/MySQL and Python is on my to-do-list. 

@breischl
Thanks for the info. I am not sure if i want to go back to school at the moment, mainly due to $ and time constraint. But its definitely a possibility in the future.

@seattlecyclone
You are correct. I went to a bootcamp info session last week and the speaker said most of their alumni went to work for start-up (around 50~60%). As for the interview/job opportunity, I heard mixed opinion. Some company won't look at your resume if you came from "bootcamp". However, A Friend's Friend finished the Bootcamp a year ago and were able to get a well paid job. My Friend is now doing the same bootcamp.

@Oldmanbutters
Thanks for sharing! I thought about the entry barrier too. I look up web developer/full stack developer job from time to time on Indeed and there seems to be plenty of job. Maybe someone in the industry can talk about the job market?
=================================================================
Thanks for everyone comment. my current game plan.

Self-study: go through online materials like Coursera and Codecademy. See what I can get out of it.

A New Job: I will start applying for a new job, probably work through this tax season and see if i can pick up work experience. I will probably reduce my 401K contribution rate to company match and leave more cash in my account. 

At June, the lease at my current apt will be over and I will move back to my parent house. Without rent in the equation, I can afford going to school/bootcamp. Hopefully by that time I would have a better idea of what direction if i go into.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2015, 08:46:06 PM by GreenHorn101 »

vagon

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #39 on: January 13, 2015, 06:48:52 PM »
Best of luck!

Wolf_Stache

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #40 on: January 13, 2015, 08:08:12 PM »
A little late chiming in, I just saw this. You don't need big 4 or CPA firm experience for accounting jobs. I got my master's degree in Accounting and passed the CPA exam 10 years ago. I've never worked in big 4. Right out of school I got a job in corporate accounting. You sound a lot like me in that you enjoy tinkering with excel macros and VBA more than actual accounting work.

I echo other posters that you might look at the Financial Analyst role or a role with a smaller company where you are doing a bigger variety of tasks.

GreenHorn101

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #41 on: January 14, 2015, 01:21:04 AM »
@wolf_stache
Not late at all. Financial analyst does sound interesting. Right now i am a little confuse as of how i would fit into the position as a mix of tech and bus background. Hopefully when i learn more about the tech side i would have a better idea :)

Wolf_Stache

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #42 on: January 14, 2015, 10:32:24 AM »
So my first job out of college I started out as a Cost Accountant. After a few years, I was promoted up to a Financial Analyst role SOLELY because I *was* the tech person (access, VBA, macros, etc) of my division.

At least at the place I worked, a lot of data was coming from old systems but in order to really use it you had to connect it to data from new systems. The technical excel knowledge helped me write code in excel to do the crunching for me.

For example, one spreadsheet would come in with all the data in one column. I'd have to use text to column to get it sorted out, and then run a macro I wrote that would loop through each field and remove extraneous characters. Yes, the end goal was building charts and graphs for management, but my skills meant that I was getting this report done (once I'd built the conversion code) in a day or two, whereas previously it had take a dedicated person a week of full time work to clean it up.

Anyway, if you look at my journal you'll see I'm considering leaving accounting, too, unless I can find another role where I can use my skills more. I'm bored to tears in my current position because it is mostly financial statements and journal entries. But positions like the one above are out there.

Sonnet23

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #43 on: November 01, 2015, 05:51:13 AM »
 The following is a must for a web developer:
- HTML/XHTML/DHTML
- CSS
- JavaScript
- DOM/AJAX

a.) If you are going Microsoft-based all you need to learn is C#, drop VB(.NET). What you can do in C# you can do in VB(.NET) and vice-versa. ASP(VBScript) or what we call 'ASP Classic' is already considered obsolete, drop it too.

b.) Though I'm not very much familiar with the following, it is popular for being cross-platform, an advantage you can abuse:
- PHP(Free) or JSP
- Perl or Python

If your server is Windows-based, go for "a.)"
If Mac/Unix/Linux-based, go for "b.)"

And as the other answerer have suggested, you also must learn atleast one database engine:
- MsSQL
- MySql(Free)
- Oracle
- PostgreSql

Good luck!

Jack

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #44 on: November 01, 2015, 12:01:59 PM »
Well, since Sonnet23 decided to play Frankenstein and resurrect this thread for Halloween, we might as well ask: GreenHorn, how's your plan going? Are you still an accountant, or did you switch careers?

GreenHorn101

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #45 on: August 03, 2016, 10:04:06 PM »
*** POST RESURRECTED ***

Update... Haven't login for ages.

Can't believe it's been more than a year! Yes, I made the transition is now working as a web dev at an insurance company.

I enjoy my job so far. its challenging and I can see myself working in this field long term... well at least until FI.

Thanks everyone for the advice! it was helpful.

 

Jack

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #46 on: August 04, 2016, 05:50:35 AM »
*** POST RESURRECTED ***

Update... Haven't login for ages.

Can't believe it's been more than a year! Yes, I made the transition is now working as a web dev at an insurance company.

I enjoy my job so far. its challenging and I can see myself working in this field long term... well at least until FI.

Thanks everyone for the advice! it was helpful.

Awesome! Are you still using your business skills too?

MrSal

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #47 on: August 04, 2016, 09:54:06 AM »
*** POST RESURRECTED ***

Update... Haven't login for ages.

Can't believe it's been more than a year! Yes, I made the transition is now working as a web dev at an insurance company.

I enjoy my job so far. its challenging and I can see myself working in this field long term... well at least until FI.

Thanks everyone for the advice! it was helpful.

How did you change the career? did you end up going through the web boot camp route?

I am in the same exact position as well right now and trying to decide... have been doing a few coursera and Udacity courses so far... and my background is in finance (I worked as a derivatives trader at an european small brokerage house so it seems this would open a lot of doors having a very deep knowledge of trading and financial markets).

GreenHorn101

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #48 on: August 10, 2016, 04:16:35 PM »
*** POST RESURRECTED ***

Update... Haven't login for ages.

Can't believe it's been more than a year! Yes, I made the transition is now working as a web dev at an insurance company.

I enjoy my job so far. its challenging and I can see myself working in this field long term... well at least until FI.

Thanks everyone for the advice! it was helpful.

Awesome! Are you still using your business skills too?

Not really. I worked on the billing section of our web app for a while. My previous background didn't really help me understand the code though haha

GreenHorn101

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Re: Career change!? From Accountant to Web Developer
« Reply #49 on: August 10, 2016, 04:40:48 PM »
*** POST RESURRECTED ***

Update... Haven't login for ages.

Can't believe it's been more than a year! Yes, I made the transition is now working as a web dev at an insurance company.

I enjoy my job so far. its challenging and I can see myself working in this field long term... well at least until FI.

Thanks everyone for the advice! it was helpful.

How did you change the career? did you end up going through the web boot camp route?

I am in the same exact position as well right now and trying to decide... have been doing a few coursera and Udacity courses so far... and my background is in finance (I worked as a derivatives trader at an european small brokerage house so it seems this would open a lot of doors having a very deep knowledge of trading and financial markets).

Yup, I  went thru the web Bootcamp route and found a job afterward.

If you like the courses you take so far and hate your current job... then definitely find a way to switch! What are your interest? Are you looking for tech job in finance?