Author Topic: Moving on from IT?  (Read 2426 times)


  • Handlebar Stache
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Moving on from IT?
« on: January 12, 2017, 10:42:46 AM »
Any former IT workers who changed careers? I think I may finally be ready to leave the world of software development behind. After changing jobs a few times thinking it was the job/environment and not the career, I think I have realized the truth. I do not want to do this anymore.

Quick background: I'm late thirties, married to a teacher with a stable, if unspectacular career(money wise, I think she does great things for her kids), 5 year old child about ready to start kindergarten this summer/fall. Relatively low expenses. If I stayed, currently on track to retire in about 10 years(could be sooner, but we like to travel and plan on ramping that up now that the kiddo is older. Could also move to a PT job much sooner and be partially retired).

Anyway, if I do leave IT, I'm looking for something drastically different. A true career change rather than a tweak. I have probably my ideal job as far as software development goes. WFH, good pay, never on-call during the night, good benefits, etc... A lateral move to something like IT project management or similar jobs doesn't excite me. Moving upwards into management is not something I want. I have seen my supervisor's job, and I do not want it(I was a supervisor myself for a short time and hated it).

Some ideas I have been toying with...

Pros - Lots of time off. Lots of open jobs. Currently have connections in that field, so finding something would be extraordinarily easy once I was certified. Radically different career would satisfy my itch to do something different.

Cons - Pay is abysmal here in Arizona. Something like $35K to start, maxing out at $50K if I had a PHD and 10+ years experience. Obviously the pay cut would be steep. I've run a theoretical budget and its doable, although our travel budget would be basically cut in half and I would have to work until I'm 60. Student teaching would suck and be ~3 months where I would not be getting a paycheck(Savings would cover this easily).

Pros - Sounds fun. I love flying and will probably get my Private Pilot License this summer regardless of whether I stay in IT. Pay is good... eventually(from what I have read). 5 years into your career, you could probably make $60K without too much effort. I could also, theoretically, move to P/T work at my current job and then work as a Flight Instructor part-time. This would get my flying fix, but still provide stable employment.

Cons - No idea about the job market. Quick search found a few open jobs. Getting certified is expensive(~$50K). Pay is not good when you first start out. From what I read, early career jobs can pay like $25K to $30K. $30K would be tough on the budget, but it is doable. Hard to predict the effect on FIRE, but I imagine it would add at least a few years. I think I would be OK with this.

Pros - Pays more than a teacher. Probably like $70K. In theory, FIRE date would probably not change much.

Cons - Would have to get a masters degree, which costs money. No idea about how available these types of jobs are. Nearest major university is ~45 minutes away.

Other ideas are welcome...


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Moving on from IT?
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2017, 10:45:27 AM »
Posting to follow.


  • Stubble
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Re: Moving on from IT?
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2017, 12:22:30 PM »
I went from teaching to IT due to the salary. That being said, I liked teaching better.

Have you considered becoming an IT Architect? Part technical, part customer service, part project manager. The guys I know make pretty good wages but are not responsible for implementation.

I transitioned from teaching to IT by first becoming a technical writer. Great job! Decent wage (more than teaching, less than IT) but lots of fun. Part writer, part interviewer, part designer. I enjoyed tech writing a lot and got to learn all the different areas of the company.

Instructional Designer...part teacher, part developer. The real skill is in designing lessons that people can actually learn from. This is the biggest problem I see...lots of online courses that don't actually do a good job teaching.

Just my $.02. Good Luck!


  • Bristles
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Re: Moving on from IT?
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2017, 01:44:04 PM »
I've been in the same boat for a long time (in IT and wanting for something else).  I'm still trying to figure out what I'd really like to do.

For me, I kind of just want to live a low key life in the future - maybe do something simple like being a bus driver for a while or a chauffeur.  But, I still have a few more years left in me to do this work and the money is certainly good in preparation for FIRE.


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Moving on from IT?
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2017, 02:23:03 PM »
Technical sales consultant

   You provide technical advice to sales personnel and perhaps build very rapid proofs of concept for a new idea.

      Pay is good.

      If you're a good, precise and accurate software developer, the salesperson's puffery propensity may drive you nuts.

      Might be lots of travel.  Typically short stays, though.

As for me?   I'm switching to full time artist and real estate investor in 16 months.   Real estate for fun and money, Art for fun and excellent company.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Moving on from IT?
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2017, 04:57:34 PM »
I'm totally in the same boat.  Been in IT for almost 8 years.  So incredibly over it, but leaving the pay behind is painful.  I'm currently interviewing for a new position in the hopes that my angst is more due to the company I work for than the job itself. We'll see.


  • Bristles
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Re: Moving on from IT?
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2017, 05:15:59 PM »
Same boat. I don't think there are many jobs that match the pay AND I feel like I don't have skills other than IT at this point.


  • Stubble
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Re: Moving on from IT?
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2017, 10:05:57 PM »
Have you considered managing software development projects?  Pay is decent and and the days are interesting.  You might also consider gaining knowledge of another area: combination of programming and, say, economics, is more rare and valuable in the marketplace than either of those two areas alone.

How about IT security consulting for small businesses?

I speak from experience.  I have started life as a biologist, detoured into software development, and have been able to leverage both backgrounds for the last few years.  I spent three years in IT as a project manager for a large pharmaceutical company.  The head of IT there still ranks on either the bottom or second from the bottom of my ranking of former bosses.  He was an a-hole of a grand proportion and he could get away with it because IT was a bit of an afterthought - but the compensation was quite good.  I moved on to another part of the company for a year and half because IT was becoming too isolated from the rest of the business for my taste.  I have now moved on to a firm that develops software for the healthcare industry.  It speaks volumes that the IT in this firm is in the basement, no?