Author Topic: Starting a second career  (Read 1449 times)


  • Handlebar Stache
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Starting a second career
« on: December 30, 2016, 01:32:11 PM »
A bit of background.   I'm an electrical engineer by training, with a Bachelor's and a Master's degree.    Most of my 28 year career has been in software development, and I've done everything in the field except for c-suite positions.    So over the years I've been a software developer, a project manager, a software architect, a functional manager and so on.   I've worked on device drivers, high availability telecoms switches, military electronics, mobile applications, 3 tier web applications...  I find it hard to think of an area I haven't worked in.     My best times have been delivering software that was used by large numbers of people - one product had 25M daily users & that was a blast.   

I currently have what is by all measures a very good job working for one of the big 3 telecommunications manufacturers as a principal engineer doing research, also with a strong software focus.   Anyway, the point is that I've pretty well seen it all, and I'm getting tired of it.

Financially we're in good shape with a 7 figure investment portfolio, a modest house and no debt.    I imagine I'll work at my current job for another 2-4 years (when either my boss will retire, my kids will have finished university and be self-sufficient, or I'll be at a good transition time in my research).    At that point I need to find something to do with my time so I want to use this 2-4 years to explore options.

One option would be to try and find a good startup company.   But, frankly, at my age, spending 60+ hours per week trying to keep a startup team organized isn't all that appealing.    Another option would be to start an interesting open source project that might be able to provide some net benefit to society.   There are lots of challenges around privacy and security that might be interesting to work away at.     But...  this is still more software.

I can't imagine transitioning completely away from a STEM career.    I share, to some degree, MMM's love of building physical things like houses, however it's not something I could do full time.   And I think after 3-4 months of just doing my own thing, I'll be getting pretty bored.

Today I came across this article on the Washington Post, and I thought that this kind of work would be a really worthwhile way to spend my time.

Experts say that it takes 10,000 hours of experience to become an expert in something.    I've definitely got 10,000 hours of work left in me, so...

Has anyone made a transition from one highly technical career to another highly technical career?    How did you get started?    How did it go?

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  • Bristles
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Re: Starting a second career
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2016, 02:37:13 PM »
I'm sort of in the same boat as you, in the engineering field and looking out about 5 years and wondering if I could transition to something else. Personally I'm looking at becoming a pilot, seasonal fire fighter, or a traveling beach bum. I've had my fingers in each of the three areas for about the last couple of years and I'm leaning more and more towards flying because I can get employed in cool places and there is a shortage of pilots coming.

I look forward to reading a reply from someone that has made a transition.