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Breaking Up with Your Career: How to Change Careers With Confidence

By The Fullstack Academy Team

Woman wearing glasses smiling looking out window

Does your workday leave you feeling burnt out and emotionally drained? Are you constantly thinking about other potential career paths? These are just a few signs it might be time to consider a career change—and you’re not alone.

According to IT recruiting firm Apollo Technical, 29% of people have completely changed fields since their first job after college. From minimal growth opportunities to a lack of fulfillment, many people reach a point in their current career where it no longer aligns with their needs or aspirations.

In this article, we’ll help you identify whether it’s time to break up with your career and provide tips for how to change careers successfully.

Signs It’s Time to Break Up With Your Career

There was a time when you once pictured a long, happy life with your current career. But, over time, the spark has faded, and your 9-5 feels more and more like a chore. If this feels familiar to you, it’s likely time to make a career change. Before we dive into how to make a career change, let’s look at a few more signs that it’s time to move on from your current role:

  • Dreading Mondays (and Every Other Day): Does the mere thought of work fill you with dread rather than anticipation? A chronic case of the "Mondays" might be a sign your current path isn't aligned with your aspirations.

  • Feeling Bored: Do the tasks that once excited you now feel monotonous? Has the spark of interest in your role completely vanished? It's natural to evolve, and sometimes our careers need to follow suit.

  • Constant Learning Stall: Are you no longer challenged or offered opportunities to develop new skills? Stagnation can be a major red flag. Remember, growth fuels passion and career advancement.

  • Underappreciated and Undervalued: Do you feel your contributions go unnoticed or your talents are underutilized? Feeling undervalued can be incredibly demotivating and impact your overall satisfaction.

  • Lack of Work-Life Balance: Does your job consistently bleed into your personal life, creating an unhealthy work-life imbalance? Your career shouldn't leave you feeling drained and unable to enjoy other aspects of life.

  • Constant Daydreaming: Do you find yourself constantly fantasizing about other career paths, researching different fields, or attending industry events? These daydreams might be hinting at a deeper desire for change.

  • Health Taking a Hit: Is your stress and unhappiness at work impacting your physical or mental health? If your career is negatively affecting your well-being, it's a clear sign something needs to shift.

Make Your Move.

Take the first step in your journey by learning more about the immersive tech bootcamps at Tech Bootcamps at the University of North Florida Powered by Fullstack Academy.

How to Change Careers

So, you’ve realized it’s time to change careers, now what? Transitioning to a new career is more than just sporadically applying to new roles. A successful career change requires strategic planning, self-reflection, and the right resources to bridge the gap between your current reality and your future aspirations. Let's explore how to change careers with clarity and confidence.

1. Take Inventory of Your Current Skills

Before you update your resume, it’s crucial to assess the skills and experiences you possess. This self-awareness helps you highlight transferable skills that can be valuable in your desired field and identify areas for further development. When evaluating your skills, you should consider:

  • Hard Skills: Programming languages, software knowledge, design tools, data analysis expertise, etc.

  • Soft Skills: Communication, teamwork, problem-solving, critical thinking, time management, leadership, etc.

  • Industry Experience: Even if not directly related to your target field, relevant experience builds valuable transferable skills and provides context.

  • Personal Passions and Projects: Consider personal projects, hobbies, or volunteer work that showcase skills and interests relevant to your desired career.

Understanding your current skill set will help you identify skills that could easily transfer to your next role, allowing you to be better prepared for your next move.

2. Figure Out What You Want From Your Next Career

Now that you have a deeper understanding of what you bring to the table, it’s time to plan your next move. Remember, it’s important to choose a career that aligns with your skills, interests, and long-term goals. Narrow down your choices by asking yourself these questions:

  • Are there specific skills or tasks I absolutely enjoy (or detest)?

  • What am I naturally good at?

  • What work environment do I prefer?

  • What are my salary expectations?

  • What impact do I want to make?

By answering these questions, you’ll better understand what you want in your next role and find a career path that aligns with your goals and values.

3. Research Potential Careers

Utilize online resources like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and Indeed to research specific roles, industry trends, salaries, and growth potential. If you find a role or industry that particularly piques your interest, reach out to professionals within that field and ask them questions about careers, the industry landscape, and advice for newcomers.

To help you get started on your search, here are a few potential career paths in tech:

  • AI & Machine Learning: Explore the potential of machine learning systems and tackle complex problems in fields like healthcare, finance, and manufacturing.

  • Software Development: Dive into specialties like front-end, back-end, full-stack, mobile development, and more.

  • Data Science & Analytics: Analyze trends, extract insights, and explore roles like data scientist, data analyst, and machine learning engineer.

  • Cybersecurity: Protect sensitive information and systems; consider ethical hacking, security analyst, and penetration tester positions.

  • Web Design & Development: Combine creativity and tech skills to build user-friendly websites and applications.

  • DevOps & Cloud Computing: Automate software development and deployment; explore cloud engineer and infrastructure engineer roles.

4. Bridge the Skills Gap

As you look at job postings for your new career path, you may notice a gap in your current skills. Luckily, there are many options available to help you develop the skills you need to succeed, including:

  • Tech Bootcamps: Immersive programs like Tech Bootcamps at the University of North Florida powered by Fullstack Academy provide focused training in high-demand tech skills within a short timeframe. They offer structured learning, mentorship, and career support to launch your new career confidently.

  • Online Courses & Resources: Explore online platforms and resources for a flexible and diverse range of courses, tutorials, and certifications to boost specific skills.

  • Industry Certifications: Earning relevant certifications validates your expertise and demonstrates your commitment to professional development, potentially enhancing your job prospects.

  • Self-Directed Learning: Dedicate time to independent learning. Read industry blogs, listen to podcasts, engage in online communities, and participate in hackathons to expand your knowledge and stay updated.

5. Build a Supportive Network

While starting a new career is courageous, it can also be incredibly challenging, especially without the right support system. Having the right people in your corner can make all the difference when exploring a new industry and role. These individuals become your cheerleaders, offering encouragement, guidance, and valuable connections while navigating the twists and turns of your transition. Here are a few tips for preparing a rockstar support network:

  • Tell Your Friends and Family: Navigating a career change can be difficult, and you’ll need people to lean on when things get tough. Let your family and friends know you’re pursuing a new career so they can provide the support you need to make the transition smoother.

  • Tap Into Existing Connections: Rekindle connections with former colleagues and classmates who may have knowledge of or are working in an industry you’re considering pursuing. They may be able to provide insight and open doors to new opportunities.

  • Participate in Industry Events: Attend meetups, conferences, or workshops related to your desired career path. These events allow you to network with professionals, learn about industry trends, and discover potential opportunities.

  • Find a Mentor: Identify and connect with experienced professionals in your chosen field who can offer guidance, feedback, and support throughout your journey. Consider formal mentorship programs or reach out directly to individuals you admire.

Start Your Next Career at Tech Bootcamps at the University of North Florida!

Ready for a fresh start? Tech Bootcamps at the University of North Florida is here to help you find your passion in tech. With programs in fast-growing fields, Tech Bootcamps at the University of North Florida will help you develop the in-demand tech skills employers seek. Plus, we offer comprehensive career support services that can help you optimize your resume, prepare for interviews, and overcome obstacles that are commonly faced by career changers. Start your tech journey today by exploring all that Tech Bootcamps at the University of North Florida has to offer.