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Thread: Changing careers

  1. #1
    Edward Guest

    Changing careers


    I am an architect in the construction industry. I specialize in institutional
    interiors, such as schools, laboratories and hospitals.

    About ten years ago, I was fortunate enough to work on a space inventory
    project for a major university. This project required that I learn AutoCAD.
    Because of the long time frame in which this project was set, I was allowed
    to fully explore the entire program, which has several languages inside of
    it (AutoLISP, DIESEL, DCL). I began programming and customizing to my heart's
    content and did so for 6 years.

    Before I knew it, I had developed CAD management skills that were highly
    sought after in my field. Of particular value (to a small amount of companies)
    were my AutoLISP programming capabilities, and before I knew it, I was doing
    quite a bit of freelance work customizing AutoCAD for some small manufacturers
    and architectural firms.

    Each program I wrote became more sophisticated and complex. And with this
    experience I was getting, I realized that every one of my previous programs
    was clumsy and ill-written; the further back I reviewed the more embarassing
    they became!

    Eventually, a large Manhattan architectural firm hired me full-time to not
    only manage their CAD department, but to write a very large and ambitious
    program. It took me a half-year of nights and weekends, but it turned out
    great, if I don't say so myself, and generated quite a bit of revenue for
    the firm. [It payed for my salary many times over.]

    Much to my surprise, it turns out that I enjoy programming quite a bit. To
    that end, I have taken a introductory Java class, spent hundreds of dollars
    on books, spent many hours programming with it, etc. I have decided to get
    certified, and am preparing now to take the exam. But I am limited by the
    needs of my particular industry as to what I can do with all this.

    So I am at the point now where I am interested in moving into programming
    full time and leaving the building trades for good after twenty+ years with
    steel, concrete and bricks. My question to all who would be kind enough to
    answer is: would all these years of AutoLISP programming that I've done count
    as experience to a potential employer, or would I be considered unexperienced
    because I've yet to do any real work with Java?

    Thanks in advance for your responses.

  2. #2
    Elena Guest

    Re: Changing careers


    Congratulations on managing your career so well this far!

    Moving from architectural/building applications over to corporate IT may
    not be the best move for you. I don't work in CAD technology, and I've never
    heard of AutoLisp. That's not to denigrate your experience or knowledge
    in any way - - I'm just trying to point out that a corporate IT employer
    will not recognize that experience other than perhaps as some general knowledge
    of computers and algorithms.

    You made your original move into programming by leveraging your knowledge
    and credentials in the architecture field. That's the best way to make one
    of these career switches. However, if you were to approach an employer who's
    building an intranet site for his auto manufacturing company, or for a hospital
    or bank, you will not have this "leverage" and you will be competing with
    a large pool of experienced, unemployed java programmers. I've found employers
    to be very literal-minded when it comes to looking at resumes and job history
    and I fear it would be difficult for you to break in. I've seen employers
    that would rather bring in an H1B person from the other side of the globe
    instead of working with one of the programmers already in-house - merely
    because they believe 6-12 month's experience in language X or software package
    Y is so critical to productivity. They'll bring in a completely unknown
    person rather than offer opportunity to the employee they've worked with
    for years (and have given good performance reviews.)

    In addition, a lot of basic coding work is being outsourced offshore these
    days so in addition to the economic downturn, there are some permanent structural
    changes going on in the world if IT employment.

    If you truly have your heart set on this, then by all means pursue your dream.
    Just be careful not to burn bridges with your current employer in case things
    don't work out the way you'd like. I'm sorry I can't be more hopeful -
    but of course, it's only one person's opinion.

    Best of Luck.
    Elena


  3. #3
    simon Guest

    Re: Changing careers

    Edward,

    I agree with Elena. The chance to relate Java programming with your current
    **working** experience (learning at home does not count) is very remote.
    Therefore, in order to get a Java programming job, you probably have to
    start from the ground floor. That means you have to compete with a bunch of
    newly grads who are at half of your current salary.

    Also keep in mind that your most valuable asset is your **industry
    knowledge**. Switching to other industries means you will lose your edge.
    So without your industry knowledge plus starting with a new language/tool
    translate to a very risky move.

    Unless money is no concern to you and you don't mind to start from the
    ground up (with huge pay cut), you need to think very carefully before you
    make such career change at this time.

    Hope this helps.

    simon.


    "Elena" <egermano@home.com> wrote in message
    news:3c442bac@147.208.176.211...
    >
    > Congratulations on managing your career so well this far!
    >
    > Moving from architectural/building applications over to corporate IT may
    > not be the best move for you. I don't work in CAD technology, and I've

    never
    > heard of AutoLisp. That's not to denigrate your experience or knowledge
    > in any way - - I'm just trying to point out that a corporate IT employer
    > will not recognize that experience other than perhaps as some general

    knowledge
    > of computers and algorithms.
    >
    > You made your original move into programming by leveraging your knowledge
    > and credentials in the architecture field. That's the best way to make

    one
    > of these career switches. However, if you were to approach an employer

    who's
    > building an intranet site for his auto manufacturing company, or for a

    hospital
    > or bank, you will not have this "leverage" and you will be competing with
    > a large pool of experienced, unemployed java programmers. I've found

    employers
    > to be very literal-minded when it comes to looking at resumes and job

    history
    > and I fear it would be difficult for you to break in. I've seen employers
    > that would rather bring in an H1B person from the other side of the globe
    > instead of working with one of the programmers already in-house - merely
    > because they believe 6-12 month's experience in language X or software

    package
    > Y is so critical to productivity. They'll bring in a completely unknown
    > person rather than offer opportunity to the employee they've worked with
    > for years (and have given good performance reviews.)
    >
    > In addition, a lot of basic coding work is being outsourced offshore these
    > days so in addition to the economic downturn, there are some permanent

    structural
    > changes going on in the world if IT employment.
    >
    > If you truly have your heart set on this, then by all means pursue your

    dream.
    > Just be careful not to burn bridges with your current employer in case

    things
    > don't work out the way you'd like. I'm sorry I can't be more hopeful -
    > but of course, it's only one person's opinion.
    >
    > Best of Luck.
    > Elena
    >




  4. #4
    Mark Guest

    Re: Changing careers


    I have an absolutely "killer" resume with experience in project leadership,
    analysis & design, and programming. I am 46 years old, have over 15 years
    IT experience and had lots of trouble finding a job when I got laid off last
    year. This year I made 2/3 of what I made last year. This should tell you
    something because my situation is really not that unusual at this time.
    Between offshore development and H-1B visa mania, programming is a bad choice
    I think. I know several students and have warned them that the colleges
    (especially tech and community) advertise training in IT and all the great
    jobs that are out there and how much opportunity there is. I think probably
    not.

    The only way to compete is to go into business as a consultant and bid for
    the projects yourself.


    "Edward" <edward_j_kirby@hotmail.com> wrote:
    >
    >I am an architect in the construction industry. I specialize in institutional
    >interiors, such as schools, laboratories and hospitals.
    >
    >About ten years ago, I was fortunate enough to work on a space inventory
    >project for a major university. This project required that I learn AutoCAD.
    >Because of the long time frame in which this project was set, I was allowed
    >to fully explore the entire program, which has several languages inside

    of
    >it (AutoLISP, DIESEL, DCL). I began programming and customizing to my heart's
    >content and did so for 6 years.
    >
    >Before I knew it, I had developed CAD management skills that were highly
    >sought after in my field. Of particular value (to a small amount of companies)
    >were my AutoLISP programming capabilities, and before I knew it, I was doing
    >quite a bit of freelance work customizing AutoCAD for some small manufacturers
    >and architectural firms.
    >
    >Each program I wrote became more sophisticated and complex. And with this
    >experience I was getting, I realized that every one of my previous programs
    >was clumsy and ill-written; the further back I reviewed the more embarassing
    >they became!
    >
    >Eventually, a large Manhattan architectural firm hired me full-time to not
    >only manage their CAD department, but to write a very large and ambitious
    >program. It took me a half-year of nights and weekends, but it turned out
    >great, if I don't say so myself, and generated quite a bit of revenue for
    >the firm. [It payed for my salary many times over.]
    >
    >Much to my surprise, it turns out that I enjoy programming quite a bit.

    To
    >that end, I have taken a introductory Java class, spent hundreds of dollars
    >on books, spent many hours programming with it, etc. I have decided to get
    >certified, and am preparing now to take the exam. But I am limited by the
    >needs of my particular industry as to what I can do with all this.
    >
    >So I am at the point now where I am interested in moving into programming
    >full time and leaving the building trades for good after twenty+ years with
    >steel, concrete and bricks. My question to all who would be kind enough

    to
    >answer is: would all these years of AutoLISP programming that I've done

    count
    >as experience to a potential employer, or would I be considered unexperienced
    >because I've yet to do any real work with Java?
    >
    >Thanks in advance for your responses.



  5. #5
    Michael Q. Gautier Guest

    Re: Changing careers


    Consulting can be a good choice considering many employers think their permanent
    staff are stagnant and less committed to innovation. Of course that is who
    they were trying to hire internally anyway.

    "Mark" <therealdesertrat@hotmail.com> wrote:
    >
    >I have an absolutely "killer" resume with experience in project leadership,
    >analysis & design, and programming. I am 46 years old, have over 15 years
    >IT experience and had lots of trouble finding a job when I got laid off

    last
    >year. This year I made 2/3 of what I made last year. This should tell

    you
    >something because my situation is really not that unusual at this time.
    >Between offshore development and H-1B visa mania, programming is a bad choice
    >I think. I know several students and have warned them that the colleges
    >(especially tech and community) advertise training in IT and all the great
    >jobs that are out there and how much opportunity there is. I think probably
    >not.
    >
    >The only way to compete is to go into business as a consultant and bid

    for
    >the projects yourself.
    >
    >
    >"Edward" <edward_j_kirby@hotmail.com> wrote:
    >>
    >>I am an architect in the construction industry. I specialize in institutional
    >>interiors, such as schools, laboratories and hospitals.
    >>
    >>About ten years ago, I was fortunate enough to work on a space inventory
    >>project for a major university. This project required that I learn AutoCAD.
    >>Because of the long time frame in which this project was set, I was allowed
    >>to fully explore the entire program, which has several languages inside

    >of
    >>it (AutoLISP, DIESEL, DCL). I began programming and customizing to my heart's
    >>content and did so for 6 years.
    >>
    >>Before I knew it, I had developed CAD management skills that were highly
    >>sought after in my field. Of particular value (to a small amount of companies)
    >>were my AutoLISP programming capabilities, and before I knew it, I was

    doing
    >>quite a bit of freelance work customizing AutoCAD for some small manufacturers
    >>and architectural firms.
    >>
    >>Each program I wrote became more sophisticated and complex. And with this
    >>experience I was getting, I realized that every one of my previous programs
    >>was clumsy and ill-written; the further back I reviewed the more embarassing
    >>they became!
    >>
    >>Eventually, a large Manhattan architectural firm hired me full-time to

    not
    >>only manage their CAD department, but to write a very large and ambitious
    >>program. It took me a half-year of nights and weekends, but it turned out
    >>great, if I don't say so myself, and generated quite a bit of revenue for
    >>the firm. [It payed for my salary many times over.]
    >>
    >>Much to my surprise, it turns out that I enjoy programming quite a bit.

    >To
    >>that end, I have taken a introductory Java class, spent hundreds of dollars
    >>on books, spent many hours programming with it, etc. I have decided to

    get
    >>certified, and am preparing now to take the exam. But I am limited by the
    >>needs of my particular industry as to what I can do with all this.
    >>
    >>So I am at the point now where I am interested in moving into programming
    >>full time and leaving the building trades for good after twenty+ years

    with
    >>steel, concrete and bricks. My question to all who would be kind enough

    >to
    >>answer is: would all these years of AutoLISP programming that I've done

    >count
    >>as experience to a potential employer, or would I be considered unexperienced
    >>because I've yet to do any real work with Java?
    >>
    >>Thanks in advance for your responses.

    >



  6. #6
    Neal Guest

    Re: Changing careers


    "Mark" <therealdesertrat@hotmail.com> wrote:
    >
    >I have an absolutely "killer" resume with experience in project leadership,
    >analysis & design, and programming. I am 46 years old, have over 15 years
    >IT experience and had lots of trouble finding a job when I got laid off

    last
    >year. This year I made 2/3 of what I made last year. This should tell

    you
    >something because my situation is really not that unusual at this time.
    >Between offshore development and H-1B visa mania, programming is a bad choice
    >I think. I know several students and have warned them that the colleges
    >(especially tech and community) advertise training in IT and all the great
    >jobs that are out there and how much opportunity there is. I think probably
    >not.
    >
    >The only way to compete is to go into business as a consultant and bid

    for
    >the projects yourself.
    >
    >
    >"Edward" <edward_j_kirby@hotmail.com> wrote:
    >>
    >>I am an architect in the construction industry. I specialize in institutional
    >>interiors, such as schools, laboratories and hospitals.
    >>
    >>About ten years ago, I was fortunate enough to work on a space inventory
    >>project for a major university. This project required that I learn AutoCAD.
    >>Because of the long time frame in which this project was set, I was allowed
    >>to fully explore the entire program, which has several languages inside

    >of
    >>it (AutoLISP, DIESEL, DCL). I began programming and customizing to my heart's
    >>content and did so for 6 years.
    >>
    >>Before I knew it, I had developed CAD management skills that were highly
    >>sought after in my field. Of particular value (to a small amount of companies)
    >>were my AutoLISP programming capabilities, and before I knew it, I was

    doing
    >>quite a bit of freelance work customizing AutoCAD for some small manufacturers
    >>and architectural firms.
    >>
    >>Each program I wrote became more sophisticated and complex. And with this
    >>experience I was getting, I realized that every one of my previous programs
    >>was clumsy and ill-written; the further back I reviewed the more embarassing
    >>they became!
    >>
    >>Eventually, a large Manhattan architectural firm hired me full-time to

    not
    >>only manage their CAD department, but to write a very large and ambitious
    >>program. It took me a half-year of nights and weekends, but it turned out
    >>great, if I don't say so myself, and generated quite a bit of revenue for
    >>the firm. [It payed for my salary many times over.]
    >>
    >>Much to my surprise, it turns out that I enjoy programming quite a bit.

    >To
    >>that end, I have taken a introductory Java class, spent hundreds of dollars
    >>on books, spent many hours programming with it, etc. I have decided to

    get
    >>certified, and am preparing now to take the exam. But I am limited by the
    >>needs of my particular industry as to what I can do with all this.
    >>
    >>So I am at the point now where I am interested in moving into programming
    >>full time and leaving the building trades for good after twenty+ years

    with
    >>steel, concrete and bricks. My question to all who would be kind enough

    >to
    >>answer is: would all these years of AutoLISP programming that I've done

    >count
    >>as experience to a potential employer, or would I be considered unexperienced
    >>because I've yet to do any real work with Java?
    >>
    >>Thanks in advance for your responses.

    >



  7. #7
    Neal Guest

    Re: Changing careers


    Let's try this again.
    My resume and age are the same. I took a year off to move from programming
    and administration to business-system analysis and architecture design through
    training mainly due to the fact that I saw the H1-B phenomenon coming in
    programming and administration.
    It has since turned into 2 years due to the economic downturn.
    Now I see that you have pegged the next step precisely...start a consulting
    business and bid the projects yourself...thank you


    "Mark" <therealdesertrat@hotmail.com> wrote:
    >
    >I have an absolutely "killer" resume with experience in project leadership,
    >analysis & design, and programming. I am 46 years old, have over 15 years
    >IT experience and had lots of trouble finding a job when I got laid off

    last
    >year. This year I made 2/3 of what I made last year. This should tell

    you
    >something because my situation is really not that unusual at this time.
    >Between offshore development and H-1B visa mania, programming is a bad choice
    >I think. I know several students and have warned them that the colleges
    >(especially tech and community) advertise training in IT and all the great
    >jobs that are out there and how much opportunity there is. I think probably
    >not.
    >
    >The only way to compete is to go into business as a consultant and bid

    for
    >the projects yourself.
    >
    >
    >"Edward" <edward_j_kirby@hotmail.com> wrote:
    >>
    >>I am an architect in the construction industry. I specialize in institutional
    >>interiors, such as schools, laboratories and hospitals.
    >>
    >>About ten years ago, I was fortunate enough to work on a space inventory
    >>project for a major university. This project required that I learn AutoCAD.
    >>Because of the long time frame in which this project was set, I was allowed
    >>to fully explore the entire program, which has several languages inside

    >of
    >>it (AutoLISP, DIESEL, DCL). I began programming and customizing to my heart's
    >>content and did so for 6 years.
    >>
    >>Before I knew it, I had developed CAD management skills that were highly
    >>sought after in my field. Of particular value (to a small amount of companies)
    >>were my AutoLISP programming capabilities, and before I knew it, I was

    doing
    >>quite a bit of freelance work customizing AutoCAD for some small manufacturers
    >>and architectural firms.
    >>
    >>Each program I wrote became more sophisticated and complex. And with this
    >>experience I was getting, I realized that every one of my previous programs
    >>was clumsy and ill-written; the further back I reviewed the more embarassing
    >>they became!
    >>
    >>Eventually, a large Manhattan architectural firm hired me full-time to

    not
    >>only manage their CAD department, but to write a very large and ambitious
    >>program. It took me a half-year of nights and weekends, but it turned out
    >>great, if I don't say so myself, and generated quite a bit of revenue for
    >>the firm. [It payed for my salary many times over.]
    >>
    >>Much to my surprise, it turns out that I enjoy programming quite a bit.

    >To
    >>that end, I have taken a introductory Java class, spent hundreds of dollars
    >>on books, spent many hours programming with it, etc. I have decided to

    get
    >>certified, and am preparing now to take the exam. But I am limited by the
    >>needs of my particular industry as to what I can do with all this.
    >>
    >>So I am at the point now where I am interested in moving into programming
    >>full time and leaving the building trades for good after twenty+ years

    with
    >>steel, concrete and bricks. My question to all who would be kind enough

    >to
    >>answer is: would all these years of AutoLISP programming that I've done

    >count
    >>as experience to a potential employer, or would I be considered unexperienced
    >>because I've yet to do any real work with Java?
    >>
    >>Thanks in advance for your responses.

    >



  8. #8
    Mark Guest

    Re: Changing careers


    We're on the same page. A word of warning to Analysts and Designers who think
    they are safe or programmers who are thinking about moving there careers
    to analysis and design. When I saw the trend to H-1B and Offshore becoming
    a reality I stepped back and decided to really dig in to UML and RUP. I
    even developed a course for our stateside consultants. I worked with a consulting
    company that had a large offshore development team. The sales people won
    a bid that required us to use this team. As soon as we launched the project
    the offshore team was moving toward sending analysts over on temporary work
    visas to do the analysis work, this strategy will work if there is a framework
    centered on small releases. What's an American IT guy to do?

    There are now firms (middle men) who go around trying to match large offshore
    code manufacturers (no different than building a toaster in Tai Pai) to US
    businesses who are willing to give 'em a try, the short-term low cost is
    very attractive.

    That said, these people are charging $100 - $150 per hour for the labor (and
    pocketing lots of it as middle men).

    I figure I can work for about half of that and still do very well indeed;
    I'm in the process of doing the MCSD - passed my first test last week. I'm
    going to combine that with an Adobe Certified Expert credential in Illustrator
    and Photoshop and then launch. I'm already prepared for the Illustrator
    test.





    "Neal" <nbrown999@yahoo.com> wrote:
    >
    >Let's try this again.
    >My resume and age are the same. I took a year off to move from programming
    >and administration to business-system analysis and architecture design through
    >training mainly due to the fact that I saw the H1-B phenomenon coming in
    >programming and administration.
    >It has since turned into 2 years due to the economic downturn.
    >Now I see that you have pegged the next step precisely...start a consulting
    >business and bid the projects yourself...thank you
    >
    >
    >"Mark" <therealdesertrat@hotmail.com> wrote:
    >>
    >>I have an absolutely "killer" resume with experience in project leadership,
    >>analysis & design, and programming. I am 46 years old, have over 15 years
    >>IT experience and had lots of trouble finding a job when I got laid off

    >last
    >>year. This year I made 2/3 of what I made last year. This should tell

    >you
    >>something because my situation is really not that unusual at this time.
    >>Between offshore development and H-1B visa mania, programming is a bad

    choice
    >>I think. I know several students and have warned them that the colleges
    >>(especially tech and community) advertise training in IT and all the great
    >>jobs that are out there and how much opportunity there is. I think probably
    >>not.
    >>
    >>The only way to compete is to go into business as a consultant and bid

    >for
    >>the projects yourself.
    >>
    >>
    >>"Edward" <edward_j_kirby@hotmail.com> wrote:
    >>>
    >>>I am an architect in the construction industry. I specialize in institutional
    >>>interiors, such as schools, laboratories and hospitals.
    >>>
    >>>About ten years ago, I was fortunate enough to work on a space inventory
    >>>project for a major university. This project required that I learn AutoCAD.
    >>>Because of the long time frame in which this project was set, I was allowed
    >>>to fully explore the entire program, which has several languages inside

    >>of
    >>>it (AutoLISP, DIESEL, DCL). I began programming and customizing to my

    heart's
    >>>content and did so for 6 years.
    >>>
    >>>Before I knew it, I had developed CAD management skills that were highly
    >>>sought after in my field. Of particular value (to a small amount of companies)
    >>>were my AutoLISP programming capabilities, and before I knew it, I was

    >doing
    >>>quite a bit of freelance work customizing AutoCAD for some small manufacturers
    >>>and architectural firms.
    >>>
    >>>Each program I wrote became more sophisticated and complex. And with this
    >>>experience I was getting, I realized that every one of my previous programs
    >>>was clumsy and ill-written; the further back I reviewed the more embarassing
    >>>they became!
    >>>
    >>>Eventually, a large Manhattan architectural firm hired me full-time to

    >not
    >>>only manage their CAD department, but to write a very large and ambitious
    >>>program. It took me a half-year of nights and weekends, but it turned

    out
    >>>great, if I don't say so myself, and generated quite a bit of revenue

    for
    >>>the firm. [It payed for my salary many times over.]
    >>>
    >>>Much to my surprise, it turns out that I enjoy programming quite a bit.

    >>To
    >>>that end, I have taken a introductory Java class, spent hundreds of dollars
    >>>on books, spent many hours programming with it, etc. I have decided to

    >get
    >>>certified, and am preparing now to take the exam. But I am limited by

    the
    >>>needs of my particular industry as to what I can do with all this.
    >>>
    >>>So I am at the point now where I am interested in moving into programming
    >>>full time and leaving the building trades for good after twenty+ years

    >with
    >>>steel, concrete and bricks. My question to all who would be kind enough

    >>to
    >>>answer is: would all these years of AutoLISP programming that I've done

    >>count
    >>>as experience to a potential employer, or would I be considered unexperienced
    >>>because I've yet to do any real work with Java?
    >>>
    >>>Thanks in advance for your responses.

    >>

    >



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