Transition from Tech Support to Software Development

TR4V1STYTR4V1STY Member Posts: 62 ■■■□□□□□□□
Hey TechExams,

I've been doing Tech Support for about 12 years. I started at Geek Squad, and now I work for my local county government IT department here in rural California. This is my 9th IT job. 

I graduated from WGU last year with my Bachelor's in Software Development. I went from having almost no programming experience to being just proficient. I obtained the OCA: Java SE8 certification during my studies. I also have the CompTia A+, N+, S+, and P+ certs.

I like where I'm at with my Tech Support job in the local government, but I'm starting to stagnate. I'm not really using my programming skills. The way I see it, I have a few paths forward:

    1. Continue with my Tech Support job, hope that an 'Analyst' position opens up, nail the interview, and use my programming skills there. If I stay here 5 years I'll be 'vested' with a pension.

    2. Find an entry level Software Developer job. I don't feel like a strong enough programmer to pass an interview at this point. I would have to really study and practice on LeetCode and HackerRank. 

    3. Shift gears into studying DevOps, CyberSec, AWS/Azure, or something like that where I can use my programming skills without being a full-on Developer. 

What would y'all do in this situation? 

Comments

  • itdeptitdept Registered Users Posts: 104 ■■■■□□□□□□
    If you are stagnating I would say get out. In saying that, 9 jobs in 12 years does seem a tad excessive.
    I currently do tech support and only see it as a dead end job of password resets, printer fixes and teaching people who get paid more than me how to do their jobs.
    Cloud is where it is at and "everyone" will need to hop on that wagon at some point.
    Maybe try and work on some open source projects to help learn / train. That will keep you sharp and add to the resume.
  • DFTK13DFTK13 Member Posts: 167 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I think you could get at least an entry level front end web development job where you stand they’re not all that hard to get and even easier since you have a SWE degree. You could work on the front end and then transition to the backend, and then eventually become fullstack. I know you mentioned you have experience with Java. My question is, do you have a github? What projects have you worked on in Java? Do you have a portfolio site?

    I would not stay in your position and wait it out, most of the time, you have to go get the things yourself. You'd find a decent amount of programming in the cloud, especially automation...so it looks like that DevOps/Cloud engineering with an AWS cert would definitely fit your immediate skillset whereas SWE takes quite a bit of time to master. 
    Certs: CCNA(200-301), Network+, A+, LPI Linux Essentials
    Goals: AWS CSA - ASSOCIATE, RHCSA, VCP6-DCV

    Degree: A.S. Network Administration
    Pursuing: B.S. in I.T. Web and Mobile Development Concentration
  • TR4V1STYTR4V1STY Member Posts: 62 ■■■□□□□□□□
    itdept said:
    If you are stagnating I would say get out. In saying that, 9 jobs in 12 years does seem a tad excessive.
    I currently do tech support and only see it as a dead end job of password resets, printer fixes and teaching people who get paid more than me how to do their jobs.
    Cloud is where it is at and "everyone" will need to hop on that wagon at some point.
    Maybe try and work on some open source projects to help learn / train. That will keep you sharp and add to the resume.

    Thank you for the advise itdept. Indeed, I am worried about being perceived as a 'job hopper'. 

    Yep, that's pretty much my day to day. I've done Tech Support for Rocket Scientists, literally. Even they need help with stupid printer issues. I don't blame them. :smile:

    Cloud is where it's at, huh. That what a lot of people are saying... 

    You're right, I should find an open source project where I can contribute.

    DFTK13 said:
    I think you could get at least an entry level front end web development job where you stand they’re not all that hard to get and even easier since you have a SWE degree. You could work on the front end and then transition to the backend, and then eventually become fullstack. I know you mentioned you have experience with Java. My question is, do you have a github? What projects have you worked on in Java? Do you have a portfolio site?

    I would not stay in your position and wait it out, most of the time, you have to go get the things yourself. You'd find a decent amount of programming in the cloud, especially automation...so it looks like that DevOps/Cloud engineering with an AWS cert would definitely fit your immediate skillset whereas SWE takes quite a bit of time to master. 


    I like the sound of that career path. Front End > Back End > Full Stack. The problem with this path is I have very limited Front End Experience. I'm more of a Back End guy (Giggity :smirk: ) from my studies in Java. I know the basics of HTML/CSS.

    Yes, I do have a GitHub: github DOT com/tr4v1sty . I only have one project on there, a school project with 2000+ lines of code. It's a 'School Schedule Tracking' Android app. It interfaces with a basic SQL lite database. I thought I never would complete this program. I spent months pulling my hair out over this project.

    I think we're on the same wavelength. I think DevOps with the AWS cert might be my best path forward... I hate to say it but I don't think I will ever be a full stack engineer. I don't have the passion or talent for it.
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Certification Invigilator Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 11,589 Admin
    My $0.02:
    1. Cloud, containers, and Kubernetes are the (hot)3 topics for programmers right now.
    2. Docker or Google are great containers to learn.
    3. Don't stay married to Java; learn Python and Golang.
    4. Forget anymore "+" certs and aim for the Microsoft, AWS, and Google Cloud programming certs instead.
    You can do all these things regardless of where you are and what you are doing in your current career path.
  • MHamimMHamim Member Posts: 5 ■■□□□□□□□□
    @JDMurray - Do AWS/Google cloud has programming certs?
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