Making THE Switch

Oumaima Azzat
5 min readMar 26, 2021

the guide I wish I had.

Photo by Nejc Soklič on Unsplash

I have an Associates degree in Fine Arts, and a B.F.A in Architectural Design. It goes without saying that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing when I decided to make a career switch. Not just any career switch, but a switch into becoming a full-stack web developer. I can tell you how to become an architect, or how to start a career in the arts. Tech however, was a completely different ball park.

First and foremost I want to be very clear — it is NEVER too late to start a new career. No you’re not too old, and it’s not too late. With the right information and guidance, you are more than capable of starting this new journey. Lucky for me, I had the full support of my girlfriends who are already established in their tech careers (YAY FOR WOMEN IN TECH).

With the combination of their advice and what I have learned myself prior to my acceptance into Flatiron School, I wanted to provide an easy and clear guide to anyone who is thinking of making a career switch themselves. Whether its data science, software engineering, or cybersecurity analytics — these tips will guide you in a more stable start I wish I had.

Disclaimer: This is how I made my transition, and the steps I took to get to where I am today.

Why Tech?

Photo by Christopher Gower on Unsplash

It seems obvious, but truly take the time (it took me a couple of months) to understand why this is the industry you want to move into. Are you a natural techie? Is it because the tech industry is booming? Do you want to work somewhere that values culture? Or are you simply bored and just want to try something new? Honestly, these are all valid reasons. Going in with a clear mindset of what your goals and aspirations are will ultimately make the transition smoother. I knew I wanted to immerse myself in something that would not only challenge me, but also open the door to many career opportunities.

Tech Careers

There is an abundant amount of careers in the tech industry. Researching was my best friend to say the least. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. I cant begin to count the amount of YouTube videos I stayed up watching late at night. I came to the conclusion that software engineering was the route that intrigued me the most.

Coming from a creative background, I realized that web development is incredibly much like designing. Web development allows me to not only be creative, but execute my own creations. Let me tell you, it is an amazing feeling when you create your own WORKING app (after it breaks 1,000 times of course). Find out what interests you the most in this industry. The last thing you want is to blindly pick a route without any knowledge of what it is exactly.

But How?

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When I came to the decision that I would be switching careers, I was not only excited but extremely nervous. “How?”, is all I could think for weeks. Do I get a Masters? Do I go back for another Bachelors degree? Those two choices did not appeal to me. Come to find out they aren't the ONLY options.

As I researched and spoke to friends about my new career choice — almost everyone knew someone who did a bootcamp. At this point I’ve heard a lot about certificate programs but never a bootcamp style. I furthermore dove into the limitless world of bootcamps and accelerated Software Engineering programs. I was happy to see that there was a handful of very credible schools. Udacity, Flatiron School, Fullstack Academy, Hack Reactor — there are so many programs that allow anyone to join! No matter the background.

I would also keep in mind the kind of program you imagine yourself in. I can wholeheartedly say that I underestimated the term “bootcamp” when I initially started at Flatiron School back in November 2020. The rigorous, non stop work scared me a bit at the beginning. Practice makes perfect, so expect long nights and early mornings trying to perfect your craft. The hours are demanding so I would start looking into comfortable desk arrangements. Just know what you’re coming into — its better than being blindsided and unprepared.

Which leads me to mentioning that programs usually offer self paced and accelerated programs. Take your time and do it in your own pace, OR get it done in as little as 4 months with a live classroom session daily. Both options are entirely acceptable, just know what works for you.

Finally

Whether you are 61 or 18, starting a career or leaving one — I truly believe that anyone can do anything they put their mind to. It is never too late to start or change your career. I had absolutely no clue what I was doing when I decided to try something outside of architecture. All I knew is that I had to be as open minded as possible. All I knew is that there’s something about the industry that’s very exciting. The world is taking such strides in terms of technology advances, and I wanted to be apart of that.

I hope this guide gave you some clarity and guidance (maybe some confidence as well… I definitely needed that) on how to change your career. You can still go on to be successful in a completely new industry, there are lots of opportunities out there — you just have to take that first step!

Follow me on LinkedIn :)

https://www.linkedin.com/in/oumaima-azzat-287b10183/

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Oumaima Azzat

Full Stack Software Engineering Student at Flatiron School