Not Sure about Future, Need advice

So a quick background, I am 22 living in Ohio and do not have a lot of formal education in an IT field. I started as a Network Admin/Help Desk Tech, but got a job doing everything for a nonprofit. This seemed kinda nice at first, but I am quickly becoming more and more frustrated with juggling the roles of being the sole help desk/network/server admin with my roles as a junior programmer. My duties for the past year and half have been more focused on programming, and not that I am looking for a new job I am having a hard time finding a job. My skills as a network admin have not been kept up, and I am not as skilled as some other programmers.

I’d stay with the current company, but the CEO has been working the developer department to death. I have seen several programmers leave the company, because of outlandish demands. For the past couple of months, I have been working ridiculous hours every week, because the CEO keeps threatening to fire us and outsource to India for a development team. I am trying to get out, but nobody seems to want a person with a mixed bag of skills. I guess my question is should I take a low level programming or help desk job and start from scratch? I hate to through the last couple of year away.

@holtover01, have you considered trying to become an SRE? As your CEO threats, the only rational way to shut his mouth up is to find a better job.

Hi @holtover01, not to sound to inconsiderate, but if you want a more stable programming job then you’re going to have to develop the skills and gain the credentials such a job requires. There’s no real way around it.

However, if you’ve been mainly programming for a year and half, chances are you’ve already developed more skills than you think. I would suggest you start studying for and applying to low-level programming jobs. There are lots of books on programming and every level and lots of good resources for learning to do interview problems well. Work and study hard, and do your best at the interview. Take the most challenging job and again work hard. Of course, don’t let people abuse or exploit like your current CEO seems to be doing, but try to make then point that you can learn and improve your skills as needed. That way, even if you need to start as an entry-level programmer, you could probably work your up within a few years.

I know this sounds like a lot of hard work, and it is. But the time is going to pass anyone. Would you rather put in the work, take the setback, and be in a better position in a few years, or stay where you are (or end up wherever circumstances put you) in a few years?