What skills can we take from programming into other job types?

Some web and software developers tend to loose the passion for their job as the years pass by. They may start thinking about applying what they know to other areas, other sort of companies, anything that is more meaningful to them and, at the same time, keeps them away from code for longer periods.

What do you think are the skills a web or software developer/programmer acquired during their experience and can be capitalised upon when applying to other sorts of jobs?

And can you give examples of those kinds of jobs?

I think this is important, as there are several posts in this forum where people suggest leaving their job, so that they may be able to find alternative career paths.

The thinking patterns of a software developer can probably be applied to other types of engineering, probably even a lot of creative fields, but you’d still be starting from almost 0 in terms of actual employability, I would think, because one’s employment history is so specific. I’m also having trouble thinking of any other industry where one can be self-taught and still find work. Whatever one’s options are, those options are probably limited to finding some kind income independent of an employer.

I really don’t know shit except my trade. Maybe I should go back to school.

There are several open-standard movements going on that may lead to new opportunities. I’m thinking about journalism and code (http://opennews.org/), or open standards in science and technology (e.g. http://book.openingscience.org/). I believe programmers could bring their expertise into fascinating new fields while moving away from stressing commercial, financial, money-driven companies.

Doing something meaningful to us, with small companies and non-profits, is one of the steps towards fighting depression. You might find http://www.escapethecity.org/ worth a look.

Thinking patterns, abstraction and organisation are a few of the skills one acquires as a programmer. I’ve seen guys moving to control quality, and others to managing teams (although such positions do not abound).

One can also work with non-profits or small companies in raising their online presence, making use of web technologies but also leveraging free online services.

I would want to say that these are more often innate talents that ultimately lead one to become a programmer. Although, they are inevitably enhanced through programming and solving problems through programming.

I guess the problem I find personally is that the software development industry is forgiving of not having a college degree; other realms might look at this as a flaw. I am self-taught, and broke into the software development industry by chance. It’s all I know.

Incidentally, I was looking at writing job on GitHub just yesterday, and considered applying. I don’t enjoy software development like I used to (I don’t hate it, but I can’t get on board with doing it for 40 hours a week), but I’ve never actually considered writing full-time. However, I am doubtful that an employment history comprised solely of software development would make me a viable candidate.

Perhaps that’s what I find troubling – moving to a different career may require some stops along the way. I can’t say that I have any professional experience as a writer. So I guess my feeling is: who is going to give me a shot? Am I being overly pessimistic?

Perhaps I should tell a bit about my own career path. I would be glad if it inspired you and other readers.

My background education is in design, but soon after I graduated I started working as web developer, mainly frontend. Some years later I thought about doing a Master degree and tried Science Communication. Here I practiced writing, but also saw how my previous experience in web agencies could be useful in a science communication office.

Along the way you get some stresses, because you leave your comfort zone. But it pays off if you have a reasonable financial cushion and persistence.

About your career move, I would suggest, if you like technical or promotional writing in a software company, you could try a writing course. And perhaps most importantly, start a blog where you regularly write about interesting things happening in the ICT landscape.