What to Consider When Switching Career Fields to a Completely Different Industry

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In college, we are taught to pick one major. While some students decide to double major in closely related fields, it’s rare to find individuals who study two polar opposite fields (a Biology major studying Philosophy or an Economics major studying Exercise Science).

The same can be applied to real-world roles. For example, take a software entrepreneur becoming involved in animated films, or a renowned painter interested in the mechanics of human anatomy, or a business investor deciding to design and lead an aerospace company.

Some of the greatest innovators of our time have strayed from the norm and jumped into a completely different industry or field of study. It’s rare, but not unusual in this rapidly moving digital era. Have you been thinking of switching careers, to another seemingly unrelated trade? Here are three helpful tips to consider when switching career fields to a completely different industry.

Analyze the “reality” associated with your passion or hobby
What is that activity you enjoy doing on the weekends or in your spare time? Keep in mind, it does not have to be limited to just one, you can be involved in multiple skills. Pinpoint one or two, and find ways to become even more invested than you already are; take a look at community events or online groups you can become active in.

If you find yourself completely absorbed in said hobby, then gauge what the market is like. What regions of your country support a stable job market, what’s the average salary, what can you do to increase the chances of landing a full-time job? Even if your findings don’t meet your initial expectations, don’t get cold feet. Everyone has to start somewhere, and if you are empowered by this new career, it will only further fuel your motivation and drive.

Look at required or minimum qualifications
Start scourging job postings on career sites and pay close attention to their qualifications. Don’t focus on amounts, such as years of experience, instead pay close attention to the areas of interest employers are looking for. What abilities are they emphasizing in their job description?

The verbiage companies use is important as well – “develop,” “champion,” “analyze,” “collaborate,” are all indicative of the kinds of responsibilities the role you’re looking at entails. Write these keywords down and start researching them on your own. You might want to take a supplemental course or obtain a specific certificate before starting to seriously apply.

Network and reach out
This might be a bit more difficult, depending on where you live, but don’t forget you always have the internet. Having knowledge in two different realms is a huge advantage, so take the time to see how your current skills can be an additional asset to what you’re starting to learn. Talk to influencers, innovators, pioneers that are just starting out like you. Read relevant books, follow influential bloggers, ask questions on social media platforms, talk to professors or instructors, read forums or online threads to see what others are doing.

Your ability to see things from a different perspective, due to having two careers in different fields is invaluable. Use it to your advantage. LinkedIn is a great resource when it comes to connecting with old or new colleagues. Keep your resume and portfolio updated and uniquely position yourself to employers.

Considering a career change in programming? The UC San Diego Extension Boot Camps offers both full time or part time curriculums, with an emphasis on web development or data analytics. Our instructors and career teams support students along every step of the way, by helping them build diverse portfolios and get ready for competitive interviews in the industry. For more information regarding coding call us at (858) 519-8997. For additional information regarding our data analytics course, reach out to (858) 905-5063

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