Is it too late for a career change?

I am a 33-year-old technical support engineer and have worked for the same company since I was 18. I want to get into programming...

I am a 33-year-old technical support engineer and have worked for the same company since I was 18. I want to get into programming and have started a computing degree. My course covers OO software construction. The tool we are using is the Eiffel language but I never see any Eiffel positions advertised. I feel that until I gain my BSc I have no experience to offer employers. Is a career change advisable?

You are a spring chicken!
A career change is possible at any time in your life, and, at 33, you are a spring chicken! I can understand that having spent so long in one company it can be daunting to think about change, but the fact that you have stayed in one company for so long will make you attractive to employers.

You have a variety of skills to offer employers, and these will help you get a foot in the door if you wish to find a new role before you graduate. However, you would be best placed to wait until you have your BSc so that you can offer a solid academic base and secure a higher salary.

In terms of language skills, Eiffel is just one of the object oriented (OO) languages, and I presume you will also learn others with OO such as C++ or Ada 95. This will enable you to find work in OO programming.

Your next move is to write a comprehensive CV, including the BSc modules obtained, and send it to a selection of agencies to test the water. There are many recruitment agencies that do not necessarily advertise all the vacancies they have been assigned, so do not use job adverts alone as an indication of whether or not a job exists. Also, check out Internet sites such as Jobserve and Planet Recruit.

Solution by Bethany Kate-Parry, MSB International

The panel: MSB International, Best International Group,
Computer Futures, Computer People, Elan, E-skills NTO,
Monarch Recruitment, Reed Computing, Netheads Consulting
This was last published in August 2001

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