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I am a software developer with 4 years of experience. My first job was application development of an enterprise software package for 2 years. I really enjoyed the job but I couldn't continue that job because the company went bankrupt.

My next job was software development focused on networks for 2 years(processing packets, analysis of packets, constructing useful information, building network infrastructure etc). I had very good colleagues but I felt something lacking. I kind of did only what I am asked to. So, recently, I changed to another job for 6 months in the same network domain thinking that would give me fresh impetus. But what I realized is it is not the company but the domain that is the real problem.

I find dealing with routers, configurations, packets, network analysis etc kind of not interesting that much. I contribute to lot of open source projects and love software development and would love to do it for the rest of my life but I don't feel interested in this domain. I would like to change to some other kind of development. Something like typical application development (something like MS Office, LinkedIn, just to give an example), financial software development, Healthcare SW development.

How would I go about this? I understand other kind of development will also touch this domain but not only networks.

The reason I am asking here is because as soon I make myself available in the market, I come across 2 things. One, I am flooded with interview offers in roles similar to what I am doing. Second, when I apply to some other role ( ex financial sw development) I get rejected because I don't have experience in that domain. The fact is I am ready to work for salary that is way below what my current salary is. I would like to get the same energy and motivation at work that I get when I do my personal projects. How do I handle this situation?

  • Get certified in the area you want to work in – Kilisi May 22 '18 at 19:21
  • have you taken the OCJP? are there courses you can pay for that can get you where you want to go? – bharal May 22 '18 at 19:35
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You have correctly identified that recruiters often screen resumes for content within a specific domain. They tend to pass on generic resumes that don't exhibit a domain focus. The good news is, you can do something about this problem.

There are actually several things you can do:

  1. You mentioned open source projects. If you're not already doing this, find and contribute to open source projects in the domain where you want to work. Include your open source portfolio on your resume, and describe the projects you're working on right on your resume.
  2. On your resume, when describing the work you're doing that is outside of your target domain, focus on the tasks and quality of your contributions rather than the domain. For instance, instead of describing how you wrote software for routers, describe how you worked within an Agile team as role X, or you contributed to the standards for QA or whatever non-domain-specific description you can come up with.
  3. On LinkedIn, find employers you're interested in, who operate in your target domain, and follow them. Find the thought leaders (people giving TED talks, posting leading articles, writing interesting blogs, etc) in your target domain, and follow them. Comment on posts you find interesting. Share articles you notice, and describe why you found them interesting. In other words, build a publicly-visible history of interest/participation in your target domain. This way, when a recruiter looks at your LinkedIn page, they see a bunch of on-topic content, instead of an uninteresting, generic profile they can't relate to.

In summary, you want to present yourself as a skilled software engineer interested in domain X instead of as someone who's been writing code for routers.

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I think this is a fairly common problem. I think there are a few good approaches:

  1. Look for opportunities at your current company. Most companies that have software devs working on networking also have other kinds of software devs. Talk to someone at work who values you and tell them you are interested in another kind of work, and see if they'll allow you to transfer.
  2. Look for a job that wants someone who will fill multiple roles; for example, someone who has to know how to do network programming and also do another kind. This can be a first step in your transition away from network programming.
  3. Get a certification, take a class, or do a non-trivial personal project. You've mentioned that you like to contribute to open-source projects; you could start contributing to open-source projects in whatever it is you'd like to program as a way to gain experience and demonstrate that you're good at other kinds of programming.
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The most common strategy for career switching is to go back to university, gain a degree say in finance, and then start fresh as a graduate programmer.

Full-time master degrees should take you just about a year to complete.

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