I'm writing in "The Workplace" and hope this is the right forum for this type of question.

I graduated from UC San Diego with a non-CS degree (art/media), and now, at 30, after several years of working in arts administration, am deciding to embark upon a software development career. I realize I'm a little late in the game, but I'm really excited to be on this path. Up until last year, I had minimal coding experience (I guess teaching myself HTML 4 from the '90s era of IRC/Geocities/Angelfire doesn't count, does it!). So far, I've taken courses in Computer Science I (C++), Client-side Scripting(JavaScript) and PHP/MySQL. I'm currently enrolled in an associate's program for computer science, and will have taken Data Structures/Algorithm Analysis, Object-Oriented Programming, Computer Science II, Computer Organization & Operating Sys (among various math courses) at the time of graduation. I'm doing well, with a 4.0 GPA.

I know that an associate's degree is not enough for a resume to be looked at, but there's no way I will have the time to do a second bachelor's degree. I've looked into a part-time master's program, and it seems like a great plan (plus I will have already fulfilled the pre-requisites), but ideally, I would love to be working in the industry before applying to that type of program.

I'm so afraid that my efforts will go to waste and that my resume will go in the trash. When applying for entry-level developer jobs, should I make it a point to indicate my career transition, or should I avoid putting non-IT jobs on my resume altogether? Of course, I can't submit an empty resume, but I'm just afraid that all the arts/media stuff will scare hiring managers away.

I don't know how to apply as a "new grad," when technically, I'm not.

Thanks so much, everyone.

closed as off-topic by Jim G., jcmeloni, jmac, CMW, gnat Dec 10 '13 at 12:10

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions seeking advice on what job to take, what skills to learn, etc. are off-topic as the answers are rarely useful to anyone else." – Jim G., jcmeloni, CMW, gnat
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Do you have experience in graphics design that would be useful in an IT shop? It might be worth looking for someone hiring a graphics designer who is willing to let you transition into development. That way you can offer them a mature skill which you already have, and move into the development role while still building experience. I've never tried anything like this though, but might be worth a shot. – FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Dec 9 '13 at 22:27
  • If you're getting computer code to work - in other words you're finding this to be 'natural' (and it sounds like it is, from your enthusiasm) you will be successful. There is probably work for twice as many programmers as there are in the US, so anyone that jumps in will find plenty to do. – Meredith Poor Dec 9 '13 at 23:44
  • I do have some graphic design experience, yes. I hadn't thought about that transition before, so thank you. I'll be working on an iOs app independently as well. Sorry for posting something off-topic. – Christine S Dec 10 '13 at 16:48
  • I transitioned from being a flight attendant into full-stack development and niched down into UX after spending a few years in the industry. I don't have a degree at all, and I went to dev bootcamp at 32. You and anyone else can do this, too! – Maigen Thomas Oct 1 '18 at 23:13

There are plenty of people, me included, working in this field with no degree or a degree in something very different (mine is in Political Science). I was in my 40s when I moved into the field. The trick is to get some experience under your belt. While in school do some personal projects or contribute to open source projects. Consider doing some freelancing. You may even consider volunteering to build an application for one of the arts organizations you work with.

The arts/media stuff can be a plus if you handle it right. It would help you in a job where part of the programming is designing user interfaces. The management tasks you did will help you in understanding the business needs of the company which is a big plus.

  • Thanks, HLGEM. That's extremely encouraging! Again, sorry for posting off-topic. – Christine S Dec 10 '13 at 16:49
  • I went from forestry worker to adult student in Anthropology, to network engineer and now doing some developing... it's definitely possible... good luck – Kilisi Sep 16 '15 at 9:10

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