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I've recently spent a lot of time focusing on writing code, and would like to get a job as a developer. At the moment, I have a decent job in wholly unrelated field (Occupational Health and Safety). It's often interesting, and I'm not in a rush to get out, but I know that programming occupies my thoughts more, has more depth to it, and is ultimately something I'd like to transition into.

I have found out that my current company will be unwinding its operations and closing, meaning that I have to find a new job in a few months time.

The question is how to handle presenting myself and doing a job search in two totally unrelated fields. Do I list all my development related skills, projects, etc, on LinkedIn even while I might be looking for a job in my current field? Or will employers see those skills and think that it's bizarre or that I won't be committed to any job I take? If I submit a short resume, I can tailor it to the employer, but I can't do that with LinkedIn or a personal website. Here's some background:

tl;dr: Trying to find a development job feels like a total crap-shoot. Finding a job in OHS would also be complicated, but I think my chances are better.

Right now, I think I have a non-zero but small chance of being considered for a job as a developer. That's contingent on finding an open-minded shop that will take someone without a lot of formal credentials. I have code samples and projects nearing the point that they're good enough to display. They're not earth shattering, but they show that I can use important frameworks, they're clean code (in my opinion), one of them handles what I think is a pretty difficult problem for a game. On the other hand, I don't have work experience, my knowledge is still a bit thin in places, and I'm still rapidly learning aspects of the technologies I'd want to work with.

Complicating the matter further, I got in to OHS because the owners of my current company thought of me as detail oriented, good with comprehending technical writing (i.e. the legalese of OSHA standards) and arranged for me to have training while I worked there. But as a result, I'm pretty new to this field as well. My advantage is that I'm already working in the field, and I have some connections, but I still don't have the 3-5 years experience or all of the formal credentials that many employers will be asking for.

As a result, neither path is particularly safe. I don't think I can just rely on finding a job my current field because I'm not so established. I think I'd have to keep my eye on both possibilities. How to do that is the question.

Edit: let me add that while there's a lot of really specific information in here that I felt like I had to include to give a full picture, I'm interested in anyone's thoughts about the general question: How can I handle a simultaneous job search in multiple fields?

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I think you should do two resumes, but include all of it on your LinkedIn profile. In IT, for entry-level jobs, they rarely look at LinkedIn and rely heavily on your resume -- recruiting firms often only use keyword searches of your resume anyway.

What you're really well suited for is an entry-level position for a company that does OHS-centered software development. You will know far more about the business than anyone coming out of a computer science background and that may give you a big advantage there. Smart software companies also look for people who are smart, but get things done, since specific knowledge of coding syntax can always be learned (and needs to be every few years anyway!)

You could also be good at in OHS itself, acting as a liaison between internal or external software developers and your new group.

Best of luck!

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    Thanks for this. The idea about OHS software seems obvious in hindsight but I hadn't thought about it and it's very interesting. – user2003 Jul 25 '12 at 19:16

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