blueshogun96

Any other good paying careers besides tech you'd recommend?

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blueshogun96    2265

Not to be negative, but I am seriously considering leaving the IT/tech industry.  Largely because I haven't been able to find stability ever since I've started 7 years ago.  The constant hassle of companies only wanting to hire people through contracting, then suddenly lay you off for whatever reason has constantly put me in a bad situation.  Even worse, I've never had a contract go it's full duration.  No, not once.  I'm constantly told, "you should seek permanent employment", but companies are not often hiring for fulltime.  Others recommend startups, but my experience there is far worse than what I experience at gargantuan companies like Microsoft or Amazon.  The interviewing process for many of these positions is either broken or poorly executed, making finding a new position nearly impossible.  Sometimes I'm out of work for 2 months at a time, and the last period was 7-8 months.  I have a job now, but it manual QA plus it doesn't even pay the bare minimum of my expenses, back rent, debts, and so on.  I only took it because I can't get anything else right now.  This industry hasn't been very good to me.  If I'm going from making $XXX a day/year for X number of months, then getting the boot suddenly all the time, what is the point if there's no stability?  How wonderful does it sound being employed at Microsoft, yet homeless at the same time??  

I've heard others consider and say the exact same things.  Lastly, it's easy to say "be positive" when NONE of the above is happening to you...

So I'm asking if there's other career paths that some of you have taken that still pay a good living?  As much as I hate to say it, I might even go back to school for it if necessary.  To be honest, I don't know much else career wise and this is what I have the most experience in, so I'll likely be seen as a (former) dev/SDET for life so I don't know if I can even get out of tech if I seriously consider leaving.  As usual, this sucks.  Any ideas?  Thanks.

Shogun

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Scouting Ninja    3975
4 hours ago, blueshogun96 said:

 The constant hassle of companies only wanting to hire people through contracting, then suddenly lay you off for whatever reason has constantly put me in a bad situation.

This is the standard everywhere, whether your working with computers or not.

It's gotten to the point where even a person with a stable job can be laid off at a moments notice. It's not even unheard of people loosing there stable jobs right before a holidays.

It's not surprising to see familiar faces in new unexpected places.

4 hours ago, blueshogun96 said:

Sometimes I'm out of work for 2 months at a time, and the last period was 7-8 months.

This is why you NEED to freelance. I work from contract to contract, often with 2-4 months in between. If employees see that gap the chances of you getting a new contract goes down the drain.

Freelance jobs are mostly once off things, you can do lots of them in a short period, keeping your CV stocked with numbers your new employer can call.

Just remember that while you are freelancing to use an alias, that way a single freelance job won't kill your career.

Also use an alias when doing a very low paying job, employers seam to think the money you get payed reflects your skill; even if it was a freelance job you did to help a struggling indie developer.

Edited by Scouting Ninja

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ferrous    6139

Perhaps you should try Nursing?  It's a moderately lucrative career that doesn't require a large amount of education, that is unlikely to be replaced entirely with automation, and with the worlds aging population, will be in high demand.  

 

EDIT:  or the military, they've talked about waiving all sorts of physical requirements to get more people with programming skills.

Edited by ferrous

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Tom Sloper    16062
10 hours ago, blueshogun96 said:

Not to be negative, but I am seriously considering leaving the IT/tech industry. ... So I'm asking if there's other career paths that some of you have taken that still pay a good living?

Well, you're not leaving the game industry (you're leaving IT/tech). If you're looking for stability and good pay as your primary considerations, all I can say is "not the game industry either." This forum (and this whole website) is really about the game industry, so I don't know what to tell you. 

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Alberth    9528

We can't really tell you or we wouldn't be here, as Tom said.

 

Secondly, what works for you is personal, and we don't know your preferences or desires or likes and dis-likes. I'd suggest think for yourself (and write down honestly) what you like, your strong and weak points, and go from there. Maybe a closer friend can give you insights?

Other options would be some form of career counseling.

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szecs    2990

I'm a mechanical engineer and it pays quite well. Having programming experience as a mechanical engineer also gives you a huge advantage over other mechanical engineers.
Programming in my job (which is about only 5-10% of my work hours) meant bonuses and pay-rises without asking, and it also satisfy my programming desires quite well.
I don't know about other countries, but mechanical engineering is a quite stable job too. There are people at the company where I work who has been working there since 20 years now. I have been working there for 5 years now and I don't see they'd lay me off. It's more likely that I will "look for other challenges".

5-6 years of collage, and I don't think you'd need to go to the best universities. Sure, you won't be a rock star designer with Ferraris if you are after that stuff.

Edited by szecs

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ChaosEngine    5185

How old are you? I ask because it's relevant in terms of how long you expect to continue working. 

For example, if you were in your 50s, I wouldn't recommend going back and retraining (you'll spend a significant proportion of your remaining working life not earning).

On the other hand, if I was in my 20s, one of my primary motivating factors in choosing a career would be "how likely is this job to be automated?"

Another option might be to change location instead of careers? I've worked in software development for nearly 20 years now (christ that makes me feel old) and I've never encountered any of the scenarios you describe, despite working in a bunch of industries/roles. But then, I've never worked in the US.

Finally, what do you enjoy and what are you good at? There's no point in any of us recommending going into finance/veterinary/construction if you suck at numbers/hate animals/don't like manual labour.

 

 

 

 

 

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blueshogun96    2265
On 6/23/2017 at 11:55 AM, Scouting Ninja said:

This is the standard everywhere, whether your working with computers or not.

It's gotten to the point where even a person with a stable job can be laid off at a moments notice. It's not even unheard of people loosing there stable jobs right before a holidays.

It's not surprising to see familiar faces in new unexpected places.

This is why you NEED to freelance. I work from contract to contract, often with 2-4 months in between. If employees see that gap the chances of you getting a new contract goes down the drain.

Freelance jobs are mostly once off things, you can do lots of them in a short period, keeping your CV stocked with numbers your new employer can call.

Just remember that while you are freelancing to use an alias, that way a single freelance job won't kill your career.

Also use an alias when doing a very low paying job, employers seam to think the money you get payed reflects your skill; even if it was a freelance job you did to help a struggling indie developer.

Sorry for the slow response, I appreciate your advice.  I will be honest though, I haven't worked in every profession, but none of them come close to the sheer volatility of the tech industry in my experience.  Job security is only a word, yes.  That's nearly every industry/profession.

And about freelancing, since you are the Nth person to strongly recommend this, I am going to just go ahead and do it.  Previously, I was discouraged from doing so because I was told that you would be competing with people from other countries like India who are wiling to work for much less.  So I signed up for upwork.com and hoping that I will get approved within the next day or two because I already see a few gigs that I want to take my chances on.  

To be frank, I don't know what I should charge.  Since I'm used to being paid $45-50ish/hr, I set my rate at $30.  Should I set it lower?  I don't claim to be the best developer in the world, but I'm not entry level either.

And back to the competition thing, even with all the senior level devs out there, it seems that it would be hard to get a position, especially with 50 devs all applying for that one opening.  The odds are against me, but not trying is the cowards way out.  I'd rather try and fail than not try at all.

Alias?  As in a different username or a different legal name?  Just want to be clear on that.

 

On 6/23/2017 at 1:48 PM, ferrous said:

Perhaps you should try Nursing?  It's a moderately lucrative career that doesn't require a large amount of education, that is unlikely to be replaced entirely with automation, and with the worlds aging population, will be in high demand.  

 

EDIT:  or the military, they've talked about waiving all sorts of physical requirements to get more people with programming skills.

My brother is in that field.  Although I never liked jobs interacting with people, I'll consider it.

Millitary programmer?  Sounds interesting.  Imagine having that on a resume...

 

On 6/23/2017 at 6:08 PM, Tom Sloper said:

Well, you're not leaving the game industry (you're leaving IT/tech). If you're looking for stability and good pay as your primary considerations, all I can say is "not the game industry either." This forum (and this whole website) is really about the game industry, so I don't know what to tell you. 

That's fair enough sir, I guess.

 

11 hours ago, szecs said:

I'm a mechanical engineer and it pays quite well. Having programming experience as a mechanical engineer also gives you a huge advantage over other mechanical engineers.
Programming in my job (which is about only 5-10% of my work hours) meant bonuses and pay-rises without asking, and it also satisfy my programming desires quite well.
I don't know about other countries, but mechanical engineering is a quite stable job too. There are people at the company where I work who has been working there since 20 years now. I have been working there for 5 years now and I don't see they'd lay me off. It's more likely that I will "look for other challenges".

5-6 years of collage, and I don't think you'd need to go to the best universities. Sure, you won't be a rock star designer with Ferraris if you are after that stuff.

Well, I'm not sure about how much they pay here, but I'm sure it's decent.  Glad it works for you.  My assumption is that it pays well in Hungary though.  Although I've fantasized about moving to your nation several times, I don't believe that I can just get up and head for Magyarország that easily.

I'm sure a mechanical engineer at a company such as Boeing would make a killing.  Sadly, my career there was very short lived.

 

7 hours ago, ChaosEngine said:

How old are you? I ask because it's relevant in terms of how long you expect to continue working. 

For example, if you were in your 50s, I wouldn't recommend going back and retraining (you'll spend a significant proportion of your remaining working life not earning).

On the other hand, if I was in my 20s, one of my primary motivating factors in choosing a career would be "how likely is this job to be automated?"

Another option might be to change location instead of careers? I've worked in software development for nearly 20 years now (christ that makes me feel old) and I've never encountered any of the scenarios you describe, despite working in a bunch of industries/roles. But then, I've never worked in the US.

Finally, what do you enjoy and what are you good at? There's no point in any of us recommending going into finance/veterinary/construction if you suck at numbers/hate animals/don't like manual labour.

Very sound advice.

I am in my early 30s now.  I have 7 years of relevant experience, and never have I had this much trouble finding jobs.

So far, I've had some people say that my location is likely my issue.  There are those that say, "you live HERE and you can't find a job?", and they are mostly peeps that don't work in the tech industry.  Getting a job is never magic. :(

If necessary, maybe I will leave here and go somewhere else.  I'm told that there are some places so desperate for programmers that they won't even bother whiteboarding them.  Here, there appears to be a surplus, so they can pick and choose who/whatever they want without giving your situation a second thought.  It's also very cut throat and competitive.  I really don't want to leave here, especially since other areas are either more expensive or not favourable climate wise.

I enjoy coding more than anything.  Writing is a second, but I'm not Stephen King to be frank.  So sticking with what I'm good at may be my best option for the time being.  I can accept that.

Shogun

EDIT: My other comp is pissing me off, so I had to half finish that last response, then come back to it.  Just in case you were wondering.

Edited by blueshogun96

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Hmm,
May be different in the UK (either that or im pretty fortunate) but I've been working in the tech industry for like 5 / 6 years since dropping out of uni and in that time im on my second job .. left my old one through choice so seems pretty stable for me, and most of the guys I went to uni with / have worked with have been in their job a long time. 
Then again though having read a few studies a "programmer" (not specified as to the specific industry on the study) tends to stay in their job for 18 to 26 months as an average... so studies say the industry does change job on a regular basis.

In regards to freelancing yes you do have to compete with other countries such as India etc, though one thing that many native English speaking countries / western european countries to have as an advantage is that the code tends to be cleaner / more maintainable. Ive done freelance work for companies basically fixing work they had Indian programmers do at first because it just wasnt working and the guys they paid simply wouldnt fix it (was sort of a we wrote it, you paid, now get lost kind of deal it seems). So a fair few companies I know are more than happy to pay more for better code / support. Also rate wise that seems pretty low .. again not sure how competitive things are out there but over here I can usually charge like $65 - $80 an hour ;o gotta love dem UK prices

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szecs    2990

Well, don't come to Hungary. My salary is only good in Hungary but I don't earn much more than a diswasher in Western Europe (with prices that are close to Western European prices...). Plus there are other shit in this country and the youth is actually fleeing from here. 

But the proportions are similar. Just don't expect to get into the top companies and positions (so don't aim for Boeing, just a company that produces the toilet flusher in their planes).

Sorry for the typos. No spellcheckand I'm sleepy as asdasd

Edited by szecs

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Scouting Ninja    3975
4 hours ago, blueshogun96 said:

I was discouraged from doing so because I was told that you would be competing with people from other countries like India who are wiling to work for much less.

This is absolutely true. there will be foreigners making better offers than you can. Offering lower prices doesn't mean they will get the job, in fact people prefer working with others of there own country.

Show personal interest when applying for a freelance job, most of your competition will have some kind of pre-made proposal they give to everyone. Employers want to know that the person working for them cares.

4 hours ago, blueshogun96 said:

So I signed up for upwork.com

I am using a site similar to this one, I find that isn't near as good as using your own portfolio site. These sites are crowded by too many inexperienced freelancers offering to low prices and clients who can't afford to pay large wages.

I ended up using the one site only for hobby projects and stuck with it for contest that the employers can hold. 

4 hours ago, blueshogun96 said:

Since I'm used to being paid $45-50ish/hr, I set my rate at $30.  Should I set it lower?

Same problem here as with contracts, if you set your price to low people will think you aren't worth much. Keep this price and increase by a small amount every time you do a job that earns more than a 100 times your asking price.( 30 *100 = $3000)

 

Because this site has a reputations system I suggest only offering your first client a discount so that you can get a rating.

4 hours ago, blueshogun96 said:

Alias?  As in a different username or a different legal name?  Just want to be clear on that.

Alias, no need to change your name because of a bad job. Most employers are willing to accept that you are using a "Web name" and most of your freelance work will be over the internet. So by using an Alias you can pick what work goes into your regular portfolio and what doesn't.

Lets say you also plan on using LinkedIn, you could then use one Alias and one for Upwork. That way when someone searches the alias they only find things related to the jobs you do.

NEVER use your real name when freelancing, make it clear to the client that it's an alias. When I started out I used my name, one bad job and the spiteful client actually used my personal information to get me fired. That in turn made it hard for me to get new work.

Modern day freelancers much like the medieval ones lives and dies with there reputation. Because a lot of your clients is going to be people expecting more than what is possible you will find a few of your freelance jobs failing.

 

Edited by Scouting Ninja

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Tom Sloper    16062
8 hours ago, blueshogun96 said:

Since I'm used to being paid $45-50ish/hr, I set my rate at $30.  Should I set it lower?  I don't claim to be the best developer in the world, but I'm not entry level either.

Don't set it lower. Out of this $30 per hour you have to pay your taxes and health insurance (on top of food and shelter) and you have to make your cushion for between gigs. And forget about sick days and vacation.

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samoan62    120

Where are you located exactly? The industry definitely varies by location. 

Also you could try a government job. I've known a lot of people who've worked for my state and I have myself in the past. While the public sector almost always pays less it's typically much more stable than the private sector. Just firing a public employee takes a lot of jumping through hoops and red tape. Unless funding to the program you work for was cut there's almost no chance you'd be taken out of your job. 

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ferrous    6139

Random other jobs you might want to try:

Law Enforcement.  Not too much education required, the physical requirements keep getting lowered, they have unions, and its not really all that dangerous.  (In the U.S., more garbage truck drivers die each year than police officers, despite what the news would have you think)

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EMB    1

FWIW, I unload trucks at Walmart. :D  Yes, yes, I know, the evil empire, but in my experience it is not always like that, just some bad pr and the unavoidable stream of people who have had bad experiences.

There is a long weeding out process and after about 2.5 years sticking it out I am now a supervisor with good pay and 4 days on 3 days ( in a row ) off per week.  I have found the people that I work with ( my 8 bosses ) to be highly motivated and professional.  Who would have thought?  And there is a great deal of respect.  For me it is a paradigm shift.  I have ~25 people on my crew and I have had to build and manage 30+ relationships, play politics a bit and navigate all of that personal and professional space in order to not just unload trucks but manage expectations effectively train people and make production.  Like most programmers I am a reflective and introverted type person, but I consider this one of the best opportunities I have had in my life.  I have been a supervisor before, so it's not completely new to me, but nothing on this scale - all small companies where I had one boss.  I am learning to lead, and with the ultimate goal of being a project lead and or CEO at some point in the future.

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blueshogun96    2265
On ‎6‎/‎26‎/‎2017 at 7:17 AM, samoan62 said:

Where are you located exactly? The industry definitely varies by location. 

Also you could try a government job. I've known a lot of people who've worked for my state and I have myself in the past. While the public sector almost always pays less it's typically much more stable than the private sector. Just firing a public employee takes a lot of jumping through hoops and red tape. Unless funding to the program you work for was cut there's almost no chance you'd be taken out of your job. 

I know it's old, but I kinda forgot about this thread...

I am in Seattle.  Everyone says I shouldn't have trouble finding a decent tech job out here, but that isn't so.  Microsoft has been hiring aggressively, but I didn't get a single position I interviewed for.  And now that I am currently working at Microsoft under a managed contract, unless I can get full time, I can kiss any opportunities here at Microsoft goodbye for the next 6 months at least.

I've been asked several times, "why don't you start your own company?"  Well, easier said than done.. especially when you have no money.  I wanted to do that before, but I decided to hold off because I was inexperienced and not mature enough (I likely would have failed).  And now that I have a nearly finished game, I can't release it anywhere.  Grant/loans?  Yeah, right.  My credit is f-ed and nobody is going to grant jack s@#% to some random broke black dude (not to turn this into a PC battle, but I've done plenty of searching and the vast majority of funding is for women only w/ very few for minorities, and minorities get loans at a significantly higher interest rate on average than white people so I have concluded that your best chances of getting this kind of funding is to be a white woman).  So I don't see that as a realistic goal.

So f-ing tired of this.  I think it's about time I left Seattle because I get calls from recruiters all across the board telling me that they can't get enough devs in other states/cities.  WA appears to have a surplus of devs that are willing to work for little to nothing, while the hiring companies can be as picky as they want.

Shogun

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Nypyren    12074

Seattle and SF have ridiculously high cost of living, high competition, and lots of companies that go bust quickly.  You might try Oregon or Texas, if you can find any jobs in those states.  (I'm in Oregon.)

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blueshogun96    2265
15 hours ago, Nypyren said:

Seattle and SF have ridiculously high cost of living, high competition, and lots of companies that go bust quickly.  You might try Oregon or Texas, if you can find any jobs in those states.  (I'm in Oregon.)

Seattle's cost of living isn't too bad (even though housing prices have nearly doubled in the last 7-8 years) if you are making at least in the $40k-ish range, but I've made more than double that so I got comfortable rather easy and had plenty of disposable income before.  Seattle is still far cheaper than, let's say, NYC.  SF, however, is far worse.  I don't believe it would be worth it.

I've been considering Oregon, such as the Portland area, but apartments and rental houses are more expensive there.  If I get another call about a job in Hillsboro for Intel, I'm taking it.

Shogun.

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