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Hi everyone, well I am 31 and decided to change careers. I am currently a Law Enforcement Officer and have been one since I was 18 and in the military. I went back to school and got my A.S. in Information Science and Technology from Penn State and am about to finish my B.S. in Computer Systems and Technology (cum laude grad) at Duquesne University.

I am really nervous about switching careers but have worked so hard at juggling work and school that I am not turning back. I am hoping to get into Business Analysis, Project Management, or any other information related field. My technical skills are average for a new grad but my social, communication and leadership are above average since they have been a primary function of my current career.

Do you guys have any advice for me? If you could do it over again what would you have done differently? What should an adult, who is changing careers and looking to do well in IT know?

Thanks everyone.

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Last Post by JorgeM
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Do you guys have any advice for me?

Probably nothing you haven't already heard.

If you could do it over again what would you have done differently?

Most certainly, I would have. If I knew what I know now, I'd probably not have gone the IT/developer route and would have kept it up just as a hobby.

What should an adult, who is changing careers and looking to do well in IT know?

Hmm, I'd probably say that you should try to leverage your age as "maturity" to compete with younger people fighting for the same jobs. Employers tend to look kindly on folks who aren't hot headed and ready to dive into potential risks without due forethought. ;)

You're in a sweet spot where you seem old enough to think before you act, but young enough not to be stubborn and set in your ways. It's a good place to be, in my opinion.

Be prepared to learn a lot and be wrong a lot. IT is fast paced and constantly in flux.

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You seem ideally suited to IT security. Are there no opportunities in the Law Enforcement side of IT? As crime becomes more 'High Tech', there must be departments of Law Enforcement that would use your qualifications? I'm not joking when I say that I could picture you in the FBI, or as a CSI.

Before you leap, know where you are going to land. The job security you have where you are now is totally different to what the IT market calls job security.

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It definately sounds to me like you are going to be successful at anything you do. You already have quite a bit of experience dealing with people and based what you have said in just a few sentences, it seems that you are a focused individual.

Regarding technical skills, I wouldnt worry too much about that. I'm sure that you will come up to speed quickly. The challange the many orginazations face is finding people with the right attitude and behaviors. Its difficult to change someone's attitute and organizations arent too interested in dealing with those types of problems.

You may just need to be patient with the career switch-over. It may take some time, but once you settle in to your new career, you'll be able to focus on sharpening your skills, building relationships and getting ahead.

IT wasn't my first career either. It took me about two years to complete my career change. I also went back to school years after I completed my undgrad, while working full-time and with a family to support. Those two years included 6 days per week of working/studying all day and all night. Fortunatley for me, all of the hard work and dedication paid off. I really enjoy what I do.

Good luck to you and if IT is what you really enjoy, dont look back.

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Thanks guys, I really have no interest in LE related IT work. It is very competitive and once you land a job it typically becomes stagnant with very little progression.

I am nervous about leaving a very secure position, but I have already committed to a career change. Everyone I have met that works in IT seems really nice and most seem happy about their careers.

I hope to find a job with a focus on communication and conflict resolution. What IT positions do you think fit those particular strenghts? I am not considering help desk as an option. I am fortuneately in a position where I can wait until I find a good match. I don't need to make a ton of money, I just want to be goal oriented andhelp a company grow, which is something I can't find in government.

Thanks everyone, your insite is very helpful and really does shape my outlook.

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