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career change in 30s?


LAYAAN
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5 Tips For Entering The Job Market After University

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I'm wondering if anyone here has considered a career change in their 30s? I mean a significant career change where you have to go to school again, starting over? What was the transition experience like? I would like to hear your view, advice.

I'm contemplating leaving my current PhD program and going back to India to get a BS in IT/software engineering and then coming back to the US for higher education.

Thank you.

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I went back to full time studying again to become a neuroscientist in my early 30s. It was rather enjoyable on the whole. I'm all for continuing education no matter what age. Do what you want to, and get what qualifications you need in order to do it. Don't ever think it's too hard.

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I think a career change is always possible, but you have a different issue where you are 30 and haven't worked yet. If you leave now and go back to school again in a different field, you will have spent how many years in school without ever having worked?

 

Employers can look down on people who seem to never leave the nest of school, just flopping between one study and another and not working. You need to get your feet wet working in the real world for a while, outside the academic environment.

 

There is also a chance you may dislike the IT/engineering field as much as your current one. You've come so far in your current field, it makes more sense to complete it and work for a while in that field.

 

My suggestion would be to get some work experience in your currrent field, and if you really hate what you're doing, go to school part time at night to learn something new, or work for a few years gaining some work experience before returning to school. Take a few courses in IT/engineering first part time to make sure it is something you are good at and like doing before you jump into it fulltime.

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Yep, I have been considering going back to school for a second engineering degree at 39. My problem is that my employer won't allow me to shake up my work schedule to acommodate morning labs and an 80 mile round trip commute. Oh well... I'll figure out something else. That would have taken 7 years anyway. Probably look to something else instead that compliments my current expertise.

 

Could try for CIA again, but I doubt I would be as attractive to them as I was at 25.

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When I said I want to leave PhD with an MS, my 2nd PI started telling me "If you want a PhD, just hang in there. If you leave now, there is no more PhD b'coz you are in your 30s. Life catches up. Marriage, kids, housing loan, cars, name it. Its difficult to transfer all the credits and you don't want to go through these classes for a PhD again. So, if you want a PhD, I would highly advise you to stick it out right here."

So, basically the way they tricked me into staying is by telling me that once I leave science, I won't be able to come back to it. I don't think thats true.

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The whole point of higher education is to get a job that you want. What job is it that you want?

 

In fact, in the commercial world, a Ph.D can actually harm your chances because you are seen as an egghead without practical knowledge if you haven't actually got work experience on your resume and only a Ph.D.

 

If you want to be a college professor or work in a research field where a Ph.D. is required, i would stick it out where you are and finish your Ph.D., then look for a job in academia or related field.

 

If you don't intend to be a college professor, you don't need a Ph.D., or even a Masters to work. And i strongly suggest getting out and working a bit to see what that's like rather than just continuing in school. Try to get practical experience in your old field or in any new field you go into before just enrolling in a new program. Engineering is a long and arduous major, and many people are not suited for it. Take a class or two first before you commit to a full time program.

 

Science degrees of all kinds can translate into commercial jobs, so why not start looking for an appropriate job in the field you're in. For example, if you're in the biomedical field, many pharmaceutical companies or labs might be interested in you.

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I went back to full time studying again to become a neuroscientist in my early 30s. It was rather enjoyable on the whole. I'm all for continuing education no matter what age. Do what you want to, and get what qualifications you need in order to do it. Don't ever think it's too hard.

I was trying to rep you, but the system won't allow me to. This is an awesome and inspiring attitude. Sometimes I get jaded or tired, and I appreciate hearing someone say this! The world can be a fascinating place.

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I was trying to rep you, but the system won't allow me to. This is an awesome and inspiring attitude. Sometimes I get jaded or tired, and I appreciate hearing someone say this! The world can be a fascinating place.

 

Thank you, and I'm delighted you think so too! There is so much out there to discover. I only wish I could live until I were 500 years old to have a reasonable shot at fitting most of it in!

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I went back to school at 40. I don't regret a second of it! I've had a ball and now have my dream job. Go for it! One scientific study found that people who use their brains to learn new things throughout their lives have less chance of getting Alzheimer's. Think about it. I'm 53 now and more on the ball than most people my age. I look young, feel young, and I act young. Nothing wrong with getting educated. I plan on going to school for many more years. I love it!

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OK, now I'll actually answer the OP. I changed careers in my late 20s/early 30s. I got a master's degree at that point. I had been in the workforce since college and continued in the workforce for most of the time while I was in grad school. I like the "real world" better than academia (no offense to academics; it's just my bent), so I felt working simultaneously was necessary and helpful.

 

To me, it was very important to switch careers as I wasn't using my college degree and didn't feel prepared for doing much else. BUT, what I found from my "searching around" years was that it is very easy for me to love a subject when studying it in school. It is quite another thing to actually enjoy DOING the work for 40-plus hours a week.

 

MY ADVICE: Do as many internships or part-time jobs in your "target" field as necessary to get a true feel of what the work is like. I shadowed a friend in the field, did a few informational interviews and did an internship. By the end of the internship, I knew my chosen field was "it" for me.

 

What was the experience like? Well, it was a bit hard to watch my friends "move on" in life while I was still in school. But it was also vastly interesting, since I liked to study. Financially it was a bit hard, but your future daily/weekly satisfaction due to having a job you enjoy is probably worth the trade offs.

 

It's possible! Do your research, test out your hunches, and when you find what you enjoy -- go for it!

 

P.S. I had a friend who hated doing her PhD, but she stuck it out and is now a college professor. I hope that you're not thinking of leaving the field mainly because you've hit a wall because that seems to be a common enough experience.

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I agree. I have worked the entire time I have gone to school and I continue to work. It's such a good idea to work in an area you have an interest in before you committ to it as a career. The classroom is far different than the real world.

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I started my PhD program at 32, and probably won't finish it up until I'm 38; 6-7 years is typical in my field. I don't regret it, yet - we'll see how the job marked looks in another couple years!. I reached a point in my late 20s where there really were no further opportunities in my field without pursuing a PhD, so I had to either stay put as long as I could (boring), change fields altogether (considered it, then changed my mind), or go back to school. Here I am!

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I'm not sure about India but Software Engineering programs usually have great coop programs. I would try to get into one of those or get an internship to see if you really like it before committing to the full "switch over".

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