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Quit job to focus on programming?


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Hi all,

Title basically sums it up.

I am currently working as a Software QA at a company I've been at for 3+ years. In my spare time, I've been doing a bunch of online study with respect to full-stack (MERN) which I feel is good as far as what is in demand lately. I had thought about attending a part-time coding bootcamp but ultimately decided it would be too expensive (with either loans or ISA) and I feel like I can cover a lot on my own as I am fairly focused on this path.

Recently, my current job put me on a new team after our company got bought out by a bigger, nationally recognized corp. Oddly enough, the new team is quite backwards in how they approach testing and I just don't have any desire to continue with them. In addition, I feel like its time for a change overall.

My plan is: Quit current job, hunker down to finish self study (in terms of my current courses), flesh out my programming portfolio, and apply for some jr dev jobs after a few months.

So, while it is risky, yes, the end goal here is I want to completely invest myself into programming. I don't want to work another day as a QA ever again. I have savings to last me a few months as well. Granted, I don't particularly enjoy the idea of eating away at savings which I had been carefully building for years, but then again maybe this calls for it.

And before anyone mentions it, yes I realzie that it is better to have a job before quitting one. But that's kind of my point. I can apply for any QA job I want. That's not the issue. The issue is I want to transition to a dev position, and currently I don't think I could meet those requirements, hence taking the time away from work to put towards study and changing my career path.

If anyone has some advice, I'd greatly appreciate it.

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Hi. So to start, I’ve been in software development for over 25 years and am a full stack senior software engineer with a large company. I’ve been with other companies in my career as well and have also been involved with interviewing and hiring.

My first thought would be to first look for opportunities for advancement within the company that you’re at. You mentioned that the new team was is backwards on how they approach testing. Could this be an opportunity for you to push for development of automated testing? More of a test driven design methodology? Going this approach may give you some actual programming experience on the job, learning at the same time. Sometimes the line is a little blurred with respect to who’s actually writing acceptance, regression and unit tests if at all in some cases.

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I think this is a mistake. I’m not sure how long you’ve been programming for or what your current level of experience is. Also I’m not sure where your located and how competitive the market is for programmers in your region.

My advice is stick to your job while grinding it out with your portfolio or finishing your project and then try applying. It’s possible you can quit this job and those months run up and you still haven’t found another job.

So I would consider this before making any moves or at least have a fall back plan if you do decide to leave your job entirely, like would you be willing to move back within your parents or stay at a friends if you can’t find a job in a few months?

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Well I'm not sure about what country you're in but I got the impression that here in Australia it's reasonably easy to get a software developer job if you can just do the programming. As in, even if you have no formal qualifications in software development or you do have qualifications but no actual experience. If you can demonstrate to the employer that you can do the job then likely you'll get hired.

My ex is a software developer but he actually had no formal qualification in it at all. He had an astrophysics university degree but he was studying coding by himself in his own free time, same as you. He got a junior developer job on low pay but he was really good at the job and quickly got promoted to a higher software developer. Another guy I dated who was also a software developer said you move up pretty quickly in the field. I'm just talking about Australia only, I have no idea what working in software is like in other countries. I also don't know anything about software development myself. I'd ask my ex what he was working on to show interest in his life. But when he told me, it was like he was speaking another language lol

My only advice would be I guess is to get the software developer job before quitting your quality assurance job. Otherwise yeah you might eat through your savings pretty fast.

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Yes. As Tiny Dance suggested, try and look for the job while you work. But, if you have savings and would like to take a break and study full-time software development, then go for it. Be ready to take-on beginner jobs with a lower paying rate than what you make. Software development field is growing and is in constant need of employees ao you'll surely find an entry-level job there. Also, try to work/volunteer on projects. That'll give you some practice and help you get your foot through the door. Formal/accredited education is preferred, but not mandotary.

As someone else suggested, do check if you can do this job in your current company. They may have openings.

Good luck!

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I would not.  I would pursue your study part time, and then get a job where you can prove yourself. Unless you have some sort of certification, you would be a big risk to someone to hire with no track record. Can you get some sort of freelance or part time gig on the side coding -- like doing an app for a nonprofit to get something on your resume, or working freelance for a startup where they will accept someone working on the side.

Then quit your job when you have a good coding offer.

Also, i would save up or doing a certification class or whatever.  You need someone else to tell you if you pass muster. a lot of programs are amicable to people in the workforce getting training after hours

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Thanks for the input everyone. As much as I dislike my current role, I will stick it out as long as I can. I'm looking at junior dev roles in the area and see quite a few that align with what I'm already learning..so that gives me some hope.

Thanks again.

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I would only quit your current job if you have a "Plan B" meaning a place to stay should you deplete your savings while applying and waiting for new job offers.  If you can move in with your parents, friends or family when and if your savings is gone, then yes, quit your job knowing you have a cushion.  You don't want to be in trouble if you quit your job, don't have any savings left and you don't know how to pay your monthly rent.  Let money and financial security dictate your decision. 

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On 4/21/2021 at 4:11 PM, Guitarguy_82 said:

Thanks for the input everyone. As much as I dislike my current role, I will stick it out as long as I can. I'm looking at junior dev roles in the area and see quite a few that align with what I'm already learning..so that gives me some hope.

Thanks again.

Smart choice, because it makes no sense to quit a job to take on any stop-gap jobs before applying for the kinds of jobs you really want. Just because a stop-gap job is low investment, your investment in your current job is already low, so use your vacation time for your studies, explore whether your new HR department offers any free, supplemented or reimbursed skills training, meet with HR to learn how you might possibly tilt your career path within this firm to where you want to go, and raise your backward-process concerns with your managers to learn whether they might allow you to present (and possibly lead) YOUR ideas for a forward-moving process (which could add value to your resume).

Assess your personal progress toward programming while you test all opportunities to grow within--or in spite of--your current company. From there you'll be better equipped to make decisions about when and how to make your desired leap--without harming your savings and creating a 'flake' gap in your resume. 

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Sounds we like we got same interests in guitar and programming! Yes I'm a full-stack programmer for a small company I've been with going on two years now. 

Everyone else here already told you it, but I will also reiterate to keep the current job while doing your studies and then looking for a new job. This is a competitive field and can be very hard to find a new job, especially during this pandemic. You should be happy to even have a job right now, cause millions don't. I'd suck it up and stick it out, try to find ways to enjoy this current job.

My smaller company is actually hiring right now. We do work with react and node JS and certain projects. We work with a lot of open source frameworks and programming languages, ruby on rails, wordpress, drupal, those are kind of the big ones right now. I know one of the positions we're looking for is front-end developers, and it can be remote, too. You should PM me if you're interested. :) We're a great company with the worlds kindest boss and great benefits. 

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