Alternative career choices

When I was a kid, I didn't quite know who I wanted to be when I grow up. I completed the bachelor's degree and the Master of Science in Computer science. Even though I like programming, when I first started, I did it just because everyone around me was doing it. Now when I look back, it wasn't a bad choice after all, but sometimes I think what else could I be if I get a chance to change the career?

Being flexible in the ability to change the career is definitely a plus point. What will happen when your primary career is finished, there are no longer job opportunities or it becomes extremely difficult to maneuver when there is a lot of competition in one field.

Now when I try to think it more clearly, I have created a list of alternative careers that I would like to work in the near future if given the chance. It's not something impossible to achieve and could be done with hard-work and enough impulse. Changing fields is always difficult. Not because you can't do the work, but it's because people perceive you less efficient than those already working in that field for a long time.

So here it goes. The list of my potential future (Not necessarily a dream, but feasible) careers

1. Android developer

Let me confess one thing. For years I have been wanting to do Android development in my spare time. Unfortunately, I am also a slacker (In some things, if not all). So I have been postponing it a lot. Maybe some day will come when someone in the position as my boss will ask me to take over the Android project and finish it with an unrealistic deadline.

On a serious note, this is something I really want to do. But I should also be more serious about it. I have met so many app developers who have worked on both sides of the trade. This will also be good for a future career since for some reason if Apple goes under, I can still rely on Android. Besides, getting extra knowledge in the similar field hasn't hurt anyone, if it will do something, I am pretty sure it will be beneficial.

2. Chef

I never realized my potential for becoming a chef until the age of 23 - About the age when I started living away from home. Cooking was never my forte before that and I never even made an egg by myself until the age of 23.

But now when I look back, I have made quite a fair amount of dishes and performed experiments, and most of them going out my comfort zone. If there is one thing I still lack is originality and creativity while making food. If I want to go ahead and start working in any big restaurants, I will also be good at theoretical part of cooking, and not just saying I know it works but I don't know why.

Going to cooking college to get practical knowledge, and importantly an official degree would be awesome. This is something I am passionate about and wouldn't mind doing it and when I have enough financial support as a backup before I start monetizing my skills and a culinary degree

3. Lawyer

Alright, this is big out of line. How come an iOS developer is going to end up as a lawyer. Actually one of my relatives is a highly successful lawyer and he came from the similar background. Perceiving him as an inspiration, why not?

Becoming a lawyer is a big deal. You have to spend a lot of money, study everything that is not in your domain, then start a practice and take years to settle down. If I have to guess, being a lawyer is a lot more difficult than a mere programmer. As a lawyer, you're actually dealing with the real-life scenario and real people's lives so you have to be extra careful with your intellect and skillset. Being an introvert can also be a problem in case I ever stand in the courtroom in front of the judge.

I agree this is a long shot, but something I have thought of becoming in the past. If I have to choose right now, I can specialize in civil law. Which branch in civil law? Not yet sure. I will give myself some more time before I start digging more into this topic.

4. Private tutor

Ok, so this is not a big thing in the United States, but it's a big business in India. Private tutors, which is different than official schools, colleges and universities do something that actually these institutions should have done.

As a private tutor, you get to mentor and teach students around you. As a person who's been through the same situation, you get a good experience. It's unfortunate that we in India need these kinds of things, but it has also become the way of student life over years.

If I could become the private tutor, as a business it will be difficult in the beginning. But with hard work and how I manage students, I am hopeful to make it successful in the future. As a teacher, I believe in making things simple enough so that students will understand and make them responsible for their future by sharing your own experiences.

This is most probably my backup career plan just in case I am unable to find a good job (Touchwood!) in the future.

5. A technical blog writer

This could be a corollary to my previous career choice. I like to write about my knowledge and experience. As a technical blog writer, I will be able to share my technical experiences with people who are new to this field. With enough skills and reputation, this job can also start to pay me well.

I already have this blog where I post a lot of things which are not exactly technical. But if I dedicate my career towards it, I will have to improve quality a lot probably by hiring extra team which will handle designs, content management, and editing. I already had a chance to get in touch with Ray Wenderlich's site to write technical articles. However, due to my current visa restrictions, I could not take that job.

This is kind of issue right now, I am not sure how many dreams I will have to kill if I just keep running into similar issues. It also makes your job maneuvers close to impossible without having to worry about your future

If not technical, I don't mind writing a blog about my cooking experiences, traveling, and team management (With whatever tiny experience I have, being a tech lead of the team)

6. Freelancing development work

I know a lot of people do freelancing work cause it gives them more freedom and control over their work. Freelancing is very similar to a full-time job, but it's not permanent and you're everything related to the project. It's more like you've to self-discipline.

Just like any other business, this can take time to settle down, but your passion, hard work, and skill-set can make it easy going. You have to start slow with few connections, but as you produce an excellent piece of work, more and more people will know about your professionalism and that can help you take off. And this is where investigating into technologies that are unrelated to your job play an important part towards finding an alternative career.

Freelancing may sound like a fancy thing, but it makes one undisciplined and go crazy on work. In my opinion, there has to be someone like your manager or the person who can actually fire you to keep watch on you and making sure you're being punctual enough. Another thing is about writing a good code - As a freelancer, you may write a code that just works. But with the lack of team and code reviews, it's not necessary that meets the quality criteria for good architecture and design. (And we're not even talking about unit tests here!)


So this was my list of alternate career choices. Don't worry, I am happy with my current job and not planning to leave it any time soon. But this is the list just in case current administration makes (already difficult) things difficult for people like me.

Being in the same career where you know everything can also make you slack and not wanting to learn something new. In the new career path, you get the opportunity to start learning new things which are also good for your passion and intellect. It keeps the brain from going lazy.

The last thing I would mention is about the recession. If I learned any lesson from the 2008 recession, it's planning every move from the future perspective. Being proficient in one career may be good, but it's not enough after 10 years. What are your choices then? Do you have a backup? Will there be jobs running other than the one you were previously employed in? Won't it be good if you skilled in more than 1 fields which can save the day? Think about these questions if you still remain unconvinced about the thought of choosing an alternate career path or at least getting knowledgeable in the field outside of your current one.

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Jayesh Kawli

I am a web and mobile developer working at Wayfair in Boston, MA. I come to learn so many things during course of life and I write about things which helped me and feel like they can help others too.

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