Changing careers can be expensive, especially in more technical careers. Some professions will require you to spend money no matter what, like a medical career, for example. But you can also find other affordable paths to make a change that will make you happy. These are some tips on how you can be a career changer without spending too much money.
Find a Mentor
One of the biggest things about starting a new career is that you probably don’t know the first thing about it. Generally, when you enroll in a course or bachelor’s degree, you learn everything you need to know about the industry and different areas. But the idea is to avoid spending thousands of dollars on a university degree, so the other option is to find a mentor on your own.
If you were on a course, your mentor would probably be a teacher. But you can also look for a mentor on other platforms. Look at friends and acquaintances for someone that could guide you into your career change journey. Even if you don’t know them very well, if you approach them politely, they will probably help you. Most people will feel flattered by your request.
Once they agree, you can schedule a meeting every week or two, depending on their availability, where you can go over any questions you may have. They can also help you make a plan on how you will transition into your new career.
When researching new careers, you could make the mistake of choosing something without knowing how it is really like to work in that profession. Shadow jobs are a great option when you want to change your career. You have the option of following the person around at their work. You will get a real taste of how that profession is before making the radical leap.
To find a shadow job, you can follow the same strategy mentioned before, asking around in your network. But if you don’t know anyone who works in the area your interested in, you turn to social media platforms like LinkedIn. There, you can reach out to many people and ask them if you can shadow them. This experience also gives you a chance to create new connections if you do like what you see during the shadowing.
An excellent option to change careers without spending too much money is to find free courses to learn the skills you need. The Internet is one of the most fantastic tools if you use it right. For anything you want to know, there is probably a free course of it online, especially on Youtube. And even if there isn’t a free course, the amount of resources, articles, videos, and blogs is almost infinite.
If you want it enough, you could learn it on your own. For example, if you want to learn how to draw, thousands of videos and articles explain techniques and give you exercises for you to practice. Plus, because the COVID-19 pandemic left many unemployed, many companies enabled free resources for professionals to reskill.
LinkedIn and Microsoft are one of those companies. They partnered to offer ten different courses to learn a new career like digital marketing, project management, and software development. In addition, they offer four other courses for enhancing your interpersonal skills.
If you have a little money set aside to invest in yourself, then coding bootcamps are an excellent choice. They specialized in tech careers, but some coding bootcamps offer different courses and workshops in other areas that can help you get started. They can take from one week up to a few months, depending on the career and skill you are learning.
Coding bootcamps are a great option for career changers, but they will consume a lot of your time because they have intensive curriculums. Another plus is that even if you don’t have the money, these institutions offer different financial options to afford their courses.
For example, you can sign an income-sharing agreement, which means you start to pay only after finding your first job after graduating. Bloc has a coding bootcamp calculator where you can know the course’s real cost, considering living costs and your current salary. Overall, they cost less than a bachelor’s degree and give you other benefits like mentorships, setting up your curriculum and portfolio, and helping you prepare for interviews.
Do It Part-Time
One of the reasons people don’t make the decision to change careers is because they are afraid of quitting their job and not finding their way in the new path. It is scary to make the leap without having nothing to fall back on in case you are not successful.
That’s why you can choose to make it part-time instead of diving headfirst. You can use your free time to make plans, learn the skills, and network in your new career. And you will only quit your current job when you already have a new opportunity waiting. However, this can be very tiring.
Most people work at least 40 hours per week, and you will need to dedicate at least 10 or 15 hours to building a path in your new career. So, that will leave little time for friends, family, and relaxing activities. Another option is to ask for hours cut in your current job. You will still have some income and enough time to start your journey.
If that is not possible because your company doesn’t allow cutting your hours, you can begin doing gig work. You’ll still be receiving some money while learning and preparing for your new career. And if you plan beforehand, you will have some savings to complement your income with these projects.
Many people think they will have to spend thousands of dollars if they want to change careers. But this is not completely true. It does get more manageable if you have some money to spare, but you can still be successful with zero capital.
For starters, you can find mentors and shadow jobs on your own. You also have the option of free courses that even give your certificates. And coding bootcamps are a better option if you do have some money to invest in your change.
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