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Career change at 29

niceguymikey

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Hello all!

Basically this is a post by a guy looking for advice from fellow INTP'ers concerning a career change. I've already read a lot of useful information on the forum of people that are/were pretty much in the same situation. I have a lot of questions but don't expect them all to be answered, just feel free to give any advice that you can, it would be much appreciated.
Many thanks in advance!

Quick introduction:
I'm a 29-year old Belgian guy with a BA in Journalism and a MA in Cultural Studies. I have been working part time for a Japanese newspaper as a press assistant for the last four years. I have been looking for a full time job for over two years now but was only invited to two job interviews (result of 50+ applications sent) and never made it past the second round. I'm pretty much fed up with looking for a full time gig in journalism/media/communication and decided I want to try something new starting this September.

I've always been good with languages, writing (please note that English is not my mother language so don't burn me on the writing in this post :) ), history, social sciences, etc. so I kind of just followed the advice from others (namely my parents) and pursued a college career in communication/journalism without thinking much about it. I took a long time to graduate a BA + MA (9 years instead of 5), mainly because of procrastination. Got a part time job at a newspaper while I was finishing my master thesis (at 26yo) and basically been doing it ever since (2 days a week).

While a lot of my friends are blossoming in their careers earning twice, three times what I make, I get the feeling I'm falling behind, hitting the same wall over and over again (application rejections), stuck at a crossroads not knowing which road to take. I'm not cut out to be a journalist (mainly because of a lack of assertiveness, curiosity, extraversion), so I pretty much took the decision to start over and earn a degree in something new.

My qualities/weaknesses:
I've always been quite creative (in the broad sense of the word) and would love to use it more in the future. I'm a logical thinker, can be quite meticulous and a perfectionist when I set my mind to something, I love to see the structure in things. I believe I possess a good sense for esthetics. I love international environments and would very much like a field of work that involves traveling or international contacts. I don't mind sitting behind a computer all day and wouldn't mind working independently or in small teams.
On the other side, I'm not good in advanced mathematics (although I can calculate simple things very quickly, my brain seems to turn off when the mathematics get too complex). I suck at physics, chemistry, sciences in general. As mentioned before I'm not very assertive, although my communication skills are above average. I'm a continuous procrastinator and need deadlines/supervision to get things done (unless I'm really in to it).

Like others in the forum I've been looking at IT-related jobs. I'm definitely no computer whiz, but I believe I can pick up computer skills rather quickly. Yet I feel like I'm too old (29 yo) to start learning coding or programming since the IT-crowd is basically a bunch of young guns with specifically trained computer brains that started crafting since they were 10yo.

So my question is:
Which IT-sectors provide a good mix between creativity and pure programming? Is IT in general a good career choice when you're 29? I just feel like there are so many opportunities and jobs out there for IT degrees, but it's so hard to see all the different branches within the IT-business.

Other question:
My profile/interests kind of scream 'architect', but in high school I totally failed in physics and mathematics. Have any of you had the same experience/track record but succeeded in a branch like architecture? Although I think it is too late to start a BA + MA in architecture, there are alternatives such as architectural drafter or planner. Any INTP'ers that work in this field? I have been especially interested in architectural drafting but I'm afraid it's too technical.

More:
I have read a lot of bad things regarding the multimedia/music and film business. I was exploring the editing profession as well - was thinking of following courses in video editing but apparently it's not a wise career choice (not a lot of job security) and I personally don't have a lot of good experience looking for jobs in the art/culture sector either.

Lastly:
Are there obvious (or subtile) factors in my decision making process that I'm overlooking? I see this as a life changing decision and I'm not a very decisive person, any tips in ensuring myself that I'm making the right decision? I'm open to all ideas or any change of perspective. I'm currently consulting a psychologist and career coach on this subject, but I'd love some personal suggestions/stories/anecdotes as well.

THANK YOU ALL, ANY FEEDBACK IS MUCH APPRECIATED!!!
 

Kuu

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Other question:
My profile/interests kind of scream 'architect', but in high school I totally failed in physics and mathematics. Have any of you had the same experience/track record but succeeded in a branch like architecture? Although I think it is too late to start a BA + MA in architecture, there are alternatives such as architectural drafter or planner. Any INTP'ers that work in this field? I have been especially interested in architectural drafting but I'm afraid it's too technical.

Physics in architecture? IF ONLY. What little physics there might be in the curriculum, it is unlikely to ever be used afterwards, unless you become specialized in building technology. Daily use physics is really basic.

And architectural drafting? It's a skill set that's gonna go extinct when virtual reality makes 2D drawings decidedly archaic and BIM assumes full control, which is soon™, and BIM itself will become less arcane and more accessible. You wanna waste money learning to do this:



just when everyone will be able to do it intuitively, and you'll have wasted your time on a worthless skillset and become instantly unemployed? The technological trend is towards automatization of lower-level drudgery and towards higher-lever planning.

Architectural/Urban planning can be fun for INTP. There's very good schools in the Netherlands, Denmark and Switzerland (I've no idea about Belgium). Architecture is decently paid in Europe, if you can get a job. You should research some studio or school in your city and ask them if you can visit.

If you have a background in media and interests in IT and architecture I strongly suggest you look into fields related to VR/AR. Perhaps something like UX design or game environment design. The multi-media and service industry that will grow out of the application of VR/AR technology is going to grow exponentially in the next 5 years. It's as close as a sure bet as can be found.

I'm 28, an architect, and that's what I'm pondering on shifting towards in the near future... I even have some posts pending about that subject, but you know, procrastination is a powerful devil...

Also academic titles are becoming increasingly irrelevant, and building a "career" around them increasingly foolish. What is ultimately important is the individual skills and what they can be applied towards. Skills can be learned online or on the job, or on simple courses, educational institutions not required.
 

Glaerhaidh

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29 is definitely not too late to retrain. Suffice to say that as long as you're not struggling with geriatric debility or mental impairment you can start over and learn new things.

May sound harsh but forget about creativity in the beginning if you're looking for structured employment. In IT, especially in programming you'll find yourself performing very mundane tasks requiring your attention and specific expertise, creativity may be useful for VR/Game design, or for those occasions when you try to impress your boss or you advance in the task ladder far enough to get your own office and get some rest from team projects.

Some of your best bets I can think of that would have you utilising your precious creativity would be:
Game design, Indie dev design, storyboard design, scriptwriting, prototyping (developing early program concepts in a team)

I have a number of programmer friends and they all say that only the best of the best get into pure game design jobs right off the bat. Another thing is how unstable this kind of work is, you're employed on a project per project basis and once your contractor or your studio get into any financial difficulties you're one of the privileged first to feel it.

I would suggest you think about ways of incorporating your literary and journalism skills within the fields of IT, such as storywriting or designing quests. It may be possible to become a part of a small start-up team or create a few indie titles to get noticed, but such things are best done as a side endeavour. You should think of more safe and mundane ways to earn a living in IT while you're aiming for the sweeter spots.


Good news is that you don't have to study programming to land a job, if you take a few dozen free online (or paid) courses and write code for several months (mileage may vary) you can start going to interviews. Programming requires constant learning of new methods and applications. You'll be upgrading your skillset with every new advancement that your company wishes to implement and in case they are outdated you'll have to stay on the edge yourself if you don't want to fall behind with employment value.
 

EditorOne

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Quite right to get out of journalism. It's largely a field for impoverished idealists.

I agree with Kuu on not looking to university for an employable degree. It just doesn't seem to work that way any more.
 

TheManBeyond

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i studied architecture for 2 years and drop out after getting bored, eventho i learn autocad, 3dsmax and some solidworks, if i combine that to my knowledge in photoshop i think i'm able to do some interesting stuff in the field without having the certificate :D but u know no one gives a shit

damn really i¡m randomly picking knowledge in random areas that have little to do with each other, i hope this will serve me in the future somehow, before i end up collecting seeds for wine in Vermont with wolf18 :D
 

niceguymikey

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Thanks for the info! Very useful stuff.

Never really considered the gaming industry because my last console was a PSX (ahum). Although I was a heavy gamer when I was younger, I kind of dropped it in fear of getting hooked and playing all day, every day. Right now I only play classic games like Caesar or Railroad Tycoon (the nerdy simulation/tycoon shit always stuck with me :D)

Surely gonna look into the VR/AR sector though. Good point Kuu on BIM. Didn't realize the drawing was progressing towards full automatization (although it makes sense).

Doesn't hurt to start with online courses. Belgium might be a bit more traditional in its values towards degrees, but it's changing as well. Especially in something like the gaming industry.
 

Haim

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AR VR is still not here, will take servel years, in this point you would need to be UX/UI with specialization of VR, which only come after being UX/UI person or dev/des(I wouldn't count on only having game des skills to get a job) in the first place, and it is not like there is yet some formal way to learn it.
 

Happy

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Quite right to get out of journalism. It's largely a field for impoverished idealists.

I agree with Kuu on not looking to university for an employable degree. It just doesn't seem to work that way any more.

Regarding attending university for an employable degree and an interest in architecture:

I'd like to point out that regarding architecture, you would likely need to go to university for approx 5 years regardless. The reason is that to attain the title of 'architect', there's a bunch of hoops you need to jump through in order to gain architectural accreditation. This may not be true in all countries (and I haven't looked into it in countries other than Australia and the US) but at least here in Australia, the title of 'architect' is legally protected, so just like doctors and lawyers, you'd have to grind it out at university for as long as required, then get the legal certification, which generally requires a couple of years in the workforce, followed by an entrance exam and parting with a wad of cash.

Otherwise, I agree with EditorOne's statement in that you could certainly be better off skipping university to get where you want to be. But you really have to ask yourself whether or not you have the drive to acquire skills in your own time.

Some of my architect friends are going back to university to pursue masters degrees in fields like business (alongside full time work) just because they want to learn about it but know they don't have the motivation to do it in their own time.

Regarding actually pursuing architecture, I agree with Kuu that you can forget your worries about lacking physics or mathematical skills. It doesn't matter. The curriculum doesn't really even cover it. They're good skills to have, but at the end of the day, you'll probably be required to engage at least one engineer on most of your projects.

And about the whole BIM thing, whatever you decide to do, please don't waste your money on a BIM course. BIM will still be standard for at least another decade or so, just get your hands on a copy of Revit or ArchiCAD, then acquire a good set of architectural drawings and replicate it in the software - if you don't know how to do something, Google it. It'll teach you more than any beginner course. (I personally never took a course. I learnt how to use it on the job.)
 

niceguymikey

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If dutch is your mother tongue, maybe the 'open universiteit' http://www.ou.nl/web/studiecentra/vlaanderen is interesting?

apparently they have e.g. an MSc in software engineering with great flexibility, maybe some programs are in english

Thanks a lot man. I'm a Dutch mother tongue indeed. I always considered I'd take evening courses to combine it with my job, but this may be a better alternative. Good find!
 

davidintp

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Technical writing is largely automated these days and will become extinct. Forget traditional writing. Writing software is the new type of writing. There are multiple languages you can learn. It's no longer learning French, it's learning Ruby, etc.
The traditional careers our parents are recommending to us are becoming extinct and everything will be automated (they're even automating lawyers and judges to an extent).

Virtual reality, artificial intelligence, programming robots, basically all the stuff that you've seen in Minority Report and other good science fiction films is already becoming true and will be the focus for the next 100 years.

Simply follow the projects google, microsoft, and sony are investing in and choose whichever fits your intp personality.
 

Puffy

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Good news is that you don't have to study programming to land a job, if you take a few dozen free online (or paid) courses and write code for several months (mileage may vary) you can start going to interviews. Programming requires constant learning of new methods and applications. You'll be upgrading your skillset with every new advancement that your company wishes to implement and in case they are outdated you'll have to stay on the edge yourself if you don't want to fall behind with employment value.

Yeah, basically this. I started learning programming (javascript and node.js) properly January this year, am in a part-time free-lancing gig now, and should be employable for entry-level jobs within a few months once I've built up my portfolio. My biggest barrier to starting was the belief I wouldn't be intelligent enough to do it, but I think anyone on this board could pick it up. The main barrier is the motivation to put the necessary hours in as there's always so many new technologies to stay on top of. But I wouldn't worry about not having a degree in CS if it's what you want to do.

I'd second at least looking into UX-design. A lot of journalism is basically done online these days anyway, so you never know if you'll be able to find a means of merging your interests.

On creativity: my guess would be that your beginning jobs in any field won't be very interesting. I'd focus more on what skills you'd like to learn and be able to apply creatively. Even if you can't apply those skills creatively in your job, there's nothing stopping you from doing so in your own time until you're able to.
 

xbox

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I am doing that^ now.
 

WALKYRIA

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Hey Man wanna meet? I'm also a niceman intp interested in journalism and cultural studies and around the same age currently living in Brussels. I'm curious to see a real life intp specimen. Join for a coffee whenever you pass by or need to be reenergized, you caught my attention . You can inbox me. C ya.
 
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