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Looking for a career change - Physician to Web Site Designer

A change of career mid-life has always been popular, and something more sedentary has often been the choice of people who have started off in something that's predominantly active such the military or sport. I have trained an Olympic Judo Champion ... in programming. And with the current economic changes around the world, there are far more people exploring this sort of option at present. For some it will work, and will work well but for others it will be a frustrating road if they're lacking in the commitment or aptitude. So - should you take this route / this new career path is you're thinking about it?

It's worth looking at. It's worth considering the options, it's worth seeing if you enjoy the challenge. And it can be done. I headed this article "Physician to web Site Designer" as I have just completed an email response to someone who's considering that route, and asked if I could write him a series of tutorials so that he could learn at "nominal cost" and save himself course and travel fees; I had to write back and say "no" as it doesn't make sense for me to invest all my time (and time = money) into him when he's not prepared to invest his own money and - I suspect not enough of his time. But at the same time, I have given training - and just a very little training - to a surgeon who has gone on to do really great things in IT. There was an aptitude, a clear thought process, and a focused mind there and I was very much the facilitator rather than the ogre pushing him along, or the encourager who kept picking him up when a code issue or other frustration arose.

A change from xxxxx to IT / Web design / PHP is a huge change. There's a lot to learn and there are a lot of good people out there ahead of you.

Still reading?

Then let me share the second tranche of my answer to "Craig", who wrote 'I expect you'll know what this issue is and sort it quickly' as he wrote about something I didn't actually know, but read up on within a couple of minutes and could offer some direction on.

I wrote:

I've been in IT for the best part of 40 years - you talk about me being quick sorting these these things out and, yes, I probably am, simply because I've seen so many things happen. An aptitude for it is just one small element - it's the experience of saying " yes - I've seen that sort of pattern before and the type of thing to look for is xxxxx".

I used to say that I could often do in a day what a newcomer would take a week to do, but I have changed that to "I can often do in a morning". And that's simply the time saved by experience of being able to code quickly (near automatically), to reuse my own and other's code, and to spot errors very quickly indeed - and again there's an experience factor there. There are probably eight to 12 really common errors in PHP, for example, and some of them are not obvious from the error messages to the newcomer. The newcomer often blames PHP (or the other language he's using) for this obtuseness, but in my view is wrong to do so. For every time you run a script and get an error message, you'll run that same script thousands of times after correcting the error, and the last thing you want is a performance hit added to the language because it's spending time making the messages really useful for 1 case in a thousand. (If you're concerned with this, go for the Java model where code is not compiled every time - but that's another story!)

Why am I writing this ... even in an answer like this - for efficiency / re-use. This is not the first time I've been asked a question like this, it won't be the last, and it's going be added to my resource kit ;-) .... a.k.a. my blog. Then I can refer back to it easily. And even in that statement there's something of the philosophy of coding coming through.

If you are looking at a career change to web sites / computing (and this change, which has always been a popular aspiration, is even more prevalent at the moment) then you need to be prepared to invest heavily in doing so, and know that there's a lot of competition out there and you will need the aptitude for it to work for you, or enjoy it so much that you can put in long, long hours which will often be frustrating. The investment I talk about will certainly be an investment in time - on projects that take you five times longer than they would take me, and at the end of which you say "if only I had known when I started" so you may end up redoing them. And it may be a financial investment too. Training courses such as the ones we offer can seriously short-cut some elements of the time taken, and can save you an awful lot of experimenting by helping you learn how to read code and fix code errors, how to code for re-use, and how to avoid blind alleys - and the gains carry on for years and years after the course.

Naturally, as a training provider I recommend the use of such courses but if you choose to say "they're not for me" then you can still get there. Your road will be a longer one, and if you value your time even at 25c per hour, you'll probably end up spending more in the long term, finishing up with code that's not going to be as clean / robust / maintainable. Ah - but I did say "probably". It's possible that you could be a budding Rasmus Lerdorf, Larry Wall or Guido van Rossum and produce something that's quite extraordinary, very quickly, and takes the world by storm. But come to think of it, I don't know what courses if any they attended!

Enough of my writing ... good luck however you choose to go. And do look us up if you happen to be in the UK and passing near to our area at any stage in the future.
(written 2009-04-28, updated 2009-04-30)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
G500 - Well House Consultants - Running a training company
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  [4004] Annual Accounts - a big job for a small business - (2013-02-15)
  [3824] Planned for a quiet period during the Olympics - but it is far from that! - (2012-08-02)
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  [2940] Training course locations - Melksham, UK; Buxton, UK; Lake Constance, Germany; Venice Italy, the USA and India - (2010-08-30)
  [2924] Job applicants - wondering why they apply - (2010-08-16)
  [2838] Respecting our customers anonimity - (2010-06-29)
  [2084] Books and distance learning from Well House Consultants? - (2009-03-15)
  [2074] Weekday or Weekend PHP, Python and Perl classes? - (2009-03-10)
  [2049] Why Choose Well House Consultants for your course? - (2009-02-20)
  [2021] Short health and safety course - (2009-02-02)
  [2003] Discount Training Courses - PHP, Perl, Python - (2009-01-21)
  [1963] Best source to learn Java (or Perl or PHP or Python) - (2008-12-28)
  [1884] Recession? Depression? - (2008-11-14)
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  [978] Wellhouse Manor, Hotel, Melksham - (2006-12-10)
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  [838] Talking about other training companies. - (2006-08-19)
  [813] Monday Morning at Well House Consultants Melksham - (2006-07-24)
  [652] Morning Post - (2006-03-20)
  [627] JIT or JAU - (2006-02-27)
  [545] Is training seasonal? - (2005-12-28)
  [470] I wanna be a Python trainer - (2005-10-20)
  [402] Netless - (2005-08-05)
  [385] Feast or famine - (2005-07-21)
  [251] WIBNIF - (2005-03-19)
  [171] Skills and techniques of being a successful trainer - (2005-01-06)

G900 - Well House Consultants - Miscellany
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  [3612] Help to get online in Melksham - (2012-02-13)
  [3315] Friday - Electrician, Food Festival, C++ Course, Rail Group Meeting - (2011-06-03)
  [3000] Looking forward - the next 3000 - (2010-10-16)
  [2534] And now for some posts a bit more technical - (2009-12-12)
  [2258] Questions I have been asked on answering the phone - (2009-06-26)
  [2019] Baby Caleb and Fortune City in your web logs? - (2009-01-31)
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  [3164] Brown - or Mrs Sally Brown, accountant from Whitstable? - (2011-02-10)
  [2537] Faster network, but not faster browsing until ... - (2009-12-14)
  [2483] Clustering on Tomcat - (2009-10-30)
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  [2326] Learn a new programming language this summer. - (2009-08-06)
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  [1857] November and December Public Course Schedule - (2008-10-27)
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  [164] Well House Consultants - review of 2004 - (2004-12-31)


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Using the internet to remotely check for power failure at home (PHP)
Some other Articles
Variable scope in Java Servlets and other web applications
A very easy JSP (Java Server Page)
An evening excursion to Devizes and Avebury
Using the internet to remotely check for power failure at home (PHP)
Looking for a career change - Physician to Web Site Designer
Throughout the year, around the world
Riverside Development
Town Crier competiton
Beware - giving copyright away when you upload a picture - Dogs Trust
OS Commerce install made simple
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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