In the contemporary digital space, Reddit fills an interesting space. It’s one of the few places online where people from all walks of life go to share their personal experiences and first-hand reflections, (mostly) free from brand interference.
Known for serving up everything from the hilarious to the heart-warming, Reddit’s lesser-known superpower is its career change advice.
Unlike Google, Reddit contextualizes your career-focused search queries against people’s lived experiences. From moving between industries to studying for new skills or changing jobs later in life, Reddit is teeming with practical tips and stories of personal transformation.
For those preparing to make a professional pivot, this article pulls together (with some light editing for readability) the most popular upvoted career change Reddit advice. We’ve trawled plenty of posts to sort the good from the bad, so you don’t have to.
The best career change Reddit posts give us:
- The best high-paying jobs that don’t require a degree
- Can’t decide on a new career? Find your Ikigai
- When considering a career change, embrace risk wisely
- Consider learning programming skills
- How to change careers and make it stick
- Don’t let age hold you back
- Closing thoughts
Ready to explore some of the best career change tips on Reddit? Let’s get started:
1. The best high-paying jobs that don’t require a degree
When you’re looking to change careers, one popular piece of advice is to study for a degree. But let’s face it—this isn’t always viable or affordable. Fortunately, following career change Reddit post explores the best-paying jobs that don’t require a degree.
The following upvoted post comes from the host of the NoDegree Podcast, which gives it a bit of authority:
“I’ve interviewed over 150 people without college degrees in various careers: people in the trades, Project Managers, Product Managers, Program Managers, people in sales, Software Engineers, System Administrators, UX Designers/Researchers, Marketers, Real Estate Agents, Data Analysts, Data Engineers, Quality Control Professionals, Developer Advocates, and more. They all had to put in work and network to get that first role. You may need to build a portfolio of projects or do some free work to get experience. There are online courses in various areas. Make sure you have a good resume that is ATS [applicant tracking system] friendly and highlights your accomplishments well.”
Careers in tech, marketing, and the creative industries are booming. The good news is that with an online certification and even some free online short courses, you don’t need a degree to succeed.
However, you will likely need to secure work experience and build a portfolio and stand-out resume to showcase your expertise.
Learn more: How to use ChatGPT to write a resume
2. Can’t decide on a new career? Find your Ikigai
Knowing you want to change careers isn’t quite the same as knowing which career you want to change into. Unfortunately, this disconnect holds many people back. One Redditor’s solution? Find your Ikigai.
Ikigai is a Japanese expression meaning “reason for being.” In the context of career change, it means finding the intersection between what you love doing, what you’re good at, what the world needs, and—crucially—what you can get paid for.
The great thing about finding your Ikigai is that it ties your passions to practical considerations such as earning an income. In theory, this should prevent you from ending up on a well-intended but directionless career path that won’t result in success.
“Ask your friends if they know of anyone who needs anything vaguely connected to what you can do […] If you have a real focus, then you have to concentrate on accumulating credentials and connections until you get in[to that industry].”
Good advice, we’d say!
3. When considering a career change, embrace risk wisely
No career change comes without risk. The key is finding that all-important balance between managing risk carefully and not shying so far away from it that you avoid making changes in your life. Again, the subreddit r/careerchange is here to offer some advice.
One upvoted post explores the idea of owning your choices in the face of resistance:
“Family and colleagues [might not be] to be too positive as they are there to try and keep you away from risky things, but […] understand that you are the one with the info, and you are making the decision.”
Meanwhile, another focuses on understanding the intention behind family and friends who might try to put you off:
“I went from teacher to registered nurse and now own my own business doing career coaching […] What I had to realize is that what my family or friends were saying was [related to] their own worries and fears. I decided I didn’t want other people to hold me back from what I wanted, and [from there, I] moved forward.”
Another upvoted response to this post outlines the benefits of taking the plunge and applying for new roles, even when you don’t feel ready:
“Start now and apply before you are ‘ready’. I made a career switch from managing a local coffee shop to software engineering. I wasted a decent chunk of time overthinking if I was too old and doubting my abilities. Once I started to pick up a little bit of momentum […] it felt more achievable each day. Applying before you’re ‘ready’ is good because you’ll never think you’re ready. [Getting] acquainted with interviews is necessary, too. You might not ace your first few interviews, but you can align your expectations as you go throughout the process.”
So what to take from all this? Manage risks, keep your personal goals in sight, stay informed, and most importantly, put yourself out there!
4. Consider learning programming skills
Something that comes up a lot on career change Reddit? Coding skills. In an increasingly diverse job market, many individuals benefit from the ability to code.
This upvoted career change Reddit on r/learnprogramming offers some insight from someone who changed careers from a job they hated into a high-paying tech role:
“The pandemic gave me a lot of free time, so I spent that time learning web development. After 12 months of being REALLY devoted to my learning, I received an offer for employment at 50K a year as a front-end developer. I thought I was dreaming. It was amazing. A year later, I received a 10% raise to 55K due to some applications I’d built that saved a lot of headaches and money. As of this week, at the ripe old age of 33, I just started my 2nd developer job at 85K at a much larger company. I had no programming experience before, no bootcamps, and no college degrees either. Trust me, if I can do it, you can do it.”
OK, so what are we taking from this? That a bootcamp might be useful. Can’t afford a bootcamp? Here’s another useful tip:
“[My advice would be] learn how to code (with a free code camp […] at your local community college) then go into a consultancy company. They basically give you a ‘free’ boot camp and help place you in a job [so long as you stay in the job for a couple of years].”
From gaming to web development and data analytics, coding skills can be highly beneficial. They’re also increasingly used in jobs you might not typically associate with programming, such as design, multimedia, and marketing.
With all this said, another good piece of advice is not to invest time or money learning programming skills unless you’re absolutely interested in doing so:
“Have you tried coding at all? If not, definitely don’t commit to a bootcamp. Firstly because you don’t even know if you like coding yet, and secondly because bootcamps really work best for people who already have some coding knowledge [editor’s note: depends on the bootcamp!] My advice would be to try coding out first before making a decision. Then look at the job market around you and figure out if it makes sense for you.”
Learn more: The best free coding bootcamps
5. How to change careers and make it stick
Unfortunately, not all those who try to change careers will make it work. So how can you avoid failure? On the subreddit r/findapath, one post explores this very issue, offering some excellent, practical advice:
“Take a ‘stepping stone’ role. This means changing your role or your industry, but not both at once. Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re in HR at a finance firm and want to be an engineer in tech. Start by accepting an HR role at a tech startup. After being there for two or three years, you become an engineer at another similar startup (or even the same one). Basically, take baby steps and use different jobs as free training.”
Another upvoted comment shares this sentiment:
“The best way is [to change careers] internally […] I was in FP&A [financial planning] and learned everything I could about databases and data. I applied this internally to data analysis and after talking to my boss they accepted me. They get to keep my knowledge, I can train my replacement, and they have a data analyst with institutional knowledge. I will be studying on work time from now on.”
While this approach might not always be possible if you work at a smaller organization or want to take a radically different career path, the core of it is correct: grab whatever opportunities you can.
Think practically about how to expand your skills. Having a passion for your new pathway is great but you need a solid action plan, too.
6. Don’t let age hold you back
Finally, don’t let age stop you! Many resist changing careers later in life because they fear it’s too late or the ship has sailed.
Checking out career change at 30 Reddits and career change at 40 Reddits, we can see this is far from true. While the career change Reddit advice we’ve already explored applies whatever your age, more importantly, Reddit is full of inspiration from those who’ve taken the plunge and chosen to change careers after 40:
“It’s official! I’m starting this fall, going for a second bachelor’s in STEM after a first one in a humanities field more than 20 years ago! The career path I’ve chosen is what I’ve always wanted to do.”
A follow-up post from another person adds:
“I was 42 when I graduated with my first bachelor’s. Take one semester at a time. Don’t look back, and don’t get anxious about how much is ahead. I suggest getting all you can out of it.”
And, as this upvoted career change Reddit shows, even 50 is not too late to start on a new path:
“I was an IT professional at 30. I changed careers and followed my dream of helping animals. I was a vet technician for 21 years. I burned out in the veterinary field and went back to college at 48 and graduated at 50 with a 4.0 in Computer Information Systems. I now have a great job as a data analyst. Hard work and perseverance will pay off :)”
These are just a taste of some fantastic career change stories on Reddit. If you need a confidence boost, check out a few more posts, such as this one on r/careerguidance. Inspiring!
6. Closing thoughts
Career change Reddit is a brilliant source of information for those looking to start afresh. Reddit’s unique insights offer a unique advantage over traditional search engine results: it’s all about real people sharing their experiences and providing insights and inspiration you might not find via a typical search engine result.
From discovering high-paying jobs that don’t require a degree to finding your Ikigai, career change Reddit is a dynamic source of practical information, success stories, and lessons learned.
Moreover, it’s a great source of inspiration for those needing a confidence boost to shift careers later in life. Having a passion for a new path is a great start, but staying informed is the best way to guarantee success.
We’ve pulled out a few posts for you here, but we’ve barely scratched the surface. Why not check out a few career change Reddit posts of your own? It’s the gift that keeps on giving!
If you’re thinking about embarking on a new career path, check out the following posts to start your journey today: