From finance to front-end, a professional reconversion saga

Professional reconversion in the IT field is not an isolated phenomenon. The process usually refers to individuals who have decided to change their career path and enter the technology industry. This can include individuals from diverse backgrounds such as those from non-technical fields or those who have been laid off from other industries due to economic downturns.

In my case, it all goes back to my teen years. After following the courses of a computer science high school, I suffered a detour. Unlike my colleagues who went further to study computer science at the university, I went to Bucharest, to study finance and international relations.

Since then, the IT industry has been a rapidly growing field with a high demand for skilled professionals, and an attractive option for those looking to make a career change.

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In this article, I will tell you all about my professional reconversion story, but also, I will try to look from other perspectives and offer some advice for people who may think a career in IT would suit them.


If you’re a computer science high school student struggling with backtracking algorithms, please know that there are 1% chances you’ll be using that stuff in a future software development job, and don’t let such things take their toll on your career path decisions.😊

Setting the intention

The main reason for the growing popularity of professional reconversions in IT is the stability and growth potential of the industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in computer and information technology is projected to grow 15 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.

This is driven by the increasing importance of technology in our daily lives and the continued growth of industries such as healthcare, finance, and retail that rely heavily on technology.

Another reason for the popularity of IT reconversions is the high earning potential. Many IT jobs, such as software developers, data scientists, and network architects, offer competitive salaries and benefits. Additionally, the demand for skilled professionals in the industry often results in a shortage of qualified candidates, which can lead to even higher earning potential for those with the necessary skills and knowledge.

For me, given that programming was my first love (although I liked finance very much, as well), I always felt something pulling me back to the IT zone.

I knew that making a professional reconversion into the IT field would be challenging. I was already 29 and there was this voice in the back of my mind saying it was a little too late, that it was going to be too hard, and so on. My first struggle was to overcome those beliefs.

I played that “it’s too late” CD in my head for a few months. Eventually, I decided to do things in parallel, for a while: a full-time job from nine to five, and learning programming on my own, in the evenings.

Though my educational background had tech building blocks, I approached this journey as I was starting from scratch. I was determined to put in whatever effort it took to become a software developer. So, I kept this routine going for a few months until I realized that I was literally half alive.

Choosing the trade

It was about that time that I started to become aware there was still an important decision to be made. I knew I wanted to build web apps, but what area was I going to cover?

Between the front-end and back-end, there were a lot of aspects to gauge. First, it’s a bit more difficult to start from scratch as a back-end developer. You must face a steeper learning curve, and the level of abstraction is higher.

Ultimately, it was the bits of advice received from my former high school colleagues that helped me figure it out. Some of them were now working as software developers and had some years of experience – about the same number of years I had lost.

They helped me understand some of the practical things about this field of work because I was a bit disoriented. So, this feedback was crucial, and I must admit that without it, I would have fumbled my way through the entire learning process, or even given up a second time.

With their guidance, I understood that I leaned toward front-end development because it offers more immediate and visual feedback. When it comes to back-end development, the work is set up between the logical layers of your code and the database. And the feedback you get to see consists of either a list of results or some values in a database table.

Front-end development is more eye-catching and gives you a perspective much closer to the end user. And I tend to like this aspect more.


Some might say that it is easier to start on the front-end area because it is less abstract. Personally, I didn’t do it because it was easier, but because I was genuinely attracted to front-end development.  Depending on your goals, it might work for you, it can offer you a way into the market sooner, although with limited skills and less in-depth knowledge, and hopefully you could catch up with the rest on the go. But in the longer term, there’s a catch. You need a lot of determination to continue learning at a fast pace and at the same time perform on the job, and not settle after you made your way into the field.

Making the full commitment

From the moment I decided on my area of interest, the first thing I did was dive into studying. I quit my day job because I felt that if I didn’t have this safety net anymore, it would be an extra motivation and also an opportunity for me to mobilize all my resources in the direction of becoming a programmer.

It was an “it’s now or never” moment. You might consider it risky, but I thought that if I somehow fail in these efforts, I could always go back to what I was doing before. But I had great confidence that it will work out.

So, in the next few months, I woke up and did only that, living off my savings and a small income from an FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) service I had set up some time before. This process lasted about eight months.

My plan was for one-year maximum until the first interview, but I remember one of my friends convinced me that I was ready, so I went. It was a junior position. And I didn’t get it. The feedback from the employer at the time was that although I was very well prepared on the theoretical side, I lacked the practical experience to work on a real-life project. But they also didn’t want to lose the opportunity to collaborate with me, so they offered me an unpaid internship of about five months.


There are a variety of options available if you’re looking to make a professional reconversion into IT, including boot camps, online courses, and informal IT schools. These options can provide you with some necessary skills and knowledge to successfully land a job in the industry. And although the temptation to get in fast is big, it’s better if you take the necessary time for organic professional growth.

At first, I too, thought it was unfair that I didn’t pass that first interview. I knew I had learned a lot in a short timeframe, and I ticked all the right answers. But I was going to understand, later, when I got my first paying job, that this was the best decision for everybody.

Because a job as a programmer doesn’t just mean going to the office and coding. There’s a lot more. And, when I took that interview, I didn’t know that “lot more”. For example, you must understand the development process phases and the lifecycle of a software product, the way things are organized within a team, and methodologies such as Agile or Scrum. You must be able to understand the release management process and how to handle code versioning and so on. And it took me several months to get used to all that stuff.

Knowing what to study

When it comes to studying material, you can find anything online, for free. For me, the most important was guidance from my friends working as software developers. Somebody curated my reading list, and I received a series of books I was supposed to read, which are considered to be the JavaScript bible. Now it is my turn to recommend them, and when I train people, these are the first references. Because they helped me understand things to a depth that I wouldn’t have if I had read anything else.

I love JavaScript

This project is called You Don’t Know JavaScript and it’s an online collection of books. The coordinator is Kyle Simpson, but practically, they have been written with the contribution of many professionals in the community.

I was lucky to have very good guidance from my former colleagues, Alex, and Tudor. Alex was also managing people training at that time, and he used to drop me tasks and problems to solve, and in a week’s time, I had to send back the solutions. They were interesting and challenging and helped me put all that knowledge to practice.

But even if you don’t have this kind of friends, there are still solutions. You can get on LeetCode and choose JavaScript easy level and start resolving challenges, and then move up to more difficult levels. The platform will automatically correct your solutions and give you a lot of indicators that help you optimize your code.


More than frameworks and methods, more than being a human dictionary of programming trivia, I would concentrate on learning the basics. Owning programming basics helps you navigate easily from one framework to another. And even from one technology to another. If you know OOP, algorithms, data structures, etc., tomorrow you can write Java instead of JavaScript, or even .NET, or Python.

Where companies and employees meet half-way

The truth is… numbers in IT don’t look very good. From year to year, the industry consumes everything computer science schools produce and it’s still not enough. Many companies encourage, and even openly support reconversion because of that and try to meet the employee halfway, with internship programs, training, and hands-on courses.

As was my case. At my first job as a software developer, though I was awarded a full-time contract, I was still going to work on an in-house project, a platform for their internship program, like the one I had just graduated from.

Given that I knew the process, I was one of the qualified individuals to work on that project, and it represented the perfect transition to a new project that was bound to begin. I remained with the company for about two years, and we got to launch the internships platform which was a success.

But the lack of challenges ultimately caught up with me and made me decide to look elsewhere.

Finding a professional voice

The next challenge in this process is finding the right project for you.

I believe I am the type of developer who needs to be constantly challenged with new things to learn and complex problems to solve. I don’t necessarily appreciate when things evolve monotonously, and the horizon is very clear. I need tasks that force me to think, work with new data structures and patterns, create algorithms, and build complex systems.

Front-end projects that offer you these kinds of challenges are scarce. I’m talking about projects that weigh more on the frontend side than on the backend, and that require complex logic layers and processing on the frontend side.

In many web products, the frontend projects weigh lighter when compared to their backend counterparts. Most of them are mainly reduced to making some REST API calls to the backend, that feed in data and display that data to the user in one form or another. They usually handle input from the user, alter the data and send it back.

This flow is classic, but it will lack great challenges and might set you on the path to a comfort zone. A stronger front-end project will give you enough room to evolve.

From this point of view, the project that I’m currently working on, at RomSoft, Office Timeline Online, is ideal.


You should avoid exposing yourself to legacy technology for prolonged periods of time. Your project will sooner or later end, and you’ll be left professionally out of shape and out of sync with the rest of the market.

Bringing a fresh perspective

Additionally, many companies are actively seeking to hire individuals from diverse backgrounds and experiences, recognizing the value that different perspectives can bring to the industry. This can make it easier for individuals with non-technical backgrounds to break into the industry and succeed, both in technical and non-technical roles.


Don’t put yourself down for not having formal computer science education. With the right effort and determination, anything is possible.

My advice to you

I don’t want to sound philosophical, but I would insist on managing very well your psychological, and even physical resources through the process. I know that people usually look for a tangible thing, a sure recipe. But what I found out is that self-determination weighs the most throughout the entire process.

Another most used gateway to the industry has been, up until now, QA (quality assurance and testing). After a while, some go further to programming when they start writing automation tests. Some never leave the QA zone. Either way, this is, let’s say, the easier way in.

Whatever way you choose, you must know the required effort is still high. And after you put in the first pile of effort, you may feel prepared for an entry job, which is paid less, or even an unpaid internship. The important thing from this point forward is not to settle. This will offer you some hands-on experience, in a real project, in a real team. But IT is an industry where learning never stops, and the sooner you get into this mindset, the more chances to succeed.

Is there still room for everybody?

To conclude, I would say yes. Professional reconversions in IT are becoming increasingly popular as the industry continues to grow and offer stability and high earning potential. While the transition can be challenging, additional training and education can provide you with the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in the industry. Companies are also actively seeking diverse candidates, making it easier for individuals with non-technical backgrounds to break into the industry and succeed. That’s my take, at least. But I would love to hear your opinion as well, in the comments section.