Hacker Career Advice

Switching Tracks

Back in the ’60s, my pops graduated from the Railway College in Jamalpur, India and began his very short career as a railway engineer. While his peers enjoyed riding the footboards, inspecting rights of way, and traveling in their private train cars—he found himself underwhelmed.

I’m not sure that he was looking for a complete career change, but he definitely aspired to more. So, he took a wild chance and applied to grad school in the U.S., landing at Carnegie Mellon. In Pittsburgh, he discovered his passion for economics & accounting, an opportunity to apply his engineering skills, and a path toward a successful & fulfilling career in academia.

I’ve never seen my pops upset about work or dreading another day at the office. And he doesn’t look back at what could have been, even though many of his old classmates are now senior leaders in the Indian Railway system.

As you head back to college, keep this in mind: your major and your studies are a starting point. Nobody expects you to program in Python for the rest of your life.

Take a history class. See what your friends in the drama department are up to. Take the LSAT if you’ve got the inkling. You’ve got the time and maybe you’ll like it.

Change can be evolutionary or revolutionary; there isn’t a “right way” to find job satisfaction. But no matter where you go or what you want to do, the skills you’ve learned will help you get there.