Interesting career path.
How serious were you about switching to plumbing? Sometimes I will get these thoughts re switching to HVAC.
I was quasi-serious about it. Here was my problem - by your late 30s you have already been doing what you do at least 10-15 years and the money was good. On top of this - plumbing like many other things likes em young. At 37 do you want to be the apprentice where they tell you to go to the plumbing place and pick up 200lbs of pipe? You get to load it in the truck and unload it from the truck ;) . AND thats IF they are even willing to hire you, many wont.
I know a number of people that attempted career changes later in life and failed miserably.
Example 1: Decided to go back to school to get a masters degree in marketing. Fairly prestigious school. Guess what? At 40-something years old NOBODY would hire him to start over in marketing. He had no choice to do IT and is back in telecom but not at our original employer.
Example 2: Got whacked a few times. Was morbidly depressed. Was also a former body builder and seized on the idea of buying his own gym. But he not only got the idea of buying a gym - it was going to be out of state in the deep south. So he and his wife liquidated everything they own, in many cases at a huge loss and moved to NC. Than they found out the little southern town that was a tourist destination was not what they had thought. After 4 years or so they realized it was never going to work out. So now they are going to sell the business and move back up north. So he finds a job in IT back up north as a contractor. Shortly thereafter got a job as a perm on Wall Street. He wasn't even in the job for a month and his wife left him. She did not want to move back up north. And than the divorce fun began.
I know of some young people who did in their early 20s though successfully. So really it is all about timing. One was a teacher who became a fitness guru. Another was a body builder who go into IT. Though when I saw him last I could not believe how much he had deteriourated physically. Overweight, bad color, blah, blah. The IT really did a number on him but at least he is working.
I have also thought about Accounting but yeah they do tend to be just as miserable as IT people. That's another field I've thought about switching to, but at this stage of the game, not worth it.
Totally not worth it from what I see unless its a move within the company you work with. Where I work there are tons of accounting, chemist and biology types that have gotten into IT. We tend to look down on them because they dont really know anything. BUT they are making good money.
That's good you were able to pivot and gain experience in different sub-fields. You have a wide variety of experience.
Yep. And that was my goal - to be well rounded.
My skillset is fairly broad as well. Most of my jobs have been a mix of support and development. I pivoted into more of a support role in a software compan in this last job search, even though I did have a couple offers from non-tech companies for pure developer jobs that paid more (which would have required longer hours and/or moving).
Broadening your skills is a good thing IMHO. I think hands coding is a young mans game. For me at some point I got burned out on the constant schedule and OT.
The boss and I recently had a one on one and he asked where I want to go (career-wise). I had no answer for him as I hadn't put much thought into it. I thought before that I'd like to get into analytics or data science or the like, but I hate to do all that studying without having something already lined up or a good chance of landing something in that area. I don't network with former co-workers or do any of that which I guess doesn't really help as far as career advancement goes.
I am involved with analyitics and data science otherwirse known as modeling and simulation. Thats what I do for a living, been doing it for 10 years now. Modeling and simulation is the precursor to AI/maching learning. I am also involved with AI/machine learning and can say for a fact its not what the media portrays it to be.
If you are interested in getting into it the best way to do it is via industry groups. Join any group that you can find that is involved with it and network like crazy. My boss is a hitter in the field and is heavily involved in all kinds of industry groups. The best time to change jobs is while you still have one. And if you want to change sub areas, now is the time to go do it.
I ended up in modeling and simulation by sheer chance. I had been involved with grid computing in the past and was familar with it in a few companies - well my current employer was looking for a PM for a modeling and simulation application and they hired me as a contractor. Eventually that application evolved into something else and evolved with it.
I have found that former coworkers are fairly useless. Not a single one of the jobs I have found I got through someone I know. It was all me busting my ass selling myself at the interview.
I will warn you though the H1Bs and Indians are pouring into the AI/machine learning space as its the big new thing. Whenever a big new thing appears they pour into it like cockroaches. The only thing I can say is that its highly specialized. Amazon cloud is also doing it if you are interested. You can set up an account for next to nothing.
I think I'll just keep grinding away for now, until they lay me off or I get burnt out, but probably should pick a direction to go before that happens.
Now is the time to start before that happens. IT IMHO is a shitshow today.