My name is Joe – 5 years ago I switched from my software quality assurance and testing job to become an Occupational Therapist, currently working with elementary school kids that have fine motor and mental disabilities. But I still love technology, and would like to work part-time with it to make a little extra money to more easily make ends meet. I have reason to use it a little bit in my new job, but not enough to satisfy my geekys side.
I’ve learned that once you’re in a profession with a particular title, say “Occupational Therapist” – it’s very easy to step on the toes of the IT department if you try to get involved by suggesting something inconsistent with their plans or visions. Then again, with or without the appropriate title, anything ‘out of the box’ is often likely to ruffle somebody’s feathers. I had tried to become involved in swapping parts and re-imaging the school’s antiquated computers (7 to 10 years old), maybe switching to Linux. The IT department didn’t like this idea at all and were rather unsupportive – I’m sure, for many good reasons from their perspective (for example, just plain lack of horsepower to run their standard configs, including their standard antivirus software).
But back to the question at hand…
I am pretty familiar with installing, configuring, and using new software, and doing some software hardware/administration on Windows. I’m also familiar with some scripting languages, but not to the developer’ level. I don’t have much mac experience, and am just getting familiar now with the Android operating system. I’ve also purchased and use and Ipad, though mostly my wife monopolizes it (hints for a good marriage – the wife has priority !!!). Though I’ve thought of trying to write apps for the iPad – I’ve learned that one should do this for fun more than the expectation of making money with it. My priority is to make some side money in a more steady, reliable way.
I really love the idea of helping people learn to use computers to make their day-to-day administrative tasks easier, and I am flexible on the type of tools/products I work with – but I like the idea of working a bit ‘out of the box’ – like finding new ways to make things simpler using software. Actually, this is exactly what the MakeUseOf website is for.
So my question is,
What areas do you current tech people see as being a good fit for my goal of PART-time tech work – e.g. what particular companies, technologies, freelance work ? I’m willing to spend some time learning new technology things – but certainly not in going back to a full time school program again. Before my career switch to OT (much due to the difficulty in staying gainfully employed as a tech person), my original degrees were in Electrical Engineering (graduated in 88) with a Master’s in Computer Science (in 92) – so I know the basics and have an eye for technical detail.
I believe certifications might make some sense – but I’m not sure which might be most useful in the current marketplace given my goals. Any particular recommendations are appreciated.
Thanks in advance,