5 Tips for Making a Career Change

By: Deen Abdul-hathi

I learned about Startup Institute Boston eight months ago when I read a BostInno article. I was already fifteen years into an IT career at a large corporation with an executive title and a steady paycheck.

So, why did I decide to apply for this eight week career accelerator?

A Study published in June noted that 70% of Americans are unhappy at work. Compensation is not even in the top 5 of the complaints, which indicates people are looking for empowerment and fulfillment in their careers not power and wealth. How did we end up here? Many of us follow our dreams and land what we see as a good job and never look back. The reality is, a long career can often drag us into various directions that we never planned or intended, and we lose our original mission and passion along the way.

I started my own desktop publishing venture at seventeen catering to college students. It was a successful business and the reason I became interested in computers. I pursued a degree in computer engineering and landed my first job as a developer at a startup in Cambridge. Later, I joined a large consulting firm and began a lengthy corporate IT career; one that has been successful, but that I am not passionate about. I realized that I’m off-course of my initial career goals and decided that it’s never too late to make a change.

Here are 5 tips to help you prepare for making a career change:

  1. Plan. If you are unfulfilled at your job, it’s time to start thinking about what it is that you want to do and rediscover your passion. There are no set rules here, plan ahead and don’t think about the obstacles just yet. Prepare your finances and loved ones about your thought process and pending transition. 

  2. Explore. It’s time to explore your options. If you have several ideas about what you would like to do, narrow them down. Do your research and spend time with people who are already doing what you would like to do. Meetups are great to connect with like-minded people. Quora can help you answer a lot of your questions. There are plenty of resources, online and offline, so take advantage of them.  

  3. Choose wisely. Once you have narrowed down your options, it’s time to select the best path to achieve your goal. This will depend on what opportunities are available to you. Internships, job shadowing or an intensive learning program, such as Startup Institute, are all great options. Identifying the path that aligns with your passion is the most important factor in making this decision.

  4. Learn. This is essential. Learn as much as you can in as little time as possible! After all, it is likely that will do something very different from what you are doing now. 

  5. Be realistic. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Your existing career wasn’t built in a month. Invest in your career, stay the course, and let it slowly develop - you will see the fruits of your labor eventually.

Be patient, be humble and be realistic, but be passionate and dream big. There is no reason to give up passion over profession.



Deen is passionate about creating practical and user friendly products that solve everyday problems. In his spare time, he loves to cook and explore new restaurants and cuisine. Deen will be joining the Product and Design track at Startup Institute Boston this Fall.

Interested in joining Deen in Boston? Applications are due October 6th!