Benjamin Lieb, professional Engineering Manager, Software Engineer, with Startup experience, Graphic Design Chops, and years of professional experience honing skills in Communication, Collaboration, Mentorship, Team Process development, and Project Leadership.


Coaching for professionals considering a career change to software engineering

Navigating the many sub-disciplines, roles, career tracks, company types, toolsets, training programs, interview processes and countless other considerations can be overwhelming for professionals considering a career switch to software engineering. This process can be time-consuming and seem impenetrable. What's worse is that for professional who already have limited time available in which to learn and prepare for this new field, this can cause prospective new software engineers to give up before they've barely gotten started.

How coaching can set you up for success

If you are considering a career change to software engineering, first of all Yaaaay! This is both an exciting and potentially daunting or event terrifying prospect.

Having an expert guide with decades in the field and a wide-ranging experience can help you chart a direct course through this very complex ecosystem. As a coach my goal is to save you valuable time and effort while guiding you to identify skill sets, tools, and career paths that will be most rewarding for you. This process helps you cut through the underbrush, choose directions that match your interests, capitalize on your background training, and start making your way towards a fulfilling career in the field of software engineering and application development.

I have worked with many professionals considering a career change, such as mechanical engineers, lawyers, graphic designers, writers, and real estate agents to name a few. Some of them have decided that the switch was exactly what they wanted to manifest in their lives. Others discovered in a much shorter time-frame, that it wasn't the right match or they didn't have the time or energy resources to develop what was necessary to make a switch, at least at that moment.

What makes me a valuable coach and partner

I have worked as a freelancer, a application development agency owner for 10 years, an individual contributor on small and large software teams, a software manager, and a head of engineering and hiring. I have read hundreds of resumes, conducted many technical screens and technical interviews.

Prior to being a software engineer I worked as an educator. I have masters degree (MaEd) in education and have taught foreign languages (French, Spanish, English) both at university level in private agencies. I have also taught social dance and music to thousands of students since 1998.

Why I love coaching

The experience I’ve gathered and the insights I’ve refined throughout my time in the software development field is of direct use to my personal ventures and potential employers. At the same time, I also value helping others achieve higher quality of life, personal satisfaction and meaning, as well as the liberation that can come from developing skills in a highly sought-after discipline.

As an educator I know how daunting new field can seem. And as an engineer I understand the specifics of just how daunting this industry can be. But I believe that the software industry offers creative freedom, financial rewards, and collaborative opportunities that are unparalleled in the history of human industry. I love supporting those who feel a curiosity about this field explore their potential and opportunities.

What types of people I coach

I work as both mentor and coach to people in different phases of their career and professional life. These relationships can be divided into 3 categories:

  1. Early-stage software engineers who are already employed, and looking to refine their skills, and explore their career opportunities
  2. Non-professionals, often without advanced education, who are looking for their first career, and considering their suitability for the software engineering field
  3. Established Professionals, who are considering a career change and are either just starting to explore and in need of orientation and information

The first two groups above I consider mentorship relationships, not coaching relationships. I generally offer them, ad hoc, free of charge, and free of any strings or attachments. I have mentors more experienced than I am who meet with me regularly and donate their time as a part of their values of giving back to the community. I do the same and find it very rewarding.

For the last group above, Established Professionals, I consider this a true professional coaching relationship. Since they are established working professionals, they generally have more resources than time and are motivated to cut through the noise and start building towards the change they are wanting.

People in this category are usually in one of two phases:

  1. Exploring: starting to explore the possibilities, and wanting the lay of the land, an understanding of possibilities, and the scope of preparation required for the switch.
  2. Actively Preparation: they have explored the possibilities, understand the investment required for their career change and see the value of a coach to help chart, plan, and follow progress, offer feedback and pepare them for interviews and employment.

Coaching relationships have the potential to be more long-term, more detailed and planned, and very strategic. Unlike mentorship, I charge for this type of coaching for a number of reasons. For starters, it’s actual work! Preparing this type of plan, tailoring it properly, and seeing it through to the finish line takes time, effort, planning and professionalism. The second reason is that it makes it clear to both coach and coachee just how committed they are to the idea and the process. And lastly, I’ve found that when you pay for a service, you are much more determined to follow through with your own commitment.

Common topics in the exploration phase

  • The many specific roles that are common in the field, eg:
    • Front end engineer
    • Back end engineer
    • Full stack engineer
    • Mobile developer
    • Data Science
    • Data Analytics
    • Designer
    • and many more, etc
  • The nature and scope of the work entering into the field
  • The use of a coach
  • The things we might discuss
  • The lay of the land
  • The different fields one could go into
  • Software engineering
  • The Toolsets that will get you hired, and which ones are right for you and why
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Career development ladder
  • How to prepare for the technical interview
  • Community networking
  • Community conferences

Common topics in the preparation

I haven't decided to implement commenting on my blog yet. But if you have any questions or comments, I'd actually love to hear from you. Reach out to me on LinkedIn or anything else listed on my contact page.