When you are stuck in a job that you are no longer enjoying, but can’t leave for fear of being unable to pay the bills or pick up a role in a more suitable industry, you can feel trapped.
This is especially true if you are interested in a master of science and engineering programs. There is no way around the fact that a high-level job in engineering requires a formal qualification, which can take a lot of time and effort to attain.
If you are already working full-time, then this can seem like an impossible dream, but although it is certainly challenging, it is by no means out of the realms of possibility.
There has never been a better time to switch careers than 2021, when there is an abundance of learning resources at your disposal online, disruption in the jobs market and the ability to work remotely if necessary.
If you are willing to work hard and maintain a high level of self-discipline, you can certainly pursue an engineering qualification in your free time. This is everything that you need to know:
There is an abundance of learning resources at your disposal
Firstly, and most importantly, there have never been such an abundance of quality learning resources at your disposal.
In the past, if you wanted to learn about engineering, you would have had to enroll at an in-person university full-time, or embark on a specialized apprenticeship scheme. This would require significant levels of disruption to both your personal and professional lives, forcing you to quit your job, move to a new town or city, leave your friends and family behind, with no guarantee of success.
If you already have a job or busy family life, this is simply not feasible. However, thanks to the internet, you can quickly learn whether engineering is for you by reading informative blog posts, white papers, YouTube tutorials and podcasts which help teach you about specific engineering skills, and discuss the latest industry news.
This can give you a great flavor of different types of engineering, and whether it really is for you.
If this only fuels your passion further, you could then enroll on a course, such as one of the which would grant you the qualification you need to pursue a career in engineering. Unlike traditional ‘in-person’ university courses, you won’t have to study full-time or have to travel to a campus. Instead, you can learn in your free time, fitting modules alongside your existing job and lifestyle.
Take control over your free time by plotting a detailed schedule
Of course, even if you decide to enroll on an online course, you will still need to find sufficient time in your schedule to study and prepare for exams. When you have a full-time job or are raising children, this is no easy task, so you must take control over your free time by plotting a detailed routine.
Although this sounds dull, it can actually prove incredibly liberating. Rather than feel like you wasted lots of time in your days, having the added task of squeezing in a university degree will focus your mind on making every minute count.
Hours spent scrolling on your phone or watching Netflix can be spent studying. It might be less exciting, but you would be amazed at the amount of time you save by simply cutting down on your social media use, for example.
This is not to say that you should be overly strict on yourself.
You should still find enough time to unwind and have fun, otherwise you will quickly burn out. Negotiate with yourself by setting aside enough time to see friends, take a long bath or go away on mini-breaks.
This will act as a reward for your hard work, and stop you from becoming overwhelmed with the workload.
Once you have created a routine that works, you will quickly adjust to your added workload – especially as it is the path to a new and potentially more rewarding career path.
Question the true motives behind your career change
When making such a significant life decision, you must take the time to question your true motives. Have you always wanted to get involved with engineering, or is it an off-the-cuff decision based on boredom or unhappiness?
While there is nothing wrong with sudden career changes, you need to make sure it isn’t an attempt at patching over problems a new job can’t hope to solve, such as a fractious home-life or other personal problems.
If this is the case, you will only end up more unhappy than when you started, and potentially taking a backwards step in your career if it doesn’t work out.