How to Pursue a Tech Career as a Busy Parent

Pursuing a career of your choice often consists of several steps in which twists and turns are included. It isn’t a straightforward path, especially for those who have growing children.

Parenting is a journey on its own, so coupling it with your career pursuits can be tough. Nevertheless, it’s a journey that you may find worthwhile when you think about the potential rewards at the end. If you’re a parent who is currently trying to start a life in the world of tech, then you should carry on reading. Here’s how you can pursue such a career as a busy parent.

1.) Create a Schedule

When it comes to pursuing a career while dedicating yourself to being a parent, time can be your biggest constraint. For this reason, it’s imperative that you organize the time you have in the best way possible to ensure maximum productivity. In case you need a few tips for creating a schedule, here are some you can try.

Analyze Your Day

To begin, you need to figure out what an average day for you looks like and where your time seems to be spent. For a few days, make notes of what you do from the time you wake up until you go to bed as you’ll use this information to improve your productivity.

Think of Solutions

After analyzing your day, identify areas that you think could be more efficient and brainstorm solutions. If, for instance, you find you and the kids are always rushing to eat breakfast and leave home, you may need to start the day earlier or do more prep the night before.

Create a Routine

Once you’ve done all of your investigative work and brainstorming, it’s time to actually create your schedule. Aim to devise something that’s realistic and everyone will be able to stick with on most days. Break your days into time slots and ensure you include practical time frames. Also, leave room for absolutely nothing working according to schedule on some days.

Sync Everything

The reality is that no matter how organized you try to be, sometimes you can’t remember everything. This is where syncing comes into play as it’s a way of using technology or other resources to stay on track. For instance, you could use time management apps and tools like Rescue Time and Remember the Milk to stay on top of tasks.

2.) Think About Online Schooling

Once you’ve got a schedule that works for you and your family in place, think about the first step you can take in getting closer to your dream of becoming a professional in the tech space. For most career paths, that step would be getting some kind of formal education.

Before you can do this, however, you need to know what area you want to specialize in or choose a niche. To make sure that you choose the best niche for you, do research and think about your strengths and interests. If you like the idea of designing circuits and parts of electronics using a computer, then becoming an electrical engineer is a good choice. In this case, you could look into enrolling in Michigan Tech’s online master of science in electrical engineering course as this should give you vast knowledge in that subject area.

3.) Study during Quiet Times

It can be tough to get a moment to think, especially when you have kids. However, if you want to see your dreams come true, you have to create the time and avoid making excuses. One idea is to study during the few moments a day that you have to yourself. Alternatively, purposely create activities that the kids can engage in for thirty minutes to an hour a day so that you get some time to study.

Aside from this, other opportunities you can make the most of are the school run, your commute to and from work as well as when the kids are snoozing. Another idea for squeezing in study time is to prioritize chores. This could mean leaving the laundry until Saturday instead of doing it during the week, so you free up your schedule a little bit.

4.) Choose a Flexible Job

When it’s finally time to choose a job after putting in all of the hard work, you want to think about flexibility. This is especially true if you happen to have small children who need a lot of your attention. These days, employers are trying to cut down on overhead costs and improve productivity, so they’re letting employees work from home on some if not all days.

To increase your chances of getting a more flexible working schedule, think about negotiating with employers as well. However, instead of leading with why you need certain days or hours off, let your employer know how granting your request will help their company. Think about the details of your proposed working arrangement beforehand and how you plan to get the job done. However, think about how cutting back hours could affect your pay or future prospects in the same respect.

If all else fails, explore the option of starting your own business or working as a self-employed contractor in your field. This way, you’ll have far more control over your time and can work around your family.

5.) Network Online

One of the ways to advance in your career is by networking. However, when you’re busy as a parent, this can be a tough task to get around to. Look for forums and groups via social media where people in your industry are likely to be and use such platforms to meet the right people. You should also try and create an online presence so that you’re able to attract prospective employers. A good platform for professionals is LinkedIn so open an account if you haven’t done so already. Seeing as you may not have the time to attend conferences and meet people face to face, make the best use of opportunities to do so online instead.

Image: Christina Morillo

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