Are you thinking of changing careers in your 30’s? Here, we share real stories of successful career transitions, plus some advice to make the change yourself.

If you search for ways to make a career change at 30, Google will serve you article after article telling you that Jeff Bezos was 30 when he left investment banking to start Amazon.

At first glance, this is pretty inspiring. But the stack of money he’d made gave him a level of freedom that most people don’t have when thinking about switching to a new career. His story, while impressive, isn’t that useful to people who work as line cooks, cashiers, or admin assistants.

If you’re happy, there’s nothing wrong with these types of jobs. But sometimes turning 30 sparks a desire for change, especially if you’re feeling dissatisfied with your current career for reasons like:

  • You’re not making as much money as you’d like.
  • You’re not fulfilled or stimulated by the work you do.
  • You’re looking for better or more flexible hours in your job.
  • You’d like to find a career that is less physically demanding.

Switching careers at 30 (and beyond) is becoming quite common—Millennials and Gen Z, we see you. Even so, such a huge change can easily feel overwhelming, especially if you start wondering about how much time or money you’re going to have to invest to learn a new set of skills. But lots of people just like you have done it.

We begin this article with some inspiring stories from real-life graduates of Climb Hire’s free tech training programs to show you that changing careers at 30 is really feasible, even if your time and money are limited. Then we give you some specific career path options, explain why they’re attractive for changing careers at 30, and show you some ways to get started right now.

Climb Hire is a nonprofit organization committed to helping low-income and overlooked adults between the ages of 24–40 launch successful careers in tech. Sign up to get notified about our learning tracks.

People Who Changed Careers at 30: Real-life Stories

We asked a few of our Climb Hire graduates to talk about what made them switch careers at 30, and how they feel after making that leap. Here’s what Celeste, Felesha, and Arsean had to say.

A career switch was necessary for all three, after years of burnout and dissatisfaction with their paths in life. That’s when they finally decided to take action and start researching other options.

I felt like I should have my life together by now and going after dreams at this age was risky,” Felesha said.

“I felt behind compared to people already in the field, and I feared that people wouldn’t want someone who had jumped around in so many industries at this age. But after I did some research, I realized: if there are people out there doing it, I can do it too!

Of course, a career transition doesn’t come without anxiety and fears, whether that’s about the risks of leaving a current job or concerns about succeeding in a new role. But as these three graduates’ experiences show, it’s worth facing those fears and doing it anyway.

Since graduating, their lives have transformed. For instance, Arsean would have never seen himself having conversations with tech CEOs, but he’s doing it now. Felesha now looks forward to Mondays and her workweek. And Celeste loves the creative opportunities that tech offers.

“I enjoy the freedom tech can bring to create! I love being able to collaborate with others, share my ideas, and see them put into place,” Celeste told us.

“Working in tech you see so many people with different backgrounds. Compared to what you hear, the surprising part is that not everyone in tech has a degree.

Advice from 30-Somethings Who Successfully Changed Careers

As Celeste, Felesha, and Arsean have shown, there’s hope for anyone looking to change careers at 30. But it’s worth bearing some lessons in mind, from those who have successfully made the transition themselves.

To help you in your career change—and reinforce the fact that you really can do it—we scoured the web for advice from people who have made the change.

Here are some of the key lessons we learned:

  • Changing careers is about having the right mindset. As Arsean said, “it requires a shift in thinking. I always repeated to myself the phrase: ‘Change Your Mind To Change Your Life’. Your mindset serves as your greatest self-support system, allowing you to persevere, remain optimistic, and stay hungry for change.”
  • 30 isn’t that old to change careers—but you can do it at any age. This was the first lesson Reddit user “sasscassie” shared about changing careers, and we think it’s very useful: “First of all, 30 is not old… so don’t let your age factor in this decision. You can change careers at any age. I know several people who have successfully made drastic career changes in their thirties, forties, and fifties. Discover what you’re most passionate about, and pursue that. I’m in my thirties and have changed careers multiple times already.”
  • Don’t just do it for the money (although that’s important, too). Another Reddit user gave this valuable advice: “I know it sounds trite, but make a pros and cons list. Don’t dismiss ‘soft’ benefits like comfort and mental health as weighing less than money and benefits. I went from real estate back to the restaurant business at 37 and I was way happier for a time. I finally managed to get into software support at 41 and it has been a life changer.”
  • There are other people in similar positions, whose support can be really useful. As Celeste says,Climb Hire helped me realize there are people who are as smart or smarter than me that are facing a similar situation to mine and looking to make a change.” Learning with like-minded people can be a hugely encouraging experience. Plus, just knowing that there are other people in the same position can help it feel less lonely.
  • If you’re concerned about the risk, it can help to make the change gradually. You don’t need to make the change tomorrow. Many people online share how they balanced their current role with part-time roles. They slowly built up their experience and skills through evening classes, freelance roles, or voluntary opportunities. This way, they could build a portfolio and be sure that a change was the right decision for them.

As other people’s experiences show, you can also make a career change. It’s never too late to set new career goals.

In the rest of this article, we share some options to consider for your own transition—as well as where to get the skills to succeed.

Attractive Tech Options for a Career Change at 30

Changing careers at any age involves figuring out potential career paths and what skills you’ll need to get started. We’ve done all that legwork for you and put together some options, as well as ideas for where to get trained. None of them require a college degree.

The list starts with careers in tech, because this is our wheelhouse. After that, we’ve included several other great options if tech isn’t necessarily your thing.

1. Digital Marketing

The digital marketing industry is booming. This is great news for anyone thinking of getting into digital marketing, as there are plenty of jobs available, at entry-level and beyond.

What’s more, you don’t necessarily need a bachelor’s degree to become a digital marketer, and jobs in the field tend to offer a lot of flexibility, including remote or hybrid options.

Under the digital marketing umbrella, there are dozens of niches to choose from depending on your interests. A few of the most popular ones are SEO (search engine optimization), content marketing, paid search marketing, social media marketing, and digital analytics. The average starting salaries in these fields range from roughly $50–65k.

If you think digital marketing may be the right path for your career move, Climb Hire offers a fully remote, free training program in paid search marketing.

Paid Search Marketing with Climb Hire

Paid search marketing involves creating pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns online, targeting specific keywords to display ads on search engine results pages.

Climb Hire’s Paid Search Marketing track is a 4-month program that will teach you the essential skills needed to get an entry-level job in the industry. You’ll also gain hands-on experience with marketing tools like Google Ads, Meta Business Suite, Google Sheets, Shopify, and Constant Contact.

The program prepares you to earn globally recognized certifications in Google Ads and Meta Digital Marketing, which job recruiters look for on resumes.

Here is a deeper look into what our Paid Search Marketing program offers:

  • Free tuition for all of 2024 (a special thanks to our generous donors for this!)
  • Instructor-led classes that offer direct guidance and ensure a more effective learning process
  • Fully remote learning to make it easier to fit our classes into your schedule
  • Access to our far-reaching professional network, including partner companies that from time to time recruit top entry-level talent from our programs

And that’s not all. Once you graduate, Climb Hire remains invested in your success. Our dedicated Career Development Advisors act as career coaches as you navigate job searches, refine your resume and cover letters, and prepare for interviews. As Arsean puts it, “The network of Climbers, alumni, staff, and career services has been invaluable, offering support and guidance at every stage of the process.”

It’s no wonder that over 80% of our graduates find jobs within six months of program completion.

If this sounds good to you, you can sign up to get notified when our next enrollment period opens.

2. IT Support

If you want to transition from your current job to a career in tech without previous tech experience, IT support is a great path to choose. Why?

  • Working in IT support offers practical exposure to various technologies and systems.
  • Dealing with computer issues hones problem-solving abilities, a crucial skill in any tech-related role.
  • IT support roles generally don’t require years of formal education, making them accessible to beginners eager to break into the tech industry.

On top of all that, like digital marketing, tech as a whole is rapidly growing. This means positions in IT support, an entry-level IT field, are everywhere, with lots of room to move up the ladder as you gain experience. The average entry-level salary for a full-time IT support technician is $44,830.

IT support involves fixing computer issues, setting up systems, and ensuring the smooth operation of technology. Naturally, before you can get a new job as an IT support specialist, you’ll have to learn the necessary skills.

Climb Hire can help with that.

Learn IT Support with Climb Hire

Our IT Support training program provides all the knowledge and skills you’ll need to confidently enter into an IT support role—for free.

During our 6-month, fully remote program, we’ll prepare you for the CompTIA A+ certification exams, which most hiring managers look for when looking for IT support. You’ll learn operating systems, troubleshooting for hardware, software, and networks, network programming, and IT security principles.

Like our Paid Search Marketing program, you’ll also get instructor-led classes for comprehensive learning, hands-on experience through interactive labs, access to our wide professional network (which will give you lots of advantages in your job search), and dedicated support in your job hunt as you work one-on-one with a Career Development Advisor.

Plus, our program integrates transferable skills, also known as “soft skills,” into its curriculum, training you in interview techniques, resume development, and writing cover letters to further help you land an amazing role in your new IT career.

Last but not least, enrollment in our IT Support program is 100% free for all of 2024, courtesy of our very generous donors.

A career shift at 30 can be a challenge, but here at Climb Hire, we try to make it as seamless as possible. If you’re interested in switching to an IT career, apply for our IT Support program to get the ball rolling.

3. Web Development

Another good option for 30-year-olds looking to switch careers is web development. It involves creating and maintaining websites and web applications, with high demand and abundant job opportunities.

Learning to code can be tough at the start because it’s like learning a whole new language (or actually, several new languages). However, if you’re someone who enjoys meticulous problem-solving and logical thinking, web development could be an ideal option.

In web development, formal education is often less important than practical skills, making it an accessible career path for newcomers. Online courses or coding bootcamps can provide training in essential coding languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Average entry-level salary: $75,950

Alternative Career Change Options Outside of Tech

If a career in tech isn’t necessarily your cup of tea, we’ve also put together some other options that don’t require years of schooling just to get started.

  • Real Estate Agent. Real estate offers flexibility in your schedule, allowing you to set your own hours and potentially earn high commissions. Success as a realtor hinges on strong sales skills, so if that’s your forte, this could be a great path. Becoming a real estate agent doesn’t require a ton of educational preparation either. The pre-licensing courses for the required state licensing exams typically range from 60–180 hours.
    • Average entry-level salary: $109,844
  • Graphic Designer. Graphic designers create visual concepts and layouts, including everything from logos and websites to advertisements and packaging. This role thrives on creativity, a keen eye for detail, and proficiency in design software like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. You can study for a formal degree, but you can also hone your skill set through self-teaching or training programs (and earn certifications such as Adobe Certified Professional and Google UX Design Professional Certificate). A portfolio that showcases your creativity and skills is helpful for securing a job, too.
    • Average entry-level salary: $54,500
  • Videographer. Videographers create video content for purposes such as social media, events, and commercials. As a career, it blends creativity and technical skills, as you’ll be telling stories visually. Technical proficiency in software like Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro is usually essential, and online training programs and workshops are great avenues to learn the necessary skills and build a portfolio.
    • Average entry-level salary: $45,837
  • Fitness Instructor/Personal Trainer. If you enjoy fitness and helping others reach their health goals, becoming a certified fitness instructor or personal trainer could be a great path. You can get accredited through organizations like the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and the American Council on Exercise (ACE). Once certified, you can work in settings such as gyms or corporate wellness programs.
    • Average entry-level salary: $52,963
  • Event Planner. Event planning is a great career choice for those who are highly organized. You’ll handle everything from venue selection to budget management in events including weddings, conferences, and more. Aspiring planners can pursue certifications from organizations like the International Live Events Association (ILEA) or Meeting Professionals International (MPI) to gain industry knowledge and credibility.
    • Average entry-level salary: $61,445
  • Virtual Assistant. You’ll provide administrative support to clients remotely, so it’s an appealing choice for anyone seeking a flexible work lifestyle. If you already have experience in administrative or customer service roles, the transition to VA can be a natural one. You’ll be managing emails, scheduling appointments, and handling data entry.
    • Average entry-level salary: $52,761
  • Massage Therapist. A massage therapist provides therapeutic treatments to clients to promote relaxation and improve well-being. Certification from an accredited massage therapy program is typically required, with specialization options such as Swedish, deep tissue, or sports massage. Many therapists work independently or in spas with fairly flexible working hours.
    • Average entry-level salary: $70,007
  • Travel Consultant. Travel consultants assist clients in planning and booking various aspects of their travel experiences, such as flights and accommodation. For these reasons, many avid travelers find this work both fulfilling and enjoyable. To excel as a travel consultant, strong customer service skills and excellent attention to detail are helpful, but you won’t need any specific qualification.
    • Average entry-level salary: $61,479
  • Makeup Artist. A career as a makeup artist usually begins with a love and knack for makeup. Makeup artists work across various settings, from beauty salons to film (and often in freelance roles). Practical experience and a strong portfolio of work are essential. Certifications from reputable institutions like the Make-up Designory (MUD) or the Pro Beauty Association (PBA) can provide valuable training, but they’re not usually a must.
    • Average entry-level salary: $48,292

What If None of These Options Appeal to Me?

If none of these options feel like the path to your dream job, you’ll need to figure out the career you want to switch to.

First, we recommend you take a career quiz. MAPP (Motivational Appraisal of Personal Potential) and the Princeton Review have career assessments that are widely used by career counselors, human resources professionals, and educational advisors.

Career quizzes use structured questions and validated methodologies to analyze your skills, interests, and preferences. They can offer insights and information for career planning that may not be apparent if you were to list your skills and interests independently.

Once you’ve finished the quiz, you might ask people who know you well to weigh in with suggestions for new roles that might suit you. Sometimes outside perspectives can provide valuable insights into job opportunities that you may not have recognized on your own.

Checking job descriptions on LinkedIn or other job posting websites could also provide another window into existing career options.

Before you make a decision, you’ll have to weigh your time and finances against the time commitment and cost of training necessary for the different career options you’re considering.

Simplify Your Career Change with Climb Hire

Changing your career at 30 presents a great opportunity to choose a line of work that aligns with your values and what you want out of life. The transition can feel overwhelming at first, but there are ways to make it much easier to manage.

Climb Hire offers training programs in two very rapidly growing industries: IT and digital marketing. Both provide the essential skills and certifications to find an entry-level position in these fields. Our IT Support and Paid Search Marketing programs offer several benefits that go above and beyond to make your career change as smooth as possible, including:

  • Online classes with instructors in real-time for plenty of guidance and support
  • A community of like-minded peers to study with
  • No costs whatsoever for anyone who enrolls in 2024
  • Hands-on experience to prepare you for the work you’ll be doing
  • Ongoing support in your job search post-graduation
  • Access to a wide-reaching professional network to give you a leg up in the job market

Arsean, a recent graduate of Climb Hire, highlights the program’s effectiveness:

“From honing essential soft skills to receiving practical career advice, Climb Hire has equipped me with the tools needed to pursue new opportunities with consistent support.”

Over 80% of our graduates find well-paying jobs within 6 months of graduation.

Take the first step on your new career path and apply now.

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