What are some tips for a smooth and successful career transition? originally appeared on Quora--the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Ken Mazaika, CTO, co-founder, and mentor @ thefirehoseproject.com, on Quora:

To me, a smooth and successful career transition comes down to three key actions:

  • Changing your mindset
  • Focusing on the end goal
  • Putting in the work

Let's say that you work in marketing, and you want to change careers and become a professional developer.

1. The first thing that you need to do is change your mindset.

You are no longer a marketer. And you're not an "aspiring developer" either. You are a developer. This is your new identity. And it should become the common thread linking everything you do:

  • If you have a personal website, make sure it's branding you as a developer.
  • In casual conversation, talk about yourself as a developer.
  • Always be coding. That's what developers do.

This on its own is a really hard step for a lot of people. But it's essential if you want to make a successful career transition.

2. The next thing that you need to do is focus solely on your end goal.

Focus on where you want to be, not the amount of time you think it will take you to get there.

Let's say you want to run 10 miles on a treadmill. If you look down at the monitor every few seconds to see how far you've run, you almost definitively won't make it 10 miles.

But if you focus on your end goal, lose yourself in your music, and resist the temptation to look down, there's a much better chance you'll be able to make the 10 miles.

Career transitions are very similar. If you're trying to become a developer and you're worrying about how much progress you're making each day, you're never going to make it.

Do your research, and then put all your focus on your end goal. You'll be at the point of transition sooner than you expect.

3. The last thing you need to do is put in the work.

It takes work to transition careers. Anyone who tells you differently isn't telling you the truth.

But that doesn't mean it's not worth it. It's incredibly easy to find yourself going down a career path that isn't right for you. Think about it:

  1. In high school, you start picking electives on the basis of what you're interested in at the time and what your friends are interested in.
  2. You then get to college, where you typically declare an initial major on the basis of your past experiences and what your friends are talking about.
  3. You land internships within the field of your major, further pushing you down that path.
  4. You apply for jobs that best align with your experience.

This is why it's so easy and common to find yourself in a career that you don't actually like. You put everything in motion years ago when you were too young to really know what you actually like to do.

There is a career out there that you'll enjoy. You just need to find it. That should be motivation enough to put in the work to make it happen.

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