Startup field change..worth a risk?


I am IT guy. But I have a friend who is interested in doing business with me in manufacturing industry. Friend has enough experience / knowledge in that field. So far I haven't got success in IT and I am ready to do any kind of business. Is it worth a risk? or better to stick with IT - my main field?

Getting Started Decision Career

asked Oct 14 '09 at 22:56
Web Thinker
430 points

5 Answers


The answer on this depends on two things:

  1. Can you learn new skills quickly?
  2. Is the new field something in which you'll love working?

If the answer to both of these is "yes", then dive in!

Given our highly technical world, a background in IT will always be useful, no matter what the field is. I have a software background with most of my experience gained in the defense industry. When my partner and I started our company, it was in the music industry. He has the experience in that industry and I play the technical role in our company. I've had to learn a lot (and I'm still learning), but the software background has been useful.

answered Oct 15 '09 at 00:45
599 points


Sure there are negatives to changing industries - but there are also huge benefit! You bring to this new area a body of knowledge and a deep understanding of the problems (and solutions) unique to your own discipline. This may well be the fresh perspective that is required to find solutions to the big problems confronting your new industry. Never underestimate the power of a fresh look from someone without the preconceptions and assumptions that get internalised in any one industry.

I think that many of the world's thorniest problems are going to find solutions originating from outside the bounds of the problem's own discipline.

Take the jump - if it doesn't work out, you can always go back!

answered Oct 24 '09 at 11:44
363 points


A switch to any industry other than your core industry is always risky. However, if you think there is a valuable application of your existing skills to the new industry then it is a different story.

For example, I went from IT consulting into Finance recently but the main area of my focus is to evaluate technology companies for funding purposes. This gave me an immediate application of my existing skill set and added value to the company I work for.

If your friend has the time and patience to teach you the ropes in the new industry that could also be a plus point if you decide to switch.

answered Oct 15 '09 at 00:37
547 points


Part-time or full time with a deadline, try to learn the new field. If it does not work out, there is always good money that can be found in IT. Best keep it as a backup.

answered Oct 15 '09 at 03:08
106 points


Really depends whether you enjoy what you're doing now. If your answer is something like "meh...", give it a shot. If you do the switch, give yourself a timeline to pull the plug - assess how long you can sustain (reasonably!) to try the new gig. If it doesn't work by the time you hit your decision point, go back to what you know. If by the decision point it's working well enough that you enjoy it better than what you did before, bingo.

answered Oct 24 '09 at 07:40
Manuel M
263 points

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