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I don't know your financial position, but one huge obstacle to getting into anything related to space has been the high cost of entry.

Have you thought about that much? Any ideas?

Best of luck with your endeavours, because it sounds awesome! Endeavour, like the space shuttle of course ;)




What do you mean by high costs to entry?

Thanks for the kind words :). Though I would like my career to be more successful than that of the Space Shuttle ;).


Well, my thoughts have been that space related efforts have high costs because they must be engineered to extremes. Software, hardware, human processes & standards all must be of a high reliability and quality due to the requirements of the operating environment. That usually translates into expenses and demands that are higher than most terrestrial ventures. But that is an assumption (or gut instinct) and not necessarily a fact.

I am sure that the space industry has a wide range of needs, and maybe some of those needs are "less expensive/lower barrier to entry" to work on if they are related to something where the operating environment is controlled, well-understood or known.

Depending on what you mean by the term "IT", you could mean just computer/networking technology, or you might mean everything related, information systems too. If you mean everything related, we have to consider what remains after we remove that from the set of candidate work. To some extent, I am not sure how one can "get out of IT" and work in space (or any other industry) since IT/IS is the backbone of almost everything these days.

What remains? Well, maybe things like: mechanical/structural/electrical engineering, architecture, healthcare, science, research, operations, processes and standards, agriculture, a wide variety of arts/crafting...

I'm not trying to be disparaging - anything if that (I have been asking myself how to get into space too) - but I'm trying to figure out, what is there to do in space that isn't related to IT/IS in some way.

Could you be a pilot or astronaut (operations)? Could you be a biologist, chemist, etc.? That might combine your interests in biotech with your interests in space. Maybe you could go do research on synthetic biology in space, for example (and be the first to "invent" new extraterrestrial life forms!).

I am sure you'll figure it out, and good on you for trying! I still haven't figured out where to start to get into space, myself. But I also have a ton of diverse interests which make it hard to focus on any one (especially with a day job).


Thanks for your thoughts.

I didn't mean dropping anything related to programming - it would be a waste of all the skills I developed over the years. But I don't want to be stuck forever doing pure software projects that are only meant to help the rich get richer, and don't contribute anything of actual use to society - which is what I feel the tech industry is mostly about these days.

My strategy is definitely to try and leverage my software skills in the new field - but ultimately, I would like to learn something else than just how to write code.

Could I be an astronaut? With my health and experience, there's no way. Sadly. But I dream that if the industry develops fast enough, maybe I'll live long enough to get the chance to get as high as LEO.


Ok, I understand, I thought you meant you wanted to leave IT behind altogether. Sometimes I get that feeling myself, but it would be a waste of the skills....

I'm with you about getting stuck, I have felt frustrated with the same. I work in an aerospace related manufacturing company, but it is not an area of the business that is furthering society, like space exploration would. We always say, "we do cool stuff", but I can tell you, the niche I work in is... well.. "around" the cool stuff, but it's not the stuff that benefits humanity/society/really moves us forward in a big or meaningful/beneficial way.

I think your question is the same that I have - how can I use the skills that I already have, but applied to something more meaningful/beneficial, in a field or job that I would enjoy as well and would be intellectually stimulating to me - maybe even - gasp - a little bit fun.

I personally looked into jobs at the companies/orgs I thought were on the edge (SpaceX, BlueOrigin, NASA, JPL and others) and I think with a solid software developer or IT skillset that you can get in. My issue was, these companies were all too far away from where I live, and I couldn't relocate for family reasons, even if I did get an opportunity. I think you really have to go to where these jobs are to be a part of it.

Also, don't expect that you can totally get away from the politics of "business", because I know for a fact they follow you around, even at the more exciting places.

If you're able to move to get closer to the job or niche you want, then if I were you, I would apply to all of the companies or organizations that move your heart and does what matters to you, and then lend the skill you have to that. If it means moving, well, then do it. There's a reason that aspiring country artists move to Tennessee, for example!

Also, if you're like me, and have not much in the way of experience that would get you into such a place, other than your dev/tech skills.. I would start finding out as many ways that I can get involved in those communities so I could start learning. Go to JPL open house day in Pasadena... go to space related meetup groups.. start one if you can't find it... anything and everything until I was able to find my way into a place I fit.

EDIT: One more idea, that I have had as well - make your own thing if you can't find it. Start your own "space research" or something org or company, and go to the companies in these areas and see if they have extra projects that need worked on, maybe it's a way to pick up some of the extra work they couldn't do in house.. ...no idea if this would work though :)

Best wishes, and maybe someday I'll see you in LEO too ;)


Thanks for the words of wisdom.

Yeah, I guess most of the work in cool fields is "niche work around the cool stuff", but that's still a step up from niche work around boring and ultimately useless[0] endeavours.

> I think your question is the same that I have - how can I use the skills that I already have, but applied to something more meaningful/beneficial, in a field or job that I would enjoy as well and would be intellectually stimulating to me - maybe even - gasp - a little bit fun.

Almost. I think I have enough mental capacity to pick up one or two additional skillsets beyond just coding, and I'd love to do just that.

The way I see it, most people with good programming skills tend to stay in the pure-programming companies (that's where the easy and very well paid work is today, after all), and other fields lack people who have strong coding background.

> If you're able to move to get closer to the job or niche you want, then if I were you, I would apply to all of the companies or organizations that move your heart and does what matters to you, and then lend the skill you have to that. If it means moving, well, then do it. There's a reason that aspiring country artists move to Tennessee, for example!

It's something I'm considering, but I decided to spend some time now getting the "lay of the land" and brushing up appropriate skills, instead of trying to jump into anything in the field and random and hoping for the best. I am aware of potential relocation needs; in fact, I've already been compiling a list of possible destinations, and got a preliminary agreement from my SO that we will relocate to a different town or country if there will be a need.

> Also, don't expect that you can totally get away from the politics of "business", because I know for a fact they follow you around, even at the more exciting places.

I find it sad, but I came to the same conclusion.

> Also, if you're like me, and have not much in the way of experience that would get you into such a place, other than your dev/tech skills.. I would start finding out as many ways that I can get involved in those communities so I could start learning. Go to JPL open house day in Pasadena... go to space related meetup groups.. start one if you can't find it... anything and everything until I was able to find my way into a place I fit.

That's the one big thing I want to spend 2018 on doing seriously.

Also a caveat of my situation: I'm from Poland, which means I'll be trying to take the European angle - ITAR & stuff is limiting possible involvement with US companies.

> One more idea, that I have had as well - make your own thing if you can't find it. Start your own "space research" or something org or company

For that I have a name and a logo already made when I was in high school :). "Technology...high, on the leading edge of life"[1] was my dream for a long time now.

--

[0] - useless at best; sometimes it might actually be socially detrimental

[1] - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zaaCgiIP7A




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