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Old 08-11-17, 10:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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software development professional seeking to switch to zoological industry; how?

Hi guys,

I'm a 35 year old it professional and I am thinking of switching to herpetoculture/zoological/animal husbandry. What topics/courses do you recommend I study/research before making the plunge in the job market?

I am currently a project manager for a casino game content development company and before that, I've worked mostly on AAA games such as Gears of War 4, Yugioh duel generations for mobile and the Blood and Wine DLC for the Witcher 3. I don't have a programming background but I started out in game design and quality assurance.

Granted, I know that making the switch means I should be at least knowledgeable in animal husbandry, care and natural info. Luckily, I'm a long time owner of various herps (my oldest is a ball python approaching 11 years this October).

Apart from studying veterinary medicine (or coming up with an app for herpers), are there vocational courses/topics I could study if I really want to make the switch? And also, making the switch means more than being a walking catalog for caresheets of species a-z.

I admit that I've been burnt out through the years working in game development and I am still looking into how I could make the switch.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-12-17, 04:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: software development professional seeking to switch to zoological industry; how?

I would see if any zoos are hiring tech people. The easiest way to break into that industry and help contribute to the animals you love isn't going to be via the animal care side, competition is fierce and turnover is low. Its going to be via some other avenue.

You're already skilled at those tech things and going to work at the zoo will allow you to spend time near the animals without having to touch one bit of poop.

You could check local colleges and see if they have any zoological course or animal biology courses that may make you more into a more attractive candidate compared to another IT guy.
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Old 08-12-17, 06:56 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: software development professional seeking to switch to zoological industry; how?

Agree there, doing education next to working with/close to reptiles/animals is better than doing an education and only after that making a switch in which case you have to compete with fresh graduates that are cheaper than you and have a relevant university degree.

Perhaps continuing with your current work and start doing some charity work with local reptile shelters, zoo's, veterinaries, or the like would be a good starting point to get some professional experience?
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Old 08-12-17, 08:26 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: software development professional seeking to switch to zoological industry; how?

Also, what kind of work are you looking to do with animals? Sure there are zoos and such, but there is also animal training, grooming, behaviorist, boarding, breeding, rescues, and many other things.

Think about this 1st then decide whaty to learn and where to go.
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Old 08-13-17, 03:37 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: software development professional seeking to switch to zoological industry; how?

There are a ton of side projects I can think of but as a primary income source that's a tougher one. I suspect you'd be better served getting advice from someone successful in doing it as their full time job. Whatever you do, I would be careful about draining your retirement account or running up student loans, those are things you can't really get back or out of if it all goes wrong. You could try your hand at breeding feeder items. You don't need a huge investment to get started and the demand is pretty well assured. Worst case you're out a few hundred bucks and have a few bugs or a lose rodent running around your house. Best case, you end up with a warehouse full of feeders and employees to deal with again.
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Old 08-14-17, 07:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: software development professional seeking to switch to zoological industry; how?

thanks for the advice guys.

I currently enrolled in Khan academy doing a study on biodiversity and ecosystems.

I am inquiring about this online course on Herpetology (maybe create a separate thread...), hopefully it'll help me do the eventual career switch.

I am interested and keen on managing the operations involved in maintaining the captive specimens (preferably reptiles but hey...tigers are cool!) and the zoo facilities (because everybody loves a clean toilet).

thanks again!
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Old 08-15-17, 08:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: software development professional seeking to switch to zoological industry; how?

Check out places like the turtle survival alliance and Orianne society if you haven't already. I have no idea about job prospects but it sounds like something you'd be passionate about. A lot of people raise their noses at assurance colonies and obviously it is not a good sign when we've failed to protect the character and quantity of habitat so badly but it will only become more common as the human population continues to explode.
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Old 08-16-17, 08:51 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: software development professional seeking to switch to zoological industry; how?

Look at environmental engineering or an animal husbandry course of study. Not necessarily herp related, but does get you in somewhat of a zoological/biological field and those two can be lucrative (which allows for more discretionary income to play with).

If you can come up with a four-breasted, eight legged chicken, you'll be a gazillionaire.
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