When the kids leave the nest, one chapter closes and opens another. In fact, according to the 2020 US Census, there are 22.5 million empty nesters in America. While many single parents experience empty nest syndrome, others experience a renewed sense of purpose when their children leave.
Gone are the daily responsibilities of caring for your children. Like so many empty nester parents, I was ready to branch out and take on new challenges, but it can feel like there is so much to learn and the new technology can be intimidating.
Here’s my story of how I turned an empty nest into an opportunity to upskill myself and take my place in the new world of work.
From Cakes to Content Marketing
When my son was young I started a professional cake and catering business. With so many people suffering from food allergies like my child, the business quickly grew and thrived for the next 15 years.
As my son began his senior year of high school, and as I prepared to become an empty nester, I realized I wanted a career change. I did not want to invest years or money back into a long training program. Plus, I already had a master’s degree in Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management. I just needed to update my technical skills.
If you’ve been away from the workforce for any amount of time, like me, you know all too well that technology is constantly evolving. Perhaps you’ve heard about the “latest” new technologies or you’re interested in exploring a new career path.
Your past “non-traditional”experiences have altered your values and priorities and most empty nesters have transferable skills that can be a major asset to an organization.
“Data analytics, Programming, UX design, Project Management — those are roles that people would kill for,” says Diane Flynn, co-founder and CEO of ReBoot Accel in a Work + Money report. Diane is an empty nester, who created a path for herself and other women by helping women get current, connected and confident to resume careers after a break.
Pushing Yourself Out of Nest and Into Something New
Ready to learn some new skills? Here are some free introductory courses that will give you practical hands-on training and expose you to new and relevant technology.
- Intro to Cloud Computing — Learn the foundational skills that will set you up for a successful career in cloud computing. Gain valuable hands-on practice using AWS policies, serverless architecture and data storage using AWS Elasticache.
- Intro to Data Analysis — Discover the basics of data analysis and how to use the Python libraries NumPy, Pandas, and Matplotlib to write code that’s cleaner, more concise, and runs faster.
- Introduction to Python Programming — In this course, you’ll learn the fundamentals of the Python programming language, along with the power of complex data structures like lists, sets, dictionaries, and tuples to store collections of related data.
- AI Fundamentals — As artificial intelligence (AI) becomes even more prevalent in our daily lives, Udacity’s AI Fundamentals course focuses on the foundational concepts around AI and machine learning (ML), and how to implement those learnings with Microsoft Azure.
New Chapters and Career Path
I gained a little inspiration from a fellow empty nester. She shared her experience about Udacity’s scholarship programs and once I learned about the job-ready skills each Nanodegree program offered, I applied the following day.
A month later I was accepted into the Pledge to Equality scholarship program. I had read Digital Marketing was one of the fastest-growing careers, so I dove into Udacity’s Digital Marketing Nanodegree program.
Within nine months I completed three Udacity Nanodegree programs Digital Marketing, UX Design, and Product Management.
The Udacity Nanodegree programs gave me the opportunity to get hands-on experience while building a professional network and a portfolio that showcases my new skills. The flexibility to complete my studies around my schedule was helpful as a single parent with responsibilities as I transitioned into a new career path.
Udacity’s Nanodegree programs helped me transform my life. Many new beginnings for both of us as my son heads off to college and I begin a new career path.
If you’re an empty nester looking for a new career or just to upskill yourself for today’s workforce, find your path to greatness on Udacity’s Programs page.