Never Asked HN: Career Advice

I almost put this question to the HN community today before I realized that I could answer this question myself. Here is the question I intended to post, with a self-retort.

I’ve had over 5+ years of experience in the industry starting as a lowly QA analyst and working my way up to high-intensity DevOps positions at my last two companies. At home I’ve dived into Javascript on my own time and have a commanding skill with the language now, I’d say above intermediate to advanced. It is something I’d like to switch my career focus over to now.

My question is, how can a person whose resume reflects a certain set of skills, jump into a job that requires a whole different set of them? And part of me is unsure that I may be chasing ghosts here; what if being a javascript developer isn’t what I cut it out to be? Is there a way for me to “dip my toes in the water”?

What exactly are you looking for? There is a slight chance you will find a company that requires simply a 'Javascript developer', and most likely it will be a company who does not have a clue what they're doing software-wise. You will need to be more specific if you want to be with a company who is looking for good developers, who are creating real products and success. You need to hone in on a certain paradigm, be it Backbone.js, Angular.js, Ember.js ... Node.js, serverside stuff, MongoDB, ElasticSearch; technologies that are in demand.

Your best bet might be to create a portfolio showcasing your proficiency with those technologies.

Why not write yourself your own blogging platform to showcase your ideas, perhaps a MEAN stack? Not only will this help with showcasing your talent to prospective employers, but it will also allow you to get a feel for what it is like to be a JavaScript developer; you will "dip your toes in the water" as you said.