Career Path out of Dead-End Library Tech Job?

34M here; I’ve worked in the library field since college, with an emphasis on the tech side for the past 3 years. My majors are in Graphic Design and Music, but I took enough computer science classes to get close to an associates and get a CompTia A+ certification in 2009.


Right now my job is managing digital resources and a library catalog. It’s basically software management lite with a lot of training thrown in. I’ve got a great company culture and love my coworkers, but libraries just don’t pay much at all. I’m still sitting on $60k in student loans, and inflation is kicking my butt. I recently learned how to budget, which helped a lot, but I’m still looking at very slim margins, with little room for savings and paying off debt quickly.

I’m also getting tired of living in the middle of rural Kansas, where there are few opportunities for growth, culture, and relationships.

I’ve asked my boss about whether there are opportunities for advancement where I’m at, and she said “No, not really.” I’d hate to leave, but I think it’s going to be that or else stagnate and struggle for another 5-6 years.


I’m looking for a way into a better job, and I know tech is a big field right now, but I don’t have a full CS degree, nor do I have a lot of coding skills (very basic jQuery and mid-level SQL are the extent of my abilities). However, I am a great trainer: very patient and empathetic, able to explain complex things in a simplified way. So I’m leaning towards a software or technology trainer.

Currently I’m making about $40k annually. A mentor told me that he thinks I could land a job easily that would make me twice that, but I’m a bit skeptical.

Any advice on where to look and how to make myself more marketable? Since I got a CompTia cert in 2009 I could probably get another fairly easily, but even that’s pricey in my current financial situation.

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