This post is me seeking advice from folks on how to make a career shift (a major one) from being a project manager for software development teams, into eventually becoming a tool and die maker and machinist (I'm interested in both jobs).
A little about my background: I'm in my 30s, and although I currently work in a very lucrative field, I'm fine with taking a major dip in pay to do something I find more fulfilling at this point.
In my current role, I don't work with my hands, or make anything. There's no end state I can point to and say: "Look I did x". I find this deeply frustrating. In my previous experience, I was an engineering officer in the National Guard, and I completed my service honorably, I've also owned and operated two businesses I started myself.
My father was a machinist, later became an operations manager and then a VP, and now is finally retired. I know full well what the job entails and what it's like to work in that setting. It's something I've always been interested in doing, and I'm now in a position where I can take a cut in pay to do what I like, but I have no idea where to get started in this field, especially when I'm in my 30s, and I can't necessarily sign up for a high school shop program.
Any advice on how to make this shift would be appreciated. I know it's a weird situation. I have bought a book on making castings and a lathe, I'm planning on getting a Machinery's Handbook: Toolbox (thirtieth edition) and have been doing research and trying to learn as much as I can on my own, but I'd like to try to speed up this transition as much as possible. I have experience programming in python and I know a little bit about databases and use Linux as my operating system (and am comfortable in the terminal) but I don't know CNC programming yet.
TLDR: Current software development project manager wants to become a tool and die maker and machinist and doesn't know where to get started to make this career shift.
Enroll in a machining program at a Vocational/Technical college. I just graduated this past Dec. from a CNC machine tool operator program. Was wondering if I should carry on and do the Tool & Die program, which some of my classmates continued on to, but I was just tired after 2 years of full time college. Regret it now.
I am someone who really only understands by doing / practical expereince so the college education was invaluable. In your neck of the woods you might not have decent technical colleges. Here we are lucky to have very good Machining programs and technical colleges.