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How To Break Out Of Being An Administrative Assistant
Career Change

How To Break Out Of Being An Administrative Assistant

Tired of spending every day performing basic tasks like data entry and arranging appointments? If you believe you’re capable of more — or you’re simply ready for a change — then don’t repress the voice telling you to break out. Working as an administrative assistant can be a great role to get your foot in the door at a company and learn how a business functions. But if you’re finding it’s not highly-paid or intellectually stimulating enough, it may be time to look elsewhere. Wondering how to break out of being an administrative assistant? It might be more doable than you think. If you want to find out about the best opportunities out there for administrative professionals, stay right here. We’ll run through the top alternative careers and how to pull off a transition successfully.

Nelson Marteleira
September 10, 2022

Deciding if You’re Ready to Stop Being an Administrative Assistant

Young administrative woman with headphones and mic during a call. Co-worker in the the background
Ready for the next step?

Before you start thinking about the practical steps involved in moving away from life as an administrative assistant, you need to be certain that it’s the right choice for you. When contemplating a decision of this size, you’ll probably find yourself constantly weighing up the pros and cons or doubting yourself.

Here are some signs to look out for to show you’re ready to try something new.

Profile of a young woman at her desk showing frustration signals while looking at the laptop. Blue mug and white headphones on the desk.
As Administrative Assistant, you can find other top alternative careers
  • Lack of focus. If you’re suddenly being unproductive and unfocused in your work, it’s easy to blame yourself for being lazy. But the truth may be that it’s a sign you need to move on.
  • Ambivalence about your job. Did you once find yourself buzzing at the thought of doing your job and developing your skills, but now you could care less about your performance?  There’s a good chance you just don’t feel challenged enough.
  • Frustration with lack of progress. There comes a time in many jobs when we feel like we’re stagnating and not reaching our full potential. If that’s the case, it’s time to look outside of your current job.
  • Envy. Jealousy might be an ugly emotion, but we all feel it sometimes, and it can be a useful indicator about what we’re missing. If you’re jealous of the jobs of other people you know, that could mean it’s time to explore another direction.

Is the penny finally starting to drop that all those unpleasant feelings you overlooked were just signs that you’re not happy with your current career? There’s no need to remain unhappy forever — let’s get into the top alternative careers for administrative assistants.

Number One Suggested Career: Citizen Developer

It’s no secret that the tech industry is one of the most profitable sectors around these days. 80,000 new tech jobs were created in the first half of 2021 alone, and there are hundreds of thousands of vacancies posted most months.

With this much demand, companies can no longer want to restrict themselves to hiring people who have fancy degrees. First, there was the boom of coding bootcamps, taking would-be developers up to scratch in a matter of weeks or months. But the latest innovation is even more accessible: Citizen development. 

Who are citizen developers?

As half the name suggests, the job of a citizen developer focuses on developing applications and tools. But it’s the second part of the name that’s more intriguing — and what makes the role more accessible. Citizen development is a job that can be performed by any “citizens,” because it doesn’t require technical knowledge about how to code. 

Tech worker developing a product at the laptop. Screen shows a banner with "Design anything". Coffee mug and notebooks each side of the laptop.
It can be easy to develop applications and tools without using code

Rather, citizen developers use dedicated programs that enable them to create new applications without programming, using intuitive features such as drag-and-drop tools. It still requires knowledge and training to master the relevant programs, but this is more achievable for the average person than having to learn multiple programming languages.

And considering the end products achieved by this type of developer are almost the same as those of a traditional developer, the number of businesses recruiting citizen developers is growing. 

Salary expectations for citizen developers


How hard is it for administrative assistants to become citizen developers?

Three women from different nationalities taking notes
Utilize the skills you've acquired to your advantage!

On the surface, working as an administrative assistant and a citizen developer sound like drastically different career paths. But don’t let that make you think you’re not a good candidate to try this new career. As long as you’re prepared to learn something new and be patient about how long it will take to master the skill and secure your first job in the area, there’s no reason an administrative assistant shouldn’t be able to break into the industry.

Besides, many things you’ve learned in your current job can be applied to citizen development — such as a great attention to detail and an understanding of how businesses function. We’ll dive into this more shortly.

Tips to fast track your transition to citizen developer careers

Although the demand for citizen developers is high and administrative assistants stand a great chance at landing available jobs, it doesn’t mean that you should expect to instantly land your dream career. These things take time, and you’ll need to know your way around various important software programs before you can expect to receive a job offer.

Some people try to learn everything on their own at home. But while it’s possible to achieve results this way, it means you can expect a slower learning curve. If you’re prepared to invest in yourself for a quicker journey, you may want to consider paying for a course to teach you the ropes. One such program is the No-Code Foundations Program, which walks you through the essential skills of no-code development with a focus on finding employment. 

Nocode Foundations Program topics
Nocode Foundations Program

Best 5 Jobs for a Career Change from Administration 

Not convinced that being a citizen developer is the right path for you? Here are five of the top alternative careers to consider.

Human resources coordinator

Earning potential: $45,000-$60,000

Wish your job involved interacting with people beyond arranging their schedules and calendars for them? You might enjoy a career as a human resources coordinator, which allows you to look after the employees in an organization while ensuring a company meets its staffing needs and complies with the law. It does require some qualifications, but if you’re prepared to invest in yourself, this can be a career with great opportunities for progression. 

Accounting clerk

Earning potential: $30,000-$45,000

Why not take your core administrative skills and use them to learn a new skillset? Businesses are always going to need people to prepare them for tax season, and accounting clerks play a key part in this. The role could also lead to further opportunities if you take well to your role, such as training as a fully qualified accountant.


Earning potential: $50,000-$70,000

The legal world holds great appeal to many thanks to the fascinating cases you might encounter and the chance to make a difference to the lives of those going through difficulties. While it might not be as glamorous as many assume, there’s no denying the opportunities paralegals find — the BLS predicts demand to grow by 12% between 2020 and 2030, which is way above the average. 

Office manager

Earning potential: $45,000-$50,000

Office managers are the life and soul of the office. There’s some overlap between their job duties and the role of an administrative assistant, but office managers take on a more supervisory role and often organize events on behalf of a company. If you have good interpersonal skills and think you could make a great manager, this might just be the role for you.

Marketing assistant

Earning potential: $40,000-$55,000

If you’d like to try your hand at something a little more creative, consider marketing — it involves helping with everything from copywriting to graphic design (but you’ll also need a head for numbers).

And don’t let the word “assistant” in the name put you off. If you can earn your stripes in an organization, you stand a good job of rising the ranks to a better position, such as Marketing Executive or Marketing Manager.

What You Should Know Before Breaking Out of Administration

Hopefully, we’ve presented a diverse enough bunch of opportunities for something to have caught your interest. So now, it’s time to pay some attention not just to what different opportunities might have to offer you, but what you can offer them. We’ll walk you through the process.

Topics about a day in the life of an Administrative Assistant: skills, schedules, communication and detail attention
Source: The Balance by Colleen Tighe

Best transferable skills of administrative assistants 

No matter how different your new career might seem from your current role, it’s practically a given that you’ll have a selection of transferable skills you can apply to just about anything. 


You need to be good at communicating both verbally and in writing as an administrative assistant — you’re representing the company, so a lot is on the line. This is a skill you can translate to most other careers since you’ll almost always be working with a team or clients.

Digital literacy

Administrative assistants may not need quite the same level of technological abilities as computer specialists, but you still have to use software for many tasks, such as Microsoft Office or WordPress. This serves as the perfect foundation for more technical tasks.


The role of an administrative worker involves juggling countless tasks, from scheduling appointments for multiple people to answering emails and phone calls. That’s a lot to stay on top of, so it’s fair to say that anyone with the job is a dab hand at organization.

Attention to detail

You can’t afford to get the date wrong for an upcoming meeting or mix up the names of two people in a company when you’re working in administration. You can apply this detail-oriented and reliable personality to any other job.

Consider what gives you purpose

As they say, there’s more to people than the sum of their parts. A certain job might sound like a great idea for you in theory because of the skills you’ve built up in your past job — but there’s more to you than that. What are you passionate about? Which causes do you care about the most?

Make a list of the things you care about, from diversity to animal welfare to creativity — even if they don’t seem directly related to the working world. You can then consider which jobs or companies might embody at least one of those values. Remember what you wrote, because working values into a job application is a great way to stand out and show what a good fit you are for a company.

A Framework for Breaking Out of Administration

A desk, a laptop, several post-its with motivational quotes , hand holding a pencil over a notebook checklist
A detailed plan to maximize your chances

Once you’ve realized how many opportunities are out there and how your skills could make you a good candidate for all of them, you should be feeling practically unstoppable. This is a great time to make a more detailed plan so you can maximize your chances of achieving success. 

We recommend the steps below, but feel free to tailor them to your needs.

  1. Nail your ambitions

If you still feel pulled in different directions when it comes to which career you’re after, your first port of call is figuring out what you actually want to do. Even if you’re not 100% sure it’s you’ll do it for the rest of your life, it’s best to hone in one thing — you can always jump to something else at a later date.

  1. Figure out how to harness what you have

Once you know what you want, you need to figure out how you’re going to get there. The first step is researching the requirements for a job, the kinds of employers that are hiring, and where you might find them. Depending on the findings of your research, you can plan your next steps.

Are there any local companies you can reach out to? Maybe your current employer would consider letting you switch departments? Are there any missing requirements you need to fill?

  1. Consider qualifications and education

When you’re making a career change, you’re going to be at a disadvantage compared to people who already have years of experience in that area. The best way to narrow the gap is by upskilling — and the research you’ve done already will probably highlight areas you may be lacking.

Some jobs may require you to have certain qualifications, such as a diploma or license. In other cases, you may be able to teach yourself the skills you need. But in almost all cases, it’s a good idea to at least have some concrete proof that you meet a job’s requirements.

  1. Make the most of any connections 

Do you have any relatives, friends, or even acquaintances in the industry you want to enter? If so, now is the time to get back in touch. You don’t have to do the whole “asking for coffee” thing if you don’t feel comfortable doing it — you could simply ask if you can ask them a few questions about their job via email and see where it leads.

LinkedIn is also a fabulous tool as it allows you to make a post to your entire network instead of targeting a couple of people. As your post gets shared around, you never know who it could reach.

If you really don’t have any network you can tap into, you could consider hiring a coach or mentor as your “secret weapon.”

  1. Fire those applications

You knew this was coming sooner or later. The only way to land a role is by applying, and that’s what you’ve got to do. Try to choose quality over quantity by choosing the vacancies you’re most interested in and think you’d be a best fit for. And if you make it to interview but fail to land the role, be sure to reach out for feedback so you can hone your approach along the way.

But don’t let the rejections get you down. They’re inevitable, and the average job search takes around five months.

Link to Forbes article: 4 Dangerour Misconceptions about a long job search
Source: Forbes

Get Ready for Tech with No-Code Institute 

Nocode institute numbers on success rate (90%), salary (3x) and remote work (90%)
Source: Nocode Institute

Everybody’s journey to breaking out of administration is going to be different; above all, depending on the industry they want to go into. But when it comes to entering the world of no-code, your first steps are clear: You need to start learning how to use the relevant software. There are free resources you can use to help, many of which you can find through a quick Google search. 

However many people struggle to get their head around such new concepts and skills when they’re learning them on their own — or they may simply lose motivation before they can land a job. Programs like the No Code Institute minimize the chances of this happening as you’ll have support from peers and mentors along the way and can learn through interactive activities.

It might be an upfront investment, but the program will pay for itself by helping you secure a job more quickly. The No Code Institute has a focus on employment and gives you advice about landing a job in the industry — you’ll even have access to career coaches.

Take a Vacation from Administration

Administration might be your “right now,” but it doesn’t have to be your forever if you’re not happy with the role. There are plenty of opportunities out there you can apply your skills to, so you owe yourself to give them a chance.

But make sure that you give yourself a fair stab at these new ventures by learning the skills you need to be attractive to employers. If you’re interested in becoming a citizen developer or similar, No Code Institute is a must for learning the ropes.

Nocode institute banner: want to learn about no-code?

Nelson Marteleira

Nelson is the co-founder NoCode Institute. He is an experienced NoCode specialist and developer with a solid portfolio. Nelson helps bring ideas to reality.

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